How Home Security Monitoring Works
Home security systems are made up of two main components: The home security equipment installed in your home and the monitoring, which is usually backed by a monitoring network. After the installation process, this is how your home security monitoring works:
- If your home alarm is triggered, a signal is sent to your home security provider at the monitoring center
- Then, a dispatcher notifies the police or appropriate authorities depending on the type of emergency occurring at your home
- Law enforcement, fire or medical personnel will then arrive on the scene to help assist you with your situation.
It's important to note that not all home alarm companies provide the same level of monitoring. When shopping around for home security providers, consider the following criteria.
- How large is the provider's monitoring network? Is it just one monitoring center or does it have multiple facilities located throughout the U.S.?
- Who monitors your home security system?
- How does the monitoring center handle false alarms?
- Is a landline telephone required for home security monitoring?
- What happens to your home security system and monitoring if there's a power outage or natural disaster?
- Can the monitoring center(s) diagnose and fix problems remotely?
- What hours can I call technical support?
- Is there a way to speak with the monitoring dispatchers (and customer service) using a two-way voice feature?
- Is there a theft protection policy with your homeowners insurance deductible if your home is burglarized?
Remote access and mobile monitoring
Wireless technologies and remote access can help make managing your home security system more advanced and more convenient than ever. With remote access, you're able to use a mobile device (like your smartphone, tablet or laptop) to do things like arm and disarm your security system, adjust your thermostat or lights, and receive security notifications through email and text messages. If you have home security equipment such as video cameras, you can even see live footage of what's going on at your home.
Medical and personal safety monitoring
Emergency medical notification is a quick and easy way to call for help if you need assistance during a medical emergency, such as a fall or heart attack. Home security equipment such as pendants and wristbands allow someone to wear a wireless device that calls for help just by pressing a button. These optional personal alarms are especially useful for elderly loved ones living alone or those with special health conditions. There are also waterproof options available, which can be used in accident-prone areas such as bathrooms.
Every home should have smoke detectors to help protect loved ones and valuables from fires. You can also have advanced home security monitoring by connecting your smoke detectors to your home security system. If your smoke detector is triggered, a signal is sent to your home security provider's monitoring network, which can then alert the fire department.
If there's a significant increase in temperature in a certain area of your home, the heat sensors will be triggered. Place them in areas where smoke detectors won’t accidentally go off or in places like attics or crawl spaces.
Carbon monoxide monitoring
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly to people and pets. The most common places you'll find carbon monoxide in your home are stoves (and other fuel-burning appliances), fireplaces and cars. Carbon monoxide detection can be integrated into your home security monitoring by adding carbon monoxide detectors (which work just like smoke detectors) that let off intermittent beeps when there are high levels of the gas in your home.
Homes located in areas susceptible to flooding should add flood detection, an optional home security system feature. Water sensors detect rising water levels and moisture. Flood-prone areas like basements are a common place to put water sensors, but since a flood could take place in multiple locations throughout your home, they can be placed anywhere.