The false economy of false alarms

False alarms from security systems can have financial and emotional costs.

False alarms from security systems can have financial and emotional costs.

The first thing you know about it is a call from the company that monitors your home alarm system.

Your alarm is going off.

That is probably all they can tell you. If you are lucky (or have spent enough on the system and monitoring) they might be able to tell you which area in your house or which door or window has triggered the alarm.

Your response to being told that the alarm going off is likely to be twofold:

  • It’s the nth time it has happened this month, and the neighbours are going to hassle me about the noise again, and;
  • I wonder if it is a real alarm this time.

The first thought can wait, it’s the second that needs your attention right now.

The monitoring company are asking if you want them to go and check your house for a break in. You’ve lost count of how many times the alarm has gone off since you had the system installed, and so far none of them have been a break in.

Probably the biggest thing that influences your answer is the cost. A call out by the security firm is going to cost you something between $50 and $100, which seems like a lot if one of your kids has entered the wrong disarm code, the cat is wandering about again, or you left a window open a crack and the wind is blowing your curtains around.

Spending more to save

One thing you can do about false alarms is to get a better, more advanced alarm system. A system with better design and installation, and with higher tech sensors, is likely to cause fewer false alarms. While you are at it you should consider a silent monitored alarm too so you don’t upset the neighbours. The problem with all of this is that you have to spend a lot more up front to save on the ongoing costs of the the system.

Is there a better, cheaper option?

Home alarm systems are very old technology – they have been around for over 100 years, but the explosion in mobile and wireless computer technology in the past fifteen years has given us a great set of tools with which to produce much better solutions to home security.

The result has been smart home security systems based around small, relatively cheap security cameras that communicate via WiFi, a flexible and intelligent hardware and software package that ties the system in the house together, and an app on your smartphone.

As a user the real differences are the lower costs, and the level of information and control that the system gives you:

  • the majority of the cost is upfront in the purchase of the system and smart home security tends to cost a lot less than traditional alarms – remember that some systems have ongoing costs to cover cloud storage of footage
  • there are no call out fees for false alarms
  • you can set the system up yourself, and rearrange and refine it as you see fit
  • smart options and controls, and systems that learn work with you to minimise false alarms
  • you get to see every event within seconds or minutes of it happening, and get all the information you need to decide if it is important or not.

The problem that hasn’t gone away

So if it sounds like a smart, wireless home security system might be just what you need to escape from false alarms, there is just one more hurdle. Choosing the best system for you. As you might expect, there are as many choices of these new systems as there are of old fashioned monitored alarm companies.

We can’t make the decision for you, but for a bit of help, why not have a look at our comparisons of some of the more popular systems on the market today? [link to comparisons?]

by The CleverLoop Team
June 16, 2016