What sets home security companies apart from each other? When a consumer decides to hire a professional expert to install and maintain their home security system, why choose one over another?

Price? That will always be an important factor. Experience and expertise? Absolutely. But what does that mean when it comes to home security systems? 

Here’s the dirty secret about home security companies. For the most part, they are all using the same or similar equipment. Yes, there is some variation in the types of sensors, and yes, some motion detectors, for instance, are more sophisticated than others. But the availability of technology is not going to vary greatly companies. We’re all dealing with pretty much the same stuff. 

Expertise and experience come into play when it comes to what to do with that equipment.

For one, placement is key. What’s the best place for the keypad (or keypads)? Where should motion sensors go and how should they be angled? The ability to properly examine and assess a home for its most vulnerable break-in points is something that only comes from experience.

But the thing is, that’s not the half of it.

The typical home security system is made up of complex pieces of equipment. These are not simple tools like a hammer or a pair of scissors. It is much more akin to a sophisticated computer system. And like a computer system, basic functionality is just the beginning. There's a right way and a wrong way to use this equipment. When used correctly, you can engage this equipment in creative problem solving and push the limits of technical capability. Like a computer system, it's all about the programming.

How an alarm system is programmed can make a world of difference in how it functions.

For starters, every family is going to use their system a little bit differently, even if they have the exact same equipment. Timing can be adjusted. Sensitivity can be adjusted. How the various pieces of equipment talk to each other is hugely important. And chances are, not everything will be perfect on the initial installation. If your home security installation company puts in your system and then you never hear from them again, you have cause for concern.

When home security systems fail, probably the top reason is because the user failed to arm them. Why would you go through the trouble of getting an alarm system installed in your home and then not arm it? Because it doesn’t work, or you don’t trust it. And typically, that mentality comes from false alarms.

One false alarm is a little annoying. Two, and most people will start to get upset. Three, four, five, six… with each progressive false alarm, your trust in your alarm system erodes, until eventually, you just stop using the thing altogether.

A good home security company, one with experience and expertise, will actively be on the lookout for false alarms, and follow up to investigate them. False alarms can be caused by all sorts of things; a pet can set off motion detectors, a child throwing a toy could trigger a glass-break detector, and so on. Investigating to get to the bottom of the false alarm, adjusting the equipment accordingly, and continuing to monitor is the only way to fine-tune a system so that you can always have confidence that it is operating at its best, the way you want and expect it to.

So, when it comes to choosing a home security company, don’t just think about who has the best gear or the best prices. Think about who is going to do the best job of programming the system to suit your needs. A well-programmed system can make the difference between a home security that protects your family, and one that doesn’t.