The CSI Journal

Things to consider adding to your security system


At this time of year many people are getting ready to travel to warmer temperatures. Having a security system to protect your home or business is one of the best things you can do to give you the peace of mind while you are away.

If you presently do not have any of these devices monitored by your security system, why not think about it, before you leave for your holiday.


Fire – This is the number one cause of destruction to your home or business. Your home or business is the most expensive asset you have. Adding some smoke or heat detectors to your home or business will protect it from Fire.


Temperature – Another great thing to have is a low temp device. This device will notify you if the Temperature of your home or business drops below the level we have set for you. Having pipes freeze can cause thousands of dollars in water damage.


Also in a business you might have an IT room or Computer Server room. Having a High Temp device in these rooms can prevent damage to your equipment should extreme heat begin to build up.


Thermostat – Add a Thermostat control unit to your home and you can change it anytime you want to. You can increase the heat or turn on cool air. You can also get the temperature of your home any time you wish to check in.





Sump Pump – Sump pumps are a great device to have in your home in a low-lying area. Having a Sump Pump monitor in your home will notify you if the water begins to rise. Should your sump pump fail, this notiOication could save you thousands of dollars in water damage.


Interactive Security – This is called Smart Home Security. These types of security systems not only protect your home or business with security, but also offer many other options. You can control your system through any Smart phone or Computer device. Arm and disarm your system from anywhere. Be notiOied of any alarm conditions directly to your Smart device. Add or change codes in your security system from your Smart device. You can add Lighting control, Temperature control, Control door locks, Garage doors or even have real time video. Security has come a long way from just watching your home for break-ins.


If any of these features interest you and you would like them to be added to your security system, or if you are getting a new security system, please give CSI a call at 613-839-1274. 

Avoiding security system false alarms

What homeowners can do? Why it's important? What CSI does to prevent false alarms?

By Colonnade Security Inc.

What homeowners can do?

Most false alarms are usually somehow caused by the user. First make sure everyone in the home or business knows how to use the security system. Most false alarms are user error. Make sure they know what to do if they set off the alarm by accident. 


Never arm your house then leave, only to go back and get something you forgot, then try and get out again. Always disarm the system if you go back. Get what you forgot, and then rearm the system and leave. You might think you got in and out before it picked you up, but most likely you did not make it. Once in your car with the cell phone off, the station cannot reach you, next thing you know is you have a false alarm fine.


Now alarm equipment can fail, but if you did your homework when you purchased your security system and paid for quality equipment, then you have already made the first step in prevention of false alarms.


Purchasing a quality security system is going to cost you some money. About $1500.00 for an average 1500 to 1800 square feet home. Companies that offer a package deal with little to no money down are giving the homeowner a false sense of security.


You cannot cover the average home with two doors and a motion sensor. We call these deterrent systems.


Not to mention these free systems. You know the one that does not cost anything but you have to sign a 36 to 60 month contract to get it. Usually for about $30.00 to $35.00 per month. 


Have you ever heard that nothing in life comes for free? Nothing good will protect your home for free either. And when the false alarms start and they will start, you will have to pay for them.


That free system will have to be upgraded to other types of motions etc. Why was the better equipment not installed the first time? It is simple; the better equipment is going to cost the alarm company more money and since you are getting it for free, well the cheaper the better it is for them. But now that you have entered into this long-term agreement, you have no choice but to upgrade to the better equipment that is now available.

Now most alarm companies sell these packages, even the largest or national named companies.

 

Do you ever wonder what these companies do when they have a person or business that requires real security? Or that grocery store or restaurant or Bank down the street? Do they get the free stuff? No not likely. Those customers paid for quality equipment because they do not want their businesses to have false alarms and they want their system to work when and if they get broken into. 


The Police will only respond to alarms when they are asked to go. Have a your system set up with your alarm company that can prevent false alarms. Make sure someone on the list is notified of an alarm before they dispatch. When the monitoring station does call, ask them how many alarms did they get. Was it just one, did the system restore itself, or are there other alarms coming from the premises. More than one alarm usually means someone is in the house. If your house is properly protected, then you should have more than one zone in alarm if someone is in the house.


Most security systems now can have about 50 user codes so give each person their own. At CSI we get every arming and disarming signal that you do. If each person has their own code then the station will know whom they are going to talk to before they call. Most companies can email or text you the alarm conditions; openings and closings etc. Some may charge for this service, at CSI we don’t. We will even email you a weekly report of all the activity your home or business has had. Just ask for it and we will provide it.


