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docchat

join:2002-10-02
New York, NY

New Home Security System Advice

Hello Everyone.. I am having a new home built (2 story) and the builder is adding security prewiring as part of the build. I was wondering if that is all I should have done or should I pay the additional $900 for installation of the full security system by the builder? I don't know if it will be a hardwire or a hybrid (hardwire/wireless) system. I am trying to get the details. I have been reading up about the two types and the wireless setup/panels intrigue me a lot. Thanks.


MrFixit1

join:1999-11-26
Madison, WI

Could you provide us with more details once you get them ?
Just a few thoughts in the meantime :

Just how can you " prewire " for a generic alarm system ?
Would think that the wiring required would depend on just what you are installing . Can't believe that he is planing to run multi conductor to all doors and windows , multi conductor to all locations that you may at some point want a motion sensor ,or heat sensor , not to mention video cables to all locations where you may want to place a camera .
This is not to say that having the wiring done before the walls are finished is not a good idea . Much easier and cleaner to do it when the walls are open .

With that in mind , if the system he is offering sounds like it will be a good fit with what you want , it might be a good idea to go with it .
Have a feeling that what they will be doing is prewiring for the system that they normally use , and not for a generic system .

You will definitely have to sit down with the builder and get more details on what the system includes . Make sure that the location of the main control panel , as well as any remotes , will fit the way you want the house set up for your life style !

You should also think about whether you want a monitored system or not . If you decide to go monitored , and in most cases you should ,make sure that the system is useable with whatever monitoring company you feel comfortable with .



Alarmed

@optonline.net
reply to docchat

If the builder installs the system, who would do the monitoring? Who would be responsible for maintaining/repairing the hardware? For that matter, would you even own the panel?

Wired is more reliable and avoids having to change batteries (every 5 years or so). But wired systems usually have multiple windows per zone. With a wireless system, each window is usually its own zone, so that gives you more information and greater control. e.g., you can leave one window open while all the others are still armed.

Avoid the national companies. They overcharge and nickel-and-dime you for everything.


Speedy Petey

join:2008-01-19
reply to docchat

I would NOT have a "builder" pre-wire an alarm system. Unless of course it is the builder's electrician and he is certified for doing alarm systems.
Contact an alarm company and get opinions and estimates from them.



dandelion
Premium,MVM
join:2003-04-29
Germantown, TN
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to docchat

Some security companies lock you into their system only. I have an older hardwired system that luckily was not locked into the original company so when this company went out of business (or perhaps you just aren't satisfied), I could easily switch companies. From my understanding, the hard-wired is not as "fancy" as the newer but is likely to last longer. I have had the same system for almost 8 years with no problem to it. I would look into what the builder offers and if it is not locked into a company, then you can pick your company later. My son also had a system installed by the builder. I believe it was cheaper then getting a security company to come later.
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pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to docchat

Re: New Home Security System Advice

Prewire is a good idea, you just need to plan ahead.
If it were me, based on my wired alarm system, I would run wires to all the main floor top and bottom window sashes using 2 wire alarm cable. Also wire all entrance doors. Depending on the number of windows, logically group them so they can be "zoned". Even better, pair the top and bottom sashes in series and run home runs back to where you plan to place the control panel.
As for smokes, run 4 conductor UL rated fire alarm cables to 4" boxes in all the rooms you want to have smokes or rate of rise detectors (think kitchen area ). At a minimum: bedrooms, hall outside bedrooms, living room, kitchen, basement & attic. This run can be daisy chained as long as you make provisions for an end of line relay to monitor circuit.
If you have any large glass areas, plan for a "break glass" acoustic sensor as a home run. This can be a 4 wire device.
If you think you want interior motion as a second line of protection, think about a key hall way an place a box 7' or so from the floor.

Key pads are 4 wire devices and each needs it's own home run back to the main panel. Near a entry door(s) and in the master bedroom are good locations fpor these.

If you want an outside "bell" run a pair of wires to a spot under the soffit and drop in a box for termination.

Just to make sure the door and window wires are not lost in the walls, you may want to actually install the magnetic switches in the sills and frames before the sheet rock and trim are applied. Leave a little slack in case you need to pull the sensor out for replacement some day. These switches are not expensive and are easy to pop in.

Deciding on the panel location is probably the most important part of the job. Pick a spot that is easy for you to get to but not obvious to a bag guy.

There are many places that sell alarm panels and sensors. Wiring and programming is not complicated, but takes a plan and some concentration. I just replaced and programmed a Honeywell system in the spring after a lightning strike. It was not hard, just take you time and it will all be good.

There are also places, a lot less expensive than the big guys, that will do monitoring.

