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Securing Your Home For A Spring Vacation

by Amy May 1, 2017

Everyone deserves a good spring break but it’s hard not to worry about the safety of your home while away. Take the time to prepare your home so that you won’t have to worry while enjoying your vacation!

Hire A House Sitter If Possible

Houses are frequently targeted because an intruder knows that no one is home. Hire a house sitter to stay in your home while you’re away. That way your house will never appear to be empty.

Don’t Post That You’ll Be Away On Social Media

It’s not smart to post on social media that you’ll be gone. Anyone can see exactly when you’ll be absent and you’d be surprised how easy it is to find out someone’s address these days. Make sure you aren’t advertising that your home is empty and an easy target.

Notify Police You’ll Be Gone

Let the local police know you’ll be away so they can periodically send an officer by to make sure the house is safe. They are more than happy to do so.

Take The GPS Out Of Your Car

If you’re leaving your car at an airport, or anywhere while you’re gone, make sure to take out the GPS. A thief could break into your car and find your home address all too easily. They are aware you aren’t at home and they could use this to their advantage.

Keep Expensive Items Out Of Sight

Move any expensive valuables out of sight while you’re away. Most times, thieves will inspect your home through your windows and see what they could get. Don’t give them the opportunity. If they don’t see anything they want it may deter them from attempting to intrude.

Get Sturdier Locks

If you’re concerned about the strength of your locks, make sure you have them repaired before you leave. Be sure all locks are reinforced so there is no easy point of entry.

Have A Neighbor Pick Up Mail

Ask a friend or a neighbor to retrieve your mail while you’re gone. An overflowing mailbox is a clear sign that no one is home and hasn’t been for several days.

Have Someone Mow The Lawn

Another clear indicator that no one is home is an unkempt lawn. If you’re going away for an extended period, make sure someone is keeping up with your lawn.

Disable The Garage Door Opener

Turn off your garage door opener so that no one can hack it and enter your home through the garage.

Timed Lights Make It Seem Like You’re Home

Consider putting some interior and exterior lights on a timer. This way it will turn them on and off throughout the day and make it seem that someone is home. Be careful of leaving lights on for days at a time, as this could be another indicator that no one is home.

Upgrade Your Home Security

If you do not have a home security system, it is recommended to get one. This is the most efficient way to check up on your home and know it is safe when you’re away.

Wireless Security Lets You Monitor Your Home

Once you install a home security system, you can take advantage of home automation. A home automation system allows you to access your home security cameras at any time, from any place. You can also install motion detectors to be triggered if someone is inside your home.

Take the time to prepare your home and keep it safe while you’re away. Install a home security system so you can always have peace of mind, even if you’re halfway around the world.

Turn Your Smartphone Into A Security System

by Amy April 13, 2017

Home Automation From My Alarm Center

One awesome perk of having a home security system is that your phone can control absolutely everything. The MyHome® smartphone app from My Alarm Center provides you with the ability to control your home security system and home automation system entirely through your smartphone.

  • Home automation climate control allows you to regulate your home’s temperature without having to use the thermostat. You can save energy when no one is home by turning the heater or air conditioner off. Or simply make a room more comfortable without having to get up from your cozy seat.
  • You can likewise use your phone to look at the home security camera feed and monitor your home at all times. You can view your live video feed on up to eight home security cameras simultaneously. You can even create video recordings from the security footage with the simple press of a button on your phone.
  • You can also turn interior and exterior lights on or off with your phone and your home automation system. You can create rules for your lighting so that lights turn on when certain sensors are activated, people enter rooms, or it reaches a certain time of the day. This is a great way to make your home appear lived in if you are away for some time.
  • If any motion sensors are ever set off in your home, the MyHome® app will send alerts to your phone so you’ll always be aware.
  • You can remotely arm and disarm your home alarm to provide family or friends with access to your house while you are out.

My Alarm Center provides home security systems and home automation systems for Philadelphia residents. They provide expert home security services while the MyHome® app gives you full control of your home automation, makes your life far more convenient, and puts your mind at ease.

Tips For A Smooth Moving Day

by Amy March 30, 2017

Moving is one of the most stressful things you can go through. Between forgetting to pack the little things, all the last-minute reminders, and everything that needs to be set up in your new home, you could probably use these tips to make your moving day a smoother one.

