As an alarm and security installer I often get asked if I think alarm systems are worth the money. I install them, so naturally, my unbiased answer is ABSOLUTELY! Alarm systems are worth every penny, and in this article we’ll talk about why. I could write a series of cool articles about just the alarm system of your home. So, are they really worth it? Can you trust what a security installer has to say? I promise to be totally transparent about all the shortcomings of security systems as well as their values! Hopefully you’ll see why I say security systems are worth the money. However they aren’t perfect for everyone, we’ll talk about who it does and doesn’t benefit.
What Value Does an Alarm System Add?
Damn, where do I start? Well lets start with financial benefits. Some people may not know that having a monitored security system will actually reduce rates on insurance and can increase the value of your home. But there are plenty of articles on those topics. I’d like to specifically a security system can add to the value of your home. I’d like to show you cases to show you alarm systems are worth the money and not just to a home owner but to renters too. We all know what the security benefits are but here’s a quick breakdown of those benefits.
Is the Security Worth it?
- Monitor windows and doors, know when they’re open and closed
- Sense motion throughout the house, excluding motion from small pets
- Sense for breaking glass from windows and doors
- Monitor your home for a power, phone or internet trouble (requires cellular backup)
- Low/High temperature detection for cold rooms or alert for mechanical/server rooms getting too hot
- Monitor sump pumps and areas with a higher flood risk with float or flood sensors
- Monitor for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide, can further reduce insurance costs
As you can see the security alerts alone might be worth it. Not only does an alarm system tell you when you have doors and windows open, it can prevent property damage in the event of a flood and even save your life in the event of a fire! Not only that you have all the information available at your fingertips! On top of that if you’re monitored you’ve got a whole team backing your home’s security.
Is Monitoring Worth it?
If you’re monitored you get a discount on your homeowners insurance. Maybe you won’t see as good a benefit if you rent. However insurance aside, is the monitoring service actually worth it? The quick answer is NO. I know surprising coming from a company that offers monitoring (I told you I’d be unbiased). Let me explain. Basic monitoring is not worth it for security. However, security monitoring combined with either video verification or using guard service is! I ALWAYS recommend monitoring if you plan on installing life safety devices such as smoke or CO sensors. This allows the operator at the monitoring station to send fire and EMS if they can’t reach you by phone. It could save a life!
The unfortunate fact is burglary systems tend to create false alarms, leading to police departments to put calls for unverified burglary alarms on low priority. However, the false alarms will dramatically drop with the addition of video alarm verification (VAV). Alternately, a guard service is also another way to cut down on false alarms and provide faster response than unverified alarms with the police.
Make sure you have a good monitoring station. Here at Mancino Technologies our station answers most calls within 30 seconds, responds to alarms quicker than average and has options for VAV and guard service at an additional monthly cost. In summary, basic alarm monitoring is great if you only want an insurance break but if security is at the top of mind ask about alarm verification and guard service.
Is Guard Service Worth it?
In short, I do believe guard service is worth it. A guard response is much faster than the low priority the police give to alarms. Depending on your location this could cost quite a bit extra to dispatch guard if available in your area. If you’re curious about guard service we can check if it’s available in your area with just your postal code.
Automation Using Your Security System
So it MAY be worthwhile to have security in your home but maybe not. Maybe you got something that works, just fine, like a vicious dog or bars on all the windows. Well that’s great, but an alarm system is so much more than just the security, alarm systems are becoming the heart of your smart home. Now you can not only connect your doors, windows, smoke detectors and flood sensors. Alarm systems are becoming so smart they can now connect to your lights, locks, thermostats and even your smart speakers! I’ll explain why alarm systems are worth the money, just because of all the devices it can connect to.
What’s So Special About the Security System?
Not to sound too creepy, but the alarm system knows when you’re sleeping. That is if you set the alarm panel to stay or night mode. It knows when your out of the house, because it’s set to away. Sure you may still have to tell the panel when you’re leaving or going to bed but it KNOWS! Creeped out? Don’t be it’s actually incredibly helpful. Not all alarm systems can achieve all the potential solutions listed below but if there’s any number of features you like you and your alarm pro can help build the perfect system for you. Of course if you’re in Alberta or around the GTA I highly recommend calling us, again in our totally unbiased opinion!
Alarm systems know when your windows and doors are open. This can help send notifications if they’re open too long or even turn off the air conditioner! Turn on lights with motion sensors, have lights flash when the front door is opened and so much more can be done. Automation gets really impressive when you have more usable data and no system has more data than your alarm panel!
What Can My Security System Do When I’m Away?
