Home Security Monitoring Services Vs. Standard Home Alarms
Although many times terms like home alarms, home security systems and home security monitoring are used interchangeably, there are actually differences in these options.
A monitored home security system is connected to a monitoring station. When something goes wrong at home, your system contacts the monitoring station for you. They will then try to get in touch with you. If they can’t, they then call the proper authorities for you (police, firemen, etc.)
Home alarms can use a monitoring system connection – but they don’t have to.
Most home alarm systems just warn you when someone breaks into your home – either with sirens or bells. There are also alarms that can call your cell phone or another phone number that you specify.
With a home alarm, it’s really up to your (or your family) to contact the proper authorities should something go wrong.
And this can be a gamble.
For instance, we all know that when we’re in a stressful situation and the adrenaline is pumping, it’s easy to get flustered, panic and forget a phone number. You may even forget exactly what you should be doing.
That’s not to mention your family. How do you know your kids will remember what to do, should someone break in while they are at home alone?
For these reasons, many people choose to use a 3rd party specialist home security monitoring service to ensure they and the whole family is protected.
A monitoring service will cost you – from $30 – $50 a month. But for most people it’s worth it to know someone else is also looking after their home.
Which Companies Offer Home Security Monitoring?
You probably have heard of the big players – ADT, GE and Brinks.
ADT is the largest with over 50% marketing share. They also have the largest network of monitoring stations in North America. The advantage to this is that should one center go down, your systems call is rerouted to another live ADT monitoring center.
GE is also a big player and they offer a lot of customizable options depending on the size of your home. Consumer reviews are quite positive and indicate the units are high quality and reliable.
Brinks recently spun off their home security division and changed their name to Broadview Home Security.
The Brinks home security system was designed to make it easy to use by incorporating a one-touch operation rather than having to input a lot of codes (which can be difficult when you’re under stress).
It should be noted however that as of this writing, ADT will probably be purchasing Broadview – including all of its current monitoring contracts.
There are other smaller monitoring services as well. You can find these in your local yellow pages.
The advantage to a smaller company is that you can sometimes get a deal. The disadvantage is that they don’t have the reputation, size and resources that a large monitoring company may have.
Also note that many monitoring services like ADT and GE use “authorized representatives” to install their systems. The monitoring contract is then sold to the larger company (ADT or GE).
So you want to make sure that you’re dealing with a quality installer that will give you the right system for you. Ask for references, check the better business bureau and/or go through friends if you have doubts.