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Clever Advertising May Get your Attention, But Do Your Homework

The two home security companies spending the most advertising dollars today are ADT home security and Comcast home security (Xfinity home security). Take a look at what level of security these two home security companies actually include in their advertised systems.

ADT’s home security standard base package includes 2 door contacts and 1 motion detector. They charge $99-$149 up front for this package and that may be after you receive a mail-in rebate (4 to 6 weeks later). ADT’s monthly monitoring cost is $35/month for telephone line monitoring and $43/month or more if you want to upgrade to cellular monitoring. If you decide to upgrade to cellular monitoring then you will also have to buy a cellular communicator. This may cost an additional $149.00. In total, you only get 3 security protection devices with this package.

Comcast’s home security best offer includes 4 door contacts and 1 motion detector. They charge a $199 installation fee for this package. Their primary communication method of monitoring is over the internet (you must also subscribe to Comcast’s broadband service to qualify for their security). Cellular monitoring is used as back up. The monthly cost for security monitoring is $39.95, plus your monthly cost for internet service depending on which package you have. In total, you only get 5 security protection devices with this package.

When considering home security, there are two important elements to achieve great security. First, the amount of security equipment installed equals the level of protection you will receive. Why have a security system installed if you don’t fully protect your home? Over 95% of burglars will enter a home from the ground floor or basement through doors or windows.

Unless you have a condo or small townhome, it is very unlikely that either ADT’s or Comcast’s advertised package includes enough security protection devices to fully protect your home. You probably have a lot more doors and windows than the 2 protected with ADT’s system or the 4 included by Comcast. Make sure you have all accessible openings secured.

Motion detectors are great for back up protection, meaning they can detect someone once they have entered your home and are walking around. Motion detectors are used to reduce the number of door/window sensors a company may offer. It saves them money. The problem with that approach is how vulnerable it may leave you by not protecting every accessible opening.

The best level of security protection is one that will alert you to someone attempting to break into your home, not after when they are walking around.

The second reason you have a home security system installed is simply “response time”. You have a monitored security system for one reason, to get the proper authorities to your home fast. Response time involves many factors before the police, fire department, or ambulance (EMT) are even dispatched. How long does your system take to actually send a signal to the monitoring company? Most companies, especially ADT, have “dialer delay” times built into their programming. This may be as long as 60 seconds before the security system attempts to send out a signal to the alarm monitoring company.

Another factor in response time is how long it actually takes once the signal is sent from the security system because the signal has to get to the monitoring center’s computers. Communication speed and reliability is determined by the method you are using to connect your system to the monitoring center. Is it old fashioned telephone line technology, internet or cellular communication? In most cases telephone line and internet connections rely on outside wiring that can be cut. Internet relies on its modem – ever had to reboot your modem? Cellular is the safest and fastest method of communicating – no wires to cut, always on and fast.

Once the signal is received by the monitoring center’s computers it is processed, then delivered to a alarm monitoring center operator who will read the signal and then start the dispatch process, depending on which type of signal is received.

In summary, response time involves programming delays, communication speed, monitoring center processing and human reaction speed. Before the proper responding agency will be sent to your home.

Make sure you select a home security company that has been recognized as providing fast, reliable security monitoring year after year. Do your homework. ADT is not rated at the top and Comcast has no experience and is in the “bundling”, not the security business.

Do yourself a favor and shop around home security companies. Spending the most on advertising does not guarantee value, real protection or fast emergency response time.