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Dear Home Owner,
Thank you for visiting NicoShop's website. In this section, we provide you with valuable information about home security systems to help you in choosing the products and service provider best suited to your individual needs.
To ensure you get the most from our products, we highly recommend that they be installed by professionally trained engineers only.
- + Step by Step Guide for Choosing a Home Alarm System
- Survey your home to determine how many windows and doors you need protected from possible intrusion. It is recommended to write them down.
- Determine possible locations for the control panel and keypads. Close to the front door is generally a convenient location for a keypad. In your bedroom or close to your bed is also a recommended location.
- Measure how far away the windows and doors are from the control panel. This will let you know how far the wires must be routed for a wired alarm system or the distance a wireless system needs to communicate with sensors. Keep in mind: it is difficult to install a hard-wired security system in houses that have already been built. Learn more about the differences between a wireless and a hard-wired home security system
- Decide if you want a monitored security system. Monitored security systems are connected to a central monitoring station that ‘watches‘ your home for a monthly fee. A less expensive alternative is to install a self-monitoring system that will dial your private phone and/or other preselected phone numbers if the alarm system triggers an alarm.
- Consider your family‘s daily habits. Do you often get up in the middle of the night for a snack or to go to the bathroom? Do you have a pet that roams the house? Do you have valuable possessions that might need more sophisticated security equipment, such as surveillance cameras, photo detectors, art protection, etc. These circumstances influence the type of motion sensors and other security devices you need and how they will be installed.
- Whether you choose a wireless or a hardwired system, it should be able to monitor your entire home. Each window, door and device integrated into the system is considered a zone. The number of zones a system can control varies from one manufacturer to another. For example, Visonic‘s control panels watch up to 28 wireless zones; this is more than enough to cover an average dwelling.
- Be aware that if you choose a wired system, the installer will have to drill holes in the walls. If you choose a wireless system, the transmission range must be large enough to cover your entire premises and the system must be able to cover the zone farthest from the control panel.
- It is important to choose a system that works with home safety sensors, such as carbon monoxide (CO) sensors, gas detectors, flood detectors, etc. Likewise, choose a system that can include panic and personal emergency buttons.
- The home security system you choose must be user-friendly. Verify that adding new codes or users is a simple process and one that everyone in the family can quickly learn.
- + Wired Versus Wireless Home Security Systems
This article explains the main factors you should take into consideration when deciding whether to buy a hardwired or wireless alarm system.
This is the first and most important criterion. Whether you choose wired or wireless, the security system must be reliable enough to detect an intrusion attempt or other emergency or event and alert the proper person or authority in time. Once, some experts claimed that a wireless alarm system is more likely than a wired system to set off a false alarm. Today, after more than ten years of wireless installations and much technological advancement, there are no longer problems with reliability or false alarms in wireless systems that have been installed correctly by a professional. Furthermore, home security products manufacturers continuously invest in improving the wireless technology of their alarm systems. Visonic, for example, launched in 2010 PowerG technology. It is a new wireless technology which significantly improves the reliability of wireless transmissions, the range between the control panel and the devices and ease of use.
Time and Money
Wireless systems and their components are usually more expensive than their hardwired counterparts. However, the installation time for wireless systems is shorter and there is much less hassle compared to a wired system. When examining the maintenance costs of a wireless system, you need to take into consideration the cost of replacing the batteries of the wireless devices every few years. In general, hardwired systems are maintenance free.
Over the years, your family's needs will probably change. Whether you decide to renovate your house, move furniture or simply upgrade your system by adding detectors and safety devices, all of the above is much easier with a wireless system.
- + How to choose a professional installer?
When shopping around for an alarm system, it is likely that individual sales people will try to sell you the most complex system on the market. You will be amazed at the features that can be included in an alarm system, most of which you probably won’t need. To avoid getting something you don’t really need, it’s important to talk with a reputable professional installer.
A professional installer should ask questions about your family’s daily activities, if you are able to “see” your home from your place of work (if that’s something you want to do), and about your need for additional features such as smoke alarms, flood alarms, carbon-monoxide alerts, and so forth. Furthermore, a professional will be able to point out the most important entry points so you might not even need a contact on every window in the house.
Below are tips for finding a reputable alarm installer:
- After gathering the relevant information about your home as specified in the "Step by Step Guide" , contact three installers to compare prices for the equipment and the installation.
