Protect America began their home security business in 1992. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the company boasts that they have remained among the top ten residential security installers in the United States. SDM (Security Distributing and Marketing) magazine has ranked Protect America in the top ten for the last three years.
Protect America uses proprietary equipment for their home security systems. They offer a broad range of packages, with prices varying according to a number of components and whether the user opts for landline, Wi-Fi or cellular monitoring.
Customers can integrate sensors, detectors and smart home appliances (Z-Wave) with Protect America consoles, depending on the package choice. They also have a limited line of indoor cameras.
The company has two vehicle protection devices not provided by most home security entities.
Certain packages offer smartphone management.
|Wide Range of Packages and Prices||Outsourced Monitoring|
|Do-it-yourself Installation||Contract Fine Print|
|No Activation Fees||Confusing Pricing|
|Automotive Protection Integrated with the Sensor Array||Dearth of Camera Offerings|
Home Security Packages Overview and Charges
Equipment Packages and Costs*
|Monthly Charges (Landline Only)||$19.99||$35.99||$37.99||$39.99||$42.99||$46.99**|
|Cellular or Broadband||$41.99||$47.99||$49.99||$51.99||$54.99||$46.99|
|Window Decals and Yard Sign||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Glass Break Sensor||x|
*There are no activation fees
**No landline option available for businesses
Home Security Service Overview
Protect America provides do-it-yourself equipment packages and individual components through its website and local dealers. The have a full range of equipment types including sensors, Z-Wave smart home appliances and smoke and fire detectors.
The company provides the equipment for free, but you must sign a three-year monitoring contract. There are no activation fees, and since it is self-install, the only upfront cost is the first month’s monitoring fee and the cost of any extra equipment you may want to purchase.
Each equipment and surveillance package includes one motion detector and one Simon XT control panel. The only difference among the five different packages concerns the number of door and window sensors. Smoke or fire detectors, specialty sensors, cameras and smart home appliances cost extra.
The basic price, besides equipment, includes only landline transmission. To use a smartphone or other intelligent device to manage the system, you must upgrade to cellular and broadband service. This boosts the monthly monitoring fee by $20 per month for the cheapest plan and increases the other monthly plans by $12.
Monitoring contracts have a term of three years. After the three years, the contract is automatically renewed on a month-to-month basis.
All the equipment has a lifetime warranty. Once you purchase an equipment and monitoring package, you have 14 days to change your mind. If you decide to cancel within 14 days, Protect America charges a $79.00 restocking fee.
There are no free trial periods. If you want to cancel after 14 days, the company can charge you for the total equipment cost and a contract monitoring cancellation fee. If you wish to cancel your contract, you must pay the balance of the time left on your three-year commitment. For example, canceling the copper package within the first year, which costs $19.00 per month, would cost over $400 plus equipment cost.
If you buy any extra equipment, you have thirty days to return it for a full refund.
Here is all the essential equipment that comes with each home security package:
- Simon XT Control Panel
- Door and Window Sensor
- Motion Detector
- Windows and Yard Decals and Signs
The Business package replaces the motion detector with a glass break sensor and adds a fixed indoor video camera.
Protect America offers more equipment for additional cost:
|Alarm Equipment||Life Safety||Home Automation and Automotive|
|Garage Door Sensors||Smoke Detector||Z-Wave Appliance Module|
|Glass Break Sensors||Carbon Monoxide Detector||Yale Z-Wave Electronic Lock|
|Simon XT Touchscreen||Medical Panic Alarm||Driveway Sensor|
|Video Camera||Disaster Sensor|
|Mini Pin Pad|
|Two-button Panic Alarm|
|Solar Yard Light|
Simon XT Control Panel
The Simon XT push-button control panel lets you connect and control up to 40 components. You can also program multiple users. The panel will work with cellular, broadband or landline.
The panel is wireless and can be mounted on the wall or lays flat on a table or shelf. There are stands available through alarm.com and other retailers. The battery backup will maintain power to the panel for up to 24 hours. You can also use the Protect America smartphone app to manage the system if your package includes the cellular transmission option.
Door and Window Sensors
The door and window sensors come in two parts, the sensor piece and the magnet. The battery is good for approximately five years.
These sensors mount on either a door or window. The sensor component usually goes on the door and window frames and the magnet on the door or window itself.
You install the sensors by using the double-sided adhesive tape that comes with the sensors.
The IR (Infrared) motion detectors work by sensing heat and motion. They also have a five-year battery life. The units will not alarm for pets weighing 40 pounds or less.
The motion detectors are usually mounted on a wall or in the corner of the room facing toward the area being protected. The sensor has a 25-foot range and a 90° arc. This means that you should mount it approximately seven feet above floor level to maximize the coverage area.
Windows and Yard Decals and Signs
Signs can be a surprising deterrent to thieves. Thieves will often look for the soft target. If they know a homeowner has an alarm system, they will bypass that house and target another one. This adds another layer of protection that can help even if you forget to arm your system.
Each package contains three window decals and one yard sign.
Garage Door Sensors
The garage door sensor mounts on any overhead garage door. The sensor inside is a tilt sensor. Whenever the door is opened, and the sensor tilts more than 45°, the sensor will send an alarm signal to the panel.
