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How to Tell if Your Security System is Outdated

A home security system is supposed to provide peace of mind. A quality security system can alert the proper authorities in the event of a break-in, fire or other emergency. Furthermore, the very presence of an alarm system can deter criminals from even setting foot on your property. Unfortunately, if you have an outdated system, your property may not be adequately protected. Here are some signs that your home security alarm system is outdated and needs to be upgraded.

home security alarm systemNo Access to Remote Access

Remote monitoring is one of the biggest trends in home security technology. Essentially, remote access allows you to operate your home’s security system from a computer, smartphone or tablet, even if you are not on the property. Remote monitoring is ideal for times when you have forgotten to arm your system, want to turn the lights on to make it appear as though somebody is home, or simply want to see what is going on in your house.

If your current security system does not have remote monitoring capabilities, it may be time for an upgrade since the technology can greatly improve the security of your home.

No High-Resolution Cameras

As part of their residential security systems, many homeowners ask security companies to install surveillance cameras on their properties as a way to further boost safety and security. In addition to being a great deterrent for would-be criminals, security cameras can provide evidence against burglars and vandals when the time comes.

If the resolution on your home’s security cameras is so low that it is difficult to see the details of a human face, then your cameras may not be able to do much for you in the event of a break-in or other crime committed on your property. Having alarm monitoring companies come out and install new, sharper image cameras would be a wise decision.

When in Doubt, Ask a Professional

If you have any reason to believe that your home security system is truly outdated, the best thing you can do is call a reputable home security company to assess the situation for you. This way, you can receive a fair assessment of your current system to determine if upgrades are warranted.

By choosing the right security company, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will get a great deal on any further services or upgrades that you wish to have done to your existing system.

Carbon Monoxide Monitoring Essential to Home Safety

A fire that erupts in the kitchen is an emergency that everyone will notice immediately, but a deadly carbon monoxide leak might go undetected until everyone in the house is sick or worse. Because this odorless, colorless gas can buildup in enclosed spaces with no warning, carbon monoxide devices should be part of a home's security monitoring services.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says around 170 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. This figure excludes automotive-related carbon monoxide incidents.

Items that May Prove Deadly

It's easy to think a home doesn't have devices that produce carbon monoxide, but most homes will indeed have at least one or two machines that could produce the poisonous gas. Leaving a car running in a closed garage is the example most people think of when they consider how carbon monoxide poisoning occurs. However, there are several common CO-producing appliances inside the average home.

• Fireplaces
• Furnaces
• Ranges
• Room heaters
• Water heaters

In addition, just about any type of equipment that includes an engine will produce carbon monoxide fumes, which is why proper ventilation is essential during the use of any machine. A home security alarm system with CO detectors may be a lifesaver if one of those appliances malfunctions.
home security alarm system

How CO Detectors Save Lives

A CO detector is a remarkable, yet simple, device that measures the amount of CO gas in the surrounding atmosphere. The device is made up of a CO gas sensor, wires that connect to the home security alarm system, and a microchip that's the "brain" of the operation.

Essentially, if carbon monoxide is in the air, the CO detector senses it and sends a signal to the security system. In addition, a loud alarm will sound, similar to a smoke detector alarm to let occupants know that CO buildup has started to occur.

Knowing the Symptoms

Carbon monoxide buildup occurs when fuel doesn't burn completely. CO damages the body because it infiltrates the blood stream and reduces the oxygen level of the body's red blood cells. This means that vital organs around the body like the lungs, heart and brain might not get the oxygen they need to survive.

CO poisoning may cause death, but it may also cause permanent damage to the body with prolonged exposure. Minimal exposure is not as dangerous, which is why the addition of a CO detector may not only save lives, but also prevent permanent brain damage.

However, it's best not to rely solely on the detector and know common symptoms of CO poisoning. Those symptoms include:

Shortness of breath

Symptoms of extended exposure include vomiting, loss of consciousness, mental fog and potential death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that an overwhelming number of CO exposures occur in the home. Don't become another statistic. Ensure your home and family are protected with security monitoring services that include a CO detector.

Reducing Holiday Theft with Residential Security Systems

Tens of millions of Americans travel during the holiday season, and that means an incredible number of vacant houses over the November and December holidays. Homeowners and apartment dwellers need to take active steps to reduce the likelihood of burglary or theft during an absence with smart practices and residential security systems.

