How can you offer monitoring service for just $8.95 a month?
There are several reasons for this. The first is that we have cut out the middle man. Most alarm companies outsource their monitoring stations to 3rd parties and have to pay those 3rd parties additional fees so that accounts can be established and maintained. At Alarm Relay, you deal directly with the source. We do not outsource our monitoring centers. We offer service at wholesale prices. You purchase a service from us and we have the Central Station and all necessary technology and personnel resources to maintain your account and provide you with the highest quality service. Another reason we are so affordable is that we own and operate our own Central Station. This cuts down substantially on our fixed costs. In addition, we provide pure monitoring service. The assumption is that you already have an alarm system installed and you simply want to go with a more cost-effective solution for alarm monitoring. Lastly, we do not employ technicians nationwide and that cuts down on our variable costs. Our professional technicians program your system over the telephone with you or through sophisticated remote downloading software.
How does an alarm system work?
An alarm system (often referred to as a security system or burglary/fire system) generally has a centralized control panel which has a CPU (central processing unit), memory, and screw terminal connections. In addition, there is almost always a keypad with buttons that allow the user of the system to program, arm, and disarm the system. Wired alarm systems can have sensors/contacts on windows and doors that are physically connected to the control panel terminals. These terminals have wires that are screwed down inside them to secure them properly. Wireless systems have sensors/contacts that communicate with a system’s wireless receiver through radio frequencies. No wiring on the sensor/contact is involved. When an alarm system sensor is violated, the alarm system will begin a dialing sequence using some sort of communication method such as a phone line, Internet module, or a cellular communicator. This signal is then transmitted to us, the Central Station and we then react according to the instructions specified on your account.
What is a Zone?
A zone is a security industry term for a sensor that is installed in your home or business. These “zones” are physically and logically connected to your alarm system. A few examples of zones would be: Zone 1 – Front Door; Zone 2 – Living Room Motion; Zone 3 – Garage Door; Zone 4 – Master Bedroom Glassbreak.
Why do I need a verbal password for my account?
A verbal password is required so that we may verify your identity during any interaction with you regarding your account. It is meant for providing you with the highest level of security and protecting the confidentiality of your information. We will never give out information about your account unless you provide us with the verbal password.
What do you mean by contact list or call list?
The contact list is provided by our customers so that we know exactly how to respond in the event of an alarm. Below is an example of a contact list and how it would work:
John Smith (cell) – Verbal Password: “apple” – Phone: 555-555-5555
Mary Smith (cell) – Verbal Password: “pineapple” – Phone: 123-456-7890
Special Dispatch Instructions: In the event of an alarm please contact John on his cell. If he answers, verify password and follow his instructions. If he does not answer please call Mary on her cell. If she answers, verify her password and follow her instructions. If she does not answer please dispatch the proper authority based on signal type. Follow standard procedure on panic, fire, and medical alarms.
In this situation, we will respond to the alarm by contacting the appropriate parties in order to notify and determine the next required action. If we cannot reach anyone, the client has specified that they want us to dispatch the police, fire, or medical services depending on the type of alarm received.
Can you monitor my current system?
Alarm Relay works with just about any installed alarm system. In addition, we can handle wired or wireless systems. The most common manufacturers of systems we can monitor are Honeywell (Ademco), DSC, GE, Caddx, Elk, Visonic, Napco, Radionics. Contact our sales team at 1-800-624-6866 to find out if your system is supported.
Do you monitor commercial systems?
We can monitor all types of commercial systems.
How can I identify what type of alarm system I have?
Most alarm systems have what are called control panels. These control panels are generally located inside a garage, closet, basement, or attic. Typically, there will be a metal box that contains a printed circuit board (PCB) and this same circuit board will have a variety of wires connected to it. On the inside of the door of the box, you should find a “System Wiring Diagram” or “Summary of Connections” This will generally tell you what type of alarm system you have in the largest, most prominent letters. For example, “Ademco Vista 20P” Other alarm systems are built into the keypad and there is no control panel. These are called self-contained systems. If you think you have a self-contained system but are unsure of the model please contact our sales team at 1-800-624-6866. Our representative will likely request that you send us a picture of the keypad so that our technicians can determine the exact model of your system and whether it is supported by our service.
Do you monitor for burglary and fire?
Absolutely. As a UL-listed Central Station, we have the infrastructure in place to handle just about any type of alarm event or signal. Keep in mind that if your system is a commercial fire panel (red panel with pull stations and sprinklers integrated) the rate for monitoring will vary due to the fact that commercial fire systems require a daily communications test and also require compliance with the NFPA guidelines.
Repair & Maintenance
What should I do if my alarm system needs repairs?
