You’re a renter and you’re considering buying a wireless alarm system for your apartment. Perhaps others in your complex have experienced break-ins and you don’t want the same thing to happen to you. Or maybe you just want a greater sense of security in your apartment. Whatever the reason, installing a wireless security alarm system can give you peace of mind and better protect your apartment from intruders.
As an apartment renter, the first challenge you likely will have is whether you’re allowed to install a security system at all. The good news is companies today offer systems that are completely modular and can be installed without altering the structure of your doorways, windows, and walls.
Most property owners will allow you to install a wireless security alarm system in your apartment. As long as you follow your rental agreement, with little effort, you can choose the right wireless security alarm system for your apartment.
- 1 What to look for when choosing a wireless security alarm system for an apartment
- 2 Tips for Safely Using a Wireless Security Alarm System in an Apartment
- 3 How to Troubleshoot a Wireless Security Alarm System for Apartment
- 4 FAQs
- 4.1 How often should I change my passcode?
- 4.2 How often should I check the batteries in my sensors?
- 4.3 How often should I test my system?
- 4.4 How often should I update the software on my system?
- 4.5 I’m moving to a new apartment – what should I do with my security system?
- 4.6 What happens if my power goes out?
- 4.7 My sensor isn’t working – what should I do?
What to look for when choosing a wireless security alarm system for an apartment
A wireless security alarm system is a great tool for protecting your apartment from intruders. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different options and features. Here are some basic tips to follow when choosing a wireless alarm system for your apartment rental.
Types of alarm systems
The first step in the process is deciding what type of alarm system you want. There are two main types of security systems on the market:
1. Monitored systems – With a monitored system, you can be sure the police will be on their way if your system is triggered. The monitoring service charges a monthly fee though, which makes these systems a bit more expensive than unmonitored systems. The added peace of mind might be worth it to you though.
2. Unmonitored systems – An unmonitored system will alert you to a break-in, but you’ll have to call the police yourself if your alarm is triggered. Unmonitored systems are less expensive, though, since they don’t require a monthly service fee. Cloud storage for video is usually a small fee.
Regardless of whether you decide on a monitored or unmonitored system, you’ll always have the option to install wireless equipment. A big benefit of wireless systems is that you can take down the equipment and bring it all with you when you decide to move.
Alarm System Features
Next, you need to decide what features you want in your system. There are many different features available on the market today, so it’s important to take some time to think about which ones are most important to you.
1. Wireless vs wired – While living in an apartment, you’ll need to install a wireless system. They’re relatively easy to install but initially can be a bit more expensive than wired systems. Your peace of mind is well worth the extra cost though.
2. Smart-Home Integration – Smart-home integration is an extremely powerful feature. You can use a smartphone app to control your connected appliances through your phone, including the security system in your apartment.
3. Battery backup – Wireless security alarm systems use batteries to power all the sensors. The base stations and control panels are usually hardwired to a power outlet but will be equipped with battery backup. So if the power goes out for any reason, you’ll still have about eight to twelve hours of coverage before your security system goes down.
4. Door and window sensors – Door and window sensors are the bread and butter of your apartment’s security alarm system. They detect when a door or window is opened and trigger the alarm response.
5. Motion detectors – Motion detectors detect movement in a room. You can adjust the sensitivity to allow your pets to walk around without setting off the alarm. Motion sensors can also be set to trigger the alarm if there is no activity for a certain period.
6. Glass break sensors – Glass break sensors are a more advanced type of sensor that can detect the sound of glass breaking. This is a good option if you have large windows or sliding glass doors in your home.
7. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Your apartment should already be equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but you can add additional sensors to integrate with your security system. This way you can see problems in your apartment while you are away.
8. Security Cameras – Depending on the laws in your state, a hidden camera can be an excellent tool for monitoring the inside of your apartment. You can set up cameras to record video or capture snapshots when a motion sensor is triggered. You can also get security cameras equipped with two-way audio so you can talk to someone who is in your home.
9. Key fobs – Most security equipment companies offer key fobs to arm and disarm your system without having to use the keypad.
10. Panic button – You can attach a panic button to the wall of your bedroom or anywhere else where you might need to quickly call for help during an emergency. The system keypad and key fobs usually come equipped with panic buttons too.
Warranties and return policies
Always check the warranties and return policies of any security system you’re considering. Many alarm companies will offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not fully satisfied.
Installing a security system in your apartment is a relatively easy process. You can usually get it done in a few hours.
