We recently drove through a new neighborhood where the spec homes were equipped with pre-installed security system. As I drove through the neighborhood I noticed that 20% of the occupied homes had security signs from some no name security company that obviously landed a huge contract pre-installing these systems. As a security expert you would assume this would make me happy but I was angry. I felt like this was unscrupulous of the builder and that he chose to partner with a company that simply wasn’t worthy. Inside each home was a control panel located right inside an entry door. Most burglars choose to break-in through the front door but 22% of burglars enter through the backdoor and 9% through the garage. This makes any entryway a bad place to install a control panel. If a burglar chooses to come in through one of the doors, he would see the low quality control panel, rip it off the wall, and disable the system. That’s it.
What is a Control panel?
A control panel is the brains of a home security system. It has some sort of build-in communication mechanism that allows it to talk to the other security devices in your home and to your monitoring company. A control panel often has a keypad that can be used to enter your personal code to both arm and disarm the system. Advanced control panels can even tell you the alarm status, event history, and more. It is an important piece of a home security system and rather critical in the event that you need help. If a burglar locates your control panel and destroys it, it is no longer capable of calling for help. For this reason, a control panel should never be located near an entryway.
Where Should You Place a Control panel?
So where should you place a control panel? You should actually place a control panel in the CENTER of your home and not at an entrance. If you prefer, you can put the primary control panel in the center of your home and a secondary keypad by the front or back door. The secondary keypad can be used to arm and disarm your system but if it is destroyed you still have an active control panel. Most modern alarm systems like vivint alarms also have an option to arm or disarm the system using a cell phone or even a key fob in which case the location of the control panel becomes less relevant. You still want the control panel to be somewhere that is reachable but you do want it to be hidden. Several home alarm companies have started installing control panels in utility closets or back closets. Many of our readers prefer to have the primary controller in the master bedroom and I agree that this is ideal. Think about it … if you are the victim of a burglary the master bedroom is likely going to be a target but it is less likely that the burglar will get there in time to destroy the system. The control panel is your lifeline to help and having access to help in the master bedroom would be critical in many situations including home invasions, fires, and medical emergencies.
Choosing a home security system is a big decision so make sure that your system is working for you in the best possible way. Protecting your control panel is one major step toward total home security.
Carlos Benjamin is a contributing author for HomeAlarmReport.com.