Many repairs can be handled remotely through programming software that we use or by walking you through steps at the keypad. However, for physical repairs we can get you in touch with one of our trusted affiliate technicians who can provide you an estimate for their on-site services.
What should I do if I want to add sensors to my alarm?
If you have hard-wired sensors and do not feel comfortable with installing these, we can refer you to an alarm technician in your area who can provide you with an estimate for on-site service. If you have wireless sensors, those are quite simple to install and program by yourself. You can also consult with the manufacturer of the sensors you purchased for installation and programming assistance. Once installed, if you do find that you need guidance with programming wired or wireless sensors we have a national service department at Alarm Relay that can assist you with that process remotely.
Will there be an additional charge to monitor more sensors and is there a limitation on how many sensors/zones you can monitor?
There is no limitation to how many sensors we can monitor for any particular account. You can have as many sensors as your system supports installed and programmed. There is no additional charge for this. However, you are responsible for informing us of all sensors you have on your system as well as where each is located.
What happens if I replace my alarm system during my service period?
The new alarm system will need to be reprogrammed with our receiver information as well as your zones. At Alarm Relay, we have a national service department that can guide you through reprogramming the system over the phone or through remote software. There is generally a charge for this service. For additional information please contact our national service team at 1-800-624-6866.
Availability of Service & Permit Requirements
Where can you monitor?
We monitor throughout the United States, some areas of Canada, and Puerto Rico.
How quickly can I get started?
If you submit a request for service on our “Sign Up Now” page you will receive a response from a customer service representative within 1 business day who will be happy to establish an account for you and schedule your remote programming appointment. We can generally get you an appointment the same day that we contact you or the next business day at the very latest. At Alarm Relay, we take pride in making the process from initial signup to being monitored simple and fast.
Will I need an alarm permit?
Each state, county, and municipality has different laws governing alarm permits. One of our processing department representatives will assist you in finding out which permit, if any, you will need for having a monitored alarm system. If a permit is required, you may expect to receive an email or hard copy via snail mail of the required permit application. The permit application will generally have further instructions on how to obtain the permit.
Terms of Service
Do you use an auto-renewal clause?
Yes, we do. We also provide a courtesy reminder via US mail two weeks before the start of the next billing cycle. However, you can send something in writing at any time stating that you wish to opt-out of the auto-renewal.
What is the length of the contract?
The contract is for one year of service. At Alarm Relay, all services are billed annually. As a result, you are paying in advance for a year of service. This is one of the many reasons we are able to keep our rates much lower than the competition.
What happens if I cancel my service?
Although the contract is for one year of service, you may cancel at any time and will not incur any penalties for doing so. However, there are no pro-rated refunds unless your system was inoperable for a significant portion of the service contract term. This refund assessment is generally made by the accounting department. We can also freeze your account upon request and hold your credit towards future services.
Connecting to Our Service Successfully
Can my alarm system communicate with you using VoIP?
Yes, it can. We do support alarm transmissions using Voice Over Internet Protocol. However, there are providers out there that we do not support. Magic Jack, VoIP-O, NetTalk BB, and some others are examples of providers that we do not support. The reason for this is that these technologies were not engineered to work with alarm system signaling. Some of the VoIP providers that we actively support are Vonage, Ooma, AT&T U-Verse, Cox, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FIOS, Brighthouse, Charter, and many others. If you would like to find out if we support your VoIP provider for alarm signaling please contact our sales team at 1-800-624-6866.
What can I do if my previous monitoring company has locked me out of programming my system?
You have several options. The first would be to contact your previous or current monitoring provider and request that they provide you with the installer code in your system or change it back remotely to the default factory installer code for that system. If the company is not willing to cooperate with your request it is recommended that you report them to the Better Business Bureau because they have no right to lock you out of your system if you are not under contract any longer. The second option is to carefully default your system to factory settings yourself. You can find instructions for doing this online for your particular alarm. Defaulting the system means that all programming is deleted so that you can actually access the programming menus using the factory installer code. If you need assistance with reprogramming the entire system from scratch, we are happy to assist you. However, there will generally be a one-time fee for us to do this for you. Please note; our technicians cannot guide you on defaulting your system for liability reasons. Your final option is to simply purchase another system from a reputable alarm system vendor and install it yourself or hire a local technician to do it for you. Once your system is installed and you know the installer code, we can program the system to communicate with our Central Station.
What Internet and Cellular communicators do you support or recommend?