When You’re Packing Up

  • Look over the Bill of Lading. This is the contract you have with the moving company. Make sure it says exactly what terms you agreed to and ask any questions you have before the movers put anything in their truck.
  • Supervise packing. Even though movers are professionals, keep an eye on them while they’re packing up. You will know that all your possessions are packed properly and being treated with care, easing your stress.

Checking Your Home

  • Make sure to do a full walkthrough of the house to make sure nothing is forgotten. Go through every room, even the attic and crawlspaces. You wouldn’t want to leave anything behind just because it is out of sight.
  • Check for any damage the movers may have caused. This needs to be documented so that you don’t have any problems while your house is being sold.
  • Have cash ready for tips and for any tolls you may go through on the road. Being prepared will ensure your stress stays at a minimum.
  • Make sure the movers have your phone number in case they get lost on the way to your new home.

Your New Home

  • Do your best to beat the moving truck to your new home so that you don’t get charged for any extraneous fees from the moving company.
  • Do a walkthrough with your real estate agent. Make sure that everything you agreed upon is up to date and everything is where it’s supposed to be.
  • Check the utilities in your new home. Ensure that power outlets are working properly as well as showers, toilets, and sinks. If you discover a problem early in the day, it will give you a chance to address it before you try to sleep at night.
  • Tape names to the doors to assist the movers. Make a clear plan for them to follow so that you don’t have to move boxes from room to room.
  • Don’t schedule your cable installation or home security installation for your moving day. This is too much to deal with, particularly if you must deal with any unexpected challenges. Plan to have these set up the day after you move in or contact My Alarm Center about having home security set up before you even move in.

Moving day is always stressful, no matter how much planning you put into it. Do your best to be as organized as possible and stay hydrated. Remember, it’s okay to take breaks and grab a snack if you need one.

Ways to Stay Safe During A Winter Blackout

by Cassie February 23, 2017

A winter blackout without heat or electricity is everyone’s worst nightmare. It is essential to know what to do in case you end up stuck in a cold and miserable situation like this.

Dress Warm
Your home may become cold very quickly, so dress as if you were prepared to go outside. Dressing in layers is recommended and helps retain body heat. The most heat escapes through your head and feet, so put on socks and a hat right away.

Let Faucets Trickle
This will not keep your home warm but it will keep your pipes from bursting. If the heat in your home drops too rapidly then your pipes could freeze and potentially burst. This would lead to a massive plumbing emergency.

Use Sleeping Bags
Use sleeping bags even when you’re sleeping in your bed. The enclosed comforter will trap heat and keep you warm when trying to sleep in very cold temperatures.

Get Everyone In One Room
Making sure your family stays together in a blackout situation is important. It is a good idea just for safety but also will allow you to consolidate body heat.

Block Drafts
It is important to keep as much heat inside your home as possible. Blocking all drafts near windows or doors is vital to keeping heat inside. Plus, the less cold air that comes in, the warmer it will get.

Use Candles
Using candles is a great idea because they provide both heat and light. Make sure to always practice proper fire safety and not leave candles unattended or around small children.

Be Aware Of Home Security
A blackout could be a potentially dangerous situation for your home and your family. My Alarm Center’s home security is designed to work even without electricity. If there is an emergency without power, My Alarm Center can help you handle it.

Being inside your home during a power outage can be a scary and difficult situation. It’s necessary to have a plan in place to stay warm and keep your house from being damaged.

Securing Your Garage

by Cassie January 24, 2017

Locking your front door is something of a ritual to you at this stage of the game, right? You retire to your bedroom, curl up with a good book, and sleep soundly knowing that you’ve locked your doors and are protected. But have you ever considered your garage door? It may look like a veritable welcome mat to someone trying to take your valuables. However, security systems and other measures can be taken to keep unwanted guests on the outside.

Don’t Leave Your Garage Remote In Your Car

If your door has a remote open feature, do not leave the remote in your vehicle no matter where it is parked. A quick visit to any local home improvement store to replace your larger remote in favor of a transportable keychain remote will give you added peace of mind knowing that there is no access to unlock your garage door without your knowledge. Just match the brand and the year and be sure to read the manual for activation instructions.

