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Does anyone have a view or some advice about where to get inexpensive home alarm monitoring? I already have a system in my house, and am finally contract free. I'm currently paying $30/month for monitoring. The company I'm with, Safetech, has offered to reduce this to $25/mo, but I believe monitoring is available much more cheaply from many companies. Anyone with thoughts or experience in this area? Thanks,
jeff
 

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Does anyone have a view or some advice about where to get inexpensive home alarm monitoring? I already have a system in my house, and am finally contract free. I'm currently paying $30/month for monitoring. The company I'm with, Safetech, has offered to reduce this to $25/mo, but I believe monitoring is available much more cheaply from many companies. Anyone with thoughts or experience in this area? Thanks,
jeff
Since you are contract free, alarm companies typically lower their monitoring fee. Call them and tell them that you want to cancel, they'll be quick in lowering their fees!

I believe that ADT offers a $19.99 retention rate.
 

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I've been shopping around as well, but I need a system that doesn't rely on a phone line, since I have no intention of ever paying for one. I don't have VoIP either, just cell phones. Some companies offer a wireless alarm system, but they are expensive. I searched around for internet-based monitoring, and found a company called NextAlarm that not only supports it, but is also quite inexpensive:
Without a contract it costs about $22.18/month (converted to Canadian).
A 1-year contract is $18.47/month, and a 3-year is only $14.76/month.
Unlike most contracts, the only fee you pay to get out of it is that they will treat your account as if it had a shorter contract (or none if less than 1 year) and charge you the difference. E.g. you buy a 3-year contract for $531 but cancel after 14 months, then it's like you had a 1-year contract ($222) and two monthly bills ($44), and thus you will be refunded $265.

The best part is that you can track everything online. A full log of all your activities, including arm/disarm reports, test signals, etc can be viewed online and you can even set up electronic notifications via email, text message, or pager.

It seems like there is a catch somewhere... but I've done some research and found user reviews of NextAlarm, and there were very few complaints. So I'm going to try them out, as soon as I get my house wired properly, or install a wireless bridge next to the alarm box.
 

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My advice would be not to pay for monitoring at all. Relocate the money for bolt locks, strong doors etc. We had a system in our previous house and the monitoring created more problems than it solved. False alarms were plentiful. I saw a CBC report several years back that would-be thieves are not deterred by the alarms because they can make their getaway before the cops arrive. Unless you go for a super-duper wireless alarm systems (not Alarm Force), all that the thieves will have to do is to snip the phone line and voila! no monitoring. Oh yeah.. for a false alarm, you might be on the hook for the bill if the cops show up.
 

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My advice would be not to pay for monitoring at all. Relocate the money for bolt locks, strong doors etc.
Reinforced door frames will help make it more difficult to bash down a door, but I've seen the police kick down a steel door with a strong deadbolt - though it took them a while. But there's not much you can do to stop them from smashing a window (unless you like having iron bars over your windows).

False alarms were plentiful.
Unless the system is malfunctioning, you should only get a false alarm if you accidently set it off yourself and fail to enter the code in time. And even then, the alarm company will phone you before they contact the police, so you won't pay anything if it was just an accident. If pets are causing false alarms while you're away, you either need to get a different motion detector or get rid of the motion detection completely.

all that the thieves will have to do is to snip the phone line and voila! no monitoring.
Very true, which is why wireless systems may be worth investing in. I'm in the process of setting up internet-based monitoring (via cable modem), and it's unlikely that a thief would think to cut my cable lines, which are buried anyway. Interruptions in my internet service are very rare.

As much as it sucks to have someone break in and steal your stuff while you're away, that's not the worst that could happen. They could break-in while you're home. That's where having a panic button can save you. Also devastating is having a fire break out while you're away. Nobody calls the fire department until they see a lot of smoke, or even huge flames. By the time the firemen arrive, your house is a goner. But if your fire alarm is part of your monitoring service, then they can get the fire department on the way as soon as your smoke detector picks up the first traces of smoke.
 

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Not meaning to hijack the thread but I have seen people buying ADT (or other security companies) stickers off eBay or other sites and put them on their front lawns and windows...more or less as a deterrent.

I am on the fence about home alarm. I don't have one at the moment although the wife has been pressing for one. I think we should exercise common sense i.e. no high-end electronics box outside on garbage days, no newspapers on the front porch while you are away for a period of time, valuables should be kept in a safe at the banks etc.

Home alarm could give people a false sense of security.
 

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I got a home alarm. I think its well worth the money. If you go with a wireless system you usually have to pay more because they install a cell phone into the monitoring box to call out.
 

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That's true, it's usually about $10 more per month for wireless monitoring, and you often have to pay for the hardware too (as much as $300). It's really only worth it if you're in a rich neighborhood that might be targeted by professional thieves who cut phone lines. Stupid kids looking for drug money will just do a smash-and-grab, stealing whatever valuables they can find in the master bedroom and then running before the cops respond to the alarm. These kids almost always go in through a back or side door/window, so having a guard dog in the yard is often more a more effective deterrent than the house alarm.
 

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for protecting your windows against smashing, you can get the security film. if installed properly it will keep the glass intact from someone entering for like up to 15 minutes. as an additional safety feature, the glass film keeps it from flying during natural disasters....
 

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for protecting your windows against smashing, you can get the security film. if installed properly it will keep the glass intact from someone entering for like up to 15 minutes. as an additional safety feature, the glass film keeps it from flying during natural disasters....
15 minutes? I don't think so. I've looked into the possibility of installing these on some of my "high-risk" windows. I found out that two or three repeated blows with a hammer or crowbar will easily break a hole through the glass and the film, big enough to reach in and unlock the window. So maybe an extra 15 seconds, but that's not going to be enough to deter a thief. Perhaps on a window that doesn't open it would be more useful, as it would take them longer to make an opening big enough to fit through.

I wonder if the film might actually mute the sound of glass breaking somewhat? You'd probably hear a loud "crack", but no shatter sounds. Thus neighbors are less likely to investigate the noise (if they hear it at all). Furthermore, without the shattering sound, your security system's shatter detectors wouldn't trigger, if you have any.
 

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Security

In new homes with casement windows are much safer. It's the old single-pane basement slider windows that are the bigger risk.

That said, the largest threat is your doors. A metal door with a metal frame is pretty safe. Any door that has a wooden jamb is the problem. Your whole house protection is then based on the strength of 1/2" of pine and 1" brass screws. Put any force against it and it won't hold. There are many products that address this problem.

Lastly, an alarm system my deter some criminals but in effect it is only a system to notify you that you have been a victim.
 

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Be sure to verify if your home insurance will be increased if not monitored and compare that cost with the cost of monitoring. Also the fire alarm system is nice so if something happens, the company calls the fire dept if I am not home...
 
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