At CSI, we try to prevent false alarms by providing you, the customer, a better level of service. Yes our equipment will cost a little more, but in this day and age of technology it is possible to have a system that will not false alarm. We always notify you of any alarm condition and you have the choice if you want the Police sent or not. We get openings and closings from all our customers so when you go in with the grocers or get up first thing in the morning and let the dog out and cause an alarm. You simply go and enter your code and shut the system off. Our station will know that a valid user has shut off the alarm and there will be no need to dispatch.


These are some of the things we do to protect you from false alarms.

The Smart in Security Systems
By Colonnade Security Inc.

Security systems with smart technology 

Home security has evolved from being an alarm system to protect your home from intrusion to being a complete home automation system that offers you control over all aspects of your home. And you can control it all remotely from your cell phone or your computer.


With the introduction of Smart technology, your security system is more than a keypad on the wall that you arm and disarm by physically punching in a code. Now you can use your cell phone, computer, iPad, tablet or computer to access your alarm system and monitor what is going on in your home.


This new technology notifies you automatically when someone is in your home; you could be at work and you will receive a text message to say your children are home or the person who cleans your home is in the house or has left. When you are on your way home from work you could have the coffee pot turned on or have the hot tub come on so it will be ready when you get home.


The system is more than a toy that offers you convenience - it can also help you to save money on your energy costs. The system can be set up so you can call your home or cottage to have the heat adjusted or to have the air conditioner come on so your home or cottage will be comfortable when you arrive. You can also turn off any lights you might have inadvertently left on or turn on lights in your home for when you arrive.



Free security systems not always a bargain

A security system for your home or business is an important purchase, one that you expect will give you peace of mind. But choosing a security system that is right for you can prove to be a challenge, especially if price is a major part of your decision.


Some home security companies offer free installation but require you to sign a multi-year contract and you may find out that the system does not give you the security you thought you had purchased. These companies arm a couple of doors and windows and install a motion sensor for free but you have to sign a five-year contract that will cost you $35 a month.

That's a $2100 investment for the wrong security system

 

This may look like a very attractive deal, especially if you have just moved into a new house but you are locked into a five-year agreement; if you sell your house before the five years are up then you have to buy out the contract. These companies install the cheapest equipment they can because they are installing if for free but you are now stuck with paying for any upgrades to the equipment because you are under contract with them.


The motion sensors installed with these systems, though, are prone to false alarms, especially if you have pets that will set off an alarm. In Ottawa, the police charge you $130 for every false alarm and the alarm company is not responsible if you did not mention that you had a pet in the house, so you end up paying for an upgrade to prevent the problem.


In addition, the equipment belongs to the security company so if you decide after 60 months to switch to another company, you have to pay to have new equipment installed. 


The experienced professionals at Colonnade Security in Ottawa provide you with top of the line equipment, expert installation and user demonstration, client-focused service and vigilant monitoring from a ULC monitoring station in Ottawa.

For more information, you can call 613-839-1274 or email inquires@colonnadesecurity.com
 


Look for a reputable local security company

When choosing an alarm company, you should look for a company with a reputation for excellence that will install a system to meet your needs. A reliable, locally-based service could give you the best value for your dollar because it is familiar with your community and can provide you with the appropriate system.

 

Other less reliable systems, or companies based outside the area, may be fractionally cheaper but in the long run may not be able to provide the service when you need it. Having a trusted local security company provides peace of mind and the knowledge that your security will perform without the inconvenience and cost of false alarms.


Homes and businesses protected by a reputable alarm company are 15 to 20 times less likely to be burgled. As break-ins are on the increase in communities across Canada this is an important point to consider. In addition, a monitored security system may reduce your insurance premiums by up to 15%, depending on your insurance company.

You want to be sure the company that installs your security system uses top quality equipment and components and is installed by professionals. You also want to be sure the security system you choose is monitored by a ULC Listed Monitoring Station.


A ULC Listed Station will give you that peace of mind because the security company must comply with Insurance Regulations in order to operate. There is a list of standards and backup equipment that the security company must meet to be in business under the ULC Listing.



Tips on buying a security system

When buying a security system you want to remember that price should not be the major consideration; you are buying something that will protect your family and your home or business. 


You home is probably the largest purchase you have ever made. You looked around, found the right area, found the size of home that suited your needs and at a price that was within your budget. 


You took your time in making your decision about this important investment. For that reason, you want to do the same when it comes to protecting that investment. You paid a little more for that quality in that purchase. Do the same when it comes to protect it. A good security system will cost about 0.5 to 1% the value of your home.


