Is your house secure
According to the California Business and Profession Code 7195-7199 which covers home inspections, home inspectors are required to report on safety concerns around the property. Some safety concerns would be: Are doors and windows lockable and secured? Home inspectors do not consider a stick in the track or temporary thumb screw clamps a means for locking doors or windows. Are there bushes growing in front of windows blocking the view to the house from the street? Is it an easy climb to a second story window that may not be locked? Home owners sometimes get lazy and do not always lock a second story window. Is the area around the home well lit? Having motion sensor lighting around the exterior of the property is always a good idea for added safety. Does the house have a working and monitored alarm system? Do you set it? Several of these things, inspectors may not look at but you should be aware of these items around your house whether you already own a home or are looking to purchase one.
As a home inspector I do not inspect home alarm systems. Several alarm companies in the area are willing to come out to your home and inspect the alarm system at little or no charge. I called Mijac Alarm, who has been in business for over 40 years and located in Rancho Cucamonga, to ask what I should look for if I were to do an alarm inspection. Here are items I was told to look for:
First, look at the key pad and see if there is a green or ready light on. Next, find the control panel. I have seen these panels in garages, attics and closets. In the control panel, check the date on the battery. Alarm batteries last between 3-5 years. A lot of alarm companies leave paperwork in the control panel. The paperwork should tell you the last time it was serviced and what zones each wire goes to.
For the alarm to be monitored there needs to be a telephone line. If the house is vacant, there will not be a phone hook up. If you are planning on using "voice over IP" as your telephone, the alarm company may need to install a wireless phone connection when you sign up for the monitoring service.
Next, what areas of the house are being monitored? Exterior door? Only first floor windows or all windows? Are there motion detectors on the interior of the house? And, how were all these sensors installed? Were they hard wired? Meaning wires running through the wall to each door, window and sensor. Or did they use a wireless system where you need to replace batteries once a year? Hard wired systems is the preferred method as they tend to be more reliable. However, wireless systems seem to be the most popular in the last 10 years or so.
After talking to Mijac Alarm Company I found it would be easier to call them out and have the system inspected. I would like to thank Steve at Mijac Alarm for the information he provided. They can be reached at 909-982-7612.