What does a Security Installation consist of?
Many consumers out there are attempting to tackle a wide variety of home improvement projects. With today’s new technologies this is much easier to do. As a Do It Yourselfer you need to consider what the project is and what the percentage of success is. You need to consider all of the tools that you will need to complete the project and also the skill level that you need to have in order to have good results.
DIY Security Installation
Basic Security System Design
There are several factors that you must consider when you are designing a security system. A basic system must consider all of the following items:
- How many doors does your home have?
- How many windows does your home have?
- Do all of the windows need to be protected?
- Are there areas that require special consideration such as liquor cabinets or gun cabinets?
- Your lifestyle should also be considered to make sure that you can take advantage of the features available in today’s security systems?
- Do you need or want remote system access?
- Do you want to now or in the future take advantage of home automation?
- What areas need fire protection and where should you locate your smoke detectors?
- Do you need smoke or heat detectors?
Special Security Considerations
You will want to survey the areas outside your main dwelling so that you can determine if there are additional areas that you will want to protect now or in the future. You will want to make sure that the security system that you select can expand and change to accommodate everything that you want now but can also meet your future needs.
Planning Your Security System
The first place to start is to make a zone list of your home. The best way to do this is to make a numbered list starting at the front door and write down every door and window around your entire house. Make sure to label each opening as a door or window. It is easiest to keep things straight if start at the front door and proceed clockwise around your home until you are back at the front door. Make sure you include at least one motion detector in a common traffic area and also at least one smoke detector located in the hallway between the bedrooms. If you have a second story then you will need to include a smoke detector at the top of the stairs. You must also consider adding Carbon Monoxide protection.
Tools of the Trade
You will need some basic tools in order to complete an installation along with some specialty tools that should be available if the need arises. The last thing that you want to happen is be in the middle of an installation and then have to stop the flow to go and pick up an additional tool. Here are the basic tools to have in your tool bag:
- Standard Screwdriver (small and large)
- Phillips Screwdriver (small and large)
- Wire Strippers
- Hole Saw
- A small level
- Battery Operated Drill
- A variety of Drill bits
- A glow rod or wire hanger
- A tube of silicone
- A multimeter
Installing Your Security System
As you can see by the time you actually get to the installation of your security system you have already devoted a lot of time to the process. At this point you have already made a lot of decisions and it is time to get the system installed. In a DIY installation these are all decisions that have made on your own. If you have a professional installer they have asked questions and helped to guide you to a security system that will protect your home and family and since they do this process every day you have the peace of mind knowing that it has been designed properly.
At this point you already purchased the control panel and all of the supporting devices. The next decision is to decide where to place the control panel. Just ask yourself this question. What door do you normally enter the home through or exit through when you leave? Let’s say your answer is the garage door. If this is the case then you will need to locate your panel above a wall outlet at eye level.
Mounting the Control Panel
A professional installer will cut a hole in the wall that is large enough to work with but smaller than the opening on the back of the panel. You will need to fish a wire down the wall to the outlet below. If at all possible make sure that you locate the panel on an inside wall. Outside walls typically have fire block and insulation that can make it very difficult to fish the wire down. Once you have the wire down the wall you will poke the wire out at the bottom of the outlet and it will be screwed down to the transformer. The wall outlet is a shock hazard so please be careful when you are working in this area. Do not plug the transformer in at this point. You will want to make sure the other end of the wire is landed on the control panel first. Always make sure to observe proper polarity when making your connections. At this point you have only mounted the back plate of the control panel. If you are going to add an external siren to your panel you will need to cut a hole higher on the wall and then run wire from the panel up to the new siren location. If you have ever watched a professional security system installer they will make this look easy. Do not get discouraged if takes more time that it took for me to write this. Once you have your siren wire run you can mount the control panel to the back plate and plug in the transformer. You panel should come to life at this point. It is now time to program your panel with all of the new devices that you purchased.
Programming your Security Panel
Your new wireless security panel is a highly technological piece of equipment. It can detect intruders, detect smoke, detect carbon monoxide and control many parts of your home with zwave technology. It can also automatically notify the authorities (if you have alarm monitoring) to save lives and property. The programming of your system is by far the most critical part of making sure that your system operates to the specifications needed to properly operate. The wrong entry during programming can make a device fail to report at all or it can even report the wrong situation which can fail to activate the alarm or send in the wrong signals. Make sure that not only do you absolutely observe the correct programming procedures but also make sure that you test every incidence of a possible alarm to make sure that the system operates the way that was intended. instalator A smoke detector should report a fire and not a medical emergency as an example. A front door opening should not be reported as a fire. These are just some of the examples of what incorrect programming can cause. There are some basics to observe but the exact programming of your panel must be accomplished by you thoroughly reading your programming manual. Most alarm professionals rarely need to consult the manual because they have installed so many of these systems that programming has become second nature.
Critical Parts of Programming
- Make sure you program your devices with the correct zone type. Using the wrong type can report a smoke detector as a front door or any variety of incorrect things.
- Make sure the account number is correct so that central station know what panel is reporting information.
- Make sure the phone number is correct that the panel will dial in the event of an alarm.
There are hundreds of options available when programming a security panel. Each programming book does have an explanation for each programming option so if you take to not skip any items you can get the system programmed properly.