Protecting Your Home During Renovations

construction-19696_1280Home renovation is an exciting and fulfilling prospect for many homeowners. Whether you’re adding on or adjusting an existing space it’s imperative to make sure your home is protected during the process. While renovating your home is rewarding for you and your family, you don’t want it to be a “rewarding” process for would-be thieves and criminals. Our experts here at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand protecting your home is a top priority, especially during a renovation when it is more vulnerable. We’ve been providing security system solutions to northern and central New Jersey homes since 1992. If you are renovating and considering a home security system or adding on to an existing one don’t hesitate to call on our professionals. Having a security systems expert involved from the get-go is essential for seamless integration and full protection. We understand the renovation process can be dubious at times, the following tips can help remove some of the hassle and uncertainty.

Hiring the right contractor

When it comes to your home and family you can never be too careful. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without doing your research first, the same holds true for finding the right contractor. A background check is a great way to tell whether or not the company you want to hire is reputable or not. Here’s the caveat, companies with bad reputations or failed business sometimes shut down and reopen under a new name (ACE Private Risk Services). So how can you really be sure of who you’re hiring? In many cases architects are involved in the renovation process, they should have good insight into which companies are trustworthy. Ask your friends and family for referrals. Use websites like Angie’s List to find out what other customers think about the contractor you’re interested in hiring. Gain as much knowledge about the company/ies of interest before making a final decision.

When signing a contract be sure it delineates who is responsible for what and that the associated cost makes sense. Sometimes contractors will low-ball the contract price and try to add cost later, blaming it on “unexpected” issues. Ask the contractor directly for a review of their past or most current jobs, those with nothing to hide should be more than happy to abide. After all it’s your home, you want it done right. It is also important from a liability standpoint to be sure the contractor has insurance for his/her self and their workers, you don’t want to incur the cost of someone being injured on the job.

Utilize existing security features

If you have an existing security system in your home, use it to keep an eye on the renovation process. Having remote monitoring access through your video surveillance system will allow you to check-in on your home while you’re away at work or can’t be there. While you’re not out to purposefully incarcerate or accuse the people working on your home of being lazy, trying to rip you off, or stealing it is in your best interest to protect your property. Many, if not most, contractors are reputable and diligent in their work, but nobody is perfect and unfortunately there are companies that do try to take advantage.

Take for example this story of a homeowner who was having the exterior caulking on his windows reinforced. The hired contractor had quoted him for 8 hours of work. The homeowner set up a wireless camera to monitor activity outside his home for when the contractor was scheduled to be working. He was able to see when the contractor arrived, and the hours he spent sitting in his truck NOT performing the agreed upon work. Ultimately, the contractor performed only 5 of the quoted 8 hours of work. When the contractor was paid for the 5 hours he couldn’t dispute it as the homeowner had irrefutable evidence (story courtesy of Negative experiences aside, monitoring your home during construction can also validate the expertise a contractor has, giving you incentive to recommend them in the future.

In all likelihood if you have an existing security system, you’ll be adding on to it in the new space or at least altering it during the renovation process. Including your security system provider from the beginning is a beneficial tactic. If you have a hardwired security system, what better time to include the security provider than when the walls are already open? It will save you from the cost of having to tear them open after the fact. Plus, your security expert/s can address your concerns before construction starts and openly communicate with the other professionals involved. Having that dialogue between the different professional services from the start will create a smoother and more productive process.

Securing the job site

Aside from hiring the right people to complete the job, you want to make sure the job site is adequately secured. One of the most basic, yet often forgotten or disregarded ways to help prevent damage or loss is to lock your doors and windows. While it may not stop someone from breaking in, it will certainly slow them down. This will help control who has access to various parts of your home during the construction process as well.

Alert your security system provider of your upcoming changes, they’ll likely have suggestions on how to protect the exposed portions of your home. Like preventing fire damage by installing temporary smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Confirm with your security system provider that your current fire alarm system will still function throughout the duration of the project. Even having your security systems expert install additional, maybe temporary, surveillance equipment will help you keep an eye on what’s going on.

Keeping the job site clean and free of unnecessary debris should be part of the construction crew’s responsibility; it makes for a safer work environment and lessens the potential of property damage and injury. It also helps prevent damage to products being used in the renovated space. You don’t want to get charged for parts your own construction crew broke, right?

It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a home renovation project, but don’t let that be a reason to let your guard down. Keep your home and family safe by doing your research and maintaining security. Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the value in protecting your home no matter what. We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to residences in central and northern New Jersey for over 20 years. Whatever you have going on, whether it’s a small renovation or substantial addition, don’t hesitate to call on our specialists for a security assessment. You’ll be setting yourself up for success!