Here are some things for you to consider when choosing a company to install a security system in your home or business.

  1. How many years has the company been in the security business?
  2. Where is your system being monitored? What city?
  3. Is the comapny using a ULC Listed Monitoring Station? 
  4. Be sure to get references from the companies that are providing quotes to install your security system. 
  5. Always get a minimum of three quotes.

    Do not be pressured into signing a contract when a company representative visits your home or business. Once you have your quotes, compare each item listed, including the equipment and price, the warranty and the contract terms.
     
  6. Who pays for false alarms?
  7. What is the cost of upgrades to your system’s motion sensors to prevent false alarms?


Not just for Home Owners
By Colonnade Security Inc.

Smoke detectors effective life-saving devices

Properly installed and maintained smoke detectors are essential components of your home, protecting you and your family from a tragic loss due to fire at a minimal cost. These life-saving devices alert you to the early signs of both flaming fires and slow, smoldering fires with speed and accuracy, giving you and your family enough time to react and safely escape.


You should have one smoke detector per thousand square feet, which, in most cases, is one on each floor of your home.


The most common two types of smoke detectors are battery-operated units and ones that are hardwired into your home’s electrical system. And now wireless technology has embraced smoke detectors, adding to the convenience of installing additional detectors. 


In the past, when smoke set off a smoke detector on one floor the detectors on the other floors did not respond at the same time. Now, though, your existing hardwired smoke detectors can be connected by a relay that is wired into the security system electrical box so when one alarm goes off, it triggers every alarm in the house, so everyone is alerted. 


Wireless smoke detectors work the same way as your hardwired detectors but they are easier to install if you need additional units. A wireless smoke detector is an option if your home is fully finished and you are unable to wire in additional smoke detectors or if it is too expensive to run the wires for an additional smoke detector. 


If your home is heated by gas or if you have a fireplace, you should also install a carbon monoxide detector. You may not have gas heating but if your home has a garage under a living area you could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from car fumes. The fumes don’t spread around the house because carbon monoxide remains low but your heating system will draw the fumes and spread them throughout your home through the ventilation system. 



Quality locks first line of defense

Good quality locks on the entry doors of your home are your first line of defense against break-ins but the lock is only part of the answer. The doorframe can be the difference between security and a break-in.

  

The majority of all break-ins involve someone kicking in a door of the home; when the door is kicked, it goes in quickly and the intruder enters your home, closing the door once inside. Unless someone is actually watching, the thief is in your house. 


Even if you have a metal door with a good lock, someone could still kick in your door - it isn’t  just the door that provides the defense, its the lock and where it goes into the doorframe. If you have a newer home with a piece of glass beside the door, chances are all you have is a two-inch piece of fiberboard securing your dead bolt lock. Once the door is kicked, it breaks right through. 


To prevent this from happening, install a 24 to 36-inch piece of steel track along the frame of your door to reinforce the lock. You want to be sure the dead bolt is held in the frame because the frame is vulnerable and not strong enough on its own to withstand impact. 


Doors with the button lock in the door handle are also vulnerable. This type of lock is often used on the second entry door of a new home and can be compromised by a thief using something like a credit card to gain access to your home. 


If you have bought a new home, consider replacing all of the locks in your home with good quality locks. During the construction of your home, the builder and the various tradesmen have had keys while working on your house and those keys could be used to break into your home after you have moved in.

Telephone vs. cable linked alarm system

The majority of alarm systems installed use the telephone network as the means of contact when an intruder enters your home. The alarm company installs a device that uses the telephone line to contact the monitoring center when the alarm goes off. Anyone who is in the house can’t stop the alarm from communicating because it seizes the number one position and no one else can use the phone.


Telephone companies are able to get the telephone line to your house underground but when they get to the house, they run the line up the side of your house to a little box on the wall, then back underground and into your house. In this way, if there is a problem with your telephone, the Telephone technician can come and disconnect the line to see if there is service to your home, even if you are not available.

 

These days, like everyone else, criminals are becoming more tech-savvy and are finding ways to compromise your phone line. If they cut the telephone line before they enter the house there will be no signal sent to the central monitoring station.


Now you have no phone service and no response to the alarm; an alarm might sound in your home but unless someone is around to hear it and take action, nothing is going to happen. 


A reputal security company will offer optional ways of communication for your home or business security system.


