Home alarm system guide

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An alarm system doesn't replace home insurance, but it is another good line of defence to protect your home and contents. In ‎addition, premium discounts on home contents policies are available to Allianz customers ‎that voluntarily install a back to base alarm.‎

A wide range of alarm systems are available in Australia: if you are in the market to buy ‎one it helps to understand what features are available. The core components of an alarm ‎system are the control panel, detection devices and sirens (or sounders). In addition, you ‎can connect your alarm to a remote monitoring service or have it SMS you if it is triggered.‎

The control panel allows you to set and unset the alarm and some support zones, letting ‎you secure different parts of your home. The control panel connects to the detectors to ‎monitor your home and sound the alarm if necessary. They feature back -up batteries and ‎often include tamper switches in case someone tries to subvert them or cut the power.

An easy to use control panel makes setting your alarm a simple operation.

Detectors come in all shapes and sizes. When opened, doors or windows fitted with magnetic switches or contacts will trigger the alarm. Other detectors can monitor for shock or vibration - such as window glass breaking - and motion. Passive infra-red (PIR) detectors monitor changes in infra-red (heat), such as someone entering the area the PIR covers. To avoid false alarms, detectors sensitive to pet movement are even available.

Home alarm systems can feature indoor or outdoor (or both) sounders or sirens. A siren outside your home is a visible indicator to would-be thieves and can alert your neighbours of an intrusion. An indoor sounder will let you know if someone has entered your home while you are there.

Be aware that sirens can only sound for a limited time. For example, since 1997, alarm sirens installed in NSW must stop within 5 minutes. If you think that will not be enough of a deterrent, you can opt for back-to-base monitoring. In these systems, a home owner pays a fee or subscription, often by the month, to have security guards react to alarms and in some cases, escalate the situation to police or even the fire department if your system incorporates smoke alarms. SMS alerts are an alternative to back-to-base: a text message will be sent if your alarm is tripped, but you will need to respond yourself.

Burglar alarms offer a way to protect your home.

People who move often and DIYers are good candidates for wireless systems. Nevertheless, ‎while wireless DIY systems may seem an attractive option when you see low-cost kits ‎everywhere, a reputable alarm fitter will know the best places for fitting detectors, for ‎example to prevent false alarms, and can fit and test your system to ensure optimum ‎operation. And finally, make sure you choose suppliers and systems that meet both State ‎and Federal standards.

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