Can I have my existing security system equipment monitored?

Probably, but you'll need to do a little research on available providers to find out whether they support your existing security system.

Security systems and remote monitoring are two distinct parts of a whole home security package. Most home security companies offer both parts, and things tend to work best when they're matched and integrated from the start. However, many security systems are technically compatible with various alarm monitoring services. This can be good news if you're happy with the existing security system in your home but dissatisfied with the monitoring service, or especially if you're moving into a home with a pre-installed system.

In any home security system, the essential equipment is largely self-contained. There's a central control panel that registers the state of various sensors throughout your home. When a sensor changes state, such as when a door is opened, a window is broken, a smoke detector or motion sensor triggered, the control panel is programmed to respond by producing emergency alerts. Even if the system is not connected to remote monitoring, it will function properly by setting off loud alarms in the home.

However, connecting your system to remote alarm monitoring greatly increases your security options. When the control panel senses a potential emergency, an alert is sent to the central monitoring facility for immediate action. This may include contacting you at home or away, and relaying your address and the type of emergency to police, fire, medical or other appropriate authorities. In order to do this, the signal sent by your control panel needs to be "understood" by the equipment at the alarm monitoring facility.

The simplest way to add remote monitoring to an existing security system is to go with the company that originally installed it.

Although there's a certain amount of standardization in the home security industry, in some cases the signal sent by some home systems can't be properly interpreted by another company's remote monitoring equipment. To address this problem, companies such as Protect America offer converters which adapt nearly any existing security system to their remote monitoring facilities.

Some systems have specific advanced features that are only supported by the company that installed them. For example, FrontPoint does not support existing security systems but instead uses wireless systems that are easy to transport from one home to another. Vivint also offers wireless systems as standard, but provides monitoring which supports several types of pre-installed and hardwired systems.

If you're moving into a home with an existing security system, there's a good chance that you can get the name and contact information of the company that installed the equipment, either from your realtor or written right on the control panel itself. At the very least, the control panel should give you a make and model number to assist with your research.

If you have an existing security system but don't know who to call to set up alarm monitoring (or would prefer alternatives to that company), we can help. The SafeWise system finder helps you compare the best providers and find one that supports pre-installed equipment. For more hands-on assistance, call 1-888-970-1701 to speak with a SafeWise security specialist to match your existing security system with the right alarm monitoring provider.

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