CSI is now offering alarm systems that use two technologies;

  • One is a cellular network that connects your alarm system to a cellular device cell phone, so it doesn’t matter if someone cuts your telephone line.
  • The other uses high speed internet, linking your internet to a device that monitors your alarm system and sends a pulse every ten seconds to the monitoring center, indicating the alarm system is active.



Wireless technology evolving

Wireless key fobs have been available for a quite a few years to remotely unlock or start your car as well as open your garage door. You can also have these devices added to your home security system so you can remotely turn your alarm system on and off. 


You can also use this type of device as a panic alarm if you have a retail business like a jewelry store and have all your employees wear it around their neck or have it anywhere in the store. It could also be used for medical purposes; if you have an older person living with you or have a mother and father living on their own and you can give them a medical pendant that they press in the case of an emergency.


These little key fobs can be used for so many things. You can have a standard fob with one signal or you could have one with five buttons that you can use for different functions. It could be used to turn lights on it a room, open the garage door and arm or disarm your security system. All from the same remote key fob. You could turn the lights on in the garage or you can disarm the alarm system. 


The technology used in these key fobs can now be incorporated into your cell phone, allowing you to arm and disarm your system from your cell phone.


Other optional technology is you could also use your phone to open your garage door and receive an email or text message anytime someone arms or disarms your system or it can send any type of an alarm condition in your home or business. 


There are many exciting developments in the future of home automation and alarm systems. New wireless technology will allow you to remotely control a lot more functions in your home from you cell phone, tablet or computer, everything from unlocking your front door to adjusting the heat in your home.

The Choice is Endless
By Colonnade Security Inc.

Choosing the right alarm package for your home or business

Finding a company to install a security system in your home or business can be as easy as talking with homeowners in your neighbourhood and friends who may have a security system. 


Take a look around your home or business and decide what you need before you ask for an estimate.


  • Do you want alarms on your doors, windows, basement windows or other entries?
  • Do you want to protect your inventory?
  • Do you want to protect against water damage or flooding?
  • Do you want motion sensors?
  • Do you Video Surveillance?

Once you know what you want, choose three companies and talk with their representatives so you can compare their prices and their services to see which one best suits your needs. 


Many security companies sell a residential package that includes a basic alarm control, a keypad, a couple of door contacts and a basic motion sensor. This package may or may not include an installation price, or it may be “no money down” with so much a month for a term that can be from 36 to 60 months. 


As a consumer, you should understand this package is just that, basic; it is what some alarm companies use to get your business with the prospect of signing you to a monthly contract for a term. Anything above this basic package is considered an extra and you will have to pay for any extras up front. 


Cost should not be the only factor that you consider when choosing a security system. You should check the reputation of the company with the local police and the Better business Bureau. As a rule, a good security system will cost about 0.5 per cent the value of your home; for example, for a $300,000 home it will cost you about $1500.00 or more depending on your particular needs. 



Things to remember when buying an alarm system

It costs money to have a good alarm technician, with a truck and tools to come to your house to install an alarm system. And the alarm company has to buy its parts from a supplier and make a profit when it sells the parts to you. 


Here are some rules to remember when purchasing a security system:

  • Always get at least three quotes. If you have a friend who has an alarm system, ask them about it. Would they recommend their company? Why or why not? A recommendation for a company says a lot.
  • Compare your quotes. Look at the equipment and the number of devices to be installed. Have they offered you a true security system or just a basic system? Does it cover what you wanted or did the salesman say it was all you needed?
  • Fire, Low Temperature, CO Detectors and Sump pumps are all extras that can be added to your alarm system. Do you need any of them? If so, how much will they cost and does the alarm company charge more to monitor them?
  • Never be pressured into signing. Do not sign unless you feel comfortable with the price and terms you are offered. 
  • If you have pets, make sure the pets are not in an area where the motion sensor is, or get a pet type motion sensor. 
  • If you want to check the value of the equipment being installed, ask if they sell better quality equipment. If they do, how much more and what are the differences and why is not offered up front? Usually you cannot get the better equipment in a no-money-down package.
  • Nothing in life is FREE and neither is a good quality security system.



Why a Dedicated Cellular Connection Matters

For your security system to reliably protect you in an emergency—a fire, a break-in, medical emergency—it's essential that you choose one with the most reliable technology for communicating with the outside world. 


Cellular or Interactive Technology

The emergency signal that will save your hone or business will be transmitted over our dedicated cellular connection: a secure, wireless connection linking your security panel to our monitoring station.


Because it doesn't piggyback on your home or business broadband connection, it communicates reliably when you need it to—even if your phone line, cable, broadband, Wi-Fi and power are down.


