Hard-Wired or Wireless Alarm System
Hard-Wired or Wireless Alarm System
Hard-wired alarms were the standard in the alarm business for a very long time. Wireless systems are the new kids on the block. Often, older alarm systems are hard-wired because that was the only type available. But, now, there are more options for people that need different things from their alarm system.
Hard-wired alarm systems
So what exactly does hard-wired mean in an alarm? Basically, this means that every component of your alarm system is wired to the other components. Every system comes with a panel and a keypad. The panel holds all the system’s data and the keypad controls the system. Hard-wired alarm systems wire these two pieces together. Then, every other component of the alarm system-door/window contacts, motion detectors, etc.-is wired into the panel as well.
Drawbacks of hard-wired alarms
As you can imagine, this process is long and arduous. Technicians may spend days feeding all the wire through your home to connect all of the components on your new alarm system. For some companies, this installation cost can get steep. This process can also be more difficult depending on the type and size of the home. A larger home will, naturally, take more time to wire. A home with several stories or one that has a unique layout will pose more problems for the technicians.
When you purchase a new alarm, often you are not thinking about leaving the home you are in. You sign a contract to monitor your alarm and you are expecting to stay in your house for a while. But life can catch up with you and you may be moving before you expect. Hard-wired alarm systems cannot pack up and go with you. They are a solid part of the home. If you were to find a new home and want an alarm, you would need to start all over.
Benefits of hard-wired alarms
On the other hand, if you were to move into a home with a hard-wired system, it would be incredibly easy to have that system up and running. And the cost to you could be little to nothing, excepting the monitoring contract. Most companies will only have to replace the panel and keypad with their own equipment. Everything else can stay the same.
If you are building a new home, a hard-wired system is still the industry standard. While putting a hard-wired alarm in an existing home is difficult, putting one in a home in the construction phase is much simpler. It is still a time consuming process, but much less so. And overtime, you may appreciate that you system is permanent in your home, especially if this newly built home is where you plan to stay for a while.
Wireless alarm systems
Because hard-wired alarm systems are so difficult to install, many companies are shifting their focus to a wireless flagship system. Wireless systems are widely seen as easier for both alarm companies and the consumer. A wireless alarm system has a panel, keypad and various components as well. Instead of all being connected by wires, all the part of a wireless alarm are connected by antennae in each piece of the system. And these antennae all communicate with each other to tell the system what to do.
Drawbacks of wireless alarms
But because each of these components is wireless, eventually you’ll run into the problem of having the batteries run out. When this happens, you’ll need to call your alarm company and let them know. Oftentimes, this is a simple fix: the alarm company can send someone out to replace these batteries. Other companies will have you replace the batteries yourself. But when the batteries run completely out of power, certain parts of your system are compromised.
If you move into a home with an existing wireless alarm system, you will run into some problems activating it with any company other than the one that installed it. For example, if Company X installed the alarm for the home’s previous owners, only Company A can monitor it. For the most part, wireless alarm systems are proprietary, meaning that they cannot be taken over as easily as hard-wired alarms. In most cases, an alarm company will have to replace most, if not all, of the components of the system.
Benefits of wireless alarms
However, it is a completely different story if you are trying to move away from your current home and alarm system. A wireless system that is owned, not leased, can be taken with you to your new home. Often, if you do not leave your alarm company’s service territory, the can continue to monitor your alarm and can also help with the transfer of your alarm equipment from home to home.
Wireless systems also have the added benefit of lower installation costs. Technicians can finish installing wireless alarm systems in a fraction of the time that a hard-wired alarm system would take. And wireless systems are more practical in unique homes where a hard-wired system cannot go.
How to choose an alarm system
Now we get down to your ultimate choice. Every company will have an opinion about which system is better but consider your home, your projected length of stay in that home and what you think is best for you. Whether you choose a hard-wired alarm system or a wireless alarm system, you will have the added benefit of constant monitoring in your home.
Sentech Security & Communications is a security company from Salisbury, Md. Sentech specializes in security camera systems, home security alarms, low voltage wiring and structured cabling. Sentech is also an authorized partner of AT&T, able to sell and install phone systems. Sentech Security & Communications can be found on the web at http://www.sentechsc.com.