Thursday, August 2, 2012

Choosing A Home Monitoring Company

One of the most stressful things about home-ownership is the fear that someone may invade your home or take your property. One way to prevent this from happening is to install a monitored home security system. However, not all monitoring companies may be right for you. I want to lay out the important factors to consider when picking a monitoring company.

1. Brand Quality: Obviously you want a company that is going to do as it advertises. Be sure that you research the brands and seek advice from others about their companies and experiences. There are many companies on both the national and local level that you could consider. One example of a national brand was Brinks alarm systems which was bought out in 2010. Local companies can also suit your needs just as well and provide a personal touch and often a lower price.

2. Cost: Obviously one of the biggest considerations is the cost of the product. You want a product that will be there to protect you but not cost an arm or leg to have. Be sure to examine the many package options offered by monitoring companies. Also, locking into a contract can often provide a lower price.

3. Their equipment: Select a company that uses good quality equipment and will be serviceable for a long time. Systems that look cheap are usually cheap. Many monitoring companies will install free or discounted equipment for locking into a contract.

4. Will they protect you for everything: Make sure your company will monitor your home for burglaries, fires, medical issues and carbon monoxide at the very least. Protecting yourself and your family is not a time to be cheap so be sure to keep yourself covered. I have heard people say they do not need carbon monoxide monitoring but the truth is, you never know when it will be an issue and it is not easily detectable.

Be sure to find the best company to suit your needs. The factors above should help you narrow down what to look for at a minimum in a monitoring company.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wireless or Wired Home Security

Wired vs. Wireless: The Final Showdown

Wired Security System - Home Security Deals
Over the years, home security has advanced but so have burglars. You need to stay on top of your game to ensure that your home is always protected against property theft. To stay on top, you are looking at a new home security system. You see that there are two types of systems, wired and wireless. Now you need to decide what works best for your home and if you can do it yourself. The good news is that you now have help to figure out the best security system for you. I am here to breakdown the two types of systems into an easy-to-understand format.

There is no system that is completely above the rest. Your optimal system will depend on a few factors like the size of your home, your budget, and how risk averse you are. If you are looking to save a few bucks and do a quick installation, you may be better off with a wireless system. If your looking for something that is difficult to bypass and you do want to change batteries often, you may be better off with a wired system.

Wireless Security System:

Wireless Motion Sensor - Home Security Deals

There are some great advantages to a wireless system. They can be great for older homes that may have a difficult time wiring for a home security system. They are also great for power outages or if a burglar cuts your power because it will not be affected by any outages. While some wired systems have a battery backup, those can only last so long before the battery is drained. You can also extend a wireless system to as many areas as you need to and you can install some wireless systems in about an hour. These systems can also cost less than most traditional systems.

There are a few negatives with a wireless system though. The first is that they mostly rely on batteries to run so they need to be checked and changed on a regular basis. The system also requires many components to be placed near the central control panel to be within the range to function properly.

Wired Security System:

Wired systems can be fantastic but as I mentioned earlier, they may not be good for every home or situation. These systems can often cost more and have a complicated installation process due to drilling and wiring issues.There are some benefits to a wired system though. The biggest of which is that they are not as sensitive to radio or electronic interference and they can run on a battery backup so you are always connected. They are also fantastic if you need to accommodate numerous zones to add additional protection to your home.

Wired systems to have some negatives though. As I mentioned, there are a lot of difficulties with installation because you need to run wire to to every entry point including doors and windows. They can also be extremely difficult to install without the help of an electrician or certified security engineer. Wired systems can also cause issues for homeowners when you are moving as well because it is extremely difficult to take the system with you and remove it from the home. You also have an additional challenge from the wiring because you need to hide it so that a potential burglar could not cut the wiring.

Be sure to find the best system for your need and your budget. Factor the cost and difficulty of installation into your equipment selection. Also, ensure that your monitoring company will support your equipment. If you are looking to save on the hassle, many security companies will provide free equipment in exchange for a monitoring subscription.

Remember that installing a home security system is just the beginning of your home security profile. There are additional home security tips that can help you protect your family and your home.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Non-Lethal Home Security

Non-Lethal Home Security Techniques:

Some people think that the only way to protect their family is with a 12 gauge shotgun and a lot of ammunition, however, there are multiple methods to protect your family that do not use lethal force and can cost much less than a new hunting rifle. A few reports suggest that the answer is pepper spray, taser guns and batons but no one seems to suggest home security methods as an example.

