Frequently Asked Questions

About Home Security Systems

Many customers and prospective customers have the same questions about home alarm systems and security systems.

The alarm is connected to contacts on windows and doors that tie into a main master control panel keypad. It can be armed and disarmed as needed, and can include motion detectors, glassbreak detectors, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and more. If a zone is violated, the alarm sounds and our central station monitoring center calls you within seconds to determine if there is a problem. Every alarm owner has a password that they use to verify their identity with the monitoring center over the phone. If the alarm owner doesn’t answer the phone when the monitoring center calls, the local police will be notified.
An unmonitored alarm is not connected to anything outside the home. When it goes off, it simply makes noise, but does not summon any assistance. Also, unmonitored alarms may not qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance. Dynamark Security offers alarm monitoring services from a 5 Diamond Certified central monitoring station.
Certainly! For our clients without a landline telephone connection, we offer a Wireless Communicator device that can communicate to the Central Monitoring Center utilizing a connection with cell phone data towers in your area.
When you sign a 36-month monitoring agreement at the time of system installation, the basic alarm system is actually free. Without the monitoring agreement, the cost of the system depends on the level of security that you’re looking for.
We use Honeywell and GE/Interlogix products in all our alarm installations.
Yes, we can monitor alarms installed by other companies, and help maintain and upgrade the system.

About Business Security Systems

Many of our business clients have the same questions about commercial security systems. Here are some of the most common business security questions we get, along with our answers.

In most cases, business alarm monitoring is not more expensive than residential alarm monitoring. However, there are some alarm companies that will increase their rates when selling alarm monitoring services to a business. Dynamark Security of Richmond is not one of those companies—we charge the same rates regardless of whether a customer is a business owner or a home owner.
Yes, for security reasons businesses should definitely use cellular or wireless alarm monitoring. That way, even if a burglar cuts the phone line the authorities will still be notified in the event of a break-in.
Yes, we do have an option to provide free business security systems with an alarm monitoring agreement. Contact us for details.
While an alarm system will help protect your business from burglars when it is closed, it won’t do anything to deter shoplifters, theft by employees, or fraudulent lawsuits against your company. Cameras not only help the police catch criminals, they also provide an unbiased record of events that protects you and your employees.
Although different types of businesses have different security needs, typically we recommend that business security cameras be positioned to cover the entrances and exits, the point of sale or customer service desk, sensitive areas like cash rooms or safes, and exterior areas like parking lots.

About Security Cameras

Many people have the same questions about security cameras and video surveillance equipment. Here are some of the most common questions we get.

IP stands for internet protocol. An IP camera is simply one that can send a signal via a computer network or the internet. An analog camera, on the other hand, sends its signal via coaxial cable, which is typically connected to a DVR or other type of recording device.
It depends. Analog systems are generally cheaper (although not always), but typically have lower resolution. IP camera systems typically have higher resolution but often come with a higher cost. In our initial consultation with you, we’ll discuss various options and make a recommendation that fits your needs and budget.
CCTV stands for “closed-circuit” TV systems, meaning that the video feed from a camera is not broadcast publicly but is instead only displayed on monitors or sent to a recording device like a DVR. Sometimes, CCTV security camera systems are monitored in person by a security guard, but this is not required.
With currently available technology, wireless security cameras are not reliable enough to be of real use. We recommend using wired security cameras for better resolution and reliability.
A network camera is one that, like a computer connected to the internet, has its own IP address and can be placed wherever there is a network connection. This differs from a webcam, which can only be used when plugged into a computer that has the appropriate software installed. Network security cameras can be set up so that they can be accessed and viewed over the internet. Most network cameras are also HD cameras.
Until recently, HD security camera systems were not always practical due to the limitations and requirements of the technology. However, in the last few years, these limitations have been largely eliminated, making HD security cameras a good investment for most users.
There are numerous potential problems with buying a security camera from a big-box store. In the case of IP cameras, many of them are very susceptible to hacking. In addition, in order to work properly the cameras must be installed correctly, which often doesn’t happen when users attempt to set them up themselves.
Using a home security camera in lieu of a monitored alarm system is not a good idea, for several reasons.
  • First, a camera does nothing to alert you or the authorities when a break-in occurs, so all it will do is give you a video of someone carrying off all of your belongings. If you’re lucky, and the burglar was particularly stupid, authorities might be able to use the footage to identify someone and help you recover some of the stolen property.
  • If you’re unlucky, the burglar will simply steal the hard drive that the camera footage is recorded to, leaving you with no record of the crime at all.
Proper use of security cameras is in conjunction with an alarm system. If a break-in is attempted, the alarm will help scare off the burglar, and the footage from the camera will help authorities catch the burglar.

About Alarm Monitoring

A: In most cases, yes. There are a few security system manufacturers such as Simplisafe that use equipment which can’t be monitored by another company, but most manufacturers of home security systems—such as Honeywell—allow their equipment to be monitored by anyone.
A: The problem with having an unmonitored alarm is that it removes the deterrent factor. Burglars know that if they break into a house with a monitored alarm, they are more likely to get caught. Unmonitored alarms will just make noise for a minute or two until the burglar smashes the speakers, and then they won’t do anything at all.
A: Yes. Insurance companies won’t give you a discount for an unmonitored alarm system, which should tell you a lot about how ineffective unmonitored alarms are. After all, insurance companies are in the business of risk assessment and they are very good at it. If they don’t think an unmonitored alarm reduces your risk of burglary, why would you?
A: It depends on your insurance company, but discounts can be up to 20% of your annual premiums in some cases.

About Video Doorbells

Here are some of the top questions we get about Video Doorbells:

When you get a video doorbell through Dynamark Security of Richmond, we handle the installation for you.
Not necessarily, but it helps if you do. Video doorbells do not require direct power in order to work, so if you don’t have an existing doorbell the installation process might be a little more complicated. However, since we handle the installation you won’t have to worry about that.
Yes! Just like a regular doorbell, they sound a chime in the home when someone pushes the button, unless you put the system in silent mode. In that case, you will only get an alert on the app.
Yes, however unless you continue as a Dynamark Security customer at your new address, it will be up to you to handle removing it and re-installing it at your new home.
Video doorbells are designed to compliment a home security system by adding another layer of defense to your home. There is no one magic solution that, by itself, will prevent burglars from breaking into your home. Even monitored alarm systems and cameras don’t do this–they simply help make a break-in much less likely by turning your home into a hardened target. Video Doorbells do not replace a monitored alarm system, and do not have all the features of a home security camera. However, it does help send the message that your home is not an easy target, especially if it is used in conjunction with a monitored alarm and cameras.

About Customer Support & Security Tips

YES, contact Dynamark at 804-560-7233 as soon as possible.
Your security system has battery back up that will give you protection for up to 24 hours depending on the age of the back up battery.
While the telephone technician is still there, call our Central Station at 1-800-432-1429, wait for an operator and tell them you want to run a test on your system. Give them your phone number (the original, if your number is changing) then “arm” your security system. Trip it 2-3 times and let the siren run for 20-25 seconds. The Central Station will not call you because they computer is just logging the test signals. Call the Central Station back at the same number to see if they received your signals. If not, let the telephone technician know he still has work to do.If you are changing your service to Voice Over Internet Protocal (VOIP) or digital phone service, it is important to call us ASAP at 804-560-7233. Such changes to your phone service may require changes to your security  system wiring in order for it to function properly.
Call our local office at 560-7233 preferably between 9:00 am & 1:00 pm.
NO! Your alarm system cannot communicate through your cell phone but we can upgrade your system to dial out through the cellular network if service is available in your area. Please call Dynamark for details.