When you purchase a new home or commercial facility, the building often has an alarm system already installed–but it may not be active. Or perhaps it does have an active alarm system, but you’re dissatisfied with the security company that monitors it.
In either case, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to simply take your existing security hardware and connect to a new monitoring company–without adding new equipment or going through a drawn-out process.
In this article we’ll take a look at how to have a new-to-you monitoring company take over existing security hardware–how this works, what hardware is compatible, and how you can use this to make your security stronger overall.
What does a monitoring company do?
A monitoring company provides overwatch services to make sure that someone is paying attention to your security system at all times. When one of your alarms activates, the monitoring company can investigate, determine if the alarm is valid, and notify both you and the police, fire department, or paramedics in case of an emergency.
Monitoring for the home provides valuable peace of mind to those that travel often, live in high-crime areas, or live alone.
And monitoring services are great for businesses because it means someone is always watching out for your property, even on nights and weekends when everybody has gone home.
Established security companies like Vivint, Brinks, and Xfinity do offer monitoring services on existing hardware, but they tend to have a high price tag even on basic services, as well as requiring long-term contracts from their customers. Additionally, not all of these companies operate monitoring services in all regions.
Conversely, small local companies in your area may not charge much, but their monitoring is more than likely subpar and limited in scope.
So look for security monitoring companies that are reputable national companies highly rated by their customers. These companies have the know-how and resources to offer high-quality monitoring at a reasonable cost and responsive customer service, without expensive long-term contracts.
How a monitoring service takes over an existing alarm system
A standard alarm system usually consists of some or all of these components:
- Door alarms
- Window sensors
- Glass break detectors
- Motion sensors
- Video surveillance
When a new company comes in to monitor using old hardware, they do so by taking over the main control panel. Sometimes they can use the panel that is there, and sometimes they’ll need to install a new one, which is typically a very simple swap.
Then the company will connect your control panel and alarm system to their own monitoring base. That’s all it takes for your inactive system to now be actively monitored 24/7.
The advantages of wirelessly connected monitoring
There are two options companies use to connect their monitoring base to their customers’ security systems: landline or GSM.
Some companies only do landline connections, but this is actually a security weakness, as thieves sometimes cut landlines and hard wiring to prevent alarms from functioning during a burglary.
It’s more secure to use a company that uses a GSM connection, which connects your system and the monitoring company wirelessly through a cellular network. This system has no wires to cut, and is just as reliable as a landline connection.
Add more devices
When you reactivate an existing alarm system, it’s often a great time to add new security features, as many monitoring companies (including Get Safe and Sound) are also able to install these devices and sync them with your existing features.
If you only have an entry alarm on your door, for example, add motion detectors, window alarms, or motion-sensor floodlights to increase the “hardness” or overall security of your home or facility.
Clearly visible cameras paired with good lighting and clear sight lines are especially good at deterring intruders and vandals of all kinds.
If your system doesn’t already have a backup battery, this is also a great investment, as it ensures that your alarm system (and monitoring!) will remain active even when there is a power outage.
What systems are compatible with reactivation?
Before you can do anything, you need to know what kind of hardware you have.
Look closely at your control panel as well as any other equipment you can access. Make a note of brand names and model names, plus how the screens and buttons are laid out.
Security equipment made by 2GIG, Honeywell, and GE is generally compatible with most monitoring companies.
If you’re not sure if your hardware is compatible, or what model of hardware you have, you can talk to the monitoring company itself about what systems they work with and how to find out if they can work with yours.
When to replace an alarm system
Sometimes you do need to replace an existing alarm system, even if it’s expensive. Security systems, like any other technology, have a limited lifespan.
It’s time to replace your system when:
- It’s over ten years old
- It gives multiple false alarms
- The hardware is too clunky to work with current software
- It is no longer supported by the manufacturer or repair company
Luckily, there are plenty of alarm system options that offer high security at a reasonable cost. Plus, if you work with an experienced installation company that also provides monitoring, you’ll be able to get a network of security devices that meet all your needs and are automatically monitored.
Want more information?
Get Safe and Sound specializes in custom security installations as well as 24/7 system monitoring. We work with residential customers as well as commercial facilities, warehouses, and office buildings.
Want more information about what we do and how we can help you reactivate your existing security hardware? Contact us here or call us at for a free consultation!