HomeownerEducational: N-Z

Security Systems

Selecting an Alarm System

A service-oriented security company will custom-design a system based on details like the number of floors and entry points in the home and preferences for interactive features, such as remote access. Homeowners should know how the system works, how it is installed, and how it responds to emergency situations.

Traditional landline monitoring offers an advantage in terms of reliability, but systems that use cellular monitoring do not require installation or maintenance of landlines, and the installation process is typically simpler. Some systems use a cellular backup in case landlines go down.

How Alarm Systems Work

There are three basic components of a security system: the sensors, the controls, and the monitoring center. Security sensors are positioned around the home to detect signs of trouble. Some sensors detect when a door or window is opened, while others sense things like smoke, water, and carbon monoxide. The controls manage the system, communicating with both the sensors and the monitoring center. They can be used to arm and disarm the system and gain information about security-related activity. If a sensor detects trouble, it signals an alert to the control unit, which signals the monitoring center. The monitoring team will then contact the homeowner and dispatch the appropriate local authorities.

Interactive Features

Systems with interactive features provide 24/7 access and control, regardless of a homeowner’s location. Any internet-connected device can be used to remotely arm, disarm, and monitor all activity. Another option that is available with some modern alarm systems is video monitoring. Video offers an extra layer of security and is a great way to stay connected to kids and pets. The intelligence built into today’s home security systems also allows homeowners to control a variety of devices within the home, such as lights, thermostats, and door locks. Home automation saves time and money, conserves energy, and enhances security.


The key to easy security system installation lies in wireless technology. When the system arrives, all the wireless connections linking the sensors, the controls, and the monitoring center should already be programmed in. Homeowners simply need to plug in the control box and place the wireless sensors around the home. A call to the alarm company finalizes the process, as it tests and activates the system.

Security System Benefits

Home security provides peace of mind, and interactive features let homeowners know what’s happening around the clock. A professional monitoring team can take immediate action if any sensors are triggered. Additionally, many insurance companies offer discounts on home insurance policies if the home is outfitted with a security system.