Home Security Systems

Below are links to articles posted in Home Security Systems.

Introducing the SkyBell Video Doorbell May 26th, 2016



Imagine this typical scenario –

It’s 5pm, and your doorbell rings. Maybe you’re just getting dinner started, or maybe you’re still on your way home from work or picking up the kids from school. If you are at home, you’re left with two options:

Option A: You peer out of the peephole with a friendly, “Who is it?” At best, it’s an Amazon Prime delivery. Score! Worst-case scenario it is a door-to-door salesman, solicitor or some other unknown, and your “friendly” voice has to get not so friendly and fast.

Option B: You shut down the house, and quietly tiptoe towards the door. Don’t say a word as you stealthily view out of the peephole, and hope that when you do no one is looking right back at you.

In the olden days (we’re talking last year) those were the only ways you found out who was at the door. But what happened if your doorbell rang while you were at work? Or out of the country? Was it Fed Ex, a neighbor returning some sugar, or a thug casing your house? You would never know. Things have changed. Now thanks to smart technology you can know exactly who it is at the door, and you can answer your door from virtually anywhere with the video doorbell.


Fortress Security is now featuring SkyBell, a video doorbell that provides homeowners with a new level of confidence in the safety of their house. Combined with Fortress’s Honeywell Total Connect® 2.0 Remote Services app you can easily see, hear, and speak to visitors at your door.

How does the SkyBell video doorbell work?

When someone rings the doorbell, you will get a push alert that links directly to a live video feed so you can see who’s at the door. Whether you’re on your couch, at work, or are on a beach lounger you can virtually interact with your visitor. See and have a two-way conversation with whoever is at the door from a simple app added to your smart phone. All you need is a smart phone and a cellular connection. SkyBell also has a motion sensor activation that will activate if someone is in front of the doorbell but doesn’t ring the doorbell. See the person clearly with HD video and even see who is there when it is pitch black outside with color night vision.

According to InsuranceQuotes.com some 23 million people had packages stolen from their doorsteps last year. This rate can be especially high during the holiday season. As more and more people turn to online shopping to help with their busy lives, this problem isn’t going anywhere. This sport has become so popular that these types of thieves now have a name and are called, “porch pirates.” A video doorbell can help deter a thief. It can also help you identify the culprit (most likely they are hitting more than one house in the neighborhood) and put an end to their porch shopping escapades. A visual can also help you if you need to make a claim with your credit card company or dispute the stolen merchandise with a vendor.

So next time, when it is the middle of the night, and you hear your doorbell ring instead of lying frozen in bed wondering what do, simply check the video feed on your phone and decide your next move. SkyBell video doorbell is another valuable weapon in your safety arsenal.

Fortress Security offers the SkyBell video doorbell and other smart safety features, give us a call or fill out an online form to request a free quote today.

 Request a Security Quote

Moving? Make Sure Your New Home is Safe and Secure May 19th, 2016


Home Safety Checklist for Buying a New Home

Making a move is always a stressful process. But, when you find the next perfect home for you and your family, the excitement overtakes the stress, and suddenly you can’t move fast enough. An amazing floor plan, great location, and fantastic schools- this is the house for you! Before you make this major purchase, though, don’t overlook your new home’s security. It’s always a good idea to thoroughly vet the home’s safety features. A few questions to ask to know what you’re buying into are: what kind of home security system does the house have?; If it doesn’t currently have one, can a security system easily be added? Can the home security system easily be upgraded to add home automation? If major upgrades are necessary, is that something that can be included in negotiations of your new home?

Below is a home safety checklist to help you ask these questions and more, and make an informed decision on the safety profile of your new home.

Home Security System and Automation

Statistics have repeatedly shown that a security system is the single best home invasion deterrent. The home you are looking at might already have one, and if so, check it out and see if it is up to par. First, find the location of all the motion sensors, does the placement both inside and outside of the home make sense? If not, consider adding more. Also, all doors and windows should have sensors to let you know when they’re opened or closed. Make sure big windows also have glass-breaking sensors. If not, that is also an easy add-on. Video cameras both visible and hidden are great safety features. Smart home automation can allow you to watch the surveillance video from virtually anywhere. Other smart home upgrades are also worth looking into when you are improving a house’s safety features. For example, imagine one hectic morning you forgot to turn on the alarm before you left for work. Rest easy. An app on your smart phone can let you turn on your system from afar. Or, a simple text from a smart app can let you know someone is at your door, and you can view the live video feed either from your home or from somewhere else. Smart locks can help you make sure the door is locked, or you can let your housekeeper in and out without having to give them a key. Smart home upgrades are an easy and affordable way to ensure safety at your new home. According to Consumer Reports, smart devices can also increase your home’s value, on average bumping up 3-5%. Learn about easy, smart home upgrades here.

Use Online Tools

There are many online tools to help you vet the safety of the neighborhood. Spotcrime.com is one of the most popular crime tracking sites. Simply enter an address and the website will use data it’s gathered from law enforcement agencies, and the news, to tell you what crimes have been committed in the area. Get a comprehensive list of registered sex offenders in an area through familywatchdog.us. Nextdoor.com is also a great site to join and browse the crime and safety section of the neighborhood you are considering. This online community forum will give you direct access to the news, opinions and concerns of residents in your neighborhood. Of course, a good real estate agent should have some good information regarding crime in the area, and you can always call the local police precinct and get statistics.

Landscape Review

Love the landscaping at the new potential house? That’s great, but you should take a close look at safety concerns. Make sure it is not too overgrown. The bushes and trees should be trimmed, especially near windows or doors where burglars can hide. If they aren’t trimmed up, make sure it is in your budget or easy to do once you make the purchase.

