The walk-through is one of the most important portions of the entire residential security evaluation. During the survey, you will strive to find the right balance between security and your affordability level. For example, you may personally feel that a proper system should protect all your first-floor windows; have smoke detectors in every room; have heat detectors in basements, attics, kitchens and garages; have wireless emergency panic alarms, an extra touchpad upstairs, ADT Pulse cameras, door locks, thermostat, lighting control, etc. However, if this package is beyond the amount you can afford or wish to spend, a free basic ADT monitored security system installed is better than the "perfect" system still sitting on the stockroom shelves.
Below you will read information about the steps typically taken when a Security Consultant comes to your home for a home security evaluation. You will also get an overview of how to evaluate your needs as you do a walk through of your property including your front yard, backyard and through each room of your home.
If you would like to have an ADT needs analysis questionnaire and understand how to protect your home and family from a typical burglary... check out this blog.
ADT Home Security Evaluation - Prioritizing Your Security Needs
ADT Home Security System Evaluation Steps
When you schedule a FREE Home Security Review with California Security Pro, our Security Consultant will go through the follow steps to help make sure you are getting the right security system and monitoring service. We custom design your security system around your needs, family's lifestyle and your budget.
Schedule Your Home Security Review and meet your professional ADT Security Consultant
Do a walk through of your home to design the right home security solution for your family
Home Security System and Live ADT Pulse Product Demonstration
Choose Your ADT Monitoring Service Package
Schedule Your ADT Home Security Installation
Your ADT Security System Priorities Start with an Essential Home Security System
The basic, "essential", home security system every homeowner needs includes protection on every exterior door with a door sensor and at least one motion sensor for an interior trap zone. You will also need to display the ADT sign in your front yard and put security window decals in the windows and patio doors on the sides and back of your home.
A second motion or adding window protection is most often the next priority and adding at least one ADT monitored smoke detector will give you fire safety protection. Once you have sufficient perimeter protection and enough motions to meet your needs you may consider adding glassbreak sensors. From there, adding additional security and home automation equipment is figuring out your personal priorities and deciding on the investment level you are comfortable with spending for the protection your home and family.
Are you interested in security cameras on the outside or inside of your home? Would you like to get automated ADT door locks with lock bumping technology? Would you like to have energy saving lighting and thermostat control? Many people are choosing to go with some home automation and over 70% of our customers are getting an ADT Pulse Monitored Security System with mobile arm/disarm, text and email notifications, a personalized web portal and voice control. You will just need to decide what is right for you and your family.
Your Home Security Evaluation Includes a Walk-through of Your Property
When you are ready to conduct the walk-through of your home, you will need to go methodically through the entire home --- inside and out. For burglary protection purposes, every point of entry has to be examined. For fire and other emergencies, we need to have specific fire hazard areas of the home in mind and visit them (i.e., the kitchen, garage, basement, bedrooms, etc.). During the walk-through, use a notepad to write down number of door and windows in each room of the home. Draw a line down the middle of the page and put a title of doors on one side and windows on the other. Note doors and windows in each room of the home and mark your doors and priority windows you want protected. Leave some room at the bottom for notes about other options you may want like additional motions, fire protection, cameras, door locks, thermostat, lighting control, etc.
Start your homes security evaluation in your front yard. Burglars case neighborhoods before they break in, looking for homes without security systems. They also try to figure out when you are not home. If you park your cars outside the garage it is often very easy to know when you are not home. You may need to add some cameras with motion detection to let you know if anyone is coming up the driveway. You will also want to make sure to find a location for your security system sign that can be easily seen from the street.
After looking at your home from the street, go to your front door. The front door is where most burglars enter the home. How good are your locks and do they provide lock bumping protection? Do you hide a key near your front door? Would it be easy for a burglar to kick in your front door or have you provided additional reinforcement to protect this vulnerable opening. After examining the front door, go to your side garage door. Often this is the next place burglars go to break-in. Many side garage doors are very weak and some have glass that can be easily broken into. This is definitely an area you will want to add alarm protection to.
Go into your backyard and look for access to second-floor windows (if there is a second floor), such as air conditioning units or utility sheds, etc. Look for ladders or anything that could give the intruder easy access into the home. Dark spots and/or remote, hidden first-floor windows are vulnerable. Sliding glass doors can easily be removed from the outside by simply lifting them with a screwdriver and taking them out of their tracks. In case of fire, look for a convenient meeting place (rendezvous point either across the street, in the front or backyard) for your family.
