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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Oct 15, 2020

Your Guide to Choosing a Home Security System

By Claudia M. Greenhut

Most of us are spending more time home these days and perhaps focusing a little more on the things that make us feel comfortable there. Some of our friends are investing in pools or home gyms, since they aren’t going on their annual family vacations or visiting their neighborhood gym this year due to COVID-19. Others are finally biting the bullet on that new TV or fence. For my family, it was a home security system. Isn’t adulthood exciting?

When we moved to the suburbs last year, the thought of being home alone in my quiet house, on my dimly lit street, terrified me! Shortly after we moved, there was a string of car thefts which started to make headlines in Monmouth County. In May, video surfaced of thieves in broad daylight stealing a Range Rover from a garage in Middletown. Then, in July, more reports surfaced of stolen cars in Holmdel. Home security suddenly became a priority for me. Looking back, perhaps it was the one thing that could provide safety and control during a time of such uncertainty.

The previous owners of our home had an ADT system, so I thought that would be the easiest choice for us in terms of choosing a provider. I researched ADT and up came a phone number. I called and arranged for a technician to connect the previous homeowner’s system. We discussed the price for a plan, which would be around $50 a month, since the system was already was installed. All we had to do was hook up the existing system – easy. This price seemed reasonable and in line with what friends of mine were paying, so I went for it.

The technician arrived at my home. Upon arrival, I was told all of my current six fire alarms were expired and would need to be replaced for $150 to 200 per smoke alarm, none of which was mentioned during my initial call with the agent. Suddenly, this brought the original price up $1,200. While not all authorized dealers conduct business this way, there are fine print details you should be aware of before signing a contract with any provider. If you sign on with some authorized dealers and become unhappy, it’s almost impossible to get out of some of those contracts. Be sure to read the fine print before signing a contract. Also, ask if service visits are included in your plan. Many retailers charge extra for this service.

Here are a few other things you may want to consider when choosing a home security system:


Buy Your Own Smoke Alarms

If you are considering a new security system and your current smoke alarms are expired, you may want to buy your own smoke alarms and install them yourself. Do this first before you arrange for a technician to come to your house. This can save you hundreds of dollars, since a security company will generally charge you $150 to $200 for each smoke alarm replacement. If you purchase them on your own, you can buy a six pack for as low as $60.


Know Who You Are Calling

Be careful who you call. If you intend to reach ADT, don’t just look up ADT. Many times, an ad for another security company will come up and can easily be confused with ADT. If you want to reach ADT, visit and call the customer service number listed on the official website.

If you would like to consider alternatives to ADT and support small businesses, ask friends for referrals and do your research. Going to local security companies in your area could be an advantage because they are generally based nearby and can get to your home quickly if you experience any issues.

Be weary of any company that asks for your social security number. Even if it is for a legitimate reason, this credit check could affect your credit and could compromise your personal information.


Utilize Those Apps

Many security systems have a user-friendly app that enables mobility. I have the ADT pulse app and can arm and disarm my house with ease from my phone in seconds, and from anywhere in the world. This sort of mobility is something I found extremely valuable when choosing a provider.


Personal Concierge

Ask providers if they offer a personal concierge system. This is a great advantage! I have the cell phone number of a personal ADT employee who will visit my home for free whenever I have an issue within the time frame of my contract. That kind of personal customer service is hard to find.


Take Your Time

Wait for a special. The longer I dragged my feet, the better deal I got. I saved myself hundreds by waiting a few weeks after my initial inquiry. There’s always a sale down the pike.