Be Prepared: Home Fire Safety Tips

Fire-Ada BeHouse fires.  Nobody wants to think about them, but they are an unfortunate reality in our imperfect world.  While a house fire can be unpredictable there are precautionary measures you can take to avoid them.  Being prepared is half the battle, but knowing what to do in the event of a fire is equally important.

Part of being prepared is having the proper equipment and warning devices.  This means having operating smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, a fire alarm, and sometimes a sprinkler system.  Most single family homes are not required by law to have a sprinkler or fire suppression system, but that may not last as the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is currently pushing for sprinkler legislation across the United States.  As a leading expert in the security system industry our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. realize having a truly comprehensive home security system means including fire detection equipment that is linked to an alarm system.  We have been providing home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our team understands that security is not solely about preventing break-ins, it’s about protecting lives.

Being Prepared

According to the NFPA firefighters responded to 370,000 home fires in 2011.  These fires caused injuries, deaths, and costly damages.  The main culprits of these fires were cooking followed by heating equipment and smoking.  Of the reported home fire related deaths between 2007 and 2011, 60% of the homes either didn’t have smoke detectors or had non-working detectors.  This is a problem, what good is a detector if it’s not working or been removed?

The best way to manage a household fire is be prepared for one.  Being prepared includes having the proper warning system, up to date fire extinguishers, and most importantly an escape plan.  Having an escape plan that everyone knows and has practiced will help ensure a safer and quicker exit in the event of a fire.  Every house should have working smoke detectors throughout each floor of the home and they should be tested regularly.  Smoke detectors can be even more effective if they are tied into your homes security system.  If you have a home security system you likely have a monitoring service that responds in the event of an emergency.  In the event of a fire, detectors that are tied into an alarm system will trigger the alarm and if the alarm is not deactivated by the owner, the monitoring service will be notified automatically.  The monitoring service will try to contact the house and if no one answers after a given amount of time they will dispatch local emergency crews.  This type of system ensures a quicker response from local authorities and saves you and your family precious time needed to escape.

Fire Types

Understanding the different types of house fires can help you prevent or know how to extinguish them.  One of the most common causes of house fires is from cooking related incidents.  According to the NFPA two out of every five home fires started in the kitchen.  In a way this makes a lot of sense.  Think about it, kitchens are where you cook with high heat, ovens, gas or electric ranges, grease, and flammable materials.  It is of the utmost importance to be vigilant of what is going on in your kitchen.  If you have pots on the stove, do not leave them unattended the same for items in the oven.  Never leave flammable or combustible materials where they can be exposed to flames or high heat.

Electrical fires are another leading cause of house fires.  Homes with electrical heating need to be conscious of what materials are up against or close to heaters, all it takes is one dangling curtain to catch fire.  This is especially true for people who use space heaters.  It’s tempting to bring that space heater right up to your bed on those cold winter nights, but they need to be kept a safe distance, which is about 3 feet, from anything combustible and that includes bed sheets.  Space heaters should always be unplugged when not in use to avoid any electrical malfunctions and they should never be left on overnight.  Other culprits of electrical fires include dryers, washing machines, water heaters, air conditioning machines, and ranges.

Fires related to smoking incidents are another major cause of injury and fire related deaths in the United States.  Although the amount of people who smoke in the United States has decreased in the past decade the fact remains between 2007 and 2011 smoking materials were responsible for approximately 17,900 house fires.  During this time period 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries, and $509 million in property damage per year was attributed to smoking related fires.  Many of these fires included falling asleep as a factor.  It’s devastating that such disaster has taken place when this type of fire is completely preventable by not smoking.

While you can’t always predict or prevent house fires from occurring you can be prepared for them.  And even though the first thing you should always do in the event of a fire is call 911 here’s a helpful link that describes how to extinguish different types of house fires Different Ways To Extinguish Different Fires.  Having a comprehensive security system that includes a monitored fire alarm and connected smoke detectors can significantly decrease the damaging effects of a house fire.  It can save you time, money, and most importantly lives.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We want to help you connect and protect what matters most.

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: Image by Ada Be-Flickr-Creative Commons

Can A Security System Save You Money On Home Insurance?