Lock The Doors And Windows

Be certain that all windows are in the lock position. For added measure, you can install pre-made bars or fashion steel pipes to either side of the windowpane to create a barrier. If you have a connecting door from your garage to the main interior of your home, be sure that the lock on this door is always fastened properly.

Cover Windows

Burglars are usually on the hunt for access points, but are also attracted to low hanging fruit. To that end, installing curtains or blinds to your windows can help divert unwanted attention from your home. If blinds are not an option for you, an opaque wallpaper will distort any activity inside your garage.

Motion Detector Exterior Lights

Motion sensor lighting can scare away bandits and alert you in enough time to intervene in any situation. The infrared lights sense body temperature and anything that moves. You can adjust the timer for the length that any given light will stay on and give the illusion that you are home and awake.

Install A Security System

After you’ve taken proper precautions, you’ll want to consider installing a home security system. My Alarm Center security alarms can help catch prowlers off guard and alert you and the police to their misadventures.

The safety of your family and property is important. Follow this guide to protect your assets and sleep the night away knowing that your home is protected on all fronts, inside and out.  

Transferring Your Home Security

by Amy January 9, 2017

Automated home value

When moving your family into a new home, you want to know you’ll all be as safe there as you were in your old one. My Alarm Center makes transferring your home security system simple and convenient even at a time as stressful as moving into a completely new house. Let My Alarm Center take the worry out of securing your new home with our Smart Move Program.

  • My Alarm Center’s home security equipment is wireless and is not hardwired into your home, making My Alarm Center’s home security equipment easy to move anywhere at any time. My Alarm Center’s home security systems can move with the homeowners even if you plan to move out of state. And, no matter where you go, My Alarm Center’s home security services will continue to be the same price unless more equipment is needed. There is also an option to have a completely new home security system installed for individual circumstances that may require it.
  • My Alarm Center can also take over most home security systems from other home security companies that are already installed in your new house. My Alarm Center will work hard to replace any machinery at a minimum cost if necessary.
  • My Alarm Center’s home security services can also be transferred to the new owner of your old home. Plus, if you are willing and able to assist in offering our home security services to the new homeowner, you’ll receive a $100 referral bonus. This offer also applies to any friends or family you refer our home security services to.

To protect your family and prevent any home break ins, continue your home security service when moving into a new house. My Alarm Center home security provides an easy and convenient way to transfer your home security system and services, without any extra cost, so you can continue protecting your family no matter where you go.

6 Benefits Of Home Security Systems

by Amy December 7, 2016

There are many advantages to owning a home security system. They help keep your family safe, let you focus on the more important aspects of life, and give you peace of mind. Here are some other reasons to consider a home security system:

  • Protects Valuables

The alarm alone is enough to deter an intruder. However, once the alarm has sounded, the police are immediately notified and dispatched so your home is kept safe at all costs.

  • Helps Save Energy

Nowadays, home security systems also include many home automation features. This system will allow you to monitor your energy usage and shut off utilities when you are no longer in the room. This leads to lower monthly bills and less wasted energy.

Saving energy isn’t the only advantage of home automation. You can change the lighting, temperature, music, TV, and control numerous other aspects of your home from a device as simple as your smart phone.

  • Lowers Insurance

Many insurance agencies give discounts to members who have a home security system. This is a great way to cut down on expenses.

Fire and carbon monoxide detectors are vital features of any home security system. They can detect dangers that you can’t, such as invisible, poisonous carbon monoxide. As soon as the alarm has sounded, emergency services are on call to help. These detectors provide an indispensable advantage to protecting your family from emergencies that are usually out of your control.

  • Remote Surveillance

Remote surveillance allows you to watch your home at any hour of the day from any location. You can view the live feed from the wireless security cameras through an app on your smart phone. It can even alert you when people leave and enter your home – a great way to keep an eye on the kids whether you’re on vacation or just at work.

Home security systems are an investment. The right systems can keep your valuables safe while saving you money in the process. They also give peace of mind and let you know someone will always be there in case of an emergency. Protect your family, yourself, and make life a little easier by adding a security system into your home.

