07-15-2009 10:26 PM
07-15-2009 11:59 PM
HomeDepot and Lowes have replacement garage remotes, but you'll need to know the Manufacturer Name and the date of production of the opener, because the code method has changed. If you have an opener with the DIP switches to set the code, then you should plan to replace the opener because that old technology is easily defeated. Burglars have been found with radio scanners and frequency generators that will go through all the possible codes for the older openers in a matter of seconds. The newer model openers use a rolling code system that isn't so easily defeated.
But that doesn't prevent thieves from getting into a garage with weak physical protection, such as doors with windows near the lockset or doors without deadbolts and stronger prybar resistance. Steel entry and security doors, double-deadbolts, deep screws into the frames, and interior security latches all make it harder and slower for entry. Some burglars simply break through the walls/drywall, so there's only so much you can do, which is why it's better to think about have multiple levels of protection, including having a monitored security system so that you can slow the criminals down long enough for the police to arrive.
There's a good TV program called "It takes a thief" that is helpful to see how a professional can easily gain entry when the homeowner isn't vigilent and is too lax.
There are many new security systems that not only improve protection from crime but also better fire protection, elder care protection, home automation, energy control, flood alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and other benefits, without breaking the bank if you're willing to learn how to install them yourself. The HomeSecurityStore.com provides many different models with these features so that you can pick and choose which components are useful for your home. They are also a lot cheaper over time than the "package services" offered by Brinks and other vendors, because those companies have proprietary monitoring with high monthly fees that never go away. The DIY systems allow you more options to choose among different monitoring companies and also cell phone, text message, and internet notification in addition to the monitoring. There are other online sources for DIY security systems too, I just mention the website above because they are located in Riverside and stock a lot of products with reasonable prices and good telephone support.
A lot of the security systems by Brinks and others are often very poorly installed. Many of the systems can easily be disabled before the monitoring service is notified, when the alarm box is easily located and ripped off the wall with a crowbar and a knife to cut the wires. The installers often locate the box nearby the keypad because it's faster and easier for them to install that way. A better installer will hide the box in a location that's difficult to find and access, far away from the keypads. The new alarms systems can also report to the monitoring service using cell phone technology when the land telephone line is cut. Wireless sirens with flashers can also be hidden to continue to go off after the security system has been disabled. These are not expensive features, just newer technology that has become available.
07-16-2009 12:11 AM - edited 07-16-2009 12:16 AM
By the way, the information I posted above is based on my personal experience. A home I just purchased had the security system installed in a closet three feet away from the keypad, with the phone line and power cable for the alarm running along the wall outside the entry door to the property, with no battery backup or external sirens. This was not a DIY system. Someone actually paid for this terrible installation. I'm actually leaving the old system installed as a decoy, with a real system behind it as a surprise to a thief who takes the bait. I'll be ready with some nice digital photos on a hidden DVR with offsite backup for police evidence. Maybe it will get on of the "stupid criminal" shows if someone ever attempts to break into this "wrong house". There's also a police officer who lives within earshot of the alarms. I'm taking extra care to eliminate false alarms to avoid "crying wolf."
Even though this is a relatively safe neighborhood, the system isn't really all that expensive, and I'm saving money on monitoring fees, homeowners insurance, car insurance (protected garage), greater resistance to crime, and energy savings. Those savings add up over time, and I'd rather spend some more money up front than waiting until after a break-in and paying the cost of deductables.
07-16-2009 05:37 AM
They have some good value packages, but the problem with packages in general is that you may not get the best choice of cameras for the specific property. You may end up with too many or too few cameras of the types you need. There are many kinds of cameras, zoom/no zoom, different focal lengths and angle of views, wide light range (auto iris), wide angle, low light, etcs. For example, I like the outdoor/indoor vandal resistant dome cameras for the main entry points and windows, but the systems usually come with a bunch of indoor bullet cameras that are useless to me. These packages seem to be set up more for small commercial businesses like liquor stores, gas stations, etc. I like to choose the best components for the situation to build a custom system, so the packages don't work for me.
Also you might have special video camera requirements such hidden cams for babysitter monitoring, internet viewing from the office to home, or other features that require a specific DVR. The Costco/Sams Clubs packages also don't include everything you should have for a full installation, so you'll probaly need to find a vendor for specific components anyways.
The package systems are nice if you don't care so much about the details and can make all the components work for you. Sams Club has some nice integrated LCD panels with built-in DVR for $1,300-$1,600.
07-16-2009 06:03 AM
JQuick - Thanks for the information. If you get a chance could you swing over to the Costco website and check out what they have - a few of their systems are on sale right now. I do know that Costco actually refers you to someone who can install it for you, if need be.
Boca and JQuick - I really appreciate your invaluable info about the door locks and garage door openers too - I am going to be facing all of those issues in about 8 days and although most of what you said sounds Greek to me I'm going to print these out and give them to my husband to read as I'm sure he'll know exactly what you're talking about.
07-16-2009 07:02 AM
Another thing you should do when you move in is:
1) Replace the air filters as soon as you can. They are likely full of dust and whatever else and you'll be paying for less efficient cooling if hey are dirty.
2) Check the sprinkler timer and learn how to program it Again, for most models you can get a copy of the programming manual on the web using a search engine. Often sprinkler timers have been "reset" due to power being off or due to lack of a backup battery. If the timer has a backup battery (9 volt typically), replace that so that you don't have to reprogram every time the power blinks off.
3) Run the sprinklers (many controllers have a "test all stations" or "run program manually" mode (or both). Go out and LOOK at the sprinklers while they are running. Note any broken off heads (water shooting to the sky), plugged heads (water spitting out and not spraying properly), misaligned heads (they can get rotated and point in the wrong direction). This also helps you learn what stations cover what areas.
4) Go ahead and check/replace all smoke detector batteries.
07-16-2009 07:11 AM
Dag - since I know someone in your new neighborhood, I can tell you that the opener used is a Chamberlain Liftmaster. It indeed has the rolling codes. If you get the openers from the prior owners, you can easily erase all openers, then re accept those same openers. That will eliminate any unaccounted for openers out there that were not turned in. If you don't get openers (which happened to my friend), they are sold at Lowes, Depot and some other stores. About $30 bucks each.
I *think* the manual is here... but you can also read the model number when you move in and search for that make, model and "manual" to likely get it. The manufacture date is important because the radio frequency changed at some point in the past and you need the right clicker to match the frequency. It's not that complicated tho...
07-16-2009 09:48 AM
07-16-2009 10:18 AM