As a homeowner, you have no doubt invested precious time and money with realtors, bankers, maybe lawyers, even architects and contractors. All in an effort to secure the home of your dreams. Now that you have it, the wallet and purse draining may seem never ending. As a first time home buyer or builder, you probably do not have all of the necessary tools and home accents of a fully functioning domicile. You’ll probably need to purchase the essentials, a lawnmower, some furniture, a basic tool kit, and appliances like a refrigerator and a washer/dryer. Needless to say, these items do not come cheap.Money-401kcalculator.org

In addition to the essential purchases, you’re home security is a top priority. You’ve moved in, you have the keys, well what if all of your new neighbors also have keys? It’s not uncommon for neighbors to exchange a set of keys, and since you don’t know the neighbors yet, changing your locks should be step number one. In fact, according to Zillow.com you should assume that, “everyone and his brother has a set of keys to your new home.”

Realizing your home is potentially compromised, you change your locks. Great! You’ve taken the first step in protecting what matters most. However, a simple lock and key may not cut it when it comes to home security. Having a comprehensive security system installed will not only help prevent catastrophe, it could save you money. If you’re considering a home security system, be sure to hire a licensed and insured specialist like Perfect Connections, Inc. Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we can guide you through the subtle nuances of a comprehensive security system from customizing features to final installation.

How can a security system SAVE you money?

Besides the more obvious savings that come with a security system, like fire and burglary prevention, you can actually save on your homeowners insurance. Wait, insurance companies offer discounts? Yes they do! In all likelihood, during the process of buying your home you’ve signed for a home insurance policy. Most mortgage lenders won’t let you sign for a house until you have an insurance policy in place, or are working on obtaining one. According to Peter G. Miller for realtor.com, even if you own the house outright, sans mortgage, insurance is still a smart investment as it will help protect you and your family from financial disaster if something were to happen to your home.

Insurance Definition-Alan CleaverJust how much can you save by installing a security system? The answer to this question varies, it all depends on your insurance provider and the state you reside in. Although each company has a different policy, the average savings can be up to 20% (Erin Raub for safesoundfamily.com). Each company will likely have different discount/credit or premium reduction qualifications. Your best bet is to call your policy provider and ask specific questions, especially if you’re at the beginning stages of choosing a security system. There will be different discounts for various security features. For example, your discount/credit will be less if you only have local fire alarms and dead bolts versus a comprehensive monitored alarm system. Nick DiUlio for insurancequotes.com references Michael Barry from the Insurance Information Institute, citing that, “homeowners typically can expect discounts of at least 5 percent for smoke detectors, burglar alarms or deadbolt locks. For more advanced alarm systems that report directly to a police station, fire department or other monitoring stations,some companies may cut premiums by as much as 15 percent or 20 percent.” This type of discount may also be available to renters.

Here is a list (in no particular order) of some insurance companies that offer home security discounts/credits:

Aside from the cost of a security system, and the installation, you will be paying a monthly monitoring fee which can range anywhere from $25-50. Over the span of a year this will cost you between $300-600. How does this compare with the cost of insurance? According to homesecuritysystems.info the average homeowner will spend between $1,200-1,500/year on insurance premiums. If your insurer offers a discount on the high end, up to 20%, you could save up to $300/year. Keep in mind the fact that every time you make a claim, your premium is likely to go up. Installing a security system can help you avoid having to make claims by protecting your home and its contents.

As long as you own your security system you will save on insurance. Even if the initial cost of a security system may seem substantial, it typically ends up paying off in the end. Whether it’s preventing an attempted burglary or lowering your yearly insurance costs, a security system is a sound investment.

For more information on security systems and their features go to Perfect Connections, Inc. We’ve been providing security systems solutions to Central and Northern New Jersey since 1992. Needless to say, we know a thing or two about home security applications, and their benefits.

If you live 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 Credits: Image #1 by 401kcalculator.org-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Alan Cleaver-Flickr-Creative Commons

What Is The Internet Of Things?

Jonathan Briggs-Network CableOur world is constantly changing and evolving. Progression is an inevitable force that influences the way we live our daily lives. This is especially true of advancements made in the techy devices we interact with on a daily basis. Everything from our smartphones to our security systems. It’s the manner in how we interact with all of these devices that is driving innovation and product design. The internet and networking of devices is creating a connected environment that offers ultimate convenience and changes how we perceive the potential of security systems.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators provide comprehensive security systems to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey. We believe in installing quality systems that are in line with the best technological advancements the market has to offer. This doesn’t mean we use the trendiest devices for the sake of being “trendy,” it means evaluating current products that will add value and provide a platform for future adaptation. With the Internet of Things (IoT) it’s imperative to implement devices that are not only relevant but can stand the test of time, within reason.