The Craziest Best Deals We’ve Seen During the Holidays

by Cassie December 8, 2015

Holiday Sale from My Alarm CenterThe holiday season is always a time for great deals: every store and its mother promises screaming Black Friday discounts, and many extend their offerings throughout the entire Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season.

And while every circular and online store yells from the rooftops that their deal is best deal, there’s no doubt that some deals are better than other. Let’s take a stroll down holiday deal lane, with some of our favorite deals from over the years:

Half-priced iPods

Back in 2010, iPods were all the rage – and they had the $299 price tag to prove it. And being Apple products, blazing deals usually meant 10% off, if you were lucky. But that year, Toys R Us offered one of the best Black Friday deals ever, at least where Apple electronics are concerned: Not only did the store drop the price to $199, but they threw a $50 gift card into the mix. All told, you could get your hands on an iPod for $149 – half the retail price. We’re betting this deal thrilled many kids (and their smart-shopping parents) that year.

 2011: Sub-$200 Xbox360 with Kinect

There were a lot of good deals to be had in 2011, but one of our favorites was this gem: Walmart’s $199.96 Xbox360 with Kinect Console. To sweeten the deal, Walmart bundled in a $50 gift card to use on anything in the store. Best Buy offered a similar deal: $200 for a 250GB Xbox360 with Kinect, with Halo:Reach and Fable III included.

2012: $40 Nook e-reader

When we think blazing holiday deals, we usually think of TVs, tablets and laptops – super high-priced electronics. But in 2012, Sears offered a screaming deal on the Nook Simple Touch e-reader. For just $39.99, the department store gave hardcore readers one of the best gifts Black Friday has ever seen.

2013: $30 Smartphone

This year welcomed one of the best smartphone discounts we’ve ever seen: Best Buy’s $29.99 HTC One – 85% off the retail price of $199.99. The company also had on offer the LG G2 for a whopping $24.99, or 87.5% off retail price. Clearly, 2013 was a good year to upgrade your smartphone.

2014: 50-inch, Name-brand Flat-screen for under $200

In 2014, Best Buy slaughtered its TV-selling competition with a $199 deal for a 50″ Panasonic 1080p LED LCD HDTV as their headlining doorbuster. The unbelievable price more than outshone all others, although Target did its best with a $119 40″ 1080p LED flat-screen from Element.

2015: Half-price Home Security

If you’ll permit us to toot our own horn, My Alarm Center is proud to offer one of the year’s best deals: 50% off our cellular monitoring (deal ends 12/31/2015). And just like the TV, this is the gift that keeps on giving – you’ll appreciate it all year round, knowing that your family is safe and protected. And at half the price, to boot!

What great deals have you scored in the past? And what was your best buy of 2015?

The My Alarm Center Resource Guide – All Our Guides & FAQs

by Cassie November 3, 2015

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For years, My Alarm Center has been in the business of keeping you, your family and your home safe. And over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two (or two-hundred) about home security.

We’ve been there done that. We’ve experienced just about every situation. We’ve responded to every type of emergency. Our years of helping local families have armed us with a depth of knowledge and foresight into every scenario. And we’ve leveraged this experience to build you the best, most responsive monitoring system from the best, most responsive technology. And we’ve created plenty of resources along the way.

Security Guides

Experience has taught us that a big part of the safety equation is arming you with the knowledge and know-how to keep your family and home protected. With that in mind, here’s an overview of our safety guides:

  • Flood and water damage: Flooding happens, be it from a natural disaster or a burst pipe. Then mold happens. Then, there’s months of cleanup and financial stress and other concerns. Here’s how to prevent floods, and what to do if the worst occurs.
  • Home automation: Home automation is nifty, but it’s infinitely more enjoyable once you understand how to customize your system exactly as you’d like.
  • Fire & carbon monoxide safety: Undetected fires and CO leaks claim too many lives and homes every year.
  • Cellular monitoring: Cellular monitoring is your ultimate line of defense against burglars, power outages, telephone line problems, and other common issues that plague landline systems.
  • False alarm prevention: An incredible 99% of smoke and burglar alarms are false, and many false positives are preventable.
  • How to keep your pets safe: Pets are family members and we love them dearly. Unfortunately, they can’t rescue themselves: it’s up to you.
  • Testing your home security system: Do you know if your system is communicating with our central station? Or if your motion detectors are really detecting?