Backyard safety tips:
Safety Tip: Need to lock the side gate with a padlock.
Safety Tip: Put ladders in garage or lock them up. You do not want burglars to use your ladder to enter second story windows or get on balconies.
Safety Tip: Move sheds away from your home if they provide access to upstairs windows
Safety Tip: Install outdoor motion lights.
Safety Tip: Consider getting backyard cameras with motion detection.
Next let’s evaluate the need for protection in the garage. Since you are interested in keeping the intruder out of the living area, you can accomplish this by protecting the inside door that leads to the house. However, you may prefer to keep the bad guys out of the garage completely, in which case you should protect the overhead garage door(s) and any windows or other doors leading into the garage. You must decide what is best for you. ELECTRIC GARAGE DOORS — if you have an electric garage door opener, rather than protecting the garage door itself, we prefer to protect the inside door leading into the house. That way, you can use your automatic opener to come right into the safety of the garage before leaving your car. However, if you choose to protect the garage overhead doors, you will need to remember to off your security system with your key-chain remote, from your smartphone or you may want to add a security keypad in the garage so you can disarm it from there.
Garage safety tips:
Safety Tip: Clip the plastic handle on the quick release of the garage door so burglars can not use a hanger to pull down the release from the outside and easily enter the garage.
Safety Tip: If you are using your garage for a gym, extra room, shop or storage and are not opening and closing your garage door daily, you may want to install a slide lock on your garage door. Also, use the slide lock when you are on vacation.
FIRE PROTECTION IN THE GARAGE — Because the garage is attached to your home, you may have a concern about the amount of flammable contents stored here, the gasoline, oil, firewood, and don't forget the cars (many fires have started from a car). The garage is also a main source of fires from appliances, paint thinner fumes, hot water heater and the pilot light is always on. Many fires also start from dryers especially if they are not vented correctly. Smoke detectors would be unstable in this environment, but a heat detector would work well. You may not realize the average loss in a burglary is around $2,500, but the average loss in a fire is over $25,000. What is directly or almost directly above the garage? You may want to get monitored fire protection in the garage especially if family member's bedrooms are right above.
Note: Besides looking for fire hazards here, look for additional access points, such as windows, attic access hatches or extra doors to the garage. Pay attention to what is being stored here and its possible value (i.e., expensive tools, hobby supplies and/or expensive cars or boats). The garage often has a lot of valuables in it and it is important to protect this area.
Go back inside the home and go room by room throughout the entire home evaluating your protection needs throughout the home. Make note of each upgrade you would like to invest in and any areas that need additional protection.
Examine the type of frame (metal or wood) and lock (dead bolt or not) used. Remember, the majority of break-ins are done through the doors. They could quickly be breached by lock bumping, kicking them in or prying them open with a crowbar. No matter what type of locks you are using, only a thin layer of wood is holding most locks. Remember, the vulnerability of sliding glass doors. They can be lifted out of their track without ever opening them and a wooden bar is not going to deter the bad guys.
Now when it comes to doors, keep in mind that over 90% of break-ins involve a door and every outside door should be protected. When we say that most break-ins "involve" a door, what we mean is that the burglar may either come in through a door or a window. No matter how he comes in, the first thing he usually does upon entering is to go to a side or rear door and open it. This provides him with an escape hatch. Finally, when he leaves the home, he will leave by a door rather than a window, regardless of how entry was made.
Note: Every door leading outside should be protected and no system should ever be installed without some type of interior protection to act as a backup to the perimeter protection.
KITCHEN DOOR (glass panels)— must look at this type of door. Here the criminal doesn't even need his crowbar. All he has to do is place some tape or a piece of wet newspaper over one of these panels of glass. Then, with his elbow, he cracks the glass, lifts out the pieces that are stuck to the tape or paper, puts his hand inside and turns the lock. All of this is done with very little noise.
