How to Buy an Alarm System on eBay

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How to Buy an Alarm System on eBay

People often feel their house is safe with locks and deadbolts, but now there is a way to secure it even more. Alarm systems deter burglars from entering homes by sounding alarms, and some even alert the police. They are an extra set of eyes and ears when people are away from their homes. Most alarm systems protect against home invasions, but some are also designed to detect carbon monoxide and fire.

The first alarm systems were hardwired into the house using lots of cables and essentially required professional installation; however, advancements in wireless technology has eliminated the need for many cables. Insurance companies even offer between a 2 and 15 percent discount on policies with approved systems. While many people opt to have a professional install the alarm system, others prefer to do it themselves. DIYers should learn the basics features and components of alarm systems before they buy one on eBay and install it in the home.

Parts of an Alarm System

Deciding what type of alarm system is needed to secure the home depends on the level of protection desired and number of rooms and access points. All alarm systems need a control panel, touchpad, and at least one type, if not a variation, of sensors. Sirens are also highly recommended as are key fobs. Should the house still be broken into despite the alarm, video surveillance may help identify the intruder. The chart below lists all the components of an alarm system and gives a description of each.

Item

Description

Control Panel

Central monitoring component; if using a monitoring service, the control panel is hooked up to a phone line to dial out when the alarm has been triggered

Touchpad

The panel used to arm and disarm the alarm, generally with a four-digit passcode; often placed near an entry point for easy access; often part of a control panel, although there can be more than one touchpad in a dwelling.

Door Sensor

Door sensors are two magnetic pieces, one attaches to the door and the other to the frame; are in alignment when the door is closed, but when it opens, they become disconnected, which sets off the system

Window Sensor

Typically a two part magnetic sensor that align when the window is closed; if the window is opened, it breaks the magnetic connection and sounds the alarm

Glass Break Sensor

Activated when a window has been broken; most monitor the noise with a microphone and detect when the glass vibrates at a certain level

Motion Detector

Place one of these in a room or hallway to detect any movement in the area; available with several options, such as extended peripherals or size limit to keep pets from setting off the alarm

Key fob

Works much like a car’s keyless entry, a key fob can arm and disarm the alarm without having to use the touchpad

Siren

Should any sensors be activated, a loud siren will alert people in or around the house of a potential intruder or dangerous situation

Video Surveillance

Available on CCTV or streaming, cameras can be placed around the perimeter or in rooms to monitor activity; videos can either be uploaded to a live feed or recorded on a hard drive or DVR

Panic Button

Also called “duress alarms”; alert the authorities without having any other component of the alarm system activated

Not all homeowners want all of these accessories. They can pick which are essential and how many of each they need. It is recommended to have a door sensor on each access point of the home and if installing window sensors, it is best to put them on all windows instead of select ones. Glass break sensors may seem like overkill with window sensors, but window sensors do not trigger the alarm if the magnetic pieces are not disconnected.

Infrastructure of the Alarm System

Once someone has determined the parts needed to construct their alarm system, the next issue to tackle is the system’s infrastructure. It used to be the case that all alarm systems were hardwired together to effectively protect the house. Now, customers have the option of choosing between wired or wireless systems. The sections below outline the differences of how wired and wireless alarm systems are set up.

Hardwired Systems

Hardwired alarm systems refer to any system that relies on wires to connect the control panel to the sensors. The first alarm systems were linked together with a massive amount of cables and had to be professionally installed. Holes had to be drilled and wires fed through the walls. Hardwired systems today are diminishing in popularity due to the onset of wireless options, but some still prefer to keep some parts wired like the siren.

Wireless Systems

Wireless alarm systems are not in fact 100 percent wireless since the control panel must rely on an outlet as a power source, but the term collectively refers to the use of wireless sensors and key fobs. Wireless systems are much less complicated to install and can therefore be done by the homeowner, but strategic placement of sensors is necessary. Small batteries power the sensors and fobs. Before purchasing wireless accessories, buyers should know what kind of batteries the devices take. Many people install a combination of wireless and wired devices.

Monitoring Services

Some homeowners want the maximum amount of protection, and in this case, they should opt for a monthly service plan that connects to a monitoring station. Nearly all control panels need to connect to a phone line to dial out. The personnel at the monitoring station are alerted any time the alarm is activated. Should a break in be suspected, the company alerts the authorities and has someone dispatched to inspect the home. Homeowners interested in monitoring services should shop around for the best service first and get a list of the makes and models that work in conjunction with the service to avoid purchasing an incompatible system.

Other Detection Features for Alarm Systems

An invasion is not the only threat to the average home. In addition to monitoring and protecting the security status of the house, some alarm systems can also be used to detect other potentially dangerous situations. Carbon monoxide sensors can be installed like door and motion sensors to detect this odourless and colourless silent killer. Similarly, smoke and heat sensors can be added to the security system to monitor for fires. Consult with the desired monitoring service to find out if it offers carbon monoxide and fire detection. The alert system for these services functions like the security system, and a potential threat can be phoned in to the house and the proper authorities. Typically, companies that offer this sort of monitoring charge an additional fee on top of the regular security cost.

How to Buy Alarm Systems on eBay

Finding an alarm system requires making a shopping list of all the options and special features you want. Simply type in "home alarm system&" or "home security system&" to view everything eBay has to offer. Limit the scope of your search by including keywords;; if you have a specific brand or item on your list, such as an "ADT door alarm", include it in your search. For even more help narrowing the focus of your results, check out eBay’s Search Tips page.

Not all alarm systems come with what you need, so you may need to find several different options. After you have decided on which control panel you want, make sure you have the brand and model number handy when searching for additional pieces. Add-ons are typically only compatible with certain makes and models, and it is never a good idea to buy across brands.

Once you have found the alarm system and components to protect your home, you still need to do a bit more research before making a bid or purchase. Read the entire listing to learn which parts are included in and the condition of the auction item. While some may want to save money on a security system by buying used, buying new is always better. Find out if the seller offers a money back guarantee if any parts are broken upon arrival. Also take a moment to look at the seller’s history on eBay. Only buy from those with high approval ratings and positive feedback comments.

Conclusion

Whether running an errand or taking a holiday, an efficient alarm system is like having someone watch the home when no one is there. Homeowners should become acquainted with all of the options available for alarm systems. The number of rooms and amount of protection dictates which accessories are needed. Not all people may want glass break sensors, but everyone needs at least a control panel and door sensors. Similarly, some homeowners only want to sound an alarm if security is breached.

Those who want maximum security can opt for a monitoring service to contact the police and other authorities when the home’s security has been compromised. Customers who want their alarm system to call out, whether to the police or another number, typically need their system hooked up to a phone line. Key fobs are an easy and convenient way to arm and disarm the home instead of always using the touchpad. Shoppers can find great deals on an assortment of alarm systems, accessories, and replacement parts in eBay auctions and at seller’s shops on eBay.

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