All too often, homeowners get really excited about a newly installed home security system, but then either fail to use it or fail to keep it updated and maintained.
It's important to encourage your family to get into the habit of using the home alarm system on a regular schedule. However, once your family gets in the habit of using the alarm system, you also have to keep in mind the system will need to be updated and maintained over the years.
Depending on the type of alarm equipment you've installed, it's possible for components of an alarm system to go obsolete in anywhere from 5 to 15 years. Though, other elements of an alarm system could last for 20 to 30 years.
Regular Service & Maintenance Is the Best Way to Get the Most out of Your Investment
If a security company performs regular service and maintenance and you upgrade various components as the need requires, you'll potentially get more life out of your equipment and be able to spread the cost of upgrading the system over the period of a few years.
Keeping an alarm system upgraded and maintained is a bit like keeping a car in good working order. If your carburetor fails, you don't necessarily have to go out and buy a brand new car. Most of the time you can fix the broken component and keep on driving. Eventually, you may need to replace the entire system, but regular maintenance will get you a lot more miles out of the system.
When your home security system becomes an afterthought, and eventually an outdated afterthought, it leaves your home and your family vulnerable.
4 Signs It's Time to Upgrade Your Home Security System
Not only are older systems more susceptible to malfunction, they are also more susceptible to wire cutting or manual disarming from savvy thieves. Outdated systems lack some of the higher-tech features available from their contemporary counterparts and - some could go offline altogether.
Here are 4 signs an outdated security system should be upgraded or replaced.
1) The Home Security System Is 15-years Old (Or Older)
Security systems are not a once-in-a-lifetime investment, which is how they're viewed by many homeowners. They are equal to a home appliance that will require repeat investment or replacement over time. This is especially true over the course of the past seven to 10-years, as innovative and mobile technology has become far more prevalently available on the market.
If your security system is more than 15 years old, it's time to reassess the system - and existing safety protocols - with your alarm company. That being said, if your current alarm company hasn't reached out to you for this same reason, you may want to explore other, more diligent security companies to ensure your household and family are in the most diligent hands.
2) The security system only operates via landline and/or has wires that can be cut
This one is relatively self-explanatory. In the pre-mobile and pre-wireless days, alarm systems were operated via land lines - involving literal lines (wires) that can be cut, manipulated or circumvented.
Modern systems use cellular transmitters that send/receive messages over major cellular networks, making them more difficult to corrupt or infiltrate. However, phone lines still make a great backup, as there are some vulnerabilities in mobile-only monitored alarm systems.
Some of the vulnerabilities of cellular-only alarm systems is that there are devices that can block cellular signals. Though illegal, these devices are relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire. Also, if you alarm system has a 30 to 40 second delay (most national brands & DIY brands do) - all a burglar has to do is rip the system off the wall and smash it.
3) The Wireless Control Panel Uses a 2G Communicator
The cellular transmitter inside an alarm system piggybacks off the same cell towers being used by cellphones. As we all know, cell phones technology becomes outdated over time. If your alarm system utilizes that cellular technology, the alarm system can become outdated in the same way.
As the old technology becomes obsolete, the cell towers are replaced with new ones; however, there is usually quite a bit of overlap in what's available. For example, 2G technology is being removed now, but 3G, 4G, and 5G are all available.
Early alarm system models were often equipped with 2G cellular transmitters that are no longer compatible with modern 3G, 4G and 5G technology. Some carriers are already in the process of phasing out 2G networks, which will render 2G alarm systems completely useless.
Fortunately, swapping out a 2G communicator is an easy fix that doesn't typically require replacing the entire system. You likely won't even have to replace your control panel; though, if you're alarm system is running on the 2G network it might not be a bad idea.
4) Your Home Alarm System Is "Just an Alarm System"
If your alarm system is so outdated that it only provides the cursory "burglar and fire alarm" features, you're missing out. Today's alarms are smart house security systems - and their features are accessible 24/7 from your mobile device.
You can be home - without actually being home - via installation and activation of several key smart home features.
Smart Home Features include:
SkyBell Video Doorbell
From your smartphone, SkyBell WiFi lets you see, hear and speak with the person at your door. House cleaner just arrived? You can let her in (if you also have smart locks). UPS guy brought the package you wanted? You can direct him to drop the package in a more secure location, like on a side porch.
It's not uncommon for a burglar to come to the front door before breaking into the house. They may ring the bell or knock just to see if someone is home. With a video doorbell, the system starts recording the second they walk up to your front porch. You will have their face on camera and can then speak with them directly to ask what they want, which should hopefully scare of any near-do-wells.
Smart Video Surveillance
Basic alarm packages don't always include video surveillance, but it's a great addition to any security system. Most place security cameras at the most likely points of entrance and egress around your property - higher-end packages offer surveillance throughout the home.
Not only does this yield valuable evidence to authorities in an emergency, you can also ensure pets or kids are safe, that contractors are working and not lounging, and that everyone is doing their homework like their supposed to be.
If you cameras are connected through a smart home system like Alarm.com, all of this information is accessible from anywhere via your smartphone.
Fire, Flood and/or Security Breaches
Fire alarms and smoke detection come standard with most residential alarm systems. But with smart technology, you can also be informed of potential water damage, indoor air quality problems, or if a particular window or door has been accessed.
The alarm can transmit to your smartphone first, so you can determine whether or not it's a true health and/or security issue requiring further investigation, which can help reduce false alarms.
Learn More About Installing a Home Security System in North Carolina
Is your home alarm system as smart as it should be? Does it have security video capability? If not, schedule a consultation with Alarm South. We can help you determin the security system replacements, upgrades, and feature options that make the most sense for your home and lifestyle.
After efficient upgrading or replacement of your existing alarm system, you will rest easy knowing your home and family members have never been more secure.