The definition of the IoT can be summed up as, “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing internet infrastructure without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” This means devices that are able to “talk” to one another via an internet connection without third part interference. An example would be a motion detector that automatically uploads a video clip to an authorized smartphone when it senses movement. The IoT is influencing changes in security system components like video cameras, access controls, recording equipment, fire and burglar alarms, locks, and monitoring services. The devices themselves are evolving but so is the manner in which end users and system operators interact with them.

A higher level of remote connectivity to security systems and their components is a result of the IoT. End-users can now login to security systems and their devices via an app on their mobile device. This would allow the business owner who is away on vacation to periodically check-in on the day-to-day by logging into their surveillance system on their smartphone. The homeowner who forgot to lock their doors and arm their system can now do so remotely via a mobile device or computer. Automated notifications can be setup to send an alert when an alarm is triggered, someone tries to gain entry without proper access credentials, when a camera or motion detector capture movement within their range; the possibilities are extensive and continue to be developed.

According to Steve Hausman, president of Hausman Technology Keynotes, we are still at the beginning of the “IoT revolution.” Some research suggest by the year 2020 there will be over 30 billion wirelessly connected devices in operation. With everything becoming more and more connected one has to wonder, what are the risks? In this highly connected world, there is a plethora of data being recorded, stored, and shared but who has access and rights to this data? Therein lies the problem.

As with anything connected to the internet, the risk of being hacked or stolen is inherent. In the security world this would be a problem for IP cameras, cloud storage and recording solutions, networked access controls, and basically anything running on or connected to an internet network. With that in mind, industry professionals and developers are continuously working on solutions to prevent and minimize vulnerability.

Hausman says, “Security standards need to be established and enforced at the design and manufacturing levels. As the IoT evolves, we can also expect that society will not only adapt to its usefulness but come to expect that appropriate safeguards be implemented to ensure both privacy and security.” Today, those “safeguards” are being provided by licensed security integrators who understand the risks associated with system automation and the IoT. Often times this means strong encryptions for not only the network, but the connected devices as well.

The IoT isn’t something that’s going to disappear. Its presence in the security industry will continue to shape the way manufacturers develop products and how they are implemented by security integrators. As licensed professionals our integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. provide comprehensive security system solutions to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey, and have been doing so for the past 23 years. Our team has witnessed decades of advancements in the industry. We realize it is our duty to continue our own education as well as offer knowledge to our customers when implementing new technologies and component counterparts.

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: Image by Jonathan Briggs-Flickr-Creative Commons

What Is A Smart Home?

Home Automation Image-PC websiteWhen it comes to home security systems, you may have heard the phrase “interactive services.” You may have even heard the terms “home automation,” “connected home,” and “smart house.” What do they all mean, and how are they related to home security? They’re meanings are essentially the same, and in relation to security, they describe the ability to remotely interact with, and access, devices in your home by means of a mobile device or computer. If you have a comprehensive home security system, you likely have cameras, motion detectors, door and window sensors, fire and carbon monoxide detectors that communicate with a central control panel located in your home. Being able to connect and interact with these security features from a remote location is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. Cameras and motion detectors aren’t the only devices you can access from afar. Imagine being able to adjust the temperature in your home before you get there, or turning lights on and off, even opening or closing your garage door. In partnering with Alarm.com, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing these interactive service options to homes in Central and Northern New Jersey for years. Our team of licensed professionals can help you customize a security system that will connect you to the inner, and sometimes outer, workings of your home.

How Does It Work?

First, you have a home security system installed with all of the sensors, cameras, and detectors that you and your security systems specialist customized. In order to access the full functions of your remote services you must have an interactive service plan with a company like Alarm.com. After that, you simply download their app on your tablet, smartphone, computer, or other mobile device, and you’ll have total home control at the tips of your fingers.

