New installation


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I've been working on fixing up an older home (circa 1925) in an up-and-coming neighborhood that will be used as a rental property for a couple of years, and then hopefully I will sell it in a couple years as the neighborhood gets better. There is no alarm system currently in the house, but I want to protect the appliances and home from theft, vandalism, and fire while it is unoccupied, and then protect the tenants when it is occupied.

Any suggestions on what to put in there? I want something cheap and easy to install. I have never had a wireless system. Are they prone to theft or tampering by the tenants? I think I only want to monitor the doors, one motion sensor, and one smoke detector.

And unless I can come up with a better solution, I will be paying for a phone line each month. gulp!
hgupta1 said:
And unless I can come up with a better solution, I will be paying for a phone line each month. gulp!
I'm an ELK fan so I am biased when it comes to panels. As for having to pay for a monthly telephone line there are some good threads here on cellular backup.
Does Elk have a security panel besides the M1? I have the M1 gold for my own house and love it, but I think that is overkill for a rental property. If there were a company that monitored it over the internet, I would definitely get it because my best friend lives one house away, and I could use her wireless internet connection for monitoring.

Because this is a rental property, I don't want to spend too much on a system upfront unless it allows me to save money in the long run. Are there cheap cellular backup solutions?
ELK has another panel that does not have all of the bells and whistles as the M1 but from what I hear is still a nice panel.

Its less expensive but I dont know how much it its.
The EZ8 is indeed a nice panel and baby brother to the M1. It is still in the $300-$400 range. Of course I also am biased toward Elk, but if all you want is real basic security and no automation, you can get something like a plain DSC system for about half of the EZ8.
Or, a Caddx NX4 for about $100. I don't use them but I know of a builder who just used about 80 of them for a complex.
I looked at a lot of wireless options, and althought they are definitely the easiest to install, I am worried that the tenants will tamper with them and that the systems are unattractive.

I think I am going to go for a cheap Napco gemini system (like the P801) since I already have the software and interface wires leftover from my old system, making programming a little easier.
The P801 has very little standby and alarm current. Also it does not have ethernet capability. The P816 can use the NL-MOD ethernet unit but I dont think that it has anywhere near the features of the elk ethernet.

If you need any manuals etc for Napco products let me know I can get them.
I am so torn... now I am thinking about going with a GE Simon 3 all in one unit, with a cellular back up connected to the siren output. ( I assume it has outputs for external sirens). The voice prompts should make it easier for renters to use, and it will be easier to install than a wired system, and it will protect the premises whether or not the tenant gets a phone line. I'll just have to run power wires and phone wires to it from the attic or basement. My biggest fear is that it will get stolen if a thief ever clears out the place.
If you are going with cellular why do you need to run phone lines? If you are concerned about tenants stealing the system why not itemize the parts and put in a hefty but legal security deposit to cover potential loss? Be aware that, at least in my neck of the woods, the property owner is ultimately responsible for any outstanding unpaid false alarms. If a tenant moves out you could be hit with hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in fines and not know about it for months. It happened to me.
I was under the impression that cellular is more of a backup solution than a primary. I figure if the the tenants gets a phone line, we might as well use it as well.

The problem with hefty deposits is that it keeps otherwise good tenants from being able to rent the place. Some of my best tenants have been quiet students that don't have large sums of cash.

Also, an angry tenant that knows that he is going to skip out on the last month's rent has little holding him back from taking or damaging everything he can. The fancy talking box on the wall may be a target of agression.

As for the false alarms: I intend on going through nextalarm in conjunction with uplink. That way I will be notified of each time that the alarm goes off.
I'm not 100% sure if cellular can be the primary. That would be a good question for Spanky and NextAlarm. I do commercial real property and I have found that hefty security deposits weed out the flakes. As for the false alarms, you'll get notice that the alarm triggered, but you won't get notice that the false alarm was properly aborted and the police didn't issue a bill. At least you'll have some notice.
If you want a really user friendly, non entry/exit falase alarm type system Napco has one coming on the market now. They have an older version but the new one is 1000 times better.

It basically uses your door deabolt key to disarm (I know that some people dont like that but if you want a very easy to use basic alarm its great, but no ELK for sure). Or you can get the garage version and use the Wireless alarm remote to arm/disarm and also open and close the garage door (s). It uses a panel similar to the GEM-P1632 but it has 64 zones and uses special keypads.

It also has voice prompts etc. If you are interested let me know and tell what state you live in and I can ask our sales department who does/will sell it in your state. It might only go out to professional installers at first. Last I heard we were sold out (thousands went out) and we are making more. The newer ones will have blue LCD's etc.

I can also send you the installation instructions etc now that they are published.

Two versions are UL Listed and I am testing the third version with UL tomorrow.
That napco sounds awesome. I hope its not too expensive. One of the problems that I have had is that tenants are intimidated by the system and fail to arm it. But no one ever forgets to lock the doors. If you can't sell it directly to me, could you see if there are any dealers in Memphis?

I sent you a PM with my work email address. If installed properly you cant leave the backdoor unlocked since it can sense of the deadbolt is locked or not which people love.

You push the away button, open the door, close the door behind you, and lock the deadbolt and you are armed away (it chirps to acknowledge its armed). No codes unless you trip it into alarm somehow (you cant false alarm entering or leaving its pretty much impossible). There is even a bedroom keypad. All keypads have built in motion detectors, zone expanders, and sirens as well. Not much like it out there.

Its UL Listed for Residential Fire and Burglary. It will eventually get ANSI SIA CP-01 False Alarm Reduction Classification once ANSI/SIA revises the standard to handle the technology it this product has.