Security and Monitoring Alarm Considerations
in Today’s Automated Home
A home security and surveillance system is an essential part of
any modern automated home and should be designed early on during the
pre-construction design phase. This was our forth building project and by far
our most ambitious. The scope of this article concerns the basic security and
monitoring considerations used in selecting
the final security blueprint. Did I say “final”, no such luck.
As the industry advances, so do all the extra bells and whistle add-ons that
make the security/monitoring design both easier to apply and maintain. The result
is both peace of mind when away as well as when you are occupying your home
either day or night.
The basic design of a security system begins with analyzing the
needs of the occupants, studying the layout of the house as well as the land it
sits on, surveying existing technology
and hardware, reviewing system costs, considering monitoring choices, and
finally planning the installation.
In addition to the advanced perimeter and interior protection offered by most
security systems, most new designs allow
for surveillance monitoring which include features that enable the owners to observe both real-time video and environmental
conditions inside and outside the home when at home or away.
Home surveillance system, video cameras and display systems are
considered by most contractors to be optional after the sale items. However, I
feel they should now be part of the original design process.
Our heavily wooded ranch style home sits on a rolling 7 1/3 acre site,
approximately 7,400 square feet of living area in multiple living areas, 5 fireplaces, 15kw standby generator, significant landscaped and irrigated gardens,
5 acre perimeter monitoring, and attached 2,400 square foot 5-car garage with workshop, and a monitored
and gated 700 foot driveway. I wanted a system that was easy to operate as well
as easy to maintain. Our final design consisted of over sixty sensors of
various types both hardwired and wireless. During construction we hardwired
“all” perimeter entry doors as well as hardwired significant glass
break coverage for all windows in a
multi zoned design which included motion traps, and numerous smoke and heat
detectors per our local building codes.
After we planned for the hardwired detectors we went back and
installed redundant wireless monitors which included garage door sensors, and service utility rooms monitoring for heat, cold, motion, water, smoke, and
carbon monoxide. Our home contains a radiant heat system in all areas including
the garage spaces so it was important to us to monitor three zones with cold temp alarms. We have a monitored 5 acre
pet perimeter invisible fence installed as well. Our home has a fully featured
professional weather station installed and well as numerous wireless and wired
IP cameras to finish off the system. Our master alarm panel is not only battery
backed up but we have added a standalone UPS system to it.
The master panel is constantly monitored by a central station
which offers us a significant discount on our home insurance policy as well as
our continued peace of mind while we are away. It is nice to see it snowing
while we are away in Florida on the beach. Likewise we can monitor our property
via the IP cameras from our cell phones as well as receive alerts from our
monitoring company from practically anywhere with cell phone or internet
A little thought goes a long way, and we are continuing to add
features to our security and monitoring system as these features expand and
become more reliable.