There are literally hundreds of home security systems on the market that can be installed quickly and cheaply compared to a few years ago. In fact, many monitoring companies will now allow you to install your own equipment without paying their contract or installation fees. With a monitored system, you do not have to worry about calling for help or having a back-up plan. The moment a break-in is detected, a signal is sent to your monitoring company and the police that a home invasion is taking place. These systems can help save time and prevent injury to you and your loved ones.

While owning pepper spray, tasers, and even firearms can help protect your family in an emergency, they do not provide the best safety experience that a security system can offer. A home security system can prevent a home invasion before it even begins if you display outward signs of an active system.

As always, keep your doors and windows locked even when you are home and ensure your security system is activated if you have one installed. Also, be sure to check out some of my other posts for additional tips and tricks.

Dan Miller

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How To: Fix Your Wireless Security System

So you have a wireless home security system that is giving you a few issues. This can happen in any system. The trick is to get it running again as soon as possible. The last thing you ever want to do is to leave your home vulnerable to an attack. Here are a few troubleshooting tips that may help solve your problem:

Check The Control Panel:

The control panel is the brains of your operation. Always ensure that your control panel is operating correctly. One of the most common situations is a disconnection between the control panel and any detectors/sensors. This could be bad programming between the devices and the unit or another issue. Run tests for each system and see if your sensor or device is recognized.

Check Your Devices:

Just as you should check your panel, a device could have an issue as well. Check each individual component. They could have been compromised by weather or tampering. It is also possible that the battery may need to be replaced in some systems. Always keep a stock of batteries on hand.


It is always possible that there is a programming or software issue with your system. If this is the case, contact the system manufacturer for assistance. You may require a replacement system or a support engineer. Under no circumstances modify or tamper with the programming. This will only cause further issues and could void your system warranty. Always leave this to a professional.

Check For Blockages:

Items around your home occasionally move around. If you have a wireless system with infrared technology, a household object may have blocked the sensor or caused a false alarm. Check your sensors for any kind of blockages.

Call Your System Provider:

If you cannot diagnose the issue, place a call to your system's service provider to have a technician inspect your system. The cost of having your system checked and repaired by a qualified technician is lower than the cost of a break-in.

Dan Miller

Monday, June 4, 2012

Setting Up Home Security Cameras

Best Places to Set Up Home Security Cameras:

Home Security Surveillance Cameras Home Security Guru
Although a security camera may not be the most practical home security technique in the book, it is a useful technique that can help scare off a would-be burglar. I personally have a few around my home in strategic locations and while some of them are fake, most are 100% real. They can work to protect your home. I have seen footage of slow moving cars pulling into my driveway only to speed off seconds later as they see the red light of the security camera staring them down.

There are certain places you should install security cameras. These cameras can often provide a view up to 100 feet so it is not necessary to install them everywhere and some locations are more vulnerable than others. Here is a list of suggested installation locations:

Garage Doors:

A security camera near a garage door can help track activity in your driveway. Depending on your situation, this a the primary route of entry for a burglar as they will often case out the block looking for opportunities. Occasionally, the burglar may even park their car in order to get closer. Placing a camera here with an active recording light can help scare off the burglar or at least take some nice photos of the burglar and their vehicle for your scrapbook.


For the same reason you install a camera near your garage, you should also install one on the patio. A burglar may try to get a closer look into your home or even try breaking through glass patio doors. Often burglars attempt to open doors before breaking them down and a security camera can monitor this vulnerable spot. See the burglar before he has the opportunity to get near your home.

Front Doors: 

This is one of the most visible locations in your home. These doors can benefit from having a security system installed. Cameras not only help monitor who goes in and out but they also keep watch over your property and can help thwart vandalism.

Offices and Saferooms:

Often when a burglar enters a home, they go for offices and saferooms to try and take valuable items. Ensure that you can track what is taken and where it was taken from. Corners and ceilings are the best places to install your new camera.


The basement is often considered to be an afterthought, however, homeowners should consider this to be a vulnerable entry point. This is a good location for a burglar to quietly try to enter the home. Let the burglar know that the basement is protected with surveillance cameras installed above windows and doors. Let the burglar know this is not a good entry point.


Security cameras alone are not an optimal home security system. These devices should be seen as an add-on to your system, not a substitution. However, they can be a great way to keep an eye on your home while you are on the road and can increase peace of mind.

As always, ensure that you keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Do not create the perfect invitation for a home invasion. Also, always keep your security system activated even when you are home. A deactivated system is no use to you once someone enters your home.