FAQs

Our massive FAQ list will answer most of your questions, including:

  • Vacation safety tips: The last thing you want to do is worry about burglars while you’re on vacation. These simple vacation-preparation tips help ensure your getaway ends on a high note.
  • Prevent home invasion: Home invasions are terrifying, and unfortunately can happen anywhere, any time and in any neighborhood. This guide gives you the low-down on how to keep criminals out of your home.
  • Possession records: Important documents, like deeds, financial records, insurance information, and wills, must be kept safe and secure. Here’s how.
  • Smoke detectors: You know that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are absolute must-haves, but do you know exactly where and how to place them? Now you will.
  • Furnaces/space heaters: As temperatures plummet, the risk increases for home fires. Take appropriate precautions to reduce the threat.
  • Fireplaces: Even more than furnaces and space heaters, fireplaces represent a serious fire hazard during winter months. If you’re going to light the flame, keep these safety tips in mind.
  • Electrical hazards: Electrical fires are fast, furious and extremely dangerous. Here’s how to keep your family safe.
  • Create an exit plan: The best thing you can do for your family is prepare for any eventuality. Learn how to create an exit plan, then practice it regularly.

 

 

Lazy Home Security Is More Than Just Owning A Dog, It’s Having A Company Provide 24/7 Monitoring

by Cassie September 30, 2015

Home Automation From My Alarm Center

Um, hi. We have a teeny, tiny confession to make.

We love being lazy. Like really, really love it. We love breakfast in bed and weekends with nary an item on the calendar. We love skipping our chores (once in awhile) in favor of reading a book or taking a stroll. We love ordering in for dinner – and eating it with our honey while watching our favorite show.

There is something very, very comforting about indulging in lazy behavior. About not worrying. About checking our adult responsibilities and the door and saying, “here, you do it!”

So when you think about lazy, no-worries, no-thought-needed security, trust us when we say it’s NOT having a dog. A dog needs to be walked. A dog needs shots and vet checks and deworming. A dog needs food and water. And a dog deserves toys and exercise, not to mention lots and lots of love and care. And the most important point: a dog is a member of the family, not a security system. Definitely not a lazy security system.

24/7 Monitored Security Allows You to be Lazy
You want to know what does count as lazy home security? Hiring a monitoring company. (We feel qualified to say this because hey, we are a monitoring company. We know what’s involved.)

Put it this way: In life, laziness is always an exchange of some sort. Sometimes you exchange money for laziness, as in the aforementioned $-for-pizza exchange. Sometimes you swap what-should-be for what-you-want, like foregoing doing the laundry (you know you need clean clothes) in order to finish your book.

With 24/7 monitoring, you exchange a monthly sum for constant, all-day-everyday, forever-and-ever peace of mind. Let’s quantify that (if that’s how you like to justify you’re laziness, we’re all about enabling you!): in exchange for a monthly fee, you don’t have to buy dog food (easily $20+ per month), you don’t have to pay vet bills ($hundreds a year), and you won’t spend 30+ minutes a day – often, 30 scorching hot or frigidly cold minutes, by the way – walking your pup, giving him proper exercise. (Again with the numbers: 30 minutes a day x 30 days a month x $10/hour for a dog walker is way more than $35 a month.)

Dogs are a responsibility. (Lovable, fluffy, family member responsibilities.) 24/7 monitored security is total peace-of-mind laziness.

So What Does a Monitoring Company Do?
A monitored security system can “lazify” your life in many ways:

• Never again worry about your security. We monitor your alarm 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If there’s a break-in, we’ll notify the police in an average 60 seconds.
• Never again worry about your family’s safety. Again, if there’s a break-in you’ll know police are on their way immediately. But we also offer flood, fire and carbon monoxide monitoring, and will send firefighters and EMTs your way, if necessary.
• With our personal emergency monitoring, we’ll assure 24/7 safety of the seniors in your life. We’re always on call to help.
• And what’s more, we make life easy with home automation. Turn off the lights from the comfort of your couch. Adjust the thermostat from the warmth of your bed. Lock the doors from the bathtub. Seriously easy, seriously lazy.

So go on, then. Get lazy.

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