how do you install a security alarm system (3)

How Do You Install A Security Alarm System?

Some home security systems are complex and should be installed by a professional. However, there are many sound home security systems sold in kit forms that can be installed by any do-it-yourselfer. Most simple techniques use a bell, loud busser, or another sound source to note intrusion.

Installation involves mounting the sound source or sounder in a location where it can be easily heard. Then attach a circuit of switches to the sounder and connect a battery to the system. Since the sounder operates from the storm, it remains an effective alarm system even in a power failure. Alternatively, battery-operated remote wireless sensors and controls can be installed. However, make sure that batteries are replaced regularly.

In electrical terminology, this alarm system is called a closed-circuit system. When the doors and windows are shut, the attached switches are closed. Because all the buttons are in a wiring loop, opening one of them breaks the loop and triggers the sounder circuit. Simply closing the door or window, moreover, does not restore the switch loop circuit continuity and does not stop the sound until either the battery becomes exhausted or someone switches off the circuit from battery to sounder.

There is an electronic switch built into the sounder. This switch is turned on by breaking the magnetic-switch loop. A key-operated switch in the sounder circuit allows you to turn the alarm system entirely off when needed. Also, once the alarm goes on, operating the key switch is the only way to silence the sounder. Only someone who has a key to the control can reset the system.

The switch device consists of two parts that look much alike: one small plastic box that contains a strong magnet and another that includes the actual switch. When the interest and control are not near each other, the switch contacts are separated, and the management is open. On the other hand, when the magnet and switch are near, the switch contacts move together, and the button closes. The magnet part of the device is screwed to a door or window, and the switch part is screwed to the door or window frame. Thus, opening a door or window separates the magnet from the switch, causing the button to open and trigger the alarm.

Alarm System Installation 

how do you install a security alarm system

When it comes to alarm installation, there's many different options and directions you could go in, from DIY home setups to professionally installed and integrated commercial systems. 

While a quick, easy DIY alarm system might be okay for monitoring your front door on a tight budget, when you're looking for high-level, comprehensive and practical security and security measures, a system installed by commercial alarm companies and professional security installers is the way to go. Here are some reasons businesses should consider hiring security alarm companies to do their alarm installation:

It's Easier

While a simple DIY setup might seem more accessible than integrating an entire system, especially if it's just for your home or small business, it's usually even easier to hand things off to the pros and let them do their own thing. 

Local alarm companies and professional systems integrators and installers are trained and knowledgeable professionals who know how to plan, estimate, integrate and install customised systems to your exact needs and specifications.

Alarm system providers know how to do the work and do it for you, so you can spend your time focused on more important things – like running your business or spending time with your family.

The Installer Does The Maintenance And Upgrades

When you work with a professional systems integrator, they'll be able to handle all the maintenance and future upgrades to the system and make any repairs, taking such needs off your hands and making your life easier. 

They'll be able to help you find the exact software updates and hardware upgrades your system needs to keep it running smoothly and keep your system up to date for years to come.

Get Assistance When Things Go Wrong

When you hire a systems integrator or an alarm installation specialist, they'll usually provide up-to-date, helpful and convenient tech support and help desk assistance whenever you run into problems and need help troubleshooting your system. 

This support is sometimes available around the clock, too, so you're never left unsecured or out in the cold when something goes wrong. 

And if the problem is something you can't fix with a bit of tech support, they'll send out an experienced and trained technician to troubleshoot and get things up and running again.

Up-To-Date Security Technology

Systems integrators are up-to-date on the latest in security technology, from advanced radar detection sensors for maximum-security facilities to ultra-high-definition cameras with progressive low-light vision and the latest in analytics algorithms and technology. 

All these components and technologies can be effectively integrated into one comprehensive system that can be upgraded, scaled and expanded quickly, and provide the most cutting-edge technologies to keep your home or business safe for years to come.

Best Prices Available On Security Components

Thanks to their status as distributors, systems integrators and installers can often give you the best prices and even discounts on the latest technologies and security components – especially when you're purchasing and installing an entire system. They'll usually roll the whole design and installation into one neat, accessible package.

Might Even Include Monitoring

Alarm monitoring is not always included or offered by the alarm installation specialist, but often is, providing you with a convenient, comprehensive installation and monitoring package; the same commercial alarm companies who installed your system will also monitor and maintain it, allowing for a worry-free, no-hassle security experience. 

Those integrators and installers who do not watch will almost always be partnered with a monitoring company that they know and trust. They can get you connected and monitored during the installation process.

Installing the Components

Install the sounder first. Decide where you want it located -- either to attract the most attention for help or to scare away an intruder. 

If you decide to mount the sounder outdoors, you must drill a hole through the wall for the wires. To shield the sounder from the weather, you should install it in a protective metal box of the type made especially for alarm sounders. 

