Bay Alarm Home Security ReviewBy - 02/09/2017
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The Bottom Line
Bay Alarm Equipment & Protection
Bay Alarm has been providing security resources to over 100,000 clients, both commercial and residential, since their establishment in 1946. They use a broad range of security products from prominent manufacturers in the industry like Honeywell, Bosch, GE Security, Linear, DMP, Videofied, and Aiphone backed by 24/7 local alarm monitoring.
Bay Alarm’s monitoring center is located in Northern California, and they only have one. Most alarm companies have multiple monitoring centers to provide redundancy. For example, if there is a natural disaster in California, the east coast monitoring center will take over. The good news is that the one monitoring center Bay Alarm uses does have all of the right credentials. It’s 5-Diamond Certified, FM approved, and UL Listed.
The monitoring center, backed by your equipment, monitors for fire, burglary, and emergency protection. You can opt to program your system to send automatic status messages over a phone line, or you can upgrade to cellular/GSM based alarm monitoring, which is what we recommend. Cellular monitoring is faster and more reliable as the system will remain active even if your telephone line is disconnected.
Home Security Equipment
Bay Alarm’s system starts with a control panel. They offer multiple control panel options ranging from the basic to a full-color touchscreen option. One control panel, the Honeywell Tuxedo Touch, can make the system more interactive. This keypad uses a touch interface, listens to limited voice commands, communicates through a web-server to any web-connected device, and controls your security system and home automation products.
No matter which control panel you use, it will communicate with your sensors. Bay Alarm uses Total Connect by Honeywell allowing for access to smart door locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, smart lighting, and several sensors that provide perimeter and interior protection against intrusion. Bay Alarm also has a fairly robust offer to protect against home fires. BayGuard sensors are placed along hallways, bedrooms, and stairways, while heat detectors are installed in areas with a lot of steam like kitchens. This approach makes smoke detection smarter and also helps to minimize in-home casualties.
One downside to Bay Alarm’s system is that you can’t shop online and pick what you want. Instead, they use an in-home sales model to customize equipment packages. Similar to ADT, a sales person is sent to your home to help you assess what’s best for you. Once you’ve decided on a plan, professional installation is also required. A second downside is that though Bay Alarm requires a 3-year contract, they only offer a 1-year warranty on equipment.
How Much Does Bay Alarm Cost?
As Bay Alarm uses in-home sales reps, finding the true cost of service is difficult without a visit. Through research, we’ve gathered that monitoring starts at $30 per month using a 36-month contract. Also, they charge an installation fee.
The installation fee includes a 90-day satisfaction guarantee. Don’t confuse satisfaction guarantee with return period because they are not the same thing. However, it is nice to know that Bay Alarm stands behind their work. So how much is the installation fee? It depends on what you want them to install. A basic installation of a control panel, two door/window sensors, and a motion sensor will run around $300. One Yelper shares that he paid $200 for the installation of a control panel, motion sensor, and keypad.
What you need to know about Bay Alarm monitoring:
- Offered to California residents only.
- No DIY Systems. Bay Alarm’s technicians do all installations.
- 24/7 Emergency Monitoring
- A landline is not required for system installation. Cellular monitoring is required for added security.
- Systems include battery backup.
- Fire and Smoke Monitoring
Bay Alarm Home Automation
Bay Alarm’s Total Connect services are smart home ready. You can control your smart home from a compatible touchscreen panel or the mobile app. The Total Connect app will allow you to opt into smartphone alerts for events of your choosing. You will receive notifications when at home and also when you are away from home. The app allows you to arm and disarm your home security system, and it allows for complete control over electronic appliances, locks, lights, and thermostats. The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Blackberry.
In addition to alerts and control, you can create rules. For example, you can create a schedule that tells your door locks to lock every night at 8 pm. Or one that turns your lights off every night at 11:00 pm. While this may sound like a parlor trick, it actually increases your home’s security by creating the illusion that your house is occupied – even when it’s not.
Beyond smart home automation, Bay Alarm also offers Total Connect Video. This feature allows users to receive 10-second video clips when different events are triggered and view live video footage from anywhere.
- Wireless and Wired Camera Options
- Remote Monitoring
- Total Connect app can be used from Android, Blackberry and iOS device to monitor the system.
- Live video surveillance is made possible with the total connect video.
Customer Service & Support
Bay Alarm provides access to Baynet, an online service made to support their customers. Using the system, you can access the customer center, review your account, make payments, and request system updates and repairs. While the system is robust, it isn’t complete. One problem? They do not provide adequate user manuals for devices.
A lack of online information is somewhat negated by the fact that they offer 24-hour emergency repair service. While you may not be able to resolve your own problem online, should something go wrong with your system, they will send someone out to help you. Oh, but there is a catch. While they will send someone to help you, it might cost you. Your equipment includes a one-year warranty. After that, you will be liable for the cost of both parts and labor. To compare, Frontpoint Security offers a 3-year warranty on equipment and they offer a full device replacement policy. If a device isn’t working, they will send you a new one. If your warranty has run dry, you pay for the part only. With Bay Alarm, you will pay for the part, but also for service. Some customers say that service charges can reach toward $100.
Beyond 24/7, 365 technical support, they have other policies, both good and bad.
They offer a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, but as mentioned above a satisfaction guarantee is not a return period. If you are not satisfied with your system, they will provide a refund so long as you provide a good reason. For example, the equipment is faulty or doesn’t work. As for an actual return period, we aren’t certain. Some customers claim the return period is 3 days, others claim 14 days. We suggest you read your contract carefully before signing.
Bay Alarms holds the right to increase your monthly fee, even if you’re under contract. They are also regional to California. When it comes to relocating, you might lose. Relocation is possible within their service areas only, but once you leave the borders of California, you are out of luck and will be required to buy out the remaining value of your contract.
What you need to know about Bay Alarm’s policies:
- Family Owned
- A+ Rating with the BBB
- Relocation guaranteed in service areas only
- Auto Renew Policy Warning
Bay Alarm Customer Review
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