Here’s a list of things you want from your home alarm system: reliability, ease of use, and accuracy. You want to be able to set it easily, trust that it won’t malfunction, and when it goes off, it’s not a false notification.

With all of that said, here’s the list of things you don’t want in your alarm system: confusion.

And unfortunately, many alarms come with just that right out of the box; confusion due to the adopted terminology alarm systems have adopted, and trudged on with since day one.

The dreaded “stay” setting.

What makes it even worse is that when you finally get a grasp on what “stay” is and why it’s useful, you begin to think it sounds an awful lot like the “night” setting.

So, what’s the difference between “stay” and “night” on your home alarm?

Stay vs. Night

Briefly, the stay setting is to be used during the daytime, while you’re staying in your home. The night setting, while also to be used when you’re in the home, is to be used at night time when your movement is more limited.

Specifically, stay mode won’t trigger an alarm when there is movement within the house, but will sound when the entry points are entered through—doors and windows that are designated as armed zones. Meaning, when home, as it should be, you are free to wander and live life within your home as you normally would.

Night mode is similar, and will of course sound when doors and windows are passed through, but different in that zones of the house can also be armed. So, during the night, you’ll probably want to leave the bedroom and high traffic areas like the hallway disarmed, but low traffic areas like the garage armed and ready to sound off should there be an intruder.

The Garage?

And while we are on the topic, yes, the garage. Did you know a criminal can break into your garage in less than 10 seconds? All it takes is a few slick maneuvers and a coat hanger. Seriously. And contrary to popular belief, a zip tie on the garage door emergency release is not a safe or adequate safety mechanism.

Wait, then what is “Away” mode?

Ok, back to your alarm system. And no, not a trick question, this one is easy.

Away mode is the setting you’d put into play when you’re away, and really, when people feel they need it the most. Thus, no “pockets” or zones; soft spots or areas where, when breached, won’t trip the alarm. The typical away setting will activate sensors on all entry points until it is disarmed.

Do I really need to know all of this? I have insurance.

Yes, insurance is always there forbid something happens, but that’s really not a smart or safe way to approach most situations. I mean, you don’t expose yourself to harm in other areas just because you have insurance, whether that’s in the car or elsewhere, right?

Not to mention, but did you know that insurance claims could require signs of forced entry? So, regardless of your home alarm setting when burglarized, if you fail to secure the home and is burglarized without forced entry, you might be out of luck.

So, with many safeguards available, you should be utilizing all at your disposal. That includes locking doors, setting alarm systems, having insurance, equipping with garage door protection, and more.