Homes connected to the Internet can use wireless technology instead of landlines to operate their alarm systems.
Home security alarms have been around for decades, but until recently, they have relied on traditional landline phones to alert authorities and call centers when triggered. That may have worked fine for 20th-century homes. Today, though, the security alarm industry has adjusted to more customers using their cell phones and ditching landlines.
That’s where wireless security alarms come in. These systems can communicate using your wireless internet provider, thereby bypassing the need for a landline phone. If you have an older alarm system, it’s usually a simple switch that requires a short visit from a technician. Monitored security systems usually cost between $30 and $50 a month.
Initial installation can vary greatly depending on the size of your home and if you want both windows and doors alarmed. Check with a highly rated local home security company to help determine your needs.
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Wireless alarms, as well as total home automation, is not something in the distant future or just for million-dollar residences.
“Several home technologies have made the transition from luxuries to standard options in the marketplace, indicating that technology remains crucial to new home construction, even as the tide of do-it-yourself solutions rises,” says Chris Ely with the Consumer Electronics Association based in Arlington, Virginia.
Going wireless isn’t the only new thing for home alarms.
Many security systems can add on additional security features, such as security cameras, infrared and sound-wave sensors, and pressure mats located beneath carpeting that can detect when an intruder steps into the room.
Other popular add-ons include automated lights and water sensors that will alert you to potential mold or water damage.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted Jan. 18, 2015