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What Is Alarm Relay?

Alarm Relay is a monitoring company licensed to operate in all 50 states and parts of Canada and Puerto Rico. It's best known for its low-cost monitoring service that starts at $8.95/month, its ability to take over monitoring of security systems from different alarm companies, and its short one-year contracts.

Nationwide Service Coverage

Who Is Alarm Relay?

Alarm Relay's primary business is alarm monitoring. The inception of Alarm Relay started in 1972, when its founder, Paul Piscatelli, found himself a victim two burglaries. Since then, he founded the monitoring company that has now become Alarm Relay.

Alarm Relay focuses mainly on alarm monitoring instead of selling and installing security systems. It can monitor a wide variety of security systems, from those that use landline or broadband to the more reliable cellular-based systems. However, for those who don't have a security system in place yet, Alarm Relay offers Helix security system kits made by a third-party manufacturer. These systems rely on wired broadband monitoring but have an optional Wi-Fi and cellular that can be activated as backup.

Why They're Different

Alarm Relay, unlike most alarm companies, doesn't just offer monitoring for security systems made by them. If you already have a security system in place — for instance, from your previous alarm company — you can have it monitored by Alarm Relay. This essentially takes the equipment cost out of the equation, leaving just the monthly fee plus a one-time activation fee. Unfortunately, not all alarm systems are supported. Before signing up, you'll need to provide your alarm system's manufacturer and equipment model. A representative from Alarm Relay will then contact you to confirm whether or not they can monitor your system.

Another thing that sets Alarm Relay apart is its low-cost monitoring. Plans start at $8.95/month for basic landline monitoring, which includes 24/7 professional monitoring, smartphone access, premium tech support, and proof of monitoring that you can use to apply for homeowners insurance discounts. According to Alarm Relay, they manage to keep the monitoring price low because they operate their own monitoring centers instead of outsourcing the job to a third-party.1 In addition, instead of hiring technicians all over the country, they hire over-the-phone technicians that are trained to remotely program security systems with the help of customers.

Who's It For?

Because Alarm Relay provides a low-cost monitoring alternative, it's best for those who already have a security system looking for a cheaper professional monitoring service. Also, if you've cut ties with your previous alarm company and got to keep your security system, Alarm Relay is a more practical option than getting a new security system and monitoring service from another company. Instead of buying hundreds of dollars worth of new equipment, you get to use your existing security system.

Alarm Relay is really for anyone, whether you're a renter, homeowner, or even a small business owner. Plus, because it operates nationwide, you can use its monitoring service wherever you are in the country.

Key Features & Tech

For more information on Alarm Relay's key features, check out our in-depth Alarm Relay review. If you want a quick overview, here's what they generally offer:

  • Monitoring Takeover
  • Remote Programming
  • Landline, Broadband & Cellular Monitoring
  • Helix Security Systems
  • Home Automation & Cameras

Monitoring Takeover

Alarm Relay is an expert in taking over monitoring of security systems from a wide variety of alarm manufacturers. Instead of selling its own equipment, Alarm Relay offers a low-cost alternative to those looking for a monitoring company to monitor their existing security system.

Landline, Broadband & Cellular Monitoring

Alarm Relay supports a wide variety of security systems, including those that use landline, broadband, or cellular signal for monitoring. No matter which of the three methods is used by your security system, Alarm Relay will work for you.

Remote Programming

Taking over a security system is usually a task that must be performed on-site. However, Alarm Relay's unique programming software does not an on-site visit. Once the takeover kit is sent to you, an over-the-phone technician will call you and walk you through the programming.

Helix Security Systems

For those who don't have a security system yet, Alarm Relay offers security system kits made by a third-party manufacturer. The kits use wired broadband monitoring, but has access to Wi-Fi and cellular monitoring for backup. It also has a battery backup.

Aside from a control panel, the Helix kit may include motion sensors, door/window sensors, key fobs, keypads, and other conventional security equipment.

Home Automation & Cameras

Other features offered by the Helix system include home automation and security camera access. However, to get these features to work, you'll need to buy add-on devices.

For home automation, the Helix Z-Wave card is required. It's a small chip installed in the Helix control panel that enables it to connect with and control Z-Wave home automation products. It can accommodate smart locks, lights, thermostats, garage door controllers, and more.

For security camera access, you'll need to buy the security cameras. Alarm Relay offers a fixed indoor camera, pan/tilt indoor camera, and bullet-type outdoor camera.

Monitoring Options

[!ink!]Alarm Relay's monitoring service[/link] starts at $8.95/month with the option to add extra features such as weekly or daily communication tests, opening and closing reports, and communication supervisions as frequent as every 5 minutes.

Take note that although $8.95 is the starting price, extra features will cost you. For instance, if you have a system that communicates through Wi-Fi or cellular signal, monitoring will cost you a little extra.

Also, the monitoring fee is charged annually, which means you need to pay $107.40 upfront upon signing up for basic monitoring. It also renews yearly. Unless you cancel the auto-renewal clause by sending Alarm Relay a cancellation notice, your account will be charged another $107.40 after the first year ends.

For more information on Alarm Relay's pricing, check out our in-depth Alarm Relay review.

Hardware & Technology

If you decide to get your equipment from Alarm Relay, here's a list of the devices they offer

  • Helix Door Window Sensor: $25.00
  • Helix Brick Sensor: $33.00
  • Helix Motion Sensor: $66.00
  • Helix Smoke/Heat Detector: $80.00
  • Helix Tilt Sensor: $47.00
  • Helix Keyfob: $22.00
  • Helix Medical Pendant: $28.00
  • Helix Siren: $99.00
  • Helix HeliPAD: $80.00
  • 1MP Indoor Camera: $99.00
  • 2MP Indoor Pan & Tilt Camera: $189.00
  • 1MP Outdoor Camera: $199.00

Customer Experience

Alarm Relay claims to be a customer-focused company, but its customer support team has limited availability. Its customer service hotline is only available between 6AM to 5PM (PST) on Mondays to Fridays and 7AM to 4PM on Saturdays. It's inaccessible on Sundays. The technical support team is only available Mondays to Fridays during office hours. The same goes for the accounting team. You can also content Alarm Relay via email anytime.

Customers have had a mixed experience with Alarm Relay. Most reviews point to the right direction, claiming that Alarm Relay offers excellent customer service. Others claim that they've had terrible experience with the company.

FAQ

  • What geographic locations does Alarm Relay serve?

    Alarm Relay is available in all 50 states plus some parts of Canada and Puerto Rico.

  • How long are the contracts?

    The monitoring fee is paid annually and the service auto-renews for another year if not cancelled.

  • How are Alarm Relay's equipment installed?

    If you get the equipment from Alarm Relay, you'll need to install it yourself. If you have an existing system looking to transfer it over to Alarm Relay's monitoring, a technician will call you to guide you through the process.

  • Can I try out Alarm Relay before buying? What if I decide to return it?

    Alarm Relay has a 30-day return period. You can try out the service and cancel within 30 days for a 90% refund. The remaining 10% is paid as a restocking fee.

  • How much does Alarm Relay's monitoring service cost?

    For a detailed review of Alarm Relay's monitoring service and pricing, here's our full review of Alarm Relay. For more pricing information, check out Alarm Relay's deals and pricing here.

  • How much does the equipment cost?

    If you have an existing system, all you need is a takeover module that usually belows $50.

  • Is there an installation or activation fee?

    There isn't an installation fee unless you ask for professional installation. However, there's a $35 activation fee.