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Protecting Your Business With Video Surveillance

Video surveillance systems can be beneficial for a number of reasons. They are often installed to prevent burglaries and vandalism, but can also be used to promote neighborhood or office safety, in addition to increasing peace of mind if used in a home environment. When installing a video surveillance system, whether it is for your home, your office, or for any other setting, there are a number of things to consider. First, you need to think about the area that you want to keep any eye on, as well as the type of surveillance system and cameras you want. All of these factors will help you to decide what kind of system is best for your situation.

The first question you want to consider is how many cameras do you think that you will need? Think about the size of the property you are looking to protect, and the perspective that a camera will you give you in various locations. Additionally, you need to consider what the areas are that you want to cover. If there are outdoor areas, you need cameras that can stand up to weather, whereas for an indoor setting you would not need to look for weatherproof options, which can often be more expensive. You also need to consider the time of day that you will be using your system: daytime, nighttime, or both. All of these factors play will play into your decision about what kind of camera you will need.

Security Camera

After deciding what types of cameras you need for your space, you will want to think about the specific places that you want to have your cameras to be that will give you the best and widest ranges of visibility. These places will likely be at entrances and exits to the building, near garage doors, and by exterior or unattached buildings. If the video surveillance system is for a place of business, you will likely want to consider what areas typically have high traffic, and target these areas for camera installation.

Something else to consider when thinking about a video surveillance system is how you want to set up your data storage system. There are many options where you can save video footage onto a hard drive, and other options that save to this data into a cloud for storage. Along with this you will want to consider how much storage you think you will need. This will depend on two factors that affect the amount of data your system will use: both the quality of videos, and how long you plan to save video footage for. One final thing to consider is whether you will want to have access to a camera’s live feed, or if you will only want to be able to go back and look at footage when necessary. This will also contribute to the amount of storage space you’ll need, as well as help you to determine if your system will need the capability to connect to the Internet. This will also help you to determine if you want to have an analog camera, or an IP camera.

Once you have thought through this criteria and made decisions about what you think will work best for you and your space, you will be ready to look for a video surveillance system!

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image credit: Ricco Security

Home Security Myths Debunked

A home is so much more than a physical structure that you reside in. It’s where you have lazy Sunday breakfast with your spouse and kids. It’s where you enjoy a cup of hot coffee on your back porch. It’s where you read bedtime stories to your children and tuck them in at night. It’s where you might keep precious assets. It’s where you and your family live life to its fullest. How and what are you doing to protect all of that? Odds are, if you haven’t already installed a home security system, you’ve at least thought about it at one time or another. So what has been preventing you from taking the plunge? Well, like many homeowners you’ve probably convinced yourself or been falsely informed that you don’t need a comprehensive security system. There are a vast array of myths and misconceptions about home security systems, and you will learn why and how they are simply untrue.

My home is in a safe neighborhood, nothing bad could happen here.

Yes, we would all love to believe that we live in a Utopian society where everyone Fingerprint & broken glass-West Midlands Policecontributes, gets along, and the sun is always shining, right? Unfortunately, just as the weather is unpredictable, so is human nature. Criminals don’t care if your neighborhood is considered safe, if they see vulnerability, they see opportunity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your home is safe because of your surroundings. Statistically, 88% of all burglaries happen residentially, 86% happen when someone is home. Don’t wait for something tragic to happen. Take initiative and contact a trusted home security systems specialist at Perfect Connections, Inc. before it’s too late.

I don’t own anything a burglar/intruder would want.

While it may be true that you don’t own expensive valuable items, or have wads of cash lying around, burglars/intruders aren’t always after your jewelry or money. Whatever the intentions of a criminal, you have to assume if they are breaking into your home, they’re after something. Even if they don’t steal something of monetary value, they might accidentally grab something that is irreplaceable and of emotional significance, or worse, cause harm to you or a family member. According to, “1 in 3 homes without a security system will fall victim to a burglary as compared to 1 in 250 homes that do have a security system.” Don’t presume to know what criminals are after, protect what matters most with a comprehensive security system solution.

Security systems don’t work and are too expensive.

Thinking your security system is going to act like an impenetrable force field that will deflect potential intruders or criminal behavior is just not realistic. Neither is believing a comprehensive security system won’t do anything for your home and your family, or that it’s too costly. The cost in damages from a burglary can be far more financially draining than the cost of a comprehensive security system with alarm monitoring. Never mind the emotional toll it can take on you and your family.

Luckily, the evolution of security systems has allowed professionals to offer a wider range of economic solutions to fit your budget. You can actually save money by installing a home security system; many home insurance providers offer discounts for doing so. Beware of security systems companies that lowball their price quotes, odds are you’ll end up being just a number in a sea of inadequately protected customers. Watch out for companies that offer you an “accurate” quote over the phone, how can they asses your home’s needs if they’ve never been there? A full home security assessment should be done in person by a licensed specialist, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Security systems have been proven to deter intruders, in fact the Electronic Security Association’s “Home Safety Fast Facts” report indicates 9 out of 10 burglars purposefully avoid homes with security systems. Thinking that security systems don’t work fast enough is inaccurate. Some systems alert the authorities within 45 seconds, and if a patrol car is in the area, the likelihood of the perpetrator being caught is higher. Even if a burglar were to get into your home, the second your alarm goes off, the sound and attention will typically drive your intruder away.

