For most people, owning their own home is the biggest financial commitment and investment they are ever going to take. Even if renting a house or apartment, with the cost of furnishings and buying other treasured and valued possessions, it is still a financial as well as an emotional investment in the place we live. The home where we go to at the end of the day is the safe space for ourselves and our families. Therefore, to keep it that way requires a good home security system and this starts with monitoring who is coming onto and into our property.
One way in which to check on who is coming to our front door, is to use a suitable intercom system. There are several very good products on the market today. At first glance, it can seem a little bewildering with the range and choice on offer. There are a few tips that, if followed, can ensure the correct system is bought and installed for the lifestyle and life choices of the home owner.
1. Understand the different types of intercom systems
First of all, it is important to understand the different types of home intercom system on offer on the market today. An intercom, door phone or talkback device is a standalone communication system used within a building or collection of buildings. A simple system is made up of a “master” unit, or station located at the point where the communication is being received e.g. inside the house by the front entrance hall. The second unit or “slave station” usually is fixed to the point where communication originates from, such as the entrance to the building, next to the front door or by the entrance gates. They fall into three categories:
- Wired intercom systems
- Wireless intercom systems
- Video intercom systems
Wired intercom systems are hardwired into the fabric of the building. A wired intercom system will be connected using a network of wires that run usually within the walls of the house, or the wiring can run through ceiling space or floors.
These intercoms are usually mounted permanently within the home. Although products may vary, they work roughly the same way. When the button is pushed, and the person speaks into the intercom, the voice signals are carried across a direct current power rail using a pair of conductors to the receiving intercom. Lights or buzzers sound (known as the paging signal) and a two-way conversation takes place to ascertain who is on the other side of the front door or gate.
Wireless intercom systems perform the same function as the wired systems, but they use Wi-Fi and normally are used in situations where it is not possible to run wires. Video intercoms have a component which houses a camera as well as a speaker. It will also have an internal monitor that communicates to the entrance unit and a push button that goes to the entry door allowing it to open if required.
2. Consider the number of door stations required
Most people want to have the front door covered. Depending on the type of property, the type of household and access, the systems that allow up to two door stations on the one system should be considered. For example, if families have a granny flat attached to the main house where vulnerable elderly parents live, having an intercom on their door as well as the main house is going to be a key factor. Or if the property can be accessed from the back of the house, both back and front doors will need to have the intercom fitted.
3. Consider the household and lifestyle
Vulnerable elderly householders have already been mentioned, but it is important to consider who else is in the house and at what times. For example, if one parent works nightshifts leaving the other at home in the evening with small children, a video intercom system gives peace of mind as the homeowner can see who is at the door both during daylight hours and as darkness falls.
It may also be that the homeowner requires a system that will allow them to remotely open doors. For example, if they live in a high-rise apartment with one main entrance downstairs. This is also a very useful function if the householder is elderly or has a disability which makes it difficult to move around or open doors.
For families who have turned their basement into living spaces for their extended family or growing adolescents, having a means of communication without having to run up and down stairs is also a bonus. A simple two-way intercom can make a lot of difference, and save time rounding up the family when it comes to mealtimes.
4. Seek advice from a professional company
Everyone’s home and property are different, so we all have differing requirements when it comes to home intercoms systems. However, the professionals have got all the facts and information at their fingertips and it is important to discuss individual requirements with an experienced company who will be able to confirm which is the best system for your needs.
An Australian owned company since 1985, PSA designs, manufactures and distributes a complete protection solution of intercom products to the electrical, security and fire industries. Check out our wide range of intercom products with brands like Panacom and ACI Farfisa here.