- Over the phone, give the installers the relevant information about your home. Based on a few general questions about your house‘s size, number of rooms, number of doors, etc. the installer should be able to give you an estimated price quote. However, a company representative or the independent installer must visit your home to give an exact price, including equipment and installation costs.
- When the installer visits your home, he will ask where the safe is or where valuable items are kept. While this may make you feel uncomfortable, answering these questions honestly will make for a more accurate price quote and a more effective alarm system.
- Ask for how long you will be tied to a contract; whether you own or are leasing the equipment; and what is included in the warranty.
- Be wary of firms that quote crime figures for your area to sell you an alarm – they are often made up. The Office for National Statistics in your region will have the correct figures.
- + Protect your home from intruders and theft
Technologies and tips to avoid unpleasant surprises in the home
With last generation wireless burglar alarms the installation of security systems in interiors is fast and simple: discover all the advantages of wireless technology and the tips to avoid unwanted visits
- + Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- How does monitoring work?
- Should I have my system monitored?
- What is "Backup Communication"?
- If I had a security system installed will it help my insurance rates?
- Can I have my alarm system monitored even if I don’t have a phone line installed in my home?
- What is a PIR?
- I have a dog. Does that mean I can’t install a PIR?
- What is the difference between a control panel and a keypad?
- What if the power of the security system goes off?
- What is a Zone?
- What is a Partition?
- Where should I install my Control Panel?
- Can I be notified when my system is armed or disarmed?
- Is a wireless home security system reliable enough?
Detectors and Safety Sensors
- How do the Glass-break detectors work?
- I already have battery operated smoke detectors in my home, so why would I need one installed also with the security system?
- Why is my motion sensor providing false detections?
- Why does my smoke alarm go into alarm when I can't see smoke?
- Why does the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that home smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years?
- How many smoke detectors do I need?
Q How does monitoring work?
A When one of the devices triggers an alarm, the security system seizes the phone line and sends a digital message to the central station. The operator will then call the premise to verify the alarm. If your phone line is busy or no one answers, they will dispatch the police. If you have set off the alarm yourself, wait and the phone will ring, answer it and the operator will ask you for your password. When you give the proper password the alarm will be cancelled.
Q Should I have my system monitored?
A Yes, it is highly recommended that you connect your security system to a local central station so that in case of an alarm you will be notified immediately as well as the proper authorities. You would not want to experience a break in while you were on vacation and come home to an open door. Most insurance companies offer a discount with a monitored alarm system.
Q What is "Backup Communication"?
A In the event an intruder has cut your phone line, or if for some reason your phone lines are down, your security system will still be able to communicate to our central station.
Q If I had a security system installed will it help my insurance rates?
A Yes. Almost every insurance provider offers some level of a discount when you have a monitored security system installed. With monitored smoke detectors the insurance discount could be higher.
Q Can I have my alarm system monitored even if I don’t have a phone line installed in my home?
A Yes. There have been many advancements in home security technology and today you can connect your system also trough GPRS or broadband IP communication modes so the system will be able to send alerts and alarm messages to the central station via these channels. It is also recommended to use one of these channels even if you do have a phone line - as a back up in case of line failures or intentional sabotage. In addition, many companies offer cellular monitoring as it is by far one of the fastest and most reliable forms of alarm transmission today.
Q What is a PIR?
A A passive infrared motion detector (PIR) is an electronic security device that detects intruders by sensing motion or body heat in the area being protected. Most PIRs are designed to be used when your family is away from the home or when no one will be passing through the area covered by the PIR.
Q I have a dog. Does that mean I can’t install a PIR?
A No. Most home security companies can provide you with a “pet immune” motion detectors, which allows dog and cat lovers to enjoy the same level of protection they would receive with a standard PIR. These state-of-the-art sensors provide “pet immunity” for animals weighing up to 38kg (85lb), depending on the manufacturer. Pet immune PIRs allow your pet to move about freely but can still detect an intruder’s movement.
Q What is the difference between a control panel and a keypad?
A The term "control panel" refers to the “brain” of the home security system. Whether this is a full panel with LCD and keypad or just the circuit board covered with plastics, the control panel is the component that supervises all the devices and sends the central station the alarms when triggered.
A keypad, however, is a peripheral device that connected to the control panel. It is a user interface that allows you to arming and disarm or control some of the system functions and programming. In addition, the keypad provides a constant display of system status information.
Q What if the power of the security system goes off?
