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Hard-Wired Alarm Systems

Technology and Equipment

Since the 1990s, more and more homes have been built with security systems already hard-wired into place, especially in community developments.  In addition to their primary benefits - protection from criminal activity - security systems also tend to increase the assessed value of a home. “Hard-wired” means that the sensors, control panel and alarm sirens are connected using low-voltage electrical wires that are strategically placed throughout the walls and floorboards.  Any keypads or video surveillance equipment is also “hard-wired “ to the control panel.  Hard-wired security systems are tamper-resistant, if wired properly, meaning that because they form a closed-circuit, any damage to any part of the wiring, will trip the alarm. They are typically designed to function with the POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) network, as opposed to using the digital/ cell phone (GSM network) or VoIP technologies.

 Benefits to Buying Hard-Wired Systems

Even though wireless technology is the trend of the future, hard-wired security systems still dominate the market for a few reasons: 1. More central monitoring stations accommodate land-lines than do digital/ cellular technologies; 2. More hard-wired systems are UL certified and subsequently approved by local governments and 3. the POTS network is subject to less interference than the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network.

 Installation

Hard-wired (electrical) security systems require professional installation, which can be done either by a licensed security professional or, in some cases, a certified electrician.   Part of the installation process involves setting up the system so that it can communicate with a central  monitoring station (who is responsible for monitoring the alarm signal and dispatching help).  Many monitoring stations use licensed dealers to install and maintain their security equipment.  See our guide, “Choosing a Monitoring Provider: Questions to Ask Before You Invest.”

 Automated Systems

Hard-wired systems can usually be upgraded or customized to more modern, integrated and/ or automated systems.  Hard-wired automated systems create a network of the appliances within your home with the goal of creating an efficient ethos while maximizing your comfort, saving money and downsizing your ecological footprint. An integrated security system can link all your security equipment, including sensors, electrical fencing, environmental detectors and video and access control devices to your central console, which is usually accessed by a touch screen keypad, so you can easily monitor and manage safety levels. These automated systems are sometimes called total security management systems in the business sector; they are quite common in corporate environments and, with the advent of wireless, digital technologies, are also becoming commonplace in the residential sector.

 Sensors

Many hard-wired systems only allow analog sensors and many wireless systems only allow wireless sensors, however there are hybrid systems that provide inputs for both.  Stand-alone environmental sensors that monitor your home for power outages, extreme temperature and moisture changes, water leaks, and even smoke, carbon monoxide and radon, can be purchased that work well with hard-wired systems. With newer home developments, law requires that each smoke detector be hard-wired with a battery back-up. 

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