What is the Price of a Monitored Fire Alarm System?

By Justin Sagalow

September 21, 2022

Whether you are looking for a standard monitored fire alarm system or a custom fire protection solution, getting a clear idea of how much money a high-quality system costs isn't always easy. From the cost of parts and installation to the monitoring itself, there are many factors that impact the number on your final bill. Fortunately, I've prepared a quick, easy-to-follow guide to help you arrive at a clear answer before making a purchase.

From the cost of parts and installation to the monitoring itself, there are many factors that impact the number on your final bill. Fortunately, I've prepared a quick, easy-to-follow guide to help you arrive at a clear answer before making a purchase.

Price range of popular products

It goes without saying that no two monitored fire alarm systems are alike. You may have already read my article on the many subcomponents that make up a high-quality monitored fire protection system. These parts are designed and sold by many companies and distributors. This wide variety in manufacturing and distribution means that each part can range in both functionality and price.

For a brief overview of the typical price range of each subcomponent of a monitored fire alarm system, please refer to the chart below:

Subcomponent Price Range
Smoke Detector $15-65
Heat Detector $15-150
Carbon Monoxide Detector $20-150
Control Panel $500-4000
Pull Handle $25-160
Sprinkler System $1-10 per Square Foot
fire resistant tubes and sprinklers

This is an image of some fire resistant tubes and sprinklers, which are used to transport and administer water in a fire alarm sprinkler system. They generally sell for anywhere between 1 and 10 dollars per square foot.

This chart is designed to reflect price ranges accurate to the time of publication. Please keep in mind that the market changes all the time as more products hit the shelf. You'll want to receive quotes from a company representative when preparing to make any purchase.

The biggest reason for the differences in pricing across products is the many features that each subcomponent offers by model...

Features by price range

The diversity in products, manufacturers, and price ranges means that each subcomponent can potentially host an assortment of different features.

A lower-end conventional fire alarm system will have fairly basic construction. In the event of a fire, these systems identify the general zone of the activated alarm and notify an operator, who contacts the local fire department.

fire alarm pull handle

This is a standard fire alarm pull handle. These are used to manually trigger a fire alarm in the event that a human detects a fire before a detector does. They generally sell for anywhere between 25 and 160 dollars.

A higher-end fire alarm system, like an Analogue-Addressable Fire Alarm System, provides more precise detection of where the fire is located because each call point has its own distinctive address. These systems are typically designed for large commercial buildings and are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts.

One problem with conventional fire alarm systems is their inability to interact with existing fire protection infrastructure. Many commercial or educational locations, such as colleges, contain older technology that has been used over the many decades of industry history. It is imperative that the central monitoring that you select must be able to receive data in each protocol used by your fire panels. Per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations, all commercial fire alarm systems have at least one landline connected to the control panel.

If you opt to run your own in-house server, you will most likely require a higher-end fire alarm monitoring system. This is because higher-end fire alarm monitoring systems have a degree of customization and functionality that their lower-end counterparts lack.

Digitize's System 3505 Prism LX control panel features a color graphic display, permanent printed recording, smartphone connectivity, and instant updates on up to 500 active alarm points simultaneously. Most importantly, it is one of the few monitoring servers on the market that is able to interpret communication methods used by all fire panels, including IP, ASCII, radio, telegraph, phone dialers and modern LAN. A single server that monitors everything from telegraph to phone dialers to modern LAN is a blessing in an industry full of fractured & closed technology standards.

prism lx central display screen

This is an image of a Prism LX central display screen. For those who wish to monitor their fire monitoring system instead of hiring a third party service to do it, the prism lx is one example of a readily available server on the market.

Another example is Cintas' CintasNet, which uses radio frequency. According to its site, the CintasNet delivers transmissions in between 1 to 3 seconds, compared to 45 seconds from standard alarm monitoring. High- quality fire alarm monitoring systems are better able to protect your home by detecting emergencies and sending a signal as soon as they occur.

Additional costs associated with a monitored fire alarm system

The cost of installation is important to consider when selecting what monitored fire alarm system works best for you. Higher-end fire monitoring alarm systems, like the Prism LX and CintasNet, are installed directly into pre-existing infrastructure. Therefore, these systems are designed to interface with the various fire safety and security systems commonly found across universities, military bases, municipalities, hospitals, industrial complexes, and other multi-building campus facilities.

These monitoring systems can be more expensive than some of their contemporaries, but save you the headache and added costs of more involved installations and, in some cases, large-scale construction projects.

As I've mentioned before on this blog in my comparison of FACP monitoring via third-party service or in-house server, one of the biggest hidden costs associated with installing a fire alarm monitoring system is hiring a third-party service to monitor your fire alarm control panel.

Most UL-listed commercial fire alarm monitoring services charge between $50-100 a month, often in the form of multi-year contracts. These fees are often determined with only one or a few sensors in mind - and they can quickly skyrocket depending on the size of the facility and number of alarms and sensors being monitored.

Fortunately, this recurring cost is avoidable if you opt to monitor your central server yourself. That is why self monitoring, and the Prism LX in particular, is a popular choice at universities, military bases, and municipal governments. When you evaluate the one-time expense of purchasing a centralized system like the Prism LX, you just might find that the math works out in your favor. That's a great reason to get a free quote from a Digitize sales engineer.

Once you reach out to Digitize, you'll be connected with a member of our dedicated engineering team. Your assigned export will work with you to help you build your perfect fire alarm monitoring solution.

By opting to monitor your own fire alarm system, not only will you be saving money in the long run, but you'll be making the most of your fire alarm monitoring system. You’ll be custom-picking features specific to your needs, getting what you pay for, and controlling the way that you protect what you love.

Start planning your monitored fire alarm system today

We're ready to help you create your perfect monitored fire alarm system. It's fully expected that you might choose a different option. Even if you do, we're here to answer your alarm monitoring system questions and help you make a choice you can trust.

Justin Sagalow

Justin Sagalow

Justin Sagalow is quite uniquely qualified for his Marketing Writer Position at Digitize. Arriving at Digitize with experience in law, finance, and editorial positions, Justin's skillset allow him to effectively communicate how best Digitize can address each client's individual needs. From his...Read More