A The alarm system has a back up rechargeable battery that will power the system until the electricity comes back on. The battery will last approximately 24 hours without electricity, depending on the system type and how old the battery is. When the electricity comes back on the system will recharge the battery. We recommend the battery be changed approximately every three years.
Q What is a Zone?
A During you home alarm system installation it is divided to separate independent areas of protection based on function. Those functions might include indoor intrusion, outdoor intrusion, fire, medical, panic, or critical condition monitoring.
These areas are Zones and each of them can be activated or deactivated separately from other areas. This means that activity can occur in one zone without activating the alarm in other zones.
A zone can refer to a single device such as a motion detector or glass-break or reference a complete circuit such as a fire alarm.
Q What is a Partition?
A Generally speaking, partitioning an alarm system will allow you to have 2 or more independently controllable areas, as well as limit or control access to either by use of codes, and sometimes, code authority levels. Using the Partitions feature in your home security system can be beneficial if you have outbuildings that you would like to be secured independently of a main area, as well as have them remain armed or disarmed while other areas have their states changed.
A system with Partition mode usually has some general requirements and access considerations. Most systems will have a system master code, as well as a partition master code. A system master code usually has the ability to access the entire system and partitions, while a partition master code is limited to the partition area only.
Q Where should I install my Control Panel?
A Before choosing the right place to install your home security system, keep in mind that this is a sensitive electronic equipment that will require periodic maintenance.
Given that in mind below are a few recommendations for a proper place to install:
- Make sure there is enough space to comfortably work and operate the system
- Install the unit in an area, which is accessible without special equipment.
- Install the unit within a cool, dry area - follow the manufacturer's directions for temperature rating.
- Avoid installation in: attics, extremely hot or humid areas, areas subject to flooding or moisture, areas close to gas mains, areas which may be subject to remodel or change.
Q Can I be notified when my system is armed or disarmed?
A Yes, almost all new panel from recent years can send Armed/Disarmed notification to the home owner, and even how the system was armed (away or home). This feature is mainly used for parents to receive a verification that the kids arrived home safely.
Q Is a wireless home security system reliable enough?
A Several years ago, wireless intrusion alarm systems were considered to be less reliable than wired systems. In the last ten years or so, wireless communication and technologies for alarm systems have improved significantly and today wireless home security systems installation are growing each year. Both the professional industry and home owners came to realize that the advantages of a wireless system are huge and the reliability of the communication has gotten closer to the reliability provided with wired systems.
Detectors and Safety Sensors
Q How do the Glass-break detectors work?
A Acoustic glass-break detectors usually mounted on ceilings and walls, work by “listening” for the sound of breaking glass in a window. This kind of advanced wireless or hardwired technology can provide shatter and shock protection for your windows, so often intruders are sensed and the alarm sounded before they are able to gain access to your home.
Q I already have battery operated smoke detectors in my home, so why would I need one installed also with the security system?
A The battery operated smoke detectors are “stand alone” devices that will alarm when smoke is detected. However, a wireless smoke detector connected and supervised by a security system, immediately sends an alarm also to the central station which can more quickly response in cases of life-threatening cases or when the family members are sleeping while the fire starts. That way, if you do have a fire, the central station will notifies your fire department instantaneously, saving valuable time to prevent loss of property and/or lives.
Q Why is my motion sensor providing false detections?
A A motion detector may activate false alarms due to improper installation of the device. Movement of objects such as blinds and curtains within the range of the detector may trigger a false alarm. In this cases the detector may require relocation or adjustment by a professional technician.
Q Why does my smoke alarm go into alarm when I can't see smoke?
A There could be several reasons for a smoke detector to trigger false alarms:
- Wrong installation – the detector may be installed too close to a furnace or an oven which produce combustion particles.
- Sensor Chamber is blocked – dust, dirt or insects often covers the chamber. In these cases you can vacuum clean it or use a soft brush to remove the dirt.
Q Why does the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that home smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years?
A As electronic devices, smoke alarms are subject to random failures. In 10 years there is roughly a 30% probability of failure before replacement. After 15 years, the chances are that your alarm has failed. Therefore, replacing alarms after 10 years protects against the accumulated chance of failure.
Q How many smoke detectors do I need?
A Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area. On floors without bedrooms, place detectors in or near living areas. A good place for a smoke detector in a two-story house is at the top of the stairs since smoke from downstairs will rise along that path.
Also, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.