Frequently Asked Questions for the person just beginning to look at Home Security Alarm Systems.

This frequently asked questions page is designed to help homeowners who are curious about Home Security and want to find out exactly how a home security system will benefit them. If you have already decide you need a system check out other F.A.Q. topics here.  

Below you will find answers to questions about:

  • General Home Security 
  • Home Automation
  • Video Surveillance and Cameras
  • New Homeowner Needs
  • Crime Activity
  • Safety Tips

Please feel free to call us in regard to any questions you have about getting a security system installed here in California.

Call today: 1-800-310-9490


General Home Security Questions 

Q. What is alarm monitoring and how does it work?
Alarm monitoring is quick and detailed communication between your home security system and the central station of your security provider. Your control panel registers an emergency event and sends a signal to the central monitoring station, where the appropriate authorities are notified and sent to your home. For a more in-depth look at alarm monitoring, here’s a great blog on the topic.

Q. Can I get home security for a condo?
Yes, as the owner of a condo, you can most certainly invest in a home security system. If you are renting a condo, or any other dwelling, you will need consent of the owner.

Q. What should I think about before I purchase home security?
The initial decision to invest in home security can be simple. Would you rest better knowing that your home is protected 24/7 by a system that deters criminal activity, can capture and create evidence of suspicious and criminal activity and notify authorities in the event of a medical, fire or police emergency?  If the answer is yes, here’s blog that covers things to think about when investing in a home security system.

Q. What is the difference between a wireless home security system and a hard wired security system? What are the benefits of both?
Simply put, Hardwired systems rely on wires to transmit signals and wireless systems do not. The signals can utilize either of the two technologies from each alarm device to the alarm panel. "Wireless" communication from your house's alarm system to the monitoring station is called cellular communication. The other option for communication to the monitoring center is to use your land line. For a more in depth answer, check out this blog on wireless vs hardwired technology.

Q. Do I need a land line to get an alarm system?
Short answer, no. You don’t ‘need” a land line for a security system. Most systems can utilize a land line or the systems own cellular connections, it's your choice. Click here for a blog that compares the benefits of the two

Q. Who is ADT?
For over 140 years, ADT has been the most trusted and well-known brand in the security industry. So it should come as no surprise that they are also the largest provider of security systems. The ADT Corporation provides residential and small business electronic security, fire protection and other related alarm monitoring services in 35 countries. Over 7 million customers trust ADT with their security including many government and fortune 500 companies.

Q. How Can I Save Money on My Homeowners Insurance With Home Security?
Home Insurance companies are very aware that having an ADT security system not only makes your home 300% less likely to get broken into, it also significantly decreases the average loss by lowering the amount of time a burglar can roam your house looking for goods. Not even a burglar is going to hang out when a siren is blaring and police are on their way. Because of this, Homeowners Insurance companies generally give a discount for having a monitored security system and a higher discount for systems that include monitored smoke detectors. Check with your insurance company for more details.


Home Automation

Q. What is home automation and how does it work?
Home automation is automating the ability to control items around the house. From example, being able to turn your heater on by a phone app or touchscreen, before being assaulted by the morning cold air. Or having your lights automatically turning on at dusk each day. Envision all of your systems are controlled by one control panel or mobile app. Read this blog for more information.

Q. What is Z-Wave Technology for ADT?
The ADT Pulse system is powered by Z-Wave technology which works similar to Wi-Fi but does not interfere with your home’s Wi-Fi signals. Z-Wave operates on 900MHz of power and controls devices and appliances around the home like security systems, lights, thermostats and door locks.

Z-wave devices that are compatible with ADT Pulse include light switches, light and/or small appliance modules, garage door openers, cameras, thermostats, door locks and touchscreens.

Q. What’s the difference between Zig-Bee, Z-wave, RF and WiFi?

Essentially, all of these technologies utilize frequencies that are transmitted wirelessly. Each one uses it’s own specific frequency or range of frequencies to transmit signals. RF or Radio frequencies are the lowest at 104 to 1012 Hz which is ideal for telecommunications and utilizes very little power.WiFi utilized a much higher frequency that while great for local communication, it absorbs tons of energy. Think of how fast your mobile device’s battery dies while watching a movie or Youtube videos.

Finally, Zig-Bee and Z-wave are different frequencies that have similar applications like home automation because they consume low amounts of power (devices can last for years on a watch type battery.) One difference is that WiFi and RF signals can communicate directly with mobile devices while Zig-Bee and Z-wave need a hub to decipher signals that come from mobile devices. 