There are basically two ways a home can become “connected.” Wireless or hardwired. The trends of our progressive society tend to make everything more technological, therefore, many security systems are being installed wirelessly with cellular backup. This eliminates the need to cut holes in walls and have dangling or exposed wires. Wireless technology is particularly favorable if you own an older home where breaking open walls isn’t an option. The same technology that works for our cellphones and Bluetooth devices can now be implemented in the home. More and more homeowners are leaving landlines in the past and switching to cellular devices anyway, making the connected home a smoother integration. A hardwired system does required cabling, however, it has been in use for a longer period of time, and proven to work. Some home automation systems use a combination of both wireless and hardwired technologies. To determine what type of system is right for your home, hiring a professional to perform a full assessment is your best bet.

What Are The Capabilities?

Home Automation-from our websiteDepending on how many, and what kind of devices are connected to your system, your operating choices are seemingly endless. By using the mobile app, you can gain access to the security cameras inside and outside your home to see what is happening throughout the day. Certain motion detectors can be set up to send you snap shots of specific areas and activity in your home. Your system can be set up to notify you when you kids arrive home from school, if you’re not able to be there. The ability to adjust your thermostat and turn lights on and off is a common feature. Check-in on loved ones and/or pets throughout the day. Having interactive services as part of your comprehensive security system will alert local authorities to any disturbances at your home while simultaneously alerting you on your mobile device.

Why Is It Beneficial?

Controlling and accessing various devices in your or a loved one’s home is advantageous for a multitude of reasons. One of the most obvious benefits is that it provides peace of mind on a constant basis, knowing you’ll instantly be notified of what matters most to you. Being able to remotely adjust your thermostat and turn lights on and off will lower your utilities bill and inadvertently help you waste less energy. Remote access is extremely convenient, you have control in the palm of your hand at all times, as long as your device is charged. Having remote capabilities will save you time by not having to rush home last minute to adjust appliances or unlock doors for pet sitters, family members, or scheduled visitors. With services provided by Alarm.com alerts and access don’t have to stop even when your system is unarmed. The functions of your home become more efficient.

Utilizing a connected home system is a great way to help your loved ones maintain their independence, but also ensure their safety. Specific features allow you to make sure a family member is moving throughout the day, not leaving potentially dangerous appliances on, and you can activate or deactivate their alarm system for them if they forget. Maybe a family member uses an emergency response pendant (like Life Alert) which requires them to take action. But what if they can’t? Services provided by Alarm.com simplify their life and yours by not requiring personal action in case of an emergency. It’s a non-invasive approach to protect your family.

Whether you’re considering the Connected Home for the first time or it has been on your to do list for a while, don’t hesitate, contact the security professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. for an in home assessment. Our team knows the safety of your home is paramount in the protection of your family. We have been providing service to Northern and Central New Jersey for decades, so you can be confident in our security knowledge and expertise.

If you live 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.

Wired Or Wireless?

Wires-Windell OskayThe process of researching home security systems can seem daunting. There are many factors you must take into consideration. You have to choose which company you trust to perform the work, how much you’re willing to spend, and what type of system to have installed, to name a few. The type of system you opt for can seem like a tricky decision, that’s why it is imperative to hire a licensed security professional to advise you on the best solution for your home. There are two types of systems in terms of how they are installed, hardwired and wireless. Sometimes a combination of both are implemented, it really depends on your specific needs. Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide security system solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey, and can assess an individual homeowners needs for either a hardwired or wireless installation.

According to safewise.com, “The network of sensors, plus the control panel, make up a self-contained system that may be wired or wireless.” So what’s the difference between hardwired and wireless? A hardwired system involves installing physical wires from the various alarm components (i.e. motion detectors, sensors, etc) to the central control panel. The wires are typically hidden behind walls, which is why it’s beneficial to install this type of system in the construction phase of a home, if possible. According to asecurelife.com, “most older home alarm systems rely on hard wiring where most new systems are gravitating towards wireless or hybrid alarm systems.”

A wireless system relies on radio frequencies to transmit and receive signals between the alarm devices and the control panel; kind of like how a cell phone works. In fact, one of the major benefits of a wireless system is you have the ability to remotely control different aspects of your home via your mobile phone/device. A hardwired system may require a landline to communicate with the monitoring service, whereas a wireless system doesn’t. In this day and age, many homeowners are moving away from landlines all together, making a wireless system almost an indisputable choice. An interesting article about the seaside New Jersey town of Mantokoling describes how the phone lines destroyed by Hurricane Sandy were not rebuilt at all. Instead a wireless option was offered by Verizon. Whether by choice or natural causes, wireless technology seems to be the trend of the future.

