F.A.Q. To Help You Decide What Alarm System to Invest In

This frequently asked questions page is designed to help homeowners who know they would like to get a security system installed but just have a few more questions.

Below you will find answers to questions about:

  • General Home Security
  • Equipment and Security Devices 
  • Features of 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


Basic Home Security Questions

Q. What is the average cost of home security?

For a basic system, you can expect to receive 2-6 door / window sensors, a motion sensor and possibly a key chain remote for FREE plus installation that should start at about $99. That said, today’s systems offer integrated home automation, cameras, remotely controlled thermostats, lighting and door locks and more. Monthly monitoring can be straight security monitoring, include smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring, a warranty, remote access to your system, 2-way interactive voice options (someone will voice challenge an intruder,) and/or cellular connection to the monitoring station and more.

For your best value, select a reputable local company, and make sure they have good sound reviews from existing customers, they are willing to work around your schedule, offer quality equipment and are willing to send out someone for FREE to listen to your wants and help you customize a system that fits your needs. Price wise, you can start with a $99 package or build your own adding in what you choose. See here for a price list of devices and then call us for the specials at 1-800-310-9490. There’s always a special!

Q. How Does Home Security Work?

Surprisingly enough, the concept of home security is pretty simple. With doors and windows, there is a magnetic connection between a sensor on the door or window and the portion of the sensor on the wall beside it. When the connection is broke, it signals the panel to sound the alarm and alert the monitoring stations. All other devices use different forms of technology that utilize sound waves, radio frequency and other technologies to sense activity and relay messages. Devices communicate with the alarm panel hourly to assure battery levels (for wireless systems) and everything else is working fine. If a device fails to “check-in” the monitoring station is as well alerted of that.

In this way, criminals, knowing that you have an alarm system by signage and stickers on windows think twice about visiting your home. If there is an attempt, a high decibel alarm is sounded when the alarm panel is informed of an intrusion, that alerts criminals that help is on the way and they better get lost. You are then notified to verify the alarm wasn’t an accident and then the proper authorities are dispatched. Alarm panels also have key chain remotes with panic buttons to activate your alarm manually and a medical, police or ambulance button on the keypads to manually call emergency responders by the push of a button when you are in need of help. 

Q. Can I have my existing security system equipment monitored?
YES. In most cases existing and working equipment can be utilized for your security. To assure you have state of the art technology, the alarm panel will often be replace and your existing devices that still work, can be programmed into the new panel. Both Wireless and Hardwired systems can be updated with a new panel and hybrid panels even exist to utilize your hardwired system while allowing you to add in new wireless technologies like a smoke detector or key chain remote. This blog post talks about using the existing equipment that is in your home.

Q. How Can a Home Security System Save Me Money?
Home security systems can even save you money. With the average loss in a break-in being over $2000, and the chances of falling victim to that going down by 300% when you install an alarm, you are possibly saving the cost of your losses. Even if a robber thinks your alarm sign is a bluff, when the alarm starts blaring, a robber will grab a wallet or laptop if it’s in sight, and run for the hills instead of spending 20 minutes roaming you home looking for more expensive loot. Your homeowner's insurance also recognizes that your chances of a loss due to theft are way lower when you have a monitored security system. They will reward you with a discount for installing a monitored alarm system and usually an additional discount for monitored smoke detectors.

Modern systems like ADT Pulse also offer your energy management options by integrating your lighting and thermostats. This gives you the opportunity to put them on a schedule instead of running all day and the ability to check them during the day and lower the thermostat or turn off the lights that got left on. This can equal substantial savings.

Q: Can I get a system for my business?
Yes, you can also have a professionally install security system  for your business and even secondary properties that you own. California Security Pro offers a $200 referral reward, refer yourself for a home system or a couple friends and cover the cost of a couple cameras in your business.

Q. Do home security systems have fire protection?
Yes! It is usually an optional product but adding fire protection to your security system is very simple and provides you with two huge benefits. 1. These smoke detectors at photo-electric or hybrid technology. Other technology has face extreme amounts of concern due to not sounding when submerged in smoke for long periods of time. Long as in long enough to burn your house down. 2. They are monitored with your security system, whether your system is armed or not. So if there is any kind of a fire, your job is to save your family and the smoke detectors will have the fire department meet you in the front yard to save your house. Read more about surviving a fire with monitored smoke detectors here.

