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Old 2010-06-25, 12:43 PM
TomToronto2 TomToronto2 is offline
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Unhappy Home alarm

Hi.

I wanted to ask you for you experience and opinions regarding home alarms. How often do you have false alarms? Do you think it makes sense to have your alarm monitored 24/7 by a service station and police/fire dep. called if the alarm goes off?

One annoying thing about 24/7 monitoring is that if your alarm system detects that your telephone line is out (for example when your phone provider does some maintenance or there is any other problem on their end) the alarm will happily go off in the middle of the night (or in the middle of the day when you are at work or vacation), the police will be dispatched etc... Very nerve-wrecking in my opinion and I'm not sure if it is worth it at all. (And I learned this the hard way, unfortunately).

Another issue is that it is not that easy to completely shut down the system. Well, I guess it is by design so that bad guys cannot easily turn it off, but on the other hand, when the alarm is malfunctioning, you are basically stuck with a blaring alarm disturbing the whole neighborhood without a good reason.

So, I'm wondering what do you guys think about it, and what is your experience with alarms.

On a side note, I have my alarm from <company name removed for legal reasons>, and their customer service <explicit> big time. Whenever I call them, I'm being redirected between different people until I finally reach an answering machine. It doesn't inspire much confidence. So based on my experience so far I would advise against <company name removed for legal reasons> systems for that reason.
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Old 2010-06-26, 12:20 AM
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Most alarm systems are set up for weekly tests. If the system fails to report into the monitoring company, they notify the installer, not the police.

If your telephone line has gone down temporarily, your alarm system will notice and probably chirp at you. When the line comes back, it will notice that too and usually stop chirping, but show the line drop in the event log.

As for making it easy to completely 'shut down' the system.. I'd have to say that is rediculous. Just like you said, if it were just a flick of a switch, then anyone could do it. To completely 'shut down' the system you need to unplug the AC power and disconnect the battery. Either that or do what the bad guys do, take a sledge hammer to it.

If your system is in alarm and blaring the siren, it's usually doing that because someone has tripped it and not entered the correct pass code within the timeout or a motion has been tripped due to something else. You will get a call from the monitoring company asking you what to do. Provide them with the correct information and the alarm will be cleared. If not, then it is up to them to dispatch the police.
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Old 2010-06-26, 12:08 PM
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Maybe another good ideal would be to look into a company that has a local monitoring office rather than out of city.
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Old 2010-06-26, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianT View Post
Maybe another good ideal would be to look into a company that has a local monitoring office rather than out of city.
All they do is accept signals from alarm panels and then place phone calls based on pre-determined instructions. Their location isn't really important.
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Old 2010-06-28, 12:46 PM
k-2 k-2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomToronto2 View Post
Hi.

I wanted to ask you for you experience and opinions regarding home alarms. How often do you have false alarms? Do you think it makes sense to have your alarm monitored 24/7 by a service station and police/fire dep. called if the alarm goes off?

One annoying thing about 24/7 monitoring is that if your alarm system detects that your telephone line is out (for example when your phone provider does some maintenance or there is any other problem on their end) the alarm will happily go off in the middle of the night (or in the middle of the day when you are at work or vacation), the police will be dispatched etc... Very nerve-wrecking in my opinion and I'm not sure if it is worth it at all. (And I learned this the hard way, unfortunately).
Before dispatching / calling police / fire monitoring satation always attemt to reach home owner,
provide them your cell / work and any alternative phone numbers.

I was scared in the beginning that police will be dispatched for false alarms but did not happen so far in last 1 and half years (there were quite a few false alarms due to various reasons).
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Old 2010-07-23, 03:33 PM
Albert Albert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregS View Post
Most alarm systems are set up for weekly tests. If the system fails to report into the monitoring company, they notify the installer, not the police.

If your telephone line has gone down temporarily, your alarm system will notice and probably chirp at you. When the line comes back, it will notice that too and usually stop chirping, but show the line drop in the event log.

As for making it easy to completely 'shut down' the system.. I'd have to say that is rediculous. Just like you said, if it were just a flick of a switch, then anyone could do it. To completely 'shut down' the system you need to unplug the AC power and disconnect the battery. Either that or do what the bad guys do, take a sledge hammer to it.

If your system is in alarm and blaring the siren, it's usually doing that because someone has tripped it and not entered the correct pass code within the timeout or a motion has been tripped due to something else. You will get a call from the monitoring company asking you what to do. Provide them with the correct information and the alarm will be cleared. If not, then it is up to them to dispatch the police.
Greg,
if the phone line get cut from the outside. Then the system cannot call to the monitoring station. Wouldn't that make the system useless? The phone line is outside of the house and anybody can cut it. I called Bell to check if I can move the bell box inside and they said NO. The ADT guy is saying that I can cover the line outside with some kind of PVC pipe drilled to the wall. This does not sound too convincing.
Is there a way to secure the system in the case of a cut phone line without the cell backup system. He wants to charge me an extra $200 and extra $11/month for it.
Thanks for the response.
Albert
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Old 2010-07-23, 04:56 PM
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You cannot lock up Bells phone line. Just the same as you cannot lock up the gas meter, electrical service entrance, etc.

You can use an internet communicator. But chances are you are getting that through either your phone line or TV cable.

Your other option is a cellular communicator. And yes they will cost more.

It's up to you.
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Old 2010-09-28, 08:49 AM
Trepex Trepex is offline
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I think another key point is that no alarm will stop a determined thief. An alarm just acts like a deterrent, making your neighbours (without an alarm) a lot more appealing.
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Old 2010-09-28, 09:24 AM
homie27 homie27 is offline
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we lived in Maple for 10 years and chose to have the police come to the house if the alarm goes off. the police never came. they always figure its a false alarm. now at the new house, we chose to have a patrol person from the monitoring company to come to the house instead.
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  #10  
Old 2010-09-28, 09:07 PM
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The quick-and-easy alarm installs done by many companies are very very easily circumvented in new homes. Sorry, but alarms are a false sense of security.

However, they do offer other benefits. One of my clients today called me and told me the alarm went off because the sump pump got too high. Yes, I put a float sensor in his sump pump that would notify him if more water entered than his pump could handle. I also connect up smoke alarms to the alarm system. These are where the real benefits are.
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