The first step is to pick a good location for the control panel. You should choose a spot that is out of reach of potential burglars but still accessible for you.
Now you can start connecting the sensors and devices. Most wireless systems use adhesive strips or double-sided tape to secure the sensors in place.
After you’ve installed the system, test your system to make sure everything is working properly. Test all the doors and windows, as well as the motion detectors. Once you’re satisfied that the system is working, you can activate it and start using it to protect your home.
Security system prices vary depending on the features you’re looking for. Basic systems with door and window sensors start at around $100. More advanced systems with smart-home integration and glass break sensors can cost up to $500. The initial cost will be an easy price to pay if you think of this as an investment in your family’s safety and your peace of mind.
Tips for Safely Using a Wireless Security Alarm System in an Apartment
Safeguard your passcode and don’t enter it with any unauthorized person watching.
Don’t share your passcode with anyone except family members or trusted roommates.
Set your system to “Home” mode when at home and “Away” as you leave. You can set up “Home” mode to disable some sensors and lower the sensitivity of others, letting you move around in your apartment without setting off the motion sensors. There’s nothing worse than having the police knocking on your door because you needed a late-night bathroom break.
Always arm your system when you’re away from home. Your alarm system is useless if you don’t use it.
Change your passcode regularly – about once every three months.
Check the batteries in your sensors at least once a year. And don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, too!
Test the system often to make sure it’s working properly. You should also have your system inspected by a professional at least once a year.
Update the software on your system regularly. Like any other piece of technology, security systems need to be updated to fix bugs and glitches in the software.
Add additional features as needed, especially when moving to a new apartment.
Choose a reputable alarm company with a good customer service record. You want to be sure you’re getting the best possible service for your money.
Try professional installation if you’re not comfortable installing the system yourself. Professional installers can usually get the job done in a few hours and they’ll make sure everything is working properly.
How to Troubleshoot a Wireless Security Alarm System for Apartment
If your wireless security alarm system seems to be malfunctioning, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Like all technology, alarm systems sometimes run into problems and glitches can seem to appear out of nowhere.
Don’t let a malfunctioning alarm system leave your home unprotected though. Use these troubleshooting tips to quickly get your system back up and running.
Check the batteries in your sensors. Low batteries are one of the most common causes of problems with wireless security alarm systems.
Your alarm system will likely reset itself if you have a power outage. This won’t happen if you have battery backup, though. If your system does lose power, be sure to check when power is restored.
If a specific sensor or device is having trouble, try removing it from the system and then adding it back in. Most times the problem sensor will reset and fix the problem.
If your system is new and you can’t solve the problem, there is likely a grace period during which you can return your equipment without penalty. If you’re still within that grace period, your best option may be to simply cancel your service and send the equipment back to the alarm company.
Troubleshooting common issues
False alarms can mean that you have a door or window that is not properly closed. If you have pets or small children, you also may need to turn down the sensitivity of your motion sensors.
Make sure you’re using the correct passcode if you have trouble arming or disarming your system. If you’ve forgotten your passcode, give your alarm company a call. They can verify your identity and help reset your passcode.
If your wireless system goes offline, the Wifi connection may be the culprit. For a hardwired system, check the control panel for connection problems.
Your alarm company’s customer service department can help with pretty much any problem that comes up. They should be able to help you troubleshoot any problem and get your system up and running again in no time.
How often should I change my passcode?
You should regularly change your passcode – about once every three months.
How often should I check the batteries in my sensors?
You should check the batteries in your sensors at least once a year.
How often should I test my system?
You should test your system often to make sure it’s working properly – at least once a week. You should also have your system inspected by a professional at least once a year.
How often should I update the software on my system?
You should regularly check for your system’s software updates. Like any other piece of technology, security systems need to be updated but fixes and software giltches.
I’m moving to a new apartment – what should I do with my security system?
If you’re moving out, you can take your wireless alarm system with you to your new apartment. Make sure you update the alarm company so they’ll be aware of your new address.
What happens if my power goes out?
If you have battery backup, your system will continue to work as usual. If you don’t have battery backup, your system will reset when power is restored. Run a system check when power is restored to be sure that everything is working properly.
My sensor isn’t working – what should I do?
If a specific sensor or device isn’t working, try removing the faulty sensor from the system and then adding it back in. Most times, the sensor will reset and fix the problem. If the problem persists, the system component is likely broken and needs a replacement.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have any further legal questions, please contact your local law enforcement agency or an attorney.