Q. How does the mobile app work with my alarm?
The ADT Pulse mobile app has a variety of features that keep you connected to your home and to help improve your daily life. The app offers several home security features. Whether you are snuggled in bed or in the office and want to arm your security system, you can do so with the touch of a button. You can see your alarm status, check motion sensors, doors, and windows, and watch live video feeds from any security cameras you have connected. You can also use it to connect to any smart home features you have paired with your system. This means you can log on to control your lights and appliances, so you don't waste energy. This can help you save on your electric bill. You can also adjust the smart thermostat from anywhere in or away from your home. This can also conserve energy and keep your home at the temperature you want.

Q. What areas of my home will the system protect?
A home security system can protect your entire home. Your ADT monitored home security system has an array of effective monitoring devices and services that protect you in an emergency.

Perimeter Protection is your first line of defense. Contact sensors for doors and windows can be placed on primary entry doors and windows or at every opening. There is even a special sensor to cover a garage door. When these sensors are triggered while your system is armed, the alarm will sound. Security cameras can also be installed along the exterior. Like the rest of your system, the cameras can be observed and controlled remotely from anywhere that you have an Internet connection.  

Interior Protection can be in the form of motion detectors that pick up motion, but can be set to not trigger due to a pet under 80 pounds. There are also glass break sensors that detect the frequency of breaking window glass. This is helpful is an intruder doesn’t open the window but just breaks it and climbs through. A motion detector or glass break sensor will detect this type of entry. Smoke, carbon monoxide and flood detectors assist you in preventing damage or loss of life due to these hazards. Perimeter sensors can also be used inside for situations like a home office or gun safe or even a liquor cabinet. These areas might be of special concern if they are entered. Systems like ADT Pulse can text or email you that someone entered against your wishes.

Additional areas can be areas like the a side lot, a workshop, guest house or pool area. There are a plethora of options to secure all areas of your home and property. Call now for a security professional to come out for a no obligation Home Security Review at 1-800-310-9490.

Q. What Are The Main Components of an ADT Monitored Security System?

Your basic system is comprised of the following main components: 
  • Master Control Panel - The master control panel is a digital keypad for controlling your home security system. The panels' user-friendly design makes it easy to arm and disarm your system quickly, as well as adjust various settings. You also have one-touch access to police, fire, and medical dispatch.

  • Door and Window Sensors - These sensors can alert you and the monitoring team that someone or something triggered them. If your system is disarmed, your control panel will still beep if a door or window with a sensor attached is opened. If your system is armed, the entryway sensors send a signal to your keypad to activate the high-decibel alarm if someone triggers the alarm.

  • Pet Immune Motion Detector - A motion detector picks up on any movement in a given area. You can let your pets roam the house while you're out if you have a pet immune motion detector. Pets weighing under 80 pounds may walk in front of the motion sensor, even when the system is armed, without triggering it. This helps you reduce the risk that your pet triggers a false alarm.

  • Built-in Siren - If an intrusion is detected, a high-decibel siren will sound. This siren can alert you or your neighbors to a problem, as well as potentially scare away anyone who was trying to get into your home. It will also send an alert to the monitoring team, letting them know of the potential emergency. The siren sounds as well for detection of smoke, water and carbon monoxide if these sensors are present.

  • Yard Sign and Window Decals - The ADT yard sign and window decals let your neighbors, visitors, and, most importantly, potential burglars know an ADT monitored security system is helping protect your home. The National Burglar and Fire Association reports that nine out of 10 convicted burglars admitted they would avoid breaking into a home with a monitored security system.

Besides receiving these main components of your ADT monitoring Basic package, a security professional can recommend additional equipment to personalize your home security system to meet your individual needs. Our equipment page have more detailed equipment information.

Q. What type of contract length can I expect from security providers?
Alarm monitoring contracts can last from anywhere from 12 months to 60 months, but the industry standard is about 36 months. The length of the contract can often dictate the amount of your monthly payments, to an extent. Similar to cell phone contracts, you can usually get a substantial amount of money off of the upfront costs because you are promised to do business with them for a specified amount of time.