You can make it so when your alarm system is armed away it does certain things every time you leave. Alternatively, you can add your alarm arming to your existing smart speaker routines where possible. What things might I do? Well everyone is different but I’ll give you some cool examples of things I might make happen when arming my system to away:
- Lock all doors, close the garage doors, notify me of any open doors or windows
- Turn down the thermostat a couple degrees to save some energy
- Turn on the porch and garage lights for 1 minute while I exit
- Flash exterior lights when the alarm system first arms so it tells me it’s properly armed
- Turn off all TVs and Speakers if connected to the smart home system
What Can My Security System Do When I’m Going to Bed?
- Turn the thermostat to a comfortable temperature
- Lock doors and turn off all lights but hallways and bedrooms, if on
- Turn all hallway or bathroom lights to 5% for night lighting
- Make all lights only dim up to 10% when turning on, can be changed manually
- Enable motion sensors to control lights
- Turns off all TVs and speakers, optionally start a bedtime playlist
What Can My Security System Do When There’s a Burglary?
HA! This is one I have been looking forward to talking about! There are so many options when your alarm system goes off that in my opinion make alarm systems worth the money, just for these features alone! Most people know alarm systems have a siren and it can be loud and you can get a strobe light. Great, but did you know there are plenty of other things you can trigger when an alarm is activated. You can automatically flash lights, play noises and recordings out of the speaker but check out some of these other really cool alarm devices!
That’s right, check out the video below on how it works but the idea is if you fog up the room you can’t see those valuables! Bet you didn’t know this was a thing!
Triggering Another Integrated System
I have had plenty of clients ask for unique requests. All this has taught me the power of integration and automation. Some of the things I’ve programmed before include:
- Flash all the houses lights (this would go really well with the fog)
- Activate lawn sprinklers on a burglary
- Activate vicious sounding dogs over the speakers
- Unlatch the dog gate for the bloodthirsty hounds
- Activate a flying drone with a camera and a shotgun
OK some of those I didn’t really program, but if you found a drone with a shotgun mount I would definitely consider it after a lengthy trip to the lawyer’s office.
Day to Day Conveniences
Aside from all the cool techy stuff your security system can do there are just some basic features making it a useful tool for knowing what’s happening in your home. Getting notifications letting you know when the kids are home, being able to see if your door’s locked even if you’re across the city. What about cameras, which haven’t been a big focus in this article, surely you can see occasional use or peace of mind with them?
So, Are Alarm Systems Worth the Money?
There are plenty of reasons alarm systems ARE worth the money. Knowing all you can do I’m sure you can imagine these systems can cost quite a bit! Good news is you don’t have to go crazy and buy everything at once, although if you want to you can get everything at once. Be careful because there are loads of alarm companies out there willing to give you a $0 system. Note that your monthly costs will be 3-4x as much to cover the equipment. Read your contract and find out if you own the equipment or if your alarm company owns it. However, this could be your best option.
Mancino Technologies recommends you buy your equipment, this gives you the best monthly rates possible and after 3 years, the length of most contracts, you will break even and not own your equipment. All while still paying more than is fair. I know our service is the best with the fairest prices, so I don’t have 2 & 3 year contracts, I use the shortest allowable contract and let my customers CHOOSE to come back each and every month!
How Mancino Technologies Stays Competetive
With $0 down alarm systems, how can I convince my customers to pay $400-2000 upfront for an alarm system? Well when you find out the answer feel free to let me know, I’ll try my best. Mancino Technologies has fixed monitoring rates. That means if you have the same features as someone else you pay the same amount. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 times or 20 times as many sensors, you may pay more up front but monitoring costs the same. With a big player if you have more sensors you have a higher monthly fee for the exact same service! I find that ridiculous and won’t take advantage of my customers. Self monitoring has a free option and professional monitoring at Mancino Technologies starts at $9.99/month!
I always encourage my customers to do what’s best based on their budget. Sometimes the higher monthly fees is the only way to afford security in which case go for one of the big players. Just note a large alarm system from one of the bigger providers can cost $100-200/month or more depending on how much you want to put in, and again you never own it. As long as you buy your own equipment Mancino’s monthly rates always start at $9.99, we couldn’t think of any reason alarm systems are worth so much money we could ever charge $100 for monitoring. Tired of ridiculous alarm bills? Call us now! It seems today alarm sales guys have become the modern day car salesmen, just do the math before you sign on the dotted line.
Who Isn’t This For
If you’re only interested in the security aspect some things to consider where I would say an alarm system isn’t right for you. Say you have a large dog but want motion sensors you may be out of luck unless you have really high ceilings. If you live in a condo but don’t plan on taking advantage of the smart home features the benefits may not outweigh the costs, especially if your building already has good security. Anyone can buy an alarm system but whether it’s worth the money depends on which features you want. Contact us and we’ll give our honest opinion if you actually need an alarm system and which alternates to use in your case if you’re really not concerned about the security and monitoring aspect.