Q. Should my security system have integrated Smart Home Features?
Some companies will automatically tell you that everyone should have Smart Home Features (also called Home Automation) as a part of a complete home security package. While that is true for some, it’s no the fact for every home security system. For some, a traditional home security system will fulfill all their needs. A good system will deter crime and report crimes that do happen. 

Q. What are electric door locks and how do they work?
Electrical door locks are door locks that can be automated and utilized remotely. For example, they could be automated to lock every day at midnight to assure no one forgets to lock the door or coordinated with your security system to lock when the security system is armed. Remote control of your door locks allows you to unlock the door for the dog-walker, babysitter or in-laws so you don’t have to dole out keys to your home. Read more here.

Q. What are my options for thermostat control?
ADT Pulse Thermostats offer you temperature control that can be automated to not drop below or above set temperatures or controlled remotely by checking the current temperature and adjusting it. For a more in depth look at ADT Pulse Thermostats, check out this blog. 

Q. What are my home automation lighting options?
Currently lighting options consist of light switches, dimmers switches and lamp modules.  The switches can take the place of your existing switches and can be automated to turn on or off at certain times, when something else happens
(like opening a door) or controlled remotely by mobile device. Light or small appliance modules have an internal toggle that supplies power or shuts down power to whatever is plugged into it. These as well can be set to turn on or off at a set time, due to another activity or controlled via mobile app. For an in depth look at
ADT Pulse light switches, dimmers and modules, read the blog.


Video Surveillance and Cameras

Q. What types of security cameras are available and what are the difference between them? What’s the best system for me? Continuous playback or event triggered video clips.

One way to look at security cameras would be to look at them in 2 groups. There are continuous recording cameras and cameras that record only when there is a trigger. Continuous recording videos record 24/7 and have some form of a backup source that it records to. That could be to “the cloud,”a DVR or digital recorder or older system to a tape. Cameras that record according to a trigger will record only when an event happens and the recording is triggered. An event will be something like the camera detecting motion in its line of vision or the door next to it opening.

The best system for you will depend on your needs and possibly your patience (looking through hours of tape is not for everyone.) Joking aside, surveillance is not a one size fits all, it depends on your familiarity with technology and how you plan to use the system. This blog will give you a good idea of what cameras will and will not do for you and which will meet your needs.

Q. What are my best options to view my home remotely from my mobile devices?
Mobile apps have brought video surveillance to the common man. Women too! And it’s all about meeting your needs. You can have video clips emailed or texted to your phone and a click will tell you what events happened at your home. You choose the triggers that will alert you… Anytime someone walks on your porch? Whenever the front door opens? If someone goes to close to your classic "baby" sitting in the driveway? You can also log in and check out the camera feed at anytime. See more information here.

Q: Are the wireless cameras secure? That is, can someone else access the wireless camera signal and view the images captured by the cameras in and around my home?
ADT wireless cameras use an encrypted wireless protocol known as WPA2. This is an industry-recognized method to limit access to wireless networks and communications so that your wireless signals remain private between the camera and the iHub.


New Homeowner Questions

Q. If my new home has an security system installed, what are my options?
We can activate most any traditional existing system. And since we offer free equipment on any new, or new to you, installation, you might be able to just add the new equipment to what’s already there. So whether you have a pre-wired system (hardwired) or a wireless system, made by ADT, Brinks, or any other company, we’ll assist you in customizing the situation to your needs. Learn more...

Q. What is the best home security system?
The best home security system is the one that fits all your needs. With that said, there are a lot of systems out there and they all aim to protect your family the best. Check out this blog for some pros and cons of the top systems on the market. 

Q. Will my pet trigger a false alarm on my home security system?
Most motion detector these days are pet immune, so you don’t have to worry. Regular Motion Sensors detect any motion and thus will detect your animal and trigger an alarm. Pet Immune Motion Sensors will detect mass, speed, weight and movement patterns of any moving object, and read the body temperatures and infrared emissions to rule out household pets. Many also have weight setting and won’t trigger at all for anything under 40 lbs or some motions up to an 80 pound pet. This makes it safe to arm your system and protect your home while not worrying about false alarms from pets. Read more about Motion Sensors here.