While the decision between wireless or hardwired might seem difficult, a specialist will be able to help you figure it out, and in some cases you may not have to choose; it might be dictated by the structure of your home or the area you live in. Hiring an expert will not only save you time and aggravation, but provide you with a peace of mind knowing your system is appropriate for your home and that it was installed correctly. If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey, don’t hesitate to contact our team of licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc.. We’ve been providing residential security systems services for the past 22 years. Our team is knowledgeable about the systems we install and the ever changing technology in the security systems industry.

Check out this brief list of the pros and cons of hardwired and wireless systems:

Hardwired Security System

Pros:

  • It’s a reliable system
  • Can be integrated seamlessly with new construction projects
  • They typically have backup batteries in case of power outages
  • Hardwired systems are less susceptible to electrical interferences from other devices
  • Alarm will sound if any wiring is cut
  • Will likely be installed by a licensed professional ensuring smoother integration

Cons:

  • Can sometimes be more expensive
  • May require tougher installation (drilling holes in walls etc.)
  • Makes relocation of system devices more difficult
  • Typically have longer more intensive installation
  • Can’t bring the system with you when/if you move

Wireless Security System

Pros:

  • Installation is fairly easy and quick
  • Devices can easily be moved, replaced, or updated
  • Can control parts of your home remotely from your mobile device (thermostats, lighting, etc.)
  • System maintenance is typically easy, in most cases systems will require battery replacement
  • Device software can be updated as it evolves
  • May be a more economical system
  • Devices are portable, making moving less of an issue

Cons:

  • Can sometimes be interfered with by exterior electronic devices (baby monitors, microwaves etc.)
  • Can sometimes be more susceptible to interference than a hardwired system
  • Technology evolves quickly making installed devices obsolete quicker
  • Devices can sometimes have sensory issues
  • Structural interferences can be an issue (brick walls, old construction etc.)

If you live 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 Credits: Image by Winell Oskay-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Do Criminals Break Into A Home?

home-alone-marv & harryWhen you’re a homeowner one of your top priorities is ensuring the safety of your home. Your home is what protects you and your family. Nobody wants to deal with a home break-in but they are a sad reality in our everyday lives. Fortunately there are many ways you can safeguard your home from such devastation. The best way to deter crime is to be prepared for it. If you want to prevent a home invasion you must first understand how and when burglars are likely to attempt them. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of highly skilled professionals can assess the security risks specific to your home to help you avoid break-ins and other disasters. We have been providing security system services to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. Our experts assess the security risks of an individual home and come up with a customized security system solution to fit its specific needs.

What are some of the most common break-in methods used by criminals? Have you ever heard of the path of least resistance? That’s usually the route they will take when it comes to breaking into homes. There are many factors that can make their job easier, and you might be unknowingly aiding their attempts. Leaving windows and doors unlocked or open are a surprisingly common way burglars get into homes. In fact 30 percent of burglars enter homes without having to use force. Spare keys left in indiscrete locations are another favorite of the home invader. It’s tempting to have a spare key for family members or friends, but if you’re going to do so don’t leave it under the door mat or in other obvious and easily accessed spots.

Some crooks will walk right up to your front door, ring the bell, and if you answer they will pretend to be selling something. They’ll probably make up a bogus story about who they work for. Whatever you do, do not let them in and ask for identification or find the company number to call and verify their identity. Do not use a number they provide as it could be a ruse. When they’re putting on this act they’re trying to get a better view into your home to see if you might have a security system and what goodies they might come back for.

Sometimes criminals will ring the doorbell and if no one answers they might go to the back of the house to try to enter through a back door or window. Even if the doors and windows are locked burglars often carry tools like crowbars to aid their break-ins. However, if it takes them longer than a minute to get in they’ll likely move on to the next target. The harder you can make it for someone to break-in the better.