Inside the box is a bracket for mounting a tamper switch that sets off the alarm system if someone tries to open the alarm sounder box. 

Located in the side of the box is the critical button that allows a person with a key (but no one else) to activate, service, reset, or deactivate the alarm system.

If you want the sounder to be located indoors, you need not install it in a protective metal box. Mount the sounder on the wall in a place where it can be heard easily. Placing an indoor sounder in a closet or other confined space is not recommended.

The kit should include a mounting backplate attached to the sounder by a mounting screw. 

Remove the nut and separate the backplate from the sounder. You will see a pattern of holes in the backplate. 

Using wood screws, toggle bolts, or other suitable fasteners, attach the plate to the wall where you have chosen to position the sounder. 

Mount the backplate with enough pins to hold the sounder solidly in place. Make sure that the plate is mounted right side up and that the right side is forward. 

There is usually a tongue on the backplate that should be at the top when it is mounted correctly. 

Do not connect the sounder to the backplate until later. You will find that the protective box for an outdoor installation already contains a built-in backplate—Mount the box in the desired location.

Next, install the door and window switches. The magnet part goes on the door or window, while the switch part goes on the window frame or door jamb. Use the mounting screws in the kit to attach the pieces. 

Try to position the two parts of the switch so that they are close together -- almost touching -- when the window or door is closed and widely separated when the door or window starts to open.

If you wish, you can include fire sensor switches in the loop of entry-detection buttons. Use the fire sensor switch that breaks the loop when the air temperature in its vicinity reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since that is more than the air temperature is ever likely to reach usually -- except in attics, furnace rooms, or over wood or coal stoves or other high-heat producers -- you will never experience false alarms during hot weather. Install 190 degrees Fahrenheit sensors in ordinarily desirable locations. It would be best to mount the fire sensor switches in the spots where you feel they will be most effective. There is no reason why you cannot put one or more sensors in every room that is being wired for the security system.

Consider using current-conducting window foil tape for additional security. Silver foil with self-adhesive backing is probably available where you purchase your alarm system. It is designed to trigger the alarm if an intruder breaks the glass in a door or a window. During installation, make sure there are no breaks in the foil that you stick on the glass; the tape must be continuous. Self-adhesive foil terminals or connectors at the ends of the foil tapes let you connect the loop circuit wiring, and a flexible door cord allows you to open a foil-taped door or window without setting off the alarm system.

How to Wire the System

how do you install a security alarm system (2)

Once you have mounted the sounder backplate and installed all the switches, fire sensors, and window foil, it is time to wire the system together. The wire for the entry-detection switch loop is a thin (nearly transparent) two-wire cord that is relatively inconspicuous when running it up the corner of a wall, down a door frame, or along the baseboard.

Start at the point farthest away from the sounder (the foil taped to a window or door glass, for example). Using a knife or wire stripper, bare about 3/4 inch of the wire ends. Loop each wire under a separate terminal screw on the switch or door cord. Without cutting the two-wire cord, route it to the next device -- a magnet switch, for example. Use small staples to keep the wire neat, but be careful not to damage the wire when you hammer in the nails. At the second device, use a knife to split apart the side-by-side conductors for a distance of a few inches. Cut apart the copper-coloured wire only -- do not cut apart from both cables. Bare about 3/4 inch of the copper wire ends and connect them to the switch's terminal screws.

Continue in this manner to the next switch, cutting apart only the copper-coloured wire in the cord and attaching the bare ends of the cut wire under the terminal screws on the button. One after the other, run the wire to all the entry-detection switches and fire sensors, finally running the two-wire cord to the sounder backplate location.

If you need more than the spool of wire included in security system kits, buy another spool of the same wire gauge and start the new length at the last switch reached by the first length of wire. Cut off what remains of the first length of wire at the controller, and bare the two conductors in both cables. Attach the copper-coloured wires to the switch terminal screws. Twist together the two silver-coloured wires, and affix a small, solderless connector. Continue the run back to the sounder with the new wire spool, but do not connect the wire to the sounder yet.

You have just finished wiring the intruder-entry sensor switch loop. If you did it correctly, the circuit of the copper-coloured wire would go to and through all the switches, and the silver-coloured wire will return from the farthest end with no breaks or interruptions.

Now it is time to install the battery circuit: purchase two 6-volt lantern-type batteries or a suitable rechargeable battery pack. Decide where you will locate the batteries; they can be hidden in a closet or a cabinet or placed on a shelf you can install for that purpose. The security system kit should contain some lengths of single-conductor wire called bell wire. One should be covered with red insulation and the other with black. Use this wire for connecting the batteries to the sounder.

In the battery-to-sounder circuit, you must connect the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals of the battery to the sounder to make the solid-state switches operate correctly. The bell wire ends are also black and red. Such colour-coding is helpful for wiring the battery to the sounder correctly. Run both a black and a red wire from the sounder location to the battery location. 

