systems are fast becoming as much a part of the average household as are microwaves and appliances. Decreases in cost along with increasing technology have made monitoring affordable and easy. The National Burglary and Fire Alarm Association recently reported that a burglary happens every 15 seconds in the United States. One in four homeowners are investing in systems. With the average burglary costing approximately $1700 according to the Justice Department, a security system is worth the money. systems can cost as little as $12 or as much as thousands. The key to choosing the right system is in determining exactly what is needed. Self monitoring saves money. However, if someone tries to break in, the homeowner must call the authorities. When on subscription monitoring, the monitoring company alerts authorities. Some cities require alarm permits and charge hefty fees for false alarms, certainly something to consider before paying subscription fees. With the low cost and availability of wireless systems, renters no longer have to worry about protecting property. A wireless system can be set up in as few as 30 minutes for under $20. Audible sirens can be added. The noise alone is often enough to send potential intruders packing. The fact that wireless systems are state-of-the-art and feature up-to-date technology is both blessing and curse. Technology advances so rapidly that what is new today is often obsolete tomorrow. Wireless systems operate on radio frequency. While this makes installation easy, it also allows other wireless items to interfere. Interference can result in false alarms. Wired systems also have problems with false alarms, so going with a wired system doesn’t mean false alarms will be avoided. There are two types of systems. Do-it-yourself (DIY) and professionally installed. Professional systems are usually installed by companies who provide both installation and monitoring services. DIY systems can be purchased at discount stores, electronic stores, home improvement and hardware stores. Many computer stores have added to their list of provided services. DIY systems are inexpensive and affordable on most budgets. Unfortunately, what is gained in price may be lost in quality. When purchasing DIY systems, shop locally with reputable dealers. Make sure there’s a warranty and refund policy. Well-known professional systems companies include ADT and Brink. Both provide everything from assessment to installation to monitoring. Subscription fees for monitoring can be expensive. Many require a contract locking in services for as long as two years. Both companies now have offices all over the country, including rural areas. Some rural utility providers, like the Electric Cooperatives in the South, provide security systems. Fees are added to the monthly utility bill. Today’s systems are portable, wireless systems that can be used almost anywhere. They’re affordable and easy to customize. Operating the control panel doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. Home and business owners can take advantage of the low cost, easy to use systems and get a discount of as much as 20% on insurance policies.

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