How can you make it harder or less appealing for criminals to break-in to your home? One of the best lines of defense is installing a comprehensive home security system. Burglars are less likely to attempt a break-in if the targeted house has a security system, it gives them less time to escape and a higher chance of being caught. In fact 90 percent of convicted burglars said they would avoid homes with alarm systems. Keeping vegetation trimmed is important in preventing a break-in. Burglars often use unkempt bushes, trees, or flora close to the home as hiding spots where they can sit and wait for an opportune moment.

Lighting is a great deterrent as well. Motion activated exterior lights are helpful because they somewhat eliminate the sneaky element by exposing whatever moves in their path. Using light timers or home automation to control your interior lights will help prevent an intruder from attempting a break-in. It’ll help create the illusion that someone is home even if they aren’t and burglars tend to avoid break-in attempts if someone is there. Installing deadbolts is another way to at least slow down an attempted break-in. Having a single door knob lock leaves you vulnerable to thieves who use things like bump keys. Bump keys are essentially master keys used by locks smiths, they can supposedly open up to 90 percent of traditional locks.

With a burglary occurring every 15 seconds in the United States, you can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your home. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts provide customized comprehensive security systems that fit your specific needs. It’s not just about protecting the physical property, it’s about protecting that peace of mind that is so hard to get back after a break-in. Don’t fall victim to the mentality that it could never happen in your neighborhood, no community is immune. Instead be prepared and don’t be a victim.

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: Image by Dexter Company-Google-Creative Commons

Wireless Locks For Your Home

Alan Cleaver-Key in doorLast week in our blog, we wrote about how your cell phone could be your key at your business. Now, we’d like to tell you how it could work for your home too!

The days of struggling to carry 50 pounds of groceries while simultaneously trying to dig your house keys out of your pocket or purse, might be coming to an end. As a homeowner your door locks have always been an essential line of defense when it comes to protecting your home. While our everyday lives are saturated with technological advancement, it only makes sense that our physical structures should follow suit. That being said, using a key to unlock your doors may be a thing of the past with wireless access control on the rise.

What is wireless access control? Essentially, wireless access control in a residential setting means replacing the standard lock and key with a keypad, remote control, biometric reader, card reader, or Wi-Fi access. Keys are no longer the only method for unlocking your doors, in fact, they become the back-up. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed experts have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We stay in touch with current technologies and how they might benefit our customers. Protecting entrances is key (no pun intended) to the safety and security of any home, and we aim to provide the best solutions to each individual residence.

How does a wireless lock work? Most traditional locks operate on some form of a “pin and tumbler” method. This is when the serrated edge of an inserted key moves pins on the interior of the lock a certain distance allowing you turn the lock cylinder and open the door. With a wireless lock (which typically operates on electricity or battery power) has “actuators,” which connect the cylinder or bolt to a motor within the door or frame. The motor is electrically activated by a keypad, card reader, or wireless remote controller. On top of that there are locks that work on Wi-Fi signals used in conjunction with your smartphone or mobile device, sometimes referred to as smart or automated locks. Lastly, biometrics are sometimes used to control home access. Typically a fingerprint or hand print is the credential required for such a system.

There are many advantages to a wireless locking system. For one, you never have to worry about losing or forgetting your keys. This eliminates having to leave spare keys outside or giving them to people who need access to your home. Instead of using a key you can, depending on the type of wireless lock, give your visitor the access code or with an automated system you can unlock the door from your smartphone. With a wireless lock there are no wires. Typically this means an easier and seamless installation. It’s a technology that would allow for a more ubiquitous integration that includes old and new construction homes. Wireless locks offer a convenience and extra layer of security you can’t get from a standard door lock.

While there are multiple benefits to a wireless locking system, none of them are perfect. With a regular lock you might lose your keys, with a wireless keypad lock you could forget your access code or the code could be hacked by a savvy burglar. Fortunately, if you forget your code many keypad locks come with a physical key as a backup. As for code hacking, it’s usually best practice to pick a random code, so don’t use a birthday or something easily guessed. It’s also prudent- and some systems may require it anyway-to change the code every few months or after you’ve let an outsider use it.

The main drawback with a remote controlled lock is, just as with keys, you could lose the remote. Unlike keys, a remote is usually programed by a computer. Therefore, in the event that you lose the remote you can deactivate it from the convenience of a computer. With a smart or automated lock you run into the issue of not always having a reliable Wi-Fi signal. Then there’s the dreaded question of what happens when the power goes out? As some of the wireless locks run on electricity, a power outage could be an issue. However, many of these locks tend to have multiple redundancies in place including backup battery power. The main deterrent when it comes to biometric locks is the price as they tend to be a fairly complex system that isn’t as pervasive in the residential market as the other technologies.

