Feeling Secure with a Home Security System

Open front door of home, keys in keyhole

Last year, our local news burst with a story of several teens who broke into a random house in the middle of the night, hacking up a mother and her eleven-year-old daughter up with a machete, and leaving them for dead.  The daughter survived the attack but her mother did not.  This was an incredibly shocking story for the quiet New England town that is less than 20 miles from our house.  As I recounted in my first post on Home Security Systems – Luxury or Necessity? the one thing that stuck in my mind was that these teens targeted this home because it had no security system.

After the attack, I realized that having a security system does not only protect your material assets.  It also protects your most important,  most irreplaceable assets, your family.  We were new to the whole world of security systems, so hopefully our experiences will help with other people thinking of installing one.

The selection and installation of the security system was not without its bumps.  As with any contractor or service provider, we obtained quotes from several companies, nationwide and local.  We settled with a well-known nationwide company with a hefty monthly fee, but felt that their knowledge and service would suit us best.

My mother had gotten a security system in the 80’s and back then, the technology was all wired.  Each door and window had large sensors and obtrusive wires going to them.  Since she had cats, she had to cover most of her motion detectors as well.  When we were quoted the system, we were happy to hear that the door, window, glass breakage and motion transmitters were unobtrusive and wireless. The motion detectors also had no problems with small animals at home.  Things have come a long way!

The installation was supposed to be completed in one or two days, but it took five separate trips for the system to be completed.  Thankfully my husband worked at home, or else missing that many days of work would have been a hardship.  One issue had to do with the fact that we have VoIP for our phone and the system was not able successfully transmit the alarm signals in the allotted time.  The signals eventually went through, but we had to sign a VoIP waiver.  Since the installation, we have never experienced any delays or issues using the system with our VoIP.

Another issue was that we had not realized that fire protection was not included in the original quote.  I didn’t understand why anyone would have a security system for the unlikely event of a burglary without having the extra fire protection, where you could lose your entire home and contents.  So we installed the fire protection system as well, for our extremely flammable post and beam frame house.  Of course this added feature carries an extra monthly fee, but having the fire protection puts one of my longtime fears of house fires to rest.  We did not get much of a discount on our home insurance, but having a security system is not about saving money, it is about potentially saving lives and belongings.

The first months of having a security system had the usual hiccups with false alarms.  In the beginning, I used to call it “lock down” when we alarmed the house for “night stay” each night.  It was a bit invasive to be always thinking about the alarm system in the back of our minds.  We met our local police for one false alarm that was not called in on time, who were nice enough to inform us that our town doesn’t charge for false alarms.  Thankfully, it only happened once and we haven’t been a habitual offender.

It has been about 10 months since the system has been installed, and we have settled on a good routine.  We set the system when we leave for long periods, and we always arm it each night.  Over the last few months, the calculating, psychotic teens who were involved in the attack have each gone through their trials and been sentenced.  The testimonies of their heinous crimes on the news were disturbing and chilling, and we always ran to turn on the security system when it came up.  Having the security system definitely helps us sleep at night.

Despite my fears that our security system would be invasive in our lives, our entire family, including our seven-year-old daughter, is well versed in setting it. After nearly a year of having one, we have embraced it. Having the peace of mind that my family is protected is priceless.

Contributing editor Angela blogs about her keypad obsessed family at mommy bytes.

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