My home is not built to accept a security system.

Old home-Brad ClinesmithMaybe you live in an old Colonial or Victorian house where the walls are solid and accessibility throughout the home is challenging. You might assume the construction of your home wouldn’t allow the installation of a home security system because it would require extensive drilling and/or remodeling. In the past there might have been a tinge of truth to that assumption, however, today many if not most systems are or have wireless capabilities. Not only is a wireless system convenient in older homes, or any home for that matter, but it’s aesthetically more pleasing as it eliminates any loose or dangling wires. What if a burglar were to cut phone and power lines? According to, “With wireless phone and internet technology combined with battery and backup generator support, you can expect your security system to be up and running under the worst conditions.”

My pets will set off false alarms, besides they’re like built-in security units.

While a barking dog can make a potential intruder run in the opposite direction, they can’t always differentiate between a threat and a familiarity, never mind the fact they can’t contact emergency services. Pets may not alert you if they recognize the intruder, for example, someone who had previously done work in your home. A comprehensive security system does not discriminate, if a window is broken, the alarm goes off. If the door is kicked in, the alarm will sound and the authorities will be notified, giving you and your family time to get to a safe place.

Worrying your pets will sound a false alarm is less of concern with todays’ advanced motion detectors. The detectors that are pet friendly are set to pick up motion from objects over a certain weight. This decreases the chances of a false alarm, and you don’t have to fret about your pets wandering around your home.

All security systems are the same and they’re too complicated.

Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each security systems company will have different products, procedures, and policies. Your security systems professional should be able to customize a comprehensive system that suits the individual needs of your home. Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution. As far as systems being too complicated, technological advancements have simplified user interfaces making them easier to operate. Many systems utilize graphic touch screen controls that provide step by step instructions.

It’s important to do your homework and shop around to figure out which company best suits your needs. Put your trust in companies with a proven customer retention record and a history of experience like Perfect Connections, Inc. We have 98% Customer Loyalty Rating, and have been providing security system services to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.


Image Credits: Image #1 by West Midlands Police-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Brad Clinesmith-Flickr-Creative Commons,



IT Security Tips For Your Alarm System

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a recent news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

Maintaining Your Alarm System

So you bought an alarm system, what kind of maintenance and service should you do?

Really, not much. It should work flawlessly for quite some time. The first thing to go will be batteries. All systems will have to have their system battery replaced after 3 to 5 years. When the battery is low, the keypad will notify you as will the central station. The batteries for most alarm systems in service today are 12 volt and 4 to 7 amp hour. Newer graphic self-contained systems have different smaller batteries, the 2Gig GO! Control has a 7.2 volt back up battery. All batteries should give you 24 hour back up. It is not a bad idea to schedule replacement of your battery every 3 years to preempt any possible issues.

If you have a wireless alarm system, you will also need to replace the batteries in the various devices such as door and window transmitters, wireless motion detectors, wireless glass break detectors, wireless carbon monoxide detectors, wireless smoke detectors, key fobs, panic buttons, and other wireless devices. Most of the new devices use lithium batteries, from CR123 3 Volt lithium batteries to lithium watch sized batteries. The smaller the device, the smaller the battery. Typically the bigger batteries last longer, 3 years plus, while the watch type batteries last 2 years plus. Devices that are used most often, like entry doors, drain quicker. On the newer systems, the keypad tells you which transmitter has a low battery, making replacement easy.

Make sure your alarm company shows you how to change the batteries during the installation. You should also get a list of the batteries required for all the various devices you have so you don’t have to scramble to find out when they are low. If you choose not to replace your own batteries, the alarm company should be happy to replace them for you.

Older systems use typical alkaline batteries, 9 volt, AAA and AA are common. These need to be replaced more often. Many older systems don’t tell you when the batteries are low so regular replacement is necessary.

Other than changing batteries, not much else is necessary. Make sure devices such as motion detectors and smoke detectors are clear of spider webs and that’s about it.

If installed and programmed correctly, your alarm system should monitor all parts and devices on the system, as well as services it is connected to, like power, telephone, and cellular. If any of these systems go down, your alarm system should alert you to that fact. The first reaction is to think that there is something wrong with your alarm system, when in reality it is working correctly. It is supposed to tell you when it is compromised when a service it relies on is not working properly.

Even though the system monitors itself, testing the alarm system is something that you should regularly do. You depend on your alarm system and you should make sure that it is working properly all the time. The best way to test the system is as follows: Call the central station and put the system on test. Arm the system and then trip a zone. Reset the alarm and then call the central station to make sure they received the right signal. Next week put it back on test and trip the next zone. Go clockwise around your house and you will eventually check all your devices and then start again. It is worth the effort to protect your home and family.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962 or simply click the link below.