Read this before buying a security system
Security and Safety expert advice - Thought about buying a security system?
First off, this is not a sales pitch. I work at American Security & Fire, Inc. and have since 1998. We do mostly commercial security systems not residential although we have done residential and we do not turn work down but we do not go seeking residential work. If you need advice about smoke detectors or CO sensors I can help you out with that as well. I am a NICET level 2 in Fire Alarm and a Master Fire Alarm Tech through the Utah State Fire Marshals Office.
Installing additional lighting including motion lights is always helpful. When you are in a complex with gates that have codes or electric locks don’t give your codes out to anyone because unauthorized people tend to infiltrate to look for ways to break in. It is best if you can escort visitors each time rather than giving your codes out. Management should have all the codes changed every year as a precaution.
Care should be taken when choosing a home security system and the installation company. Currently many of the Residential Security Companies are being sued in several states because of misleading business practices. Don’t sign any contract on the same day; take time to get other bids and advice before you buy any system. Spend some time researching the company online and always ask the salesman for his Utah DOPL license. Salesmen and installers are required to be licensed through the State of Utah and they must carry their license at all times. Write down the number of the license and keep it with your proposals.
For apartment complexes or condos, Security companies recommend wireless systems rather than hardwired equipment. There are different levels of quality when it comes to brand names and types of systems. Pricing compares in a similar fashion as you would compare prices on car brands or computers depending on the model, brand, warranty, features etc…
Most residential systems now can be controlled via your smart phone allowing you to arm and disarm remotely. If you need advice on contacts or motions that would be another topic but pricing on contacts can run from ten to 130 dollars and motion sensors range from $25 and up depending on the features and quality.
Pricing on a basic Bosch security system with a 3 year warranty will cost you around $600 for the panel installed and then you will add devices as needed. Final pricing will depends on how many devices you have and if you will be using the internet, radio, cellular or phone line to communicate to the central station. A panel with 2 door contacts, one high traffic motion, siren and wireless kit will cost just over $1080 dollars installed. If the phone line is cut the system will not communicate so you can add a cellular unit for $248 and there is an extra $18 dollar cell bill associated with this unit to dial a daily test.
Adding additional contacts cost $68 each or $164 to add a wireless smoke detector, glass breaks or high traffic motion. You can get wireless systems where the contacts cost around 40 each but the quality of the contacts and how long the batteries last will not be the same. Adding a wireless panic to the system is about $90
Monitoring charges will vary but you can find security monitoring through a UL listed company for around $27 dollars per month. If you are wrapping the cost of the system into your monthly payments then plan on a higher monthly fee around 40 or 50 per month. If you are locked into a 3 year monitoring contract at 45 per month then the overall cost of the system and monitoring is $45 x 36 or $1,620. Be aware that if you lose or quit your job and cannot make the monthly payments you cannot cancel without having to pay a large penalty normally around 2000 dollars. Many of these companies will end up suing you to get their money and if you signed the contract with the small print much of the time they end up winning in court. As a side note my company does not lock our customers into long term contracts. American Security & Fire, Inc. focuses on commercial customers although we will assist customers for residential when requested.
Larry Love has been in the commercial security industry for over 20 years, has served several years as Chairman of the Alarm Security Board for the State of Utah’s Division of Occupational Licensing and is currently the Vice President of American Security & Fire, Inc. (801) 263 6002 State of Utah Lic. # 98-355421-6501