By Mark Landis

While JADE Learning offers continuing education classes on the intricacies of alarm systems, there is often opportunity to improve upon these existing systems. These improvements could be by covering some previously missed access points to the home or by adding life safety features to improve not only security of the property, but also the occupants’ personal safety and security. Often a homeowner will be unaware of some of the security and alarm technology that is available. For example, updating the system with new technology such as cameras and home automation devices.

Here are a few improvement suggestions:

1) Overhead Garage Doors

The bulk of systems in the field do not have any type of security contact on the overhead garage door. During the summer months with so much outdoor activity the overhead door is an access point that needs to be an area of concern. Garage doors are typically opened using a remote-control device and may not be as secure as the homeowner thinks. If an intruder is able to access the garage, entry to the home becomes much easier. The result could be loss of property or harm to the occupants. If a security contact is added on the overhead door, a soft spot in the security system is eliminated.

2) Pool Alarms

Another often overlooked extension of the home is the backyard pool area. Summer months make the cool, sparkling water look enticing; especially to young children. It only takes a moment for a child to wander unnoticed into the pool area. The result could be a tragedy. A pool alarm provides for the personal safety and security of the occupants and children and may be overlooked if the focus is only dealing with outside intruders. A pool alarm is a valuable addition to a home (and sometimes required by code) which can prevent a potential tragedy by alerting the occupants if their small child or a neighbor’s child enters the pool area.

3) Cameras

Cameras serve multiple purposes. Interior and exterior cameras added to a system give homeowners peace of mind when away from home. Cameras also provide the ability to monitor children who may be at home alone or with a sitter after school. Parents have the ability to make sure that no other guests were invited into the home by their teenage children while the parents are away. Of course, another benefit to the cameras is that if someone did violate the perimeter of the dwelling there would be video footage to help retrieve belongings or identify suspects. For large estates, or farms even using cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) may be an option.

4) Home Automation

The next improvement available with most alarm systems is the ability to remotely control not only the alarm but to control other devices through the system’s web app. Home automation allows users to control door locks, overhead door openers, lights, even answer the door bell, etc. with the use of their smart phone or other electronic device. The app is a convenient way to control the devices in the home as well as to monitor/change the status and activity of the alarm system. With the advancements in technology, controlling security systems, home automation devices, and cameras remotely through a customer’s phone or other electronic device is the way of the future.

5) Smoke/Heat & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The final improvement that I would suggest for many alarm systems is the addition of life safety devices. Many homeowners think that as long as they have existing smoke detectors they do not need to add devices to their walls and ceilings. Heat detectors and carbon monoxide detectors may not be present at all. The reality is that with the existing unmonitored smoke alarm devices, not all occupants of the home may hear the alarm. If the home is unoccupied, the local alarms would go undetected until too late and delay the fire department response. With monitored smoke/heat and carbon monoxide detectors, the fire department will be notified by an alarm company. Customers would have peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones (2 legged & 4 legged), knowing that if an emergency occurred there would be an immediate response.

With these simple improvements, the alarm systems will not only be more up-to-date and user-friendly but, also add to the personal safety and security of the home’s occupants and their guests. Learn more about security systems and the  2017 NEC requirements for electrical installations at www.JADELearning.com.

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