Travel and Empty Homes

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) suggests that over 43 million people will drive, fly, or travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holidays. Many more families are also expected to travel during December and into January as the country celebrates the arrival of 2014. Empty homes and increased purchasing activity for the holidays create a significant lure for thieves and require residential security systems to work overtime.

Creating an Illusion and Theft Deterrent

For families that plan to be away for the holidays, there are some easy ways to reduce the potential for theft, and most of these methods cost very little or are even free. Ensuring that an empty home is less attractive for burglars starts with making it appear as though the home isn’t actually empty. This might mean installing timers on the lights. Today’s timers can also be hooked up to items like the television or the radio that should improve the illusion that someone is at home.

It’s also essential that the home looks no different from the way it does when the family is at home. Closing all the shades and blinds isn’t a good idea unless that’s something a homeowner does regularly. A thief will often observe a home before attempting a burglary, and any change in behavior, such as several days of closed drapes, may indicate that no one is home.

Additional protection is available from a home security alarm system that includes glass break detectors that will notify a homeowner or the security monitoring company of unauthorized entry.

Keep Maintenance Schedules Intact

An overgrown lawn and a pile of unread newspapers sitting at the door are one of the most visible signs that there is no one at home. For any absence that may last longer than a few days, make sure that the mail and newspapers are put on hold. Most homes won’t require lawn maintenance during the winter; however, for anyone who lives in a warmer climate, ensure lawn care schedules remain active during the family’s absence.

Don’t Broadcast the Absence

The internet and social media have made it easier for families and friends to remain connected despite large distances, but it’s also made it a lot easier for thieves to figure out when a family might be gone from their home. Never broadcast the absence to everyone through Twitter or Facebook and only let close friends or family know about the travel before it begins. In addition, never post pictures during the vacation. Wait until the vacation or holiday visit is over to share those holiday adventures with friends.

The best defense against holiday burglaries is attention paid to a variety of home security rules and devices. Ensure the home security alarm system is active by testing it before departure and make sure that items like surveillance cameras and locks are in working condition. As an added layer of protection, let close friends and family know about the absence so that they might keep an eye on the residence.

Scam Artists Target Owners of Residential Security Systems: What Can You do About It?

Your home security alarm system is essential for your peace of mind. However, take precautions when it comes to home security scams—they can come in the form of a door-to-door salesmen or of deceiving deals and contracts. Heed our advice when you’re confronted with the possibility of a scam and keep the following tips in mind.

Play it Safe When Meeting with Representatives

When a representative arrives at your door and wants to talk about home security, ask for a business card and have the person wait outside. Check credentials by calling the number on the card and perform some online research before an involved conversation takes place. If you do agree to talk with a representative, have to conversation outside and do not allow them in your home. Home security professionals consider this common practice. You do not want to take any risks with someone who might be planning a home invasion. Be suspicious of anyone who hasn’t made a previous appointment to meet with you, especially if they say they need to inspect or upgrade your residential security systems—even if they claim to be from your company.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Beware of door-to-door home security alarm system representatives who promise you the moon and the stars. If they are making an offer that seems absolutely phenomenal, don’t jump on the proposition. Ask for a business card and a website. Do thorough research and investigate their claims. Whatever you do, don’t ever sign a contract on the spot. Take time to read all of the fine print and look at every angle.

Be Firm; If You’re Satisfied, Say So

If you’re pleased with your residential security systems provider, tell the competitor. Be absolutely clear about your intentions to stay with your current company. Ask the visiting representative to kindly leave or hang up the phone if you are on the receiving end of a telephone sale. If it is a legitimate company making a fair offer, sales people should still respect your wishes. If you are dealing with someone who simply won’t accept no, is harassing you, and keeps pushing the issue, a red flag should come up. Trust your gut and don’t make any changes if you are uncomfortable with the situation.

Ask For Information and Time to Reflect

Get details about the company and request time to think about the matter. Inform the representative that you will call when you are ready to discuss home security systems of interest. If the representative disobeys your wishes and continues to call you, you can complain about harassment.

Report Suspicious Behavior

If you think you may have been a target of a scam, report it to authorities and your home alarm company. Without a report, it’s hard for enforcement and security companies to do something about the threat.

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