Here's what makes a dedicated cellular connection or our interactive Technology an essential feature of a reliable security system.


  1. It's exclusive to your security system
    

The safety of your family or employees should never compete for bandwidth with entertainment and other services. CSI’s cellular connection is reserved solely for your security system to communicate with CSI’s monitoring station. It's not shared with other services and it doesn't depend on your home's networking and WiFi router.

  2. It can't be physically cut 

The most sophisticated broadband or cable-connected security systems can be defeated in seconds on the outside of the home, using a pair of wire cutters. A cellular connection has no cable to cut. Should an intruder attack the security panel itself, CSI’s systems patented Crash and Smash technology will still signal our monitoring station for help.

  3. It works even when the power's out.  

Even if your home or business loses power, your CSI system will continue to communicate. Our security panels feature 24-hour battery backup so you'll stay secure until the electricity comes back on.

Motion sensors

There are many types of motion sensors on the market today. Over the years, motion sensors have evolved enough to be able to protect any type of situation. 


These devices have pulse counters, dual sensors, harsh environment settings, curtain motions, long range, short range and ceiling detectors to name a few; there are sensors for every application out there. Large and small corporations make use of these technologies; they realize that, when their premises need to be protected, there is a cost to do it right. 


For most homeowners and businesses, it still comes down to price and they end up buying a basic alarm system that is prone to false alarms.


When you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for your home, business, or warehouse, though, you should buy a good alarm system that will effectively protect your investment without the nuisance associated with false alarms. 


A motion sensor is something you should be prepared to spend some money on - spending a few dollars more for a good motion sensor will save you the cost of upgrading and service calls in the few short months after your installation.


Pet motion sensors are now available to protect a home that has pets, eliminating a problem that has existed for years. 


A pet motion sensor looks at a view of pixels. As the sensor scans a room it has a view of, for example, 1000 pixels. Unless 200 pixels or more are broken at any one time, there are no alarms. Cats will most likely use about 20 to 30 when walking around and dogs will use 50 to 100; as long as they stay below the number provided, the sensor does not see the pet. 


You should consider dual motion detectors from the beginning; they cost more, but you will have peace of mind with better equipment.


All motions should be installed and tested on site by a technician. They can take a few minutes to set up, but when installed properly you should have no worries.



Glass sensors

Glass sensors have come a long way over the years. The original method used to protect glass was a conductive metallic tape or foil that was applied directly to the glass. If the glass were broken, the cracks would cause the foil to break.


While this was a reliable method of detecting glass breakage, it was labor intensive to install and prone to extensive service from scratches and breaks in the foil. 


Today, most glass break sensors are acoustic devices that are visually attractive, less expensive to install and maintain and can be set to trip to only the sound of breaking glass. Newer models of quality glass sensors are less prone to false alarms.


Glass sensors do not actually sense glass breaking; they listen for a frequency of sound caused by the crash or crack associated with breaking glass. Therefore, it is important to have glass sensors installed by trained professionals. 


The number one brand for this type of device is Sentrol that, when they are installed correctly, will give you the protection you need with no false alarms. However, glass sensors should not be installed in a room where there is normally a lot of noise, such as a kitchen. 


The kitchen may be a good location for a glass sensor when you are not home. But if the system is on when you are home, any glass touching, breaking or clanging will set off the alarm. If you decide to install glass sensors in your kitchen, they should be activated only when you are away from the home or not in the room.


The experienced professionals at Colonnade Security in Ottawa provide you with top of the line equipment, expert installation and user demonstration, client-focused service and vigilant monitoring from a ULC monitoring station in Ottawa.


For more information, you can call 613-839-1274 or email inquires@colonnadesecurity.com

Simple. Safe. Secure.

CONTACT

Tel: 613.839.1274
inquiries@colonnadesecurity.com

Colonnade Security Inc.®
P.O. Box 72035
Ottawa ON K2K 2P4
Canada

CSI SERVICE HOURS

Tel: 613.839.1274
inquiries@colonnadesecurity.com

CSI Customer Service Hours

Monday to Friday 8 AM to 8 PM
Saturday – Available upon request.
Closed on Sundays

We are closed on Sundays and holidays, but emergency service is available 24/7.

NOT YET A CUSTOMER?

Contact our team by calling 613.839.1274 or send an email so we may answer your questions and arrange to meet with you to determine the most suitable alarm system that meets your needs.

Tel: 613.839.1274
inquiries@colonnadesecurity.com