Dan Miller

Friday, June 1, 2012

Home Safety Tips For Parents

If you have a young child, you know the amount of stress involved with keeping them safe. Ensuring they do not get their hands on toxic materials and hazardous items can be a full time job. To relieve some of the parental stress, here are a couple of home safety tips for parents.

Lock Lower Cabinets: In a majority of homes, the cleaning products are stored in lower cabinets with easy access. However that easy access for you is also easy access for your child. If you have children, place garbage ties around the door knobs or install child proof latches preventing easy access. If neither of these options work for you, move cleaning supplies and other toxic or dangerous products to higher cabinets or shelves that the child could not reach even if they stand on a chair/stool.

Move Plastic Bags: One of the most dangerous items for a child to obtain is a plastic bag. Suffocation is a common cause of death in children. Keep grocery bags, garbage bags, shipping material, etc out of the hands of a child by discarding them or storing them in a hard-to-reach location.

Cover Electrical Outlets: Always keep unused electrical outlets covered with child proof plastic plugs. Also, store unused appliances like curling irons or electric shavers away from the reach of your child.

Block Off Stairs: Even after your child has been up and about for a bit, they are still at risk of falling. Ensure that your child cannot fall down a set of stairs while playing near them. Set up some type of blocking device or look into a child fence.

Monitor Your Child Near Water: This may seem like the most obvious tip, however, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children. Always watch your kids around pools, bathtubs, sinks and toilets. Never leave your child alone near water for even a second.

Always ensure that your home is a safe place for you and your family. Your child will not hit an age of reasoning for a few years. Until they do, remain vigilant and ensure that you are setting home safety rules to keep your kids safe and prevent injury.

Dan Miller

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DIY Security Systems

Are you an avid do-it-yourself-er? Are you looking to protect yourself, your family and your assets? Are you interested in installing your own home security system? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this is the perfect place for you. This article is all about DIY home security systems and how you can install your own equipment and have it monitored.

DIY Home Security:

The home security industry has changed in recent years. For the longest time, it was necessary to have a contracted home security company install their hardware in order to be monitored. Today is a completely different story. DIY security systems are incredibly more common and many monitoring companies will allow you to use your own equipment.

To get your DIY security system going, you will need a few things. The main item is at least one control panel. Also, I suggest you have a back-up battery, motion sensors, door/window sensors, glass breakage detectors, heat or smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and some security signs or stickers.

Before purchasing your equipment, make sure that the monitoring company will allow you to install your own equipment. After installation, you want to ensure that the company can read your system and everything is working properly. It is recommended that your company monitors your home for security breaches, fire, floods and toxic fumes. A monitoring company can alert the authorities for you in a time of need and can ensure that you have help on the way. They can also contact you if something happens while you are away from the home.

Types of DIY Systems:

There are two types of home security systems: wired or wireless. Installing a hardwired security system in your home can be an extensive and challenging task even for experienced construction and wiring workers.

Wireless systems require fewer tools and can be set up quickly. This is the best system for the DIY enthusiast or new home owner without electrical experience. These systems do not rely on your home's electrical or telephone system to work and everything operates on batteries sending a signal to the control panel when triggered. Because of this, I would suggest checking your batteries often to ensure everything is working properly. Some wireless systems will work off a land-line while others may require a standard household power outlet to function properly.

In order to connect to your monitoring company, you may need little more than your current wireless internet configuration with a battery backup on your modem. Depending on your equipment, you may need further connections. After installation, follow the manufacturer's instructions to set-up your system or call your monitoring company for activation.

Additional Accessories: 

There is additional equipment for your security system. Items like additional control panels, cameras, key-fob panic buttons and intercoms can be easily integrated and add further protection to your home.

Additionally you could install pool alarms, remote lighting, and other monitoring systems that can prevent intruders before they even get to the home.

Homes without security systems are three times as likely to be targeted for burglary than protected homes according to a Temple University study. With the ease of installing a DIY security system, why would you want to take a chance? Always remember to lock your doors and windows and ensure your security system is activated.

Dan Miller

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Protecting Your Home Online

I wanted to address a serious issue that many people are facing today. People think that they can post anything on Facebook and other social media and they never have to worry about anything negative happening as a result. To The contrary, the story below is a sad case of a Facebook post gone wrong.

In Australia, a home was invaded because of a picture posted to Facebook. The 17 year old daughter of the home's owner posted a picture of a large sum of money that she was counting with her grandmother at the house. Around 11:30 that evening, two men broke into the home wielding knives in search of the daughter and the money. At the time of the burglary, the 17 year old was not home but three other family members were. The men were able to get away with a small sum of money and some personal belongings. Luckily no one was injured in this case.

