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Alarm System?

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Joined: Apr 10 2006

Has anyone had ADT or Brinks or similar install an alarm system? How do they pull wires? and do they but sensors on all windows? on all doors? number of motion sensors?

And, most importantly, do you like it? Or recommendations on other alarm options. Thanks for any input.


Joined: Dec 28 2003

I looked at many security providers and decided to do it myself. The reason: You can install your own security system much more cheaply and effectively than any of the commercial providers. Perhaps this is a cynical view, but most companies really aren't interested in protecting your home as much as collecting a monthly monitoring fee. If you have basic technical skills, installing an alarm system is not difficult. And you can customize it to your heart's desire. For example, my system announces when I've left my side gate open for more than a couple of minutes or if my garage door is open. I set that it up that way because it's important to me. Try asking Brinks to do that for you. They won't.

Once installed, you can configure any system to report to a monitoring service. Some can call you directly and give you voice prompts. My system sends me email, and/or dials my cell phone and announces, in a computer-generated voice, the problem encountered. From there, I can decide to call the cops or the fire department, and/or head home. "Monitoring" costs me nothing monthly.

I installed an Elk M1 panel with mostly wireless zones. Considering the typical Eichler owner has no crawlspace or attic, wireless is the best way to go for most of your monitoring. It's very effective, but more expensive than hard-wired. Unfortunately, that's the price we pay for the homes we live in. You could hard-wire many sensors, but hiding the wires is difficult, if not impossible. The cost/aesthetic tradeoff is something only you can decide on.

There are cheaper panels than the Elk M1, which are just as reliable for security, such as the Ademco Vista 20p. If I had to do it again, I'd still buy the Elk M1. It's does everything and does it very well.

If you have any specific questions, I'm glad to help. I'm not a security professional, but I think I've got a good handle on securing an Eichler home.

Good luck!

Dan Cogswell
Anshen+Allen E-111 in Castro Valley

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