Last weekend, I installed our security system. With a little bit of research I concluded that SimpliSafe was a good option. I was mostly attracted by the low monthly rate for monitoring. Here’s comparative review from PC Magazine that just came out.

system.jpgThe backbone of the system comprises a base station, keypad and keychain remote. Building out from there, you select from a range types of sensors. Anti-burglar devices include entry sensors for doors and windows, motion sensors and glass break sensors. In addition, they have sensors to detect smoke, CO, water and freezing temperatures. You can also get a siren, an extra key pad, cameras and a panic alarm.

Ordering on line was pretty easy. There are a number of packages which may simplify ordering, but don’t save any money. I’d suggest just building a custom package. I started with a little spreadsheet to tally what I wanted needed. And, you don’t need to sweat it too much; the company has a liberal return policy, if you over order, and it’s easy to add sensors if you need more. I ordered on Monday, they shipped on Tuesday (for free) and the stuff arrived Thursday.

 

They provide printed documentation, but what they recommend is plugging the keychain remote into the USB port and starting up the tutorial app. That’s what I did and it held my hand pretty well.

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First step is to place and plug in the base station. All the sensors talk to this device and, it is the base station that talks to the SimpliSafe monitoring center over a cellular network. The next device to install is the key pad. The simplest way to install this (and most other devices) is using supplied adhesive strips.

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Each device is battery powered. Pulling out a plastic strip kicks on the power. Entry sensors go on doors and windows. They come in two parts and are activated upon the parts being separated when the entry point opens. Each device is labeled with a serial number. I didn’t, but should have, jotted down the location each serial number, and will have to go back and do that.

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They say you can install in under an hour. I actually spent over two hours, but I think that it because I was installing a number of CO and smoke alarm which, for some reason, require screws and anchors. On the other hand, motion sensors, I just placed on shelves (which they suggest as an option). As I was going through all this, the base station, in test mode, kept calling things out indicating when sensors are being tripped. It’s good feedback and lets you know that things are actually operative.

To complete the start up, I did a little configuration tweaking via the app on my computer and finally plugged the device into the base station to transfer the information. Much of the configuration information was in the system already, based on my order, which is pretty convenient. There were a few devices I did not install initially because I was waiting for the guest house to get painted, and the system was smart enough to raise the question of what was up with that.

 

My only minor complaint is that whereas my expectation was to pay $14.99/month for monitoring, I ended up paying $24.99. The extra $10 provides you the ability to configure and control the system remotely with your phone and computer. Within a day or so, the need arose, so I had to upgrade (with the push of a button). I could have sussed this out in advance had I read the website more carefully, but it would not have changed my choice, just my expectations. It’s still a relatively good price, especially considering that a wireline phone line is not required, so it may save from needing a wired phone line at all.

I’ll also mention that the upgraded plan allowed me to tie the Nest thermostats (that I installed in a previous episode) into the system.  They act as temp sensors, saving me from purchasing such sensors. And, when we put the alarm into away mode, it tells the Nest we aren’t home allowing the Nest to more efficiently manage the climate control

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All in all, I would recommend. If you are interested, let me know. As a customer I can get you a discount, and I get a free month of monitoring.

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