Q. What is ADT Pulse?
ADT Pulse is your one-stop source for home automation and security. With a Pulse system you have state of the art home security and an affordable home automation platform integrated into one system. You can now have your home run itself by setting automated functions like the lights coming on every day at a set time so you never arrive home to a dark house. You can also check in from anywhere you have an Internet connection and verify that the doors got locked, the system is armed and lights are off, even is that Internet connection is snuggled up in bed. See more about ADT Pulse here.

Q. Do my alarm signals go through my modem or a cellular connection?
Alarm signals go through either a land line telephone connection or a cellular unit that is independent of your cell phone. Alarm signals do not go through your modem, WiFi or home networking equipment. When selecting your monitoring plan you will decide if you prefer to use the land line or the alarm panels cellular connection.


Home Automation

Q. What is ADT Pulse with Home Automation?
ADT Pulse is ADT’s solution to home security that fits today’s active lifestyle. You can arm, disarm and control your system from anywhere you have an Internet connection. ADT Pulse is more than that - it's also home automation for your door locks, climate and light control, and video. And it's affordable, customizable and easy to use.  See here for blogs on different aspects of ADT Pulse.

Q: Do I need any special equipment for the home automation part of my system?
NO. Not special equipment, however, you will need a high speed Internet connection. All the equipment needed for home automation will be supplied by us. To access the web portion of the system and interact with the ADT Pulse system, you will need access to a computer at some point for setting up your system. Also, many of the benefits of the system come in the form of remote access. To access the system you will need a device with an Internet connection wherever you would like to access your home from. That can be a work computer, a computer in a hotel or any mobile device that accesses the Internet.

You may use a PC running Windows XP SP3, Vista or Windows 7 . Mac computer users may also use the system with OS 10.5 and later. Acceptable browsers include Explorer 7, 8 and 9 (32-/64-bit versions); Mozilla Firefox (versions 5 and 6) and Apple Safari ; as well as later versions of each browser. Other operating systems and browsers may work but with reduced performance, or with graphics and layouts that do not appear correctly.

Q: Does ADT Pulse use my home Wi-Fi network?
The Home Automation aspects of the system uses your WiFi.

Q: If ADT is connected to my broadband service, does that mean all the alarm signals go through my modem?
ADT uses broadband service only for remote control of the system, automation devices and video applications. For burglary, fire and/or carbon monoxide alarm signals, ADT uses a telephone connections or wireless cellular connections.

Q: What are the ADT approved Z-Wave-enabled devices?  
There are many ADT approved Z-wave enable devices that include touch screens, thermostats, lighting controls, garage door openers and more. See a complete list here.

Q. Can my door - locks, lights and thermostat integrate into my alarm system?
Yes, with an ADT Pulse system, not only your locks, lights and thermostat work together but your cameras as well. The Pulse system puts control of all these system at your fingertips with mobile apps as well. So feel free to have your system arm when you lock the door, or you thermostats and lights perform certain actions when you select ‘away mode.' With all your systems working together, you can monitor and adjust lights and thermostats for optimum efficiency and keep your hard earned money in your pocket. Click here for more information about adt pulse.

Q: I'm ready. How do I know if my home is ADT Pulse-ready?
ADT Pulse is designed to work with any type of home whether you live in a single family home, townhouse or a condo. To take advantage of all the features, it is suggested that you have access to a computer.


Video Surveillance and Cameras

Q: Will the camera's slow down my Internet connection or otherwise interfere with my computer?
The speed that we most commonly associate with our Internet’s ability to load pages or stream video is our download speed, or how fast the Internet gets information to us from its server. Cameras push info from your camera to a server utilizing the upload speed. Because the information is traveling in two different directions the interference has minimal effect.

Q. Can I get indoor and outdoor cameras? How are they different?
YES, ADT Pulse offers cameras that are for both outside and inside use. Inside cameras can be a book case camera that sits in a location and records but can be easily moved if you were to decide to move it. It ca also be permanently installed. Outdoor cameras are permanently installed and weatherproofed to withstand the elements outside. Outdoor cameras offer night vision to be able to record video even if it’s night time. Read a little more about cameras here.