Whether you are building a new home or want to enhance the security of your current residence, wireless locks can reinforce your first line of defense and provide a convenience you can’t obtain with conventional locks. As with any security device or installation you should always consult a licensed security systems professional, especially if you’re looking for full system integration. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. We help you connect and protect what matters most, offering a peace of mind you can’t get from anything else.

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: Image by Alan Cleaver-Flickr-Creative Commons

Home Automation and Z-Wave Technology

Smart home AccessIn the wake of home automation, smart home, or connected home technology you may have come across the term Z-Wave technology. What is it? Z-Wave technology is, “a wireless technology that makes regular household products, like lights, door locks and thermostats ‘smart’.” It’s what allows your home devices to “talk” to each other and be controlled remotely via your mobile device. Why is this important? Well, if you have home automation or been considering it, it’s all about ease of integration, flexibility, and interoperability. Home automation and its perspective devices are an integral part of a comprehensive home security system. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive home security solutions for the past 23 years. We believe in making your life easier and more convenient by providing technologies that not only operate effectively but help provide superior protection.

Having strong communication between devices is crucial to the efficacy of your system. It seems Z-Wave technology has the majority grip on the market as it stand today, one of the main reasons being it boasts communication capabilities for more than 1,100 products from over 300 different manufacturers. This is beneficial to integrators and end-users alike. The quantity of smart products that operate on Z-Wave technology opens the door to highly flexible smart home applications. This means you can outfit your entire house with automation devices that can be controlled from your central control panel or a single application on your mobile device versus having to control devices piecemeal because they don’t operate on the same technology.

According to Mark Walters, chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance, “…greater than 80 percent of the North American security company-based lifestyle solutions are powered by Z-Wave.” The wide breadth of automation product availability within the Z-Wave family provides immense system scalability for homeowners and integrators. Meaning your initial product installations are not finite. Security and automation devices can be added on an as needed basis. For example, you may start with automated door locks, lighting, and garage door control but you may find that with time your needs expand to temperature management, skylight controls, and/or guarding against potential water damage; it’s always nice to only have to go through the installation process once, but it’s comforting to know you have options after the fact. While most homeowners rely on the experts to properly install devices in their home, the range of Z-Wave technology products does open the door to a more DIY approach. However, it is important to note that it is always wise to consult a licensed security system integrator to ensure proper product installation and operation. This technology also provides an open platform for integrators and consumers who prefer products from a specific manufacturer, making it easier to get exactly what you want.

What about existing household technologies, will they be affected by Z-Wave home automation devices? Today our lives are inundated with technology, your home probably has a slew of devices that operate on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The potential issue with a house full of devices operating simultaneously is the communication disruption they can incur on one another. Luckily with Z-Wave technology you don’t have to worry about interference with or from other household devices. Its operational capabilities were designed specifically for home control. It’s a low energy consumption, bandwidth efficient technology that won’t inhibit other home devices. Z-Wave technology also has a vast international presence throughout Europe further expanding their territory for consistency, device compatibility, and home automation integration.

Home automation is a facet of comprehensive security systems that improves a homeowners posture in security. It is meant to improve lives through convenience and seamless integration. With home automation you can turn lights on and off remotely with the tap of your finger on your mobile device. You can arm or disarm your alarm system while on vacation. You can monitor an aging loved one who wants to maintain a level of independence by tracking their activity on your smartphone. Or you can use it to receive instant notifications of real time events like your kids arrival home from school. Like any system, home automation is only as good as the sum of its parts and the technology it operates on.

Z-Wave technology is the means by which many automation devices communicate with each other and the system as a whole. The strong hold it has on the market today seems to prove it’s effectiveness and dependability. It creates flexibility in product selection and system integration without interfering with existing household devices. Chances are if you already have home automation as part of your security system your devices operate on Z-Wave technology. This technology and the devices it encompasses show no signs of slowing down in our age of technological progression.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We believe in providing technologies that enhance your home’s security and home automation devices do just that. Home automation is part of a comprehensive security system which should include fire and burglar alarms, video surveillance, access control, and a monitoring service. We help your home security stay relevant and provide technology that improves your quality of life.

