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Home Security Systems Basic Terminology - Burglar Alarm Systems Resources

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Burglar Alarm Control Panel -- A box that contains the circuitry of an alarm system, in addition to a backup battery that can keep your alarm active during power outages. Normally, these are installed in secure locations like basements or closets.

Keypad -- Keypads are used to disarm or arm the alarm with a code, and generally include an information screen of some sort. Keypads are usually where the alarm system is programmed from.

Zone -- A zone is a differentiated area for alarm use. For instance, your kitchen might be 'zone 1', and your bedroom might be 'zone 2', and so on. When the alarm system is set off, it will indicate which zone flagged. Most alarm systems have six to eight zones by default, but this can usually be expanded.

User Code, Master Code, Installer Code -- These codes are tiered and allow for varying degrees of security. Spacing these three codes out allows for greater control over one's alarm system. The user code is the most commonly employed, and allows you to arm or disarm the alarm. The master code is one step up and allows one to program the alarm, as well as change the user code. The installer code is the highest tier, and is never shared with the consumer; it allows the installer to set things like zone identifications and the security company number.

Away Arming -- This implies that you have armed the alarm for while you are away and no one is in the house.

Stay Arming -- This implies that only external detectors are up on windows and doors, and that individuals are in the home.

Hard Wired -- Hard wiring implies that every device is physically rooted to the system. This is preferable as it is more reliable than wireless.

Pre-Wired -- Many new homes are assembled with wiring for alarm systems installed already. This can help get you a discount on your alarm system.

Wireless Receiver and Wireless Devices -- The Wireless receiver is a device connected to the panel that and communicates to any wireless devices. Wireless devices are almost always battery powered.

Hybrid -- A system employing wireless and wired devices simultaneously. Often, when a house has multiple stories, the upper devices will be wireless.

Line Seizure -- The ability of an alarm system to take control of the phone line if it needs to, interrupting whatever it had been used for at the time to send an emergency signal.

Cellular Monitoring -- A backup to use of hard phonelines; if the original call attempt fails, it will attempt something similar to a cell phone call. However, this is not as reliable as line seizure.

Radio Monitoring -- An alternative backup, radio monitoring sends a radio signal upon the failure of line seizure. It cannot broadcast complicated information, however, so the alarm company will only be able to know if it's a fire or a breakin.

Voip Monitoring -- VOIP is a new way to have home phone service but it can affect your home security but one may want stick with a land line for the best home security.

Own -- Implies you are the proprietor of all security equipment.

Rent, Lease -- Implies that the security and alarm equipment in your home belongs to a third party.

Partition -- A system allowing you to arm and disarm separate sections of an alarm-protected area.

Expand , Expandable, Expansion Module -- A system is generally comprised of six to eight zones. A system can sometimes be expanded with an expansion module past this limit; this makes the system known as 'expandable'.

Handshake -- When your system is set off, it takes control of your phone line. When it gets in contact with the security center, it receives a 'handshake', which instructs the alarm system to send further information.

Kiss Off -- When the center receives the necessary information, it sends a signal back instructing the alarm to end the contact, allowing the center to contact you and confirm the situation. The entire scenario generally takes 10 to 30 seconds.

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