New Homeowner Questions

Q. Will ADT's service work with my VoIP/digital phone service provider at my new house?
It is possible. When considering switching to a VOIP system, it is best to contact us directly and we can tell you the VOIP providers in your market meet the characteristics to work with ADT. An alternative is also  to select a cellular plan. 

Q. Do I need Wi-Fi for my home security system?
No. for basic home security, you do not need wi-fi. If you are looking to have home automation integrated into your system, you will need WIFI.

Q. I am purchasing a rental property, what are my options for a security system my renters and I can both monitor?
An ADT Pulse system is an excellent choice. With remote access to your system, you can keep an eye on it and control your system before it is rented out and when it is occupied, tenants can be added as users to take care of matter for themselves. With you still on the account, you could even agree to have notifications sent to you so you are still in the know for events such as fire or break

Q. Can I have my existing security system equipment monitored?
Usually, yes. Although there are a few incredibly obsolete systems out there that are not longer compatible with any modern systems, the majority of systems can be used just fine. Since we warranty the unit once we “take-over” your existing system, we will generally replace the alarm panel with a up to date panel as a part of your FREE introductory package. This assures you a system that you don’t have to worry about and a guaranteed functional unit for us to test all of your other existing devices. Your other FREE devices can be added in with your existing system whether you have a wireless system or a hardwired system in place. Read more here...


Crime Activity

Q. What happens when the alarm goes off on my home security system?
When the alarm goes off on it will trigger a high decibel alarm  in your home. If you have the 2-way voice feature on your system,  it will talk to you and verify your emergency or voice challenge an intruder to leave the premises before police arrive. When it is necessary, the monitoring station will dispatch the appropriate authorities.




Safety Tips

Q. What alarms are easy for kids to use?
Generally by the time kids are old enough to not be with their parents at all times, they are ready to use an alarm system. ADT boasts systems that are very easy to use for kids from age 2 to 112. A great option for kids is a key chain remotes to arm and disarm the system from outside the home. An ADT Pulse system is a great back-up for forgetful kids or grown-ups alike. You can check remotely if you left a door unlocked, a light on, the system not armed and more and then remedy the situation from any device with an Internet connection.

Q. Which home security system contacts authorities fastest?
Security systems use two technologies to communicate with the central monitoring station. There is the traditional connection that utilizes a land line and literally connects to the phone line and makes a phone call in to transmit signals. This can take up to 24 seconds. Other panels utilize a cellular connection that is built into the panel. Cellular connections take up to 6 seconds to connect to the monitoring station. Cellular connections do not rely on your cell phone at all. This blog talks more about the two communications.

Q. What alarm will make my home safer?
An alarm system that you use will keep your home the safest. A lot of things go into that. An alarm system should be customized to the way your family works. Your best bet on this is to have a FREE home security review with a professional security consultant that will talk to you about your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a system and guide you through the process of building your security plan for your family. Here is a blog that talks about what an on-site security review looks like.

Q. Which smoke detectors are the best?
The two types of smoke detector technologies are photo-electric and ionic. There is a lot of recent attention to Ionic smoke detectors not working with slow smouldering fires, however, ionic smoke detectors are found in about 80% of American homes. Photo-electric or hybrid detectors in your home is what is currently suggested. Having your smoke detectors monitored is a huge advantage. Monitored smoke detectors will not only sound the alarm on the smoke detectors but on the alarm panel as well (whether the system is armed or not.) This will also contact the monitoring station who will dispatch the fire department. This leaves you free to save your family and not be worried about having to call the fire department.

Monitored smoke alarms that are tied into a system like ADT Pulse can also  the lights to turn on and light a path to safety and turn off any ventilation in the home that might feed oxygen to the fire. ADT Pulse automated door locks can unlock the door for you to easily escape carrying small children or let firefighters in without you having to think about it. Check out this blog for more info.

Q. How to train my family what to do when the alarm goes off? Burglary, fire, etc?

By calling the monitoring station, you can place your system on test and set the alarm off in all the different ways to allow your family to hear the different alarms and practice or  to do for each situation. Here is a blog written with more specifics on making evacuation plans and practicing them.