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HOME PROTECTION : Security System Prints Out Status and Also Pinpoints the Problems


Many homeowners look at home security systems as complicated and hard to use.

People accidentally trip their own alarms, which in turn automatically dials the security company and sometimes the local police.

The System 2000e by Honeywell of Golden Valley, Minn., makes home alarms easier to use because of its alpha-numeric display that tells you in words what the status of the system is.

For example, when you turn on the system, the display reads "Armed." During an actual emergency, it spells out what and where the problem is. So if your basement window has been tampered with, a readout says, "Basement Window."

A monitored system means your alarm is connected to your phone line so that if a motion detector or perimeter sensor is triggered, the 24-hour service center responds by calling the police.

The weakest part of this system is the instructions you get to operate it. The owner's manual is disorganized: it is not clear, for instance, how to change your entry codes. Also, it is never explained that for the first month in owning any wireless system, other appliances and your home's architectural quirks can interfere with how the system works. Late night false alarms, terrifying in their suddenness, have occurred.

Honeywell admits to looking into their buyer education process. Until then, it is a good system: simply ask straightforward questions about its function. The system sells for $2,500 and other systems in the line are in the $1,195 to $3,000 range.

For more information, call (301) 636-4900 and ask for Sherry Falk.

About an hour after the door lock was invented, someone lost the first key.

Schlage Lock Co. has introduced the Key 'n Keyless lockset and deadbolt that works with or without a key. A lighted digital display on the door's outside helps you dial in your code. Once the code is entered and approved, you turn the deadbolt lock above the doorknob and the door opens. It takes a bit of patience the first few times, but it works.

There is also a security alarm built in to scare off intruders when they try to guess your code.

The Schlage lock system costs about $150 and it's best to get a locksmith to install it, although it is possible to hook it up yourself.

Order the product from hardware stores that carry Schlage products or call the San Francisco-based company at (415) 467-1100.

Installing a doorbell is as easy as flipping a switch with the Wireless Chime by NuTone of Cincinnati. It requires no wiring or electrical hookups and the chime receiver is portable so you can carry it around the house and yard and also turn it off.

The doorbell itself--actually a transmitter--is attached to your door jamb or outside gate. When pressed, it signals the receiver-chime via radio waves, alerting you to a person's arrival.

The NuTone Wireless Door Chime model LA-99 is about $95. For a store that carries it, call the company at (800) 543-8687.

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