So you’ve moved into a home with an existing alarm system. Want to know a secret? If the alarm is made by GE or Honeywell you can choose your own monitoring company. That’s right. You don’t have to use whomever the previous homeowner used and you certainly don’t have to use the guy that left the pamphlet on your front door. You get to pick. Before you call monitoring companies, take time to assess the existing equipment. Is the equipment in good condition? Does it have all the necessary components? Do you feel like you need to add anything for total protection?
The Cheapest Way to Monitor an Existing Alarm
With existing equipment you have a serious advantage in the war against price. In general you will want to make sure that you pick a provider that…
- Doesn’t require a long contract period.
- Uses a monitoring center that provides 24/7 UL-Listed monitoring services.
- Has a history of providing excellent support.
- Is compatible with your existing equipment.
- Can provide all the services you need.
- Offers a return period. Just in case.
Pricing Examples of Monitoring Services
Best low-cost cellular: LiveWatch
If you want to use your existing equipment with cellular monitoring, I recommend LiveWatch Home Security. They offer 24/7 UL listed monitoring for $19.95 per month. This plan also includes access to ASAPer which is their family communication system. The system will send alerts to your connected smart devices and you can use the system to make sure that everyone that lives in your house is on the same page when it comes to responding to alarm events.
Best low-cost landline: Alarm Relay
If you have a landline, your best bet is Alarm Relay. Alarm Relay is able to offer low pricing if they can use your landline. Keep in mind that this means you must pay for landline service as well as alarm service. If you are not already paying for phone service, you would be better off going with a cellular alarm system as cellular systems are more reliable. With that out the way, you can get 24/7 alarm monitoring from Alarm Relay for $142.40 per year.
Best low-cost home automation: Link Interactive
Finally, if you want to add home automation I would recommend checking out Link Interactive. You can read our Link review for information on monitoring plans but pricing starts at $29.99 per month. This price includes all home automation features including smartphone access, automated lights, smart thermostat access, and automated locks.
Tips for Activating Existing Alarms
1. Make sure that you change the security code for the system. You should have your own password that is unique to your family and no one else.
2. Change the batteries in all battery operated components including smoke alarms.
3. Decide upon a monitoring company and call them for activation. They will walk you through the activation process.
4. Work with the alarm company to run a full test to make sure that all components of the system are functioning properly.
5. Order a yard sign and window stickers which can be effective in detouring criminals.
6. Check to see if your city requires a permit for home alarms.
7. Call your home insurance carrier to see if you qualify for a discount.