Supported Internet Communicators: BAT, Wifi BAT, DSC TL 150/250/260/265/280/300, Honeywell 7847i, Vista 21IP, L5100-Wifi, ILP5, Envisalink EVL-3/EVL-4, Elk M1XEP, Visonic Powerlink 1/2/3, DMP Network,
Supported Cellular Communicators: CBAT, CDMA Wifi BAT, CAT, 3GL, 4GL, GSMVLP5-4G, GSMVLP-4G, GSMX4G, GSMV4G, iGSMV4G, TG-1 Express, TG-4, TG-7, TG-7FS, TG-11, TG-1B, Alarm.com radios (3G or higher), 3G4000, 3G3070, 3G2060R, 3G2055, 3G2075, 3G2080 TL 265GS, TL2603GR, TL2803GR, Powermax Prepaid GSM (3G or higher), PowerMaster GSM (3G or higher), HAI Prepaid GSM (3G or higher), RokoNet Prepaid GSM (3G or higher), Uplink (3G or higher), DMP GSM (3G or higher).
How should I prepare for my remote programming appointment with your technician?
If you know your installer code have it ready for the technician. They will need that to access the programming menu of your system. In addition, it will help to have your arm/disarm code so that you can run a burglary simulation test on your system. If you have neither of these codes, do not worry, for we have a wide variety of codes to try to get into programming. Make sure there’s power to your keypad and there are no trouble conditions. Make sure you have an active landline or a long-range communications module wired to your system. If you will be installing the Wifi BAT or CBAT during your appointment, have a small flat-head screwdriver ready and make sure you can find your control panel circuit board. Finally, make sure you have access to your keypad during your scheduled appointment time to type information and test.
Pricing, Billing, & Payment
What does the price of monitoring include?
Our monitoring fees include standard burglary and fire signals as well as restorals. In addition, the service includes a monthly communications test. We will also monitor trouble signals such as AC loss and low battery. There are optional services that includes more features such as opening and closing reports, weekly or daily communications test, and even communication supervisions as frequent as every 5 minutes. For more information on these optional services contact our sales team at 1-800-624-6866.
Why do you charge a one-time administration fee?
This fee covers everything related to the processing of your service request, account generation in our client database, and the remote programming of your panel to bring it online.
How much does fire monitoring cost?
Standard residential fire monitoring will typically be $8.95 per month. However, if you have a different communication path than a landline or VoIP, that price may be higher. Commercial fire monitoring is $29.95 per month. This is due to the fact that commercial fire panel accounts must comply with NFPA regulations by having a daily timer test programmed.
If I move can I transfer service and is there a fee?
Yes, you can. Just contact our accounting department and they will process a cancellation on your existing account and provide you with forms to continue your service with us at the new address. There is a $35.00 one-time administration fee so that we can program the system at the new location to communicate with our Central Station.
If my electricity goes out, will you still get my alarm signals?
When your electricity goes out, the alarm system will temporarily work on battery power. In most cases, our Central Station will receive an AC loss signal and we will notify you. Contact us to find out more about why this may not occur on some types of accounts.
Are you able to monitor other sensors besides burglary and fire?
We can monitor any and all sensors. This includes but is not limited to sensors such as heat, carbon monoxide, flood, and temperature. However, keep in mind that we can only monitor sensors that are programmed into your alarm system.
How fast is your response time when my alarm is activated?
The standard response time in the security industry is 30 seconds. We are proud to say we meet or exceed this standard daily. This means that from the time your alarm is triggered no more than 30 seconds have elapsed before we are taking the appropriate actions on your account.
Are there fees for false alarms?
We will not charge you for false alarm signals. However, you will want to check with your local police and fire department for information on their fees for false alarms.
What happens in the event that my alarm goes off?
The standard protocol when we receive a signal from your alarm system is that one of our Central Station operators will attempt to make contact with you. Your instructions on the account will determine how we proceed after that. For example, some clients want us to dispatch the police department immediately on a burglary signal. However, the typical client would like us to at least try and call one person on the contact list to verify if it is a legitimate alarm or not.
What is the advantage of having cellular backup?
With cellular backup you create a redundant level of security. If your landline or Internet connection gets interrupted, the cellular communicator connected to your system will report to the Central Station. It is rare for cellular communicators to lose communication with the network so if you really want the highest level of protection cellular backup is the way to go.
What will happen if I am on vacation or out of town and my alarm is activated?
We recommend that our clients notify us in writing at least 24 hours in advance regarding when they plan on leaving their premises for longer than 24 hours. In this way, we can place special instructions on the account and notify the proper parties in the event of an alarm.
Does the monitoring cover all times of day?
Our Central Station is operational and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Which police department do you call when my alarm is activated?
We will contact your local police department and dispatch whichever law enforcement agency has jurisdiction over your home or business.
My alarm system is currently programmed programmed to call me and several other numbers when it is activated. Does your monitoring system provide this same service?
Central Station monitoring means that the system will contact the monitoring provider and then the monitoring provider will contact the individuals you have on your list of contacts. The major advantage of Central Station monitoring is that we have the ability to dispatch the proper authorities in the event that you are not available to make that decision.
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