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: Image by Domoalert Smart Life Quality’s photostream-Flickr-Creative Commons

DIY Security

Experts-Mai LeIn a world where you can find virtually anything on the internet, there are endless “Do It Yourself”-commonly referred to as DIY-solutions for pretty much everything. This holds true for home security systems. However, that doesn’t mean you should rush to your computer/mobile device and buy a 4 star rated surveillance camera off Amazon, and start poking holes in your walls. As with anything on the internet, you end up wading through a sea of options, resources, and opinions; you might start to feel like you’re drowning in information. Don’t worry you’re not alone. You’ll likely have a ton of questions like how do you know if you’re making the right choice? Are the reviews accurate, or paid for by a company? Am I getting the best deal? How do I know one product will be compatible with another? Is this an honest company? The list goes on and on.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we’d like to help you avoid the drowning in information effect. Our team has been providing residential security systems solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992. While we believe our customers are capable individuals, we also believe in providing a customized, comprehensive, and clear cut solution to your home security needs that you can’t get through purchasing products piecemeal on the internet. You know that old adage, “you get what you pay for”? It’s true, and in some cases you end up getting less. You can’t expect a few $50 cameras you bought online, and a monitoring app on your phone, to fully safeguard your home and family. Surveillance cameras and mobile monitoring are only a couple components in an effective home security system. Think about the other issues you need to be cognizant of like access control, fire and carbon monoxide detection, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring. What good is an alarm if the local authorities aren’t contacted when it goes off? Our team of professionals are informed and informative on the products we install, and they understand the importance of a solution tailored specifically to your home.

Hiring A Professional

If you’ve never had experience installing or operating security systems equipment, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want an industry expert to do it? Hiring a professional alleviates the pressure on you, wasting less of your precious time and money. An expert will be able to assess potential weak spots in and around your home that you might not pick up on. The sophistication of your home security system is dependent on professional products and how they are installed.

There are so many pros of having a security company customize and install an alarm system for your home. For one, they know how and which products will work together, everything from the cameras to the central control panel. They can hook you up with an alarm monitoring service. Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your system automatically contacts the authorities in case of emergency. According to Erin Raub for SafeSoundFamily, “This does not happen with a DIY system, which notifies you (and others you put on the notification list), making it your responsibility to decide on the next course of action.” It’s chaotic enough in the event of an emergency, you don’t want to have to figure out who to contact, or struggle to find your phone. The convenience of having a fire, burglar, and carbon monoxide alarm/detector that communicates directly with a monitoring service is priceless; it provides a quicker response time which could ultimately save lives and property.

Home automation is a security feature that connects various aspects of your home to the central control panel in your home. Lighting, temperature control, locks, garage doors, and sometimes appliances can all be controlled either from your control panel or even a mobile device through and app provided by Alarm.com. You can’t get this type of connection to your home through a DIY system. Even if you could, you shouldn’t be installing it yourself. According to Anne Reagan for Advice Porch “To ensure that all sequences are correct, a professional should always complete home automation.”

Think about the future of your home when it comes to security systems. If you plan on ever putting your house back on the market, having a customized professionally installed security system can actually increase the value of your home. Like Anne Reagan points out, “…every prospective homeowner wants to live in a safe and secure home.” That being said, potential buyers aren’t going to want a house with system they have to remove or update themselves, especially if it’s installed improperly or in adequately.

People might think a DIY security system is cheaper because you’re not paying for labor, but in reality you could end up paying more. If your system fails or becomes completely defunct, it is up to you to replace it out of pocket. With a professional service you would likely be covered for certain damages and/or malfunctioning equipment under your service contract. Adding parts or features to your DIY system after the fact will add up, whereas an initial assessment from a professional will provide a more complete result from the get-go. Any required maintenance, repairs, and updates are your responsibility which will further drain your wallet.

Before jumping online and buying a bunch of equipment, or punching holes in your walls, check out a professional service for your home security needs. They can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation. If you reside in Northern or Central New Jersey find out what Perfect Connections, Inc. can do for you. Our team understands the value in a comprehensive home security system catered to your specific needs.

If you live 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: Image by Mai Le-Flickr-Creative Commons

Alarm System Maintenance

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.