Good thing is, with your panel, you own it and can set it up the way you want and are free to change monitors if you are not happy with the service.

OH, one more piece of advice, mark all the wires at both ends and make a sketch of locations and wire numbers.

--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.



joako
Premium
join:2000-09-07
/dev/null
kudos:6
reply to docchat

I recommend you call an established local alarm company. One that provides their own monitoring and isn't affiliated with or won't sell your account to one of the larger franchises.
--
PRescott7-2097



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:6
reply to pende_tim

said by pende_tim:

OH, one more piece of advice, mark all the wires at both ends and make a sketch take photographs/video of locations and wire numbers.

- Screws and nails will be used to install blinds and such...keep that in mind when running the wires.

- Put a small loose coil (like wrapped around a pencil) of extra wire in the stud space so that you have a bit of extra wire if you make an error (break the conductor during termination, for example)

- Ring out all the wires prior to closing the walls, and check again after the sheetrock is installed, prior to taping and texture.

- Secure the wires carefully, making sure to NOT stretch the wire taut or over staple. The wire should be reasonably snug under the staple but move easily if desired.

- Video ALL of the walls and ceiling the night before the walls get closed up. Make sure you have plenty of light, you go at an easy pace and you check the footage before leaving.

- Make a "buzz box" using a cheap piezoalarm and 6V battery. Works better than a meter if you are working alone.

Guess why I know all of these things...
--
No amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him. Well, you can try to...



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to docchat

I have a wireless system, which is good for me as I live in a rental. I have the DSC Alexor system, which has the brains of the system in a seperate enclosure instead of integrated into the main keypad which is typical of most wired systems. The only wires I ran were the 18/2 bell wire from the transformer to the panel and the cat 5 for the RJ31x for the phone line. All the other components just had to be mounted in their locations and programming it was semi automated with its programming wizard.

Wireless systems are good for rental housing, if I owned the house I would probably go for a wired or hybrid system. The fact that the other unit in this building was burglarized influenced my decision to buy an alarm.

I called a local alarm company (that operates their own central station) to take over monitoring.
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Richard Cham

join:2013-05-30
2000
reply to docchat

• You should get a wireless security system.
• Wow, I think that pre wiring is a good move. But you will need more than that. If you can afford that $900, then why not?
• If it’s for your own good then there’s nothing to be worried about. You just have to make sure that the company is not going to sell your account. Some companies do that.
• A wireless security system is better than a wired one. Monitoring is easier with them.
• You can go for a hard wired security system. I have one, too, and I haven’t had problems with it for the past ten months.



Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY

said by Richard Cham:

• You should get a wireless security system.
• Wow, I think that pre wiring is a good move. But you will need more than that. If you can afford that $900, then why not?
• If it’s for your own good then there’s nothing to be worried about. You just have to make sure that the company is not going to sell your account. Some companies do that.
• A wireless security system is better than a wired one. Monitoring is easier with them.
• You can go for a hard wired security system. I have one, too, and I haven’t had problems with it for the past ten months.

By wireless system, are you referring to wireless sensors or wireless monitoring (cell phone or radio)?

There is absolutely no advantage to wireless sensors if you have the opportunity to do pre-wiring for wired sensors. Wireless sensors require frequent battery replacement, lose communications and can easily be defeated. The only place wireless sensors should be used is if you can't run a wire without it being very visible.

You're much better off using a local company instead of one of the national companies like ADT, Brinks, etc. They will tailor a system to your needs instead of pushing a generic package. Be sure you purchase the system instead of leasing it from the provider, it's more expensive upfront but will save you in the long run.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

said by Msradell:

There is absolutely no advantage to wireless sensors if you have the opportunity to do pre-wiring for wired sensors. Wireless sensors require frequent battery replacement, lose communications and can easily be defeated. The only place wireless sensors should be used is if you can't run a wire without it being very visible.

Wireless sensors are good if you live in a rental where you don't want to incur the expense of pulling wires through the walls of someone else's property. They also can be taken along with the renter in the event they vacate the property.

They mount with wall anchors. You do need access to the phone line to connect the RJ31X jack. The phone line in my unit comes in through the basement.

I find the DSC Alexor meets my needs the best.

If you ever move, take the sensors down and throw some drywall mud over the holes. Most landlords throw on a fresh coat of paint between tenants.

I get a nice discount on my renter's insurance for alarms and deadbolts.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
reply to docchat

said by docchat:

Hello Everyone.. I am having a new home built (2 story) and the builder is adding security prewiring as part of the build.

Stop right there, you need to find out what will be prewired, does it include all of the windows, or is it just the doors, does it include smoke detectors tied into the system (which in pre-wire IMO is a must have) and drops for the garage doors.