I would like to make my readers aware of the importance of home security even online. When you post to social media sites, you should never post personal information like your full name, your location, home address, etc. In addition to cases like this, you never know if someone is tracking your page waiting for you to post that you are on a beach in the Caribbean. While you are out relaxing and sharing photos, they are burglarizing your home because they know you are not there.

Also, be very careful posting about new toys like a video game system or a new television. Think like a burglar, if it is something that may tempt you, do not post it online to tempt others. You are practically throwing out a notice to anyone interested in burglarizing you. If you even have a slight idea that a post may be a bad idea, do not submit it.

As always, ensure that your doors and windows are locked and your home security system is activated even when you are home. These devices are here to protect you but they cannot do much if you do not activate them. An unlocked door is just as useless as an open door.

For more information on the Australian Facebook burglary, visit:

Dan Miller

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Effective Are Security Signs At Preventing Burglary?

I am amazed at how often clients ask about home security signs substituting for a security system. Some think that just putting a sign in their yard saying "Property Protected by _____" will stop a burglar from entering their home. In actuality, these signs can be effective but in the majority of cases, they are not. A security sign or sticker does not automatically flip a switch saying, "RUN!" These signs are so common that a burglar may still try to enter the property. They will take their chances that the system is deactivated or non-existent especially when they see things like an open window or door.

Now putting a security sign or sticker is definitely an inexpensive alternative to a security system but it all comes down to the burglar. Results will vary on a case by case basis as some burglars will think before they act. If you have a sign that says you have a security system, there is a good chance that the burglar will move on to the house next door that does not have any indication of protection. However, you never know how dedicated or ignorant a would-be thief can be. The last thing you want is to come home and find a breach of your home.

You should think of a security sign as an extra layer of protection on top of a security system. Many people also think that they are fully protected just because they have a security system. In their mind, they do not need to pay for and install the signs (which most companies will provide free of charge for advertising purposes if you use them). What they fail to realize is that they leave a huge vulnerability in their protection. Even with the system in place, a burglar may still attempt to enter the property because they do not see any indication of a security system.

My suggestion is a combination of a monitored home security company with security signs and stickers posted throughout the property. I would recommend placing them on windows, garage doors, mailboxes and fences. In addition, you should mention to friends and neighbors that you have a home security system as you never know who might attempt to burglarize your home. With this combination, you have the best chance of preventing a burglary or property theft.

Dan Miller

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stop Delaying That New Security System

I have had many people ask me if they should install a home security system over the years. The simple answer to that question is yes. Throughout my time dealing with home security, I have noticed a few main reasons to install that new security system.

The first reason revolves around the idea of peace of mind. One of the biggest concerns that clients have is that they are afraid of property theft and burglars obtaining access to their house and walking away with their prized possessions like that shiny new flat screen they have been bragging about or the cherished diamond engagement ring. After the installation of a quality home security system with monitoring, clients reported feeling more at ease about leaving their home. They know that with home monitoring, their house is protected 24/7. To increase that peace of mind further, a majority of police captains feel that a home security system helps to deter burglars before they even attempt to enter your home. In a country where a burglary occurs every 14 seconds (according to a 2006 FBI report), a little peace of mind can help you relax about going to sleep or leaving for work. Now you can stop sitting around with the shotgun waiting for someone to smash the window in.

My second reason focuses on those occasional medical emergencies. The worst thing to ever hear is that a loved one has fallen down or injured themselves in the home and they could not reach a phone to call for help. I almost had this situation with my father. Luckily, he used his necklace panic button for his security system to call for help. Who knows what could have happened if he did not have his monitoring service to help him. In these situations, there is nothing like knowing you can easily summon help at the push of a button.

My next reason concerns the safety risks of a home. If you have ever worried about having a fire tear through your home or carbon monoxide take control of air your family breathes, you are definitely a candidate for a home security system. With a security system, your detectors can send notice to your monitoring company to call for help. These systems are a great way to ensure that you and your family are safely out of the home. In addition, most states require a home to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within a certain range of the kitchen and each bedroom. Battery powered systems typically only alert those within the home that there is a problem and with so many people ignorant about changing the batteries, can you guarantee your detector will alert you? A hard-wired detector from your home security company can help save your family's lives by getting them out in time and calling for help.

My final reason is one that will catch a lot of eyes. The installation of a home security system can help you lower your home insurance premiums up to 20%. That new system can pay for itself just in insurance savings alone. In addition, lenders and those renting out property often require the other party to maintain an active security system to help protect their investment. Wouldn't you want to protect yourself?

Dan Miller