FIRE PROTECTION IN THE KITCHEN — Fire authorities also recommend a minimum of one smoke detector on every level of the home. The number one cause of fire (other than accidental) is electrical. That is why a full 44% of all fires start here in the kitchen, from the stove, microwave or coffee pot, etc. Obviously, you would not install a smoke detector here because you would not want the fire department here every time you accidentally burned some food. However, you do need something. That is why we recommend a heat detector here. The way it works is if the temperature in the room changes 10 degrees in a minute or hits a temperature of 135 degrees, the detector goes off. Because it is not a smoke detector, you don't have false alarms.
You need to consider the location, their accessibility from outside and the type of window when thinking about protection for these openings. You should consider the windows as groups of windows rather than individually such as "first-floor, back windows" or "first-floor, side windows." Grouping the "vulnerable openings" makes it easier to prioritize which opening to protect. You should normally protect all accessible first-floor and accessible second-floor windows if it is affordable for you. If cost is a concern, then we can "protect" a group of them with a motion detector (see below).
HOW TO HANDLE FIRST-FLOOR, FRONT WINDOWS HIDDEN BY SHRUBS— An intruder could hide behind the shrubs and then come in through a window without being noticed from the street. Therefore, you should consider protecting these windows.
WINDOWS FACING FRONT, IF APPLICABLE— If these windows are unobstructed then anyone passing by could see someone attempting to gain entry. That means an intruder would have to concern himself with neighbors, children, passing cars and so on. From our experience, we've learned that they normally wouldn't take a chance of being seen under such conditions.
WINDOWS FACING REAR/SIDE, IF APPLICABLE — These windows often give an intruder all the privacy he needs to break-in without being detected by a neighbor. Therefore, it's logical to assume that he might very well attempt to break in this way. For that reason, these windows should be protected.
ACCESSIBLE WINDOWS HIGH OFF GROUND— Even though some windows are high enough off the ground to make it unreachable under normal conditions, look out each window for easy access from a tree, rooftop, air conditioner, ledge, or whatever feature makes the window vulnerable. You may want to protect these type of openings.
INACCESSIBLE WINDOWS HIGH OFF GROUND— Windows high off the ground that are really not accessible may be very difficult for an intruder to enter through these types of openings. May not be the highest in priority to get protection on each of these openings.
Look for possible easy access from outside, such as French doors to a deck with an extra set of stairs directly to the yard. Also, if price isn't your primary concern, an extra keypad should be installed somewhere on the second floor. Most of our customers choose to install an extra keypad on the second floor so they can have easy control of the system without having to go downstairs. Remember, the keypad allows you not only to arm and disarm the security system, but also gives you access to the emergency medical and fire buttons. It also lets you know what zone an intrusion has occurred from. Often the master bedroom is the perfect place to install an additional keypad.
SECOND FLOOR FIRE PROTECTION — At a minimum, you need to have one monitored smoke detector here in the hallway near the sleeping area, but I would strongly suggest that you consider (assuming there have been no great budget concerns voiced) additional detectors in each and every bedroom. Fire authorities have found this so important.
A least one motion sensor should be install with a monitored ADT security system. You will typically want to create a trap zone in the hallway of a one story or the staircase of a two story. Burglars typically head straight for the master bedroom when they break in so make sure you place a motion in an area that will detect an intruder on his way to your master bedroom.
PROPER USE OF THE MOTION DETECTOR — During the walk-through of your home you may find that budget is a strong concern. If your budget is not enough to cover all the window openings, use the motion detector, “a trap zone”, as a way to provide security without breaking the bank. For example, across the back of the house there are the kitchen, family room and laundry room windows. Now that is, let's see, one, two, three, four, five, six windows that need protection. We can't just pick one or two; they all are similar in terms of vulnerability. With one motion sensor, we can detect the criminal breaking into that area. The motion detector will "see" them before they get near the stairs or head down the hallway. When it does, it can sound a loud alarm and send a signal to the ADT Customer Monitoring Center. The intruder gets out as fast as he can. Can you see why that motion detector is so important?
Note: Motion sensors can not be armed when you are roaming through the home. Motions are armed in AWAY MODE when you leave your home. Motions are pet immune for small dogs and cats and most motion sensors are pet immune up to 60lbs. You can custom order 85lb pet immune motion sensors.
Besides installing a motion detector here, consider adding fire protection and an ADT Pulse energy saving thermostat.
For more information or to schedule a Free Home security evaluation call 1-800-310-9490.