With a cellular or broadband system, you can program the panel to alert you by text (for cellular) or email whenever the garage door is opened.
Glass Break Sensors
Glass break sensors use sound recognition to detect the frequency of breaking glass. They allow homeowners to use one sensor rather than several to protect banks of windows or large plate glass areas.
You mount the sensor facing the wall with the windows. The will cover a 15-foot area and has 360° coverage. It will detect the breakage of most types of glass used in a typical home or business.
Simon XT Touchscreen
The Simon XT Touchscreen uses a 7-inch touchscreen instead of the manual buttons used in the basic Simon XT panel that comes free with the Protect America packages. The panel gives you one touch arming and disarming. There are also panic and built-in emergency buttons. The internal siren will go off whenever a sensor or detector alerts.
You can connect up to four XT touchscreens to one system. They can, like the basic XT model, either attach to the wall or sit on a shelf or flat surface.
The video camera is a Protect America branded product that is manufactured for indoor use only. It has an IR lens for low light conditions. The user can watch up to two video streams on their smartphone or through the online portal.
You connect the camera using the internet. You can access the video live or view achieved footage.
Mini Pin Pad
The mini pin pad functions as a user keypad, letting users quickly arm and disarm the systems. It connects directly to your XT panel. There is also a panic button.
Two-button Panic Alarm
The homeowner can secrete the two-button panic alarms wherever he or she wants to inside their home. Most users place them underneath their desk or by their bedside.
They mount like all the sensors using double-back adhesive tape.
To activate the panic alarm, you must simultaneously press both buttons, indicated by a “lock” and “unlock” icon.
The Keychain Remote has four buttons: delay-arm, immediate-arm, disarm, and panic. The panic feature works similar to the two-button panic alarm. You must press the two buttons simultaneously for a wireless signal to go directly to the monitoring station.
Solar Yard Light
The solar yard light is a very small light that clips to the bottom of the yard sign. It has solar powered, rechargeable batteries that turn on the light at dusk and turn off the light at dawn.
The external siren can mount anywhere in the home or garage. It adds additional audio protection to the siren inside the Simon XT panel. Most home security experts recommend one siren per floor of a home.
The Protect America smoke detectors function in two ways. They have an internal smoke or particle detector that will activate the alarm whenever smoke from a fire is sensed. They also have a temperature sensor that will detect a rapid rise in temperature or sustained high temperatures.
There is also a built-in siren to these detectors. They are UL rated and have a battery life of 3-5 years.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
The carbon monoxide detectors have sensors to detect and alert on carbon dioxide. Users should not mount them too close to garage entrances as leftover vehicle fumes may cause false alarms as they will not have had time to dissipate before detection.
The sensors in carbon monoxide detectors eventually will fail, usually within three years, and the detector must be replaced.
Medical Panic Alarm
The medical panic alarms can be worn around the wrist, neck or carried as a pager. They are shock proof and water resistant. They will work within 100 feet, unobstructed, of the XT panel and are for use within the home or yard.
The batteries last approximately 4-6 years.
The disaster sensors work in three different ways. They can detect temperature changes down to 0° F and up to 120° F. They will also detect water or floods from malfunctioning boilers or appliances.
These triple-protection devices have an 8-10 year battery life and are tamper proof.
Z-Wave Appliance Module
The Z-Wave Appliance Module lets you plug in any light fixture and control it remotely. It works with all types of lighting: fluorescent, LED, halogen, incandescent, and xenon.
Yale Z-Wave Electronic Lock
The Yale Z-Wave lock has a keypad entry system that allows up to 250 different program codes. The lock will fit all standard size doors and should not require any drilling.
You can remotely control the lock through your smartphone or online portal.
The driveway sensor mounts on a post next to your driveway. It senses whenever a car or large metal object passes and will alert the security system. You can also program the system to alert you by text or message whenever a car enters or leaves the driveway.
Thad Paschall founded Protect Americain 1992 in Austin, Texas. He quickly grew the company and within ten years had installed over 200,000 security systems.
The company was purchased in 2011 by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC for over $100 million. Rockbridge owns a number of enterprises in different market niches including Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since the purchase, the company has experienced even more rapid growth. It expanded operations into Canada in 2012 and by the end of that year had a total of 400,000 customers. By 2013, Protect America was listed as one of the top fifteen home security companies in the United States. Since 2014, it has been among the top ten.
Please let us know about your experiences, good and bad, with Protect America. New users or veterans are welcome to contribute their stories.
If you have any questions about the information presented in the article or any question not answered regarding Protect America, please let us know and we will do our best to answer them.
Protect America offers simple, reasonably priced options for just about any homeowner. For those that are looking for simplicity and cost savings, there are few companies with cheaper options cheaper than the copper plan at $19.99 per month.
The company sells quality equipment, with their Simon XT control panel receives consistently high ratings from users.
As with many companies, the iron-clad contracts may cause some home and small business owners to balk. The lack of a trial period too may make first-time home security buyers a little leery of committing to three years.
Overall, Protect America provides a sound system, with a broad range of options at competitive prices. Along with Frontpoint, it is at the very top of our list.