Q. Will a home security system give me total protection?
Your home security system is an integral and large part of your total security environment. It deters criminal activity and reports criminal activity. If you add cameras, it can even produce evidence in cases of criminal activity. However, YOU are an equally important part of your home security scenario. A total security scenario will include proper locks and maintaining your landscape so burglars don’t have large shrubs to safely hide behind and be protected from detection while taking time to enter your property. Setting your alarm, shutting all windows and locking your doors are simple steps that many users overlook and leave their home vulnerable to dangerous incidents.

Q. I rent an apartment. Should I still consider a home security system?
Some apartment security measures are easy and can be taken care of quickly. Ensuring that all windows and doors have strong locks on them and that they are locked whenever you are away or sleeping is an important first step. This immediately makes your apartment harder to break into, particularly if the burglar is armed with nothing more than a few household tools, such as screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, and small pry bars.

If you have sliding glass doors or a balcony, make sure to use special reinforcements to prevent or at least limit the door's movement. Another option is to invest in an apartment security system, which can provide additional benefits besides your standard locks and safety measures. An alarm system will alert you, your neighbors, and possibly the police (if you go with a monitored system) that a burglar has either entered or is trying to enter your apartment. You can look for packages with motion sensing lights, light timers or even apartment security cameras, if your landlord is on board.

Q. When should I install my security system in my new home?
It’s a great idea to install your security system as soon as possible. A home sitting vacant can attract the wrong attention and some victims have been robbed immediately after dropping off their first load of items into the new house and returning to get a second load. Having a sign in your yard that your home is secured by an alarm system from day one, adds another layer of protection throughout your move. 

Q. There’s already equipment in my new home, how do I activate it?
Activating existing equipment is generally a snap. Many times your alarm panel will simply be replaced by an up to date panel that allows you the features of a new system. Whether your existing equipment is hardwired or wireless, we can update the panel and in most cases, utilize your existing working devices. Having a FREE home security review gives you the opportunity to have a professional walk your home with you, evaluate your existing equipment and suggest placement of the FREE equipment package offered and provide you a more complete system. This blog post talks about using the existing equipment that is in your new home.

Q. My existing system isn’t ADT, can ADT monitor it?
YES. Your alarm panel will be replaced with a state of the art security panel and working devices will be integrated into your new system. ADT will take over monitoring and you can add your FREE equipment package into the system you already have. We specialize in wireless and hardwired systems. This blog post talks about using the existing equipment that is in your new home.

Q. If my new home has been pre-wired for a security system, what kind of alarm system would be best for me to install?
If your new home is already pre-wired for a home security system, you will usually want to go with a hard wired security system. The actual devices (such as sensors, smoke detectors, etc) are actually more cost effective when you home is pre-wired. Possibly the best part of a pre-wired home is that if there are not wires for devices that you would like, you can add in wireless components as well. This blog post covers home security steps when moving into a new home.


Crime Activity

Q. My house was broken into. What do I do?
First off, we are sorry that happened to you. Having a break-in is a horrible experience. The police probably already informed you that a logical next step is to install a monitored security system. A home security system will deter many burglars and in the event of an attempted break-in, a monitored system will sound a high decibel warning that authorities are on the way and then alert authorities and you of the events. Adding low cost cameras to your system will record the events for you as evidence.  We are sorry for your horrible experience! This blog talks about being broken into and how installing a security system can restored some of your lost peace of mind.

Q. How will a home security system help me deter burglars?
Studies and statistics show that just having a home security system makes you home 300% times less probable to have a break-in. That alone is huge! With the average loss in a break-in being over $2000, it’s a wise investment for sure. 

Q. Does crime traditionally spike at certain time of the year?
You are probably familiar with the term “crime trends.” Crime trends are very helpful as they can help us be on the lookout for and prevent many crimes. Some consistent crime trends tend to be seasonal. When the summer months hit, the weather tends to be nicer, many of us spend more time away from home and sometimes leave windows and even doors open to cool down the house. This leaves criminals lots of empty houses to peruse and year after year, crime stats for theft, car theft and the like climb during the summer months.

Another predictable jump in crime comes during the holiday season. Many of us again are out shopping, happily thinking through out holiday parties and gift ideas, and while our focus might be on family and friends, it often isn’t on safety and being careful. Parking lot robberies and car break-ins are common place during the holidays. Burglaries sky-rocket as well. All those beautiful trees with pretty boxes underneath that are proudly displayed in your windows can almost guarantee a burglar a nice payday if they can only get inside.  Subscribe to our monthly tips email and get safety tips in your inbox alerting you of seasonal precautions you can take to not end up a statistic.
Q. Does a home security system promote a safer community?
Studies show that the more security systems there are in a certain area, the less likely it is for a criminal to see opportunity there. A high concentration of alarms says that many people are thinking about security and chances are higher that neighbors will respond to a sounding alarm in this area than areas where most residents are not intimately familiar with alarm systems. Do not be the only neighbor without a security system... you will become the main target.

