Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guardian Meeting

So I walked out of the Guardian meeting yesterday without buying anything extra.  That is right nothing but the included jacks.  I work for an audio, video, network, and computer cable manufacturer and I am getting a 2" pipe run from the basement to the attic, so I will be doing some cable runs myself.

I was not sure what to expect of the meeting but the rep from Guardian that I spoke with was very down to earth and we actually spoke for a couple of hours on various topics.  He took his time and and answered questions that I had and helped explain things that I was not up to speed on.  To his credit I am more understanding now of the prices they have considering the labor and that they have to stand behind their work.  I mean they are in the business to make money too!

Yeah, so I walked out the door without anything but I am now weighing the actual costs of the alarm system.

Breaking it down:

$27/month with a 3 year contract
First 6 months free
Keypad, motion detector, sensors for all outside doors

Total: (36 months - 6 free months) * $27 = $810

Control Unit/Keypad - GE Simon XT
Unconfirmed on the exact model

Additional Guardian Options:
Fire Detector - $150
Unconfirmed on the exact model

Carbon Monoxide Detector - $170.

Guardian Site: http://www.guardianprotection.com/existing-homes/solutions/carbon-monoxide-detectors.aspx

Home Security Store Kit

I posted earlier about the Home Security Store package which is similar but wireless.

$9/month monitoring (UL listed) with a one year prepay
$35 activation fee
$260 for the base package that matches what Guardian is offering (GE Simon XT)

Total:  $108 + $35 + $260 + $218 (2 additional years of monitoring) = $619

Additional Home Security Store Options:
Fire Detector - $83

Carbon Monoxide Detector - $94
The models look to be the same so I think that the sensor is wireless for Guardian as well, but unconfirmed.

The thing that you get with Guardian is the wired system which is more reliable but the wireless systems are still pretty reliable overall.  With a $191 difference against the wired system along with the equipment markups, I am not sure that is going to sell me to get it.

What I am wondering though is if you can buy the extra equipment yourself and then install it with the Guardian system.  That would be intriguing if others had done something like that.


  1. I really wish we would have asked to get 6 months free monitoring! It never even crossed my mind and he never offered it. I don't think we have any leverage now to ask for it because our selections are locked-in.

    You sure do a lot of research on this stuff. It's super helpful for those of us who read your blog! We went with Guardian because I like the idea of everything being installed and ready to go when we move in. I guess it's just laziness but I don't want to be dealing with different companies to get things done afterwards. That's the same reason we overpaid to have RH install our garage door opener.

    1. Getting those things done sooner before you move in makes good sense. There will be a lot of things going on with moving so I totally understand not wanting to deal with those items. I kind of like doing the electronic things too so it is not as much of a chore for me, where it is not as enticing for others.

      Hey, I am not looking to put flooring down myself or take the base appliances to switch them out for other models, so I am taking the lazy way out on those! I generally know my limitations on those things (I think) :-)

  2. I have had a wireless alarm in my current home for 4 years and could not be happier. I also got it from the Home Technology Store, but got the Abbra kit. No phone line needed. Does VoIP (sort of) to the monitoring service over your existing internet.

    Prices have gone up a bit since I bought, so it's a closer decision, but at the time it was much cheaper than other alarms (Brinks, etc). Installation is really easy, and there is never an issue with sensors talking to the main unit. I think maybe 3 RF jams in 4 years an they self-clear within seconds. It detects the jam though. The really nice thing about that system is remote log access, arm/disarm, camera access, etc. All from a browser of smart phone. Also has SMS alerts, even for non-trigger items like a guest PIN being used, and a latchkey mode so you will get a text if a kid doesn't disarm by a certain time.

    On top of all that is the ability to add a water sensor. I highly recommend a water sensor INSIDE your sump pit. If the water level gets above where it should be pumped out then you get a call from the monitoring company. Probably 2 hours before it would have flooded. Good idea to have a sensor on the floor too, but in the pit is KEY. The floor sensor is just a "guess what? your basement is flooded, have fun" alarm, but the pit level will give you time to fix or react.

    Monitoring is through NextAlarm.com. Rates are up to $14/month now, but I'm grandfathered into a cheaper plan -- but they do have year discounts and you get all the remote access ability.


    1. PS: Our PM gave me your email. I will send you a quick note later in case you have any questions. Rather than clog the comments.

  3. Super impressive research and will power.

    Who did you ask about the 2" pipe and how accommodating were they?

    We're hoping to get a pipe in our place for future wiring. My father is an electrical contractor, and we want the ability to easily run wire for extra lights, switches, etc. in the future. We gently floated the idea to our SR and got a "no" -- but thought we'd try again with our PM.

  4. You should push it with your PM. It is a special request, but definitely allowable as long as RH does it (their HVAC guy actually). They key is the put it through the fire block between floors so they have to seal around it and also cap it at both ends to pass inspection. 2" is probably not enough for electrical though. It is a rip off ($275 for $25' of 2" PVC...) but tons cheaper than Guardian would have been to run lines.

    My plan is 1 coax for TV to the bedrooms that hits a splitter once it is in the attic, a multi-mode fiber cable for future use (not sure what) and 1 CAT-5 ethernet cable for each of the 3 bedrooms w/o wiring.

    ALSO: 2 things I found out this week. 1) Guardian runs an extra cat5 to the attic as part of their deal. The coil up about 10' extra and leave it unterminated. I think this is for them to add a wifi access point in the future (or for me to do the same)
    2) The electricians installed a power outlet above the doorway (in the ceiling) in every bedroom. I can't remember if it is inside or outside the doorway -- but I finally figured out that is for hardwired smoke detectors. Very cool feature. I wonder if they even include the smoke detectors too.

  5. I asked the PM and they were pretty accommodating on it. I did not realize it at the time but some one else had asked for the same thing so I thing the precedence was set and it was not a big deal. As Mike said, I think you should press it with the PM and I think that it is valid to point out that other Ryan representatives are allowing this so it shouldn't be a big deal. The other option is to tell them that you want them to put a radon pipe in there and have it capped at both ends. It would likely be 3" but that may be what you want anyways if you want to run electrical (not sure what the code is on electricity in a PVC pipe though). If you express concern about radon they should allow that since it is always a possibility, just use it for something else in the end when your radon test come back negative :-)

    That is pretty interesting about the extra CAT5 cable. The cable cost is low so that make sense to do that if they think that they might have a chance of setting up something later. Let me know if they do anything with that later Mike.

    The hardwired smoke alarms come with the house and they also include a carbon monoxide detector which is part of the code now. From the blueprint I see there is one inside the door of each bedroom and one in the hall upstairs. There is also one smoke detector on the first floor and one in the basement.

  6. Wow! I can't believe you walked out without adding anything extra on. But, I guess if that's your skill set, it makes sense. I'm wondering if we could get away with the same thing. We have always had our cable ran through the attic, and just ran the cables ourselves, but I'm not sure how Guardian installs into the house. Hopefully we have our meeting soon, because it will be interesting to see what could be possible.