There are many options available for your home security system. These will range from the self-install systems available from your local diy store to quite sophisticated systems that can control other electronic features of your home.

This article is primarily concerned with a typical mid entry system that is installed by your professional installer. About 90% of home installations fit into this category.

Each jurisdiction has its own regulatory requirements, standards of conduct and installation techniques. The following is based on our New Zealand experience.

Getting started

Before calling your professional installer, it is a good idea to carry out some planning steps first. This will enable you to have meaningful dialogue with the professional.

Step 1 – draw a sketch of your property. Identify the boundary line elements (fences, hedges etc.). Show driveways and paths. Include an outline of the dwelling and the layout of the dwelling (or make a separate sketch). Identify all the rooms, entry points and windows – particularly large ones.

Step 2 – put yourself in the shoes of a would-be burglar and consider where you might break in. 90% of entries are through a door! Firstly, though consider the boundary vulnerabilities. How will he/she gain access to your property. By walking up the drive or climbing the fence from the next-door park. This process will help guide you in determining the likely weak spots and entry points into the dwelling.

Step 3 – give some thought to the rooms within the dwelling that require protection. This might seem obvious; however, each customer requirement is unique. Consider lounge/entertainment areas, master bedroom, safes, wine cellar, firearms cabinet, office, home/office records, server rooms and hubs, granny flat, out buildings such as implement sheds and vehicle garaging.

Step 4 – consider your specialist protection needs. Two you should commit to 100% are smoke detectors managed by the security alarm and off site alarm monitoring. Other options might include panic and medical alarms.

Choosing a security professional

Choosing a security professional who can provide the correct solution for you will be determined by several factors:

  • Is the individual and company they represent licensed by the Ministry of Justice?
  • What experience do they have in the industry?
  • Do they have access to a range of product options?
  • Can they offer off site monitoring?
  • Do they show empathy with your situation or do they just see it as just another sales opportunity?
  • What post installation documentation will be provided
  • Are warranties for a minimum of 12 months and are manufacturer’s warranties passed on
  • What is a security system?
  • A typical home security system comprises a control panel, various detection devices, alerting devices and key pads.

The control panel is the brains or the computer that manages the whole system. Each brand of control panel provides a range of features and functions. Many of the features and functions are common across all brands. Brands are differentiated by offering unique features (such as in built door control), the number of devices that can be connected, the number of keypads, wireless functionality etc. Popular brands in New Zealand include NESS and Arrowhead.

The control panel communicates with each installed component, sounds the alarm when the system is breached and communicates with the alarm monitoring company.

A keypad is used to set and unset the alarm. Modern options are aesthetically pleasing and have touch screen functionality, like the NESS Navigator. Other options include a wireless key fob.

The wide range of detection devices include passive infra detectors, both wireless and wired, door and window sensors, smoke detectors, pet sensors, heat sensors, flood sensors, temperature sensors to mention a few.

A word about pet sensors. Pet sensors are designed to ignore pets up to a certain weight. Check the technical sheet on the product being offered to make sure the sensor being offered performs per the presentation from the sales representative. Not all pet sensors are made equal! Generally quality and price go hand in hand.

Wired and wireless smoke detectors are now available. Although these smoke detectors cost more than the battery-operated device available from the local diy store, the main benefit is that they are managed by the security alarm system and the offsite monitoring company is alerted when the alarm activates. This means the appropriate service(s) can be despatched.

Internal alerting devices are generally installed in the hallway. Internal alerting devices (sirens) are discreet in nature. Larger homes may require more than one. External alerting devices usually include either a blue or red strobe. Ideally the external alerting device should face the street. This provides the first responders with a visual device to focus on.

Preparing for the security professional’s visit

Now that you are prepared with a sketch of the property, know its vulnerabilities and have some basic information about security systems, you are ready for the visit from the Security Professional.

But first, write notes on your sketch identifying where you would like protection. Decide whether you want a fully wired system, a wireless system or a hybrid system. Generally, a wireless, wired or hybrid system will perform equally well and the choice may be determined by the Security Professional’s advice relating to:

  • Degree of difficulty with the installation
  • Additional features required
  • Offsite monitoring requirements
  • Installation
  • Installation of the security alarm system will take at least one day, maybe more, depending on the degree of difficulty and size of the project.

The household may experience some inconvenience during the installation process. Key points to note:

  • The installer should clean up any mess
  • Analogue telephone line monitoring requires the use of a broadband splitter in the event the broadband line is being used.
  • Ideally the alarm system will use a 230v power point to provide system power. Contact a registered electrician to arrange for a power point if required.
  • Connect to offsite monitoring as required, such as Tiger Security Alarm Monitoring .
  • The installer will provide training, manuals, layout plans (within seven days), completion certificate, warranty and installer codes.
  • Tiger Security Alarm Monitoring
  • Several options are available. These range from traditional analogue telephone line monitoring, internet protocol (IP) monitoring and GPRS (Radionet) monitoring. Additional hardware and charges may apply.

More information Tiger Security Alarm Monitoring can be found here.