When your home has an alarm system, you are 300% times less likely to be the victim of a break-in. When most residents have their own person alarm system, it provides a united front against crime and criminals move on to an area less focused on preventing crime. 

Q. How to educate yourself on crime in the area?
Many outlets now help educate citizens on crime. If you are on social media, check out your local police departments pages for updates. On our site at you can search your city name and find a page that has your local police department's twitter feed embedded and information on crime in your area.

Other great sites are,, and that has a section to send alerts to neighbors. You can also receive alerts from the local authorities of other neighborhoods, like where your parents live. will send you text messages for things that apply to what you sign up for. Sign up for text s from the police and you get Amber alerts, missing person and up to the minute crime for just your area. Sing up for Traffic and you get texts of sobriety points, closures and local traffic.

Safety Tips

Q. How do I teach my kids about the alarm?
Teaching your kids about your alarm is a great idea and makes kids start to think about making wise safety decisions. Once you are trained in your system, start showing your kids how to use it. If you have a teen, you might consider them having their own code so you can track their comings and goings. 

By calling the monitoring station, you can put your system in test mode for any time frame you like, say an hour, and let your kids hear each alarm so they are familiar with the difference between a smoke alarm and a break-in. Integrate your alarm with any existing evacuation plans or safety plans you have. Set off a fire alarm and practice how you will exit your home for different situations and where you will meet. See this blog for details on fire safety and emergency evacuation plans for your family.
Q. How do I make my home safer?
Having a safe home takes into consideration many things. A home security system is a great start but by no means is it the end of your efforts. Safety requires some decisions to create safe habits. you might start by standing in your front yard and trying to think like a criminal. Have a spouse or friend do your arrival routine. Are you digging for keys instead of looking at your surroundings? Are there large shrubs that someone could easily hide in wait for you or a family member? Are all your valuables visible from the streets through open windows? Do you leave windows cracked for air circulation or forget to lock doors or not arm your system when you leave the house? 

It doesn’t take a lot to see some of the more obvious things that will literally attract a criminal to your home or family. You have to remember that many crimes are crimes of convenience, meaning you look like an easy target so you then become the victim. Avoid activities like taking a stroll while being ignorant of your surroundings or in a secluded place, especially if you are walking while texting with a $600 phone in your hand and $200 headphones on your head.
Q. How can I make my home safer for my pets? What should I consider when getting a home alarm in reference to my pets?
If you are a pet owner, you have probably already removed all cleaners and products with toxins out of their reach, provided a safe sleeping area and protect their sensitive hearing by giving them space to escape loud noises. Beyond that, a pet needs to be thought of when there is an emergency. Outdoor pets will tend to run from a fire or other safety hazard but if they are inside, you need to prepare for them. Pet rescue stickers are easily available on the internet or at a pet supply store that you can post in your window alerting first responders to a pet trapped inside, or let a responding officer know a pet is inside that can prevent both parties being surprised and a bad outcome. 

As far as an alarm goes, most pets are just another member of the family so make sure to think about their safety and discuss them with your security adviser. Usually assuring that your security systems has Pet Immune Motion Sensors that will not be triggered by your pet and cause false alarms is sufficient. 

Q. What can I do to protect my home and family from a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning?
Fire and carbon monoxide sensors can save your life, your home and valuable time. If you and your family are home, these sensors can alert you to the situation and wake you from sleep before you are overcome by smoke and gases. Some existing sensors are found to not work in many situations, Make sure you have monitored photoelectric smoke detectors with heat detection in your home. In an emergency like this, having sensors that are connected to a monitored system can greatly minimize damages. Not only will they alert you immediately giving you the best chances at survival, they will also alert authorities while you evacuate so by the time you escape and would think to call the fire department, they are already there saving your home. 

Many systems now offer optional home automation that can automatically light your path to safety, turn off any ventilation that might feed oxygen to a fire and flash lights to wake any hard sleepers.  Check out this blog for more details.


 To see other Frequently Asked Questions, CLICK HERE. 

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