Connect the red wire to the positive (+) terminal of one of the cells, and connect the black wire to the negative (-) terminal of the other cell. Later, as the last step, you will secure a wire between the negative (-) terminal of the first cell and the positive (+) terminal of the other cell. 

Wait to do this, however, because while you are working on the installation, you might accidentally touch the black and red wires together. Since that would quickly discharge the batteries, you should leave the between-the-cells wire section out until last.

Connecting the Sounder

Now it is time to connect the sounder. Use solderless connectors to join the black wire from the battery to the black wire of the sounder and the red wire from the battery to the red wire of the sounder. If your installation includes a key switch, however, run the red wire first to the key switch and then to the sounder. At the critical control, cut the red wire, strip insulation from the ends, and fasten each cut end under a separate screw terminal on the switch. Thus, operating the key switch will open and close the circuit in the red wire.

Connect the wire ends from the switch loop to the two smaller wires on the sounder. Fasten the sounder to its backplate, and tighten the attachment screw. Finally, with the key switch in the OFF position, attach the short wire between the two battery cells.

Close all the entry-detection switches by shutting all windows and doors in the loop. Turn the key switch on. The circuit should now be in operation. Test it by opening a door. If you installed everything correctly, the alarm should sound. When you close the door, the system should keep ringing. Turning off the key switch, however, should shut off the alarm. When you turn the key switch back on, the notice should remain off until the loop circuit is again interrupted.

If the alarm sounds as soon as you turn the key switch on, check the loop circuit to ensure it is intact. All buttons must be closed, all wires have to be appropriately attached to switches under terminal screws, and no break can exist in the window foil. On the other hand, if the alarm does not sound when you open the door, check to ensure that the key is on and that the wiring from the battery to the sounder is correct.

Once you get the system into operation, set it off deliberately about once a week to ensure that the circuit is still in working condition and that the batteries still contain enough power to operate the system properly. Test the system only briefly; then turn it off and reset it.

You can usually leave the security system turned on in the sentry mode for a considerable period. Since the entry-detection switch circuit draws a standby current of only about one-thousandth of an ampere, the batteries should last for months when used only to supply the entry-detection switch loop. Using the sounder puts a heavy drain on the batteries. After the alarm has sounded for a few hours, the batteries become exhausted, and the alarm stops ringing. Know how much use your batteries can stand, and replace or recharge them before their energy is depleted.

When you combine this intruder alarm system with a timer that switches on lights and a radio, you have a home security system that compares favourably with some of the more elaborate and expensive procedures. In addition, you have a security system that you can easily keep in good operating condition and at little expense.

Best Practices for Alarm System Installation

1. Keypad and Control Panel Placement

2. Program an Alarm System Duress Code

3. Place Sensors in the Right Places

4. Arm Your System at All Times

5. Have Backup Connections in Case of Emergency

6. Don't Rely on Just the Alarm

Alarm Takeovers: The Benefits and Features

One of the best ways to update alarm systems is to do what's called an alarm takeover – don't worry, it's a simple and painless process. The alarm system is upgraded with a more modern keypad while utilising the existing wiring. That way, you get the benefits of the latest alarm technologies and features without having to rip out the old one and start from scratch. It's cheaper than installing a brand new system, too.

A Word On Hardwired Security Systems

Your hardwired security system is most likely a pre-installed, professionally personalised series of sensors and monitors. Contrary to popular belief, a hardwired system cannot be disabled by simply cutting any old wire (or even just the red one) – that trips the alarm anyway. There aren't any batteries you need to replace regularly, and apart from the initial installation, it's a relatively low-cost system.

Upgrading With An Alarm Takeover

Taking over an alarm system is a relatively simple process. For the sensors and wiring, it's mainly just a repair job – only the broken elements are replaced. The heart of the takeover happens in two places: the old metal box where your control panel sits and the ugly old keypad on the wall. The outdated board in your package is replaced with one that matches the new keypad, linking your old sensors to a new interface. Your new keypad often uses cellular communication to talk to your smartphone, allowing you to control your alarm system through a simple app.

New Features

The new touchscreen keypad allows for brand new features on top of the original's essential functions. You can set up delays and schedules to automatically activate your security system, either when you leave for the day or want to turn in for the night. You'll also be able to connect your security system to your home automation systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, allowing you to use voice commands to arm or disarm your alarm system as well as your lights.

Going Wireless

Alarm system providers can perform a hardwired to wireless alarm takeover, allowing you to add wireless sensors or keypads to your existing system. In a wireless takeover, local alarm companies route your door and window sensors into a wireless translator that sends the signals to a wireless touchscreen keypad. Some sensors can't be translated safely, though – while motion and smoke detectors will technically integrate with your new wireless panel, they run a relatively high risk of blowing their fuse because they draw too much power. If you want anything more than door and window sensors, you don't want a wireless system.

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