Home Alarm Installation: Sourcing Professional Installers and Do-It-Yourself Advice


When homeowners opt to secure their properties using home alarm systems, the first question that arises is whether to allow a professional to install the system or whether to do it yourself. A home alarm installation can be quite complicated, depending on the elements used within that system. For example, a complete home security system that uses video monitoring, heat detectors, motion sensors, and other additions can be more complicated to install than one that only uses motion detectors.

A typical home alarm installation package, whether the owner opts to do it him or her self or have a professional install it, consists of many basic items including an alarm keypad, control panel, phone connection, battery, the alarm (bell, siren or other sounding device), window or door sensors (preferably both) and a transformer. Wireless alarm systems will also use a transceiver and a receiver to monitor the system remotely. Other systems will include carbon monoxide monitors, fire sensors closed circuit television or video, digital video recorders, intercom systems and more.

For do-it-yourselfers, it is important to know the basics of installation before partaking in the activity. Proper installation of a home alarm system is key to safety and requires a bit of forethought. If a professional is installing the system, that person will probably work for a company that monitors alarm systems. These home alarm installers may or may not install a system if it is not on contract with that company, but each company varies, so be sure to ask first. Additionally, contracting a professional to install any system in the home requires that the professional hold the proper license; some states require the installer hold a valid master electrician’s license because of the wiring involved.

Home Alarm InstallationA typical home system will be centered within the basement, encased in a metal box where all the wiring and circuits come together. This is where the system’s battery will be located as well. The battery will allow the alarm system to continue to monitor the home even if there is a power outage. The alarm’s keypad, consisting of numbers, letters, or both, will be installed at the front and back of the home, usually one for each door or other entranceway, such as the garage. This keypad is what controls the entire system. When a person enters or leaves the home, he or she will need to enter their security code to disarm and enable the system. If someone enters or leaves without doing this, any home alarm monitoring services contracted by the homeowner are alerted to the possible disturbance. In some cases, the company will automatically dispatch the authorities, but others simply call the homeowner first to determine the cause of the disturbance.

The first step to a proper home alarm system installation is the pre-wiring sequence. This consists of the professional coming to the home to determine where the existing electrical wires are and where the system components and new wiring will be installed, then running the wires but not yet connecting them. The second step is the installation of all the components. This means installing the keypads at each door, mounting the electrical box, transformer, battery, and installing the window and door sensors in addition to any other equipment in the system. The third step consists of hard connecting the wiring and then testing the system completely before it is activated. If any problems are found with the equipment or with the wiring, this is the time to fix it. If an alarm goes active due to problems in the system, it could cause the family and neighbors unnecessary problems. Testing usually consists of breaking the connection between the door and window sensors, tripping the motion detectors and other such actions to purposely make the alarm sound. A wireless system would do away with the wiring elements of this process, so is particularly popular for DIY installation projects.

The benefits of doing the installation of a home alarm system yourself are mostly seen monetarily. It costs much less for a homeowner to take on the project and to wire and mount the system as opposed to having a professional do it. However, if there is something wrong with the wiring or the equipment, there are no guarantees and no fall backs. This means that all problems encountered after installation are the problem of the homeowner. If any problems with the system are detected, it can become quite costly, not to mention time consuming, to fix. On the other hand, if a professional installs the system, then there is usually a guarantee of workmanship and installation in effect. This means that if there is a problem with the system or any of the equipment, the problem lies with the professional installer and he must fix it. The benefit to the warranty is that if the problem lies with the professional, the cost to fix the problem lies solely with him or the company the homeowner contracted with to install the system.

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