It’s All About the Lighting

You also want to check the outdoor lighting. Is there a working porch light? Is the perimeter of the outside of the house well lit? Are motion detection lights in areas that need it, outside the garage and back door? Check out the house at night if possible and see if there are areas you see that need lights added. If so, can lights and motion sensors easily be added?

All Systems Go?

Inside the house, you want to make sure all the electrical systems are up to date. Outdated electrical systems can put your house at risk for a fire. Gas appliances that don’t properly work can leave you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. You want to make sure that during your home inspection all the mechanical systems are checked out and are functioning properly and up to current code.

Keep it Solid

You want all exterior doors to be metal or solid wood.   If there is glass screen door, you want to make sure it’s reinforced glass so it can’t be easily broken. Do the doors open and shut well and have good locks? Deadbolt locks at least 1 inch long can provide great protection. Do the windows have locks to keep criminals out? On the flip side, can the windows be opened in case of emergency?

Say Howdy to the Neighbors

After all of that, still interested in purchasing that home? Get out and talk to the neighbors. Do they seem like they would be good neighbors? Are they friendly, available and aware? Good neighbors watch out for each other. They keep an eye on each other’s houses too. If someone suspicious is walking down the alley, you will probably get an advisory call. Another great way to assess safety in a neighborhood is to check out the community space. Is the green space cared for well? Is there a sense of pride and visible upkeep in the area? This all shows that people value their neighborhood and its safety.

A well-protected home provides a great sense security and peace of mind. Fortress Security offers all the security features you need to make sure your new home keeps you safe and sound. Give us a call or fill out an online form to request a free quote today.

 Request a Security Quote

What are the best home security cameras to use for outdoor surveillance? January 11th, 2016


home security cameras


Over the last few years, there have been remarkable upgrades made to home surveillance cameras, which is good news considering that most home invasions originate through the front door, back door or garage. Simple security methods at these access points can do a lot to deter potential burglars, prevent home invasions and keep your family safe.

But it’s not just home invasions homeowners need to take be wary of anymore. According to a report released last month, more than 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their front porch and outside of their homes. And, often, the only way to catch these “porch pirates” is to have them captured on video through home surveillance cameras.

Good news, though. Homeowners can now equip their homes with video monitoring and surveillance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that is accessible to them from anywhere in the world. And while most high-tech security systems used to come with a high price tag, home surveillance and top-of-the-line home security equipment is now surprisingly affordable.

To start, you just need to know what features you need, what features you want and find the product best suited for you (and your budget).


One of the first questions you’ll need to ask yourself is, “do you want a wired or wireless camera?” Both work well, and both have individual pros and cons.

Read More »

The Real Price of Home Security and your Home Security System December 18th, 2015

Whether you have recently moved into a new home or have just decided to get a system for your current home, security systems can be a cost-effective solution for protecting what matters most- your family and home. One of the first questions that will arise when you start researching securing systems is, “How much does a security system cost?” The answer can seem complicated because it depends on many different factors, but it doesn’t have to be.

Though many security companies can make it a confusing experience, it really shouldn’t be. The cost of an alarm system can be broken into four parts

1. Installation
2. Security capabilities
3. Smart home device options
4. Monthly monitoring fee.

The first item you pay for is the installation. A basic installation can sometimes be included with a full package and end up costing you nothing. Or, that basic price can rise with a number of safety components you add on. For example, arming every window in your house is going to cost more than just arming a couple of downstairs windows. Installing HD video cameras inside and outside may also raise the installation price beyond a basic package. Some companies sell packages that offer different levels of purchase. Other companies allow you to customize your package to fit your security needs. With the latter you can pick and choose security products with capabilities that fit your unique needs. After you pay for the install and the security products, you pay a monthly fee to have your house monitored. You want to make sure the company you go with has 24/7 monitoring at a UL-listed monitoring station.

Read More »

Home Security System Prices – Questions to Ask When Comparing Costs January 23rd, 2015

“What does a home security system cost?” seems like a simple enough question. But shopping around between the variety of custom security system packages can be confusing.

Prices can be broken out in a number of different ways – some companies offer marginal savings on monitoring while charging for installation of basic equipment. Other systems allow you to reduce costs up front as long as you commit to a certain length of contracted monitoring service.

As you compare home security system prices, keep this list of questions handy to be sure you’re getting all of the crucial information from each business you consider.
Read More »

Making the Most of Your Burglar Alarm October 9th, 2014

Best practices for using a burglar alarm, from Texas home security experts.

The trauma of a home invasion is something people often don’t understand until they’ve lived through it. Feeling the violation of your personal space is unnerving; walking through your home after a break-in, you can see the disregard a stranger had for belongings that you handle with care and pride.

Whether you have gone through this experience already or seek to avoid it altogether, one of the first prevention ideas many people have is to install a home security system. While there are a number of ways to deter break-ins, installation of a burglar alarm remains one of the top methods.

While the simple presence of a burglar alarm is a good first step, there are several key factors that can amplify the power of these security systems to protect your home.
Read More »

Choosing a Security System for the Pet-Loving Household April 25th, 2014

Over 60% of the homes in the U.S. have at least one pet.  Whether you love dogs, cats, or chinchillas, the bond between us and our pets is a powerfully positive force in our lives.  And of course, just like our homes and our human families, we want to protect our animal family members as well.

A professional, 24-7 monitored home security system is the best thing you can do to protect your home and family.  If you’re a pet-loving household, then there are a few things to keep in mind when creating the right customized security solution for you. Read More »

How to Choose a Home Security System that’s Right for You February 24th, 2014

Whether you’re upgrading an existing security system, or choosing a new security system for your home, the wealth of options available today can be overwhelming. We believe that every customer should be educated to make the most useful and cost-effective home security choices, so here’s a practical guide. Read More »