Did you know that only 17 percent of households have security systems installed?
This is partly due to just how expensive it is to install and maintain service. That major financial hurdle is becoming less of an obstacle these days.
The advent of smart home technology, cheaper video cameras, and more competition is driving costs down for homeowners.
Expert installation isn’t even necessary anymore, thanks to wireless networking.
There are a lot of security options out there, of course. We’ve taken the time to break down all the key factors of a security system.
Before you read any product reviews, let’s do some homework.
Your Security Needs
You should choose a security solution based on home layout, budget, and vulnerabilities. You’re going to find a lot of bundled security deals that may not suit your needs. You should weigh the pros and cons in each bundle.
No security system is perfect across the board.
Select specific features that match your circumstance.
For instance, if you live in an apartment or house. Some security packages are excessive or offer features you’ll never use (window sensors on the second floor).
Subscribing to a monitoring service may also be unnecessary, thanks to video alerts sent to your smartphone. On the other hand, if your home is empty much of the time, 24/7 monitoring may be necessary.
This skips a step in the alert process and goes straight to the authorities.
Types of Security Systems
We mentioned monitored security already, but let’s clarify them before moving forward. When you sign up for a monitored alarm service, like ADT, this enables them to make the call to emergency services.
They will determine if your home is in danger and don’t need to wait on your command.
This can be good or bad, depending on how comfortable you are with strangers deciding on your behalf. You don’t need a monitored service to have a secure system.
When an intruder trips an alarm or sensor, an unmonitored system relies on loud, public alerts to scare them away. This alarm can alert the neighbors, anyone inside the home, and immediately message the owner via their phone.
Burglars don’t want to rob a home that is occupied. They also don’t want to risk neighbors coming to interrupt or call the police.
DIY and Professional
Regardless of whether you install the security system or a security company does, you can still have a monitored system. Some companies require you to use their proprietary equipment, while others simply integrate with hardware that you already have.
There are video doorbell services that are optional, too. You can use the device on your own or include it in a comprehensive security package. Of course, there is no DIY hack for alerting you to a potential burglary if you don’t have your phone on you.
Opting for a Self-Installed Security System
There’s a lot of security brands out there these days. As the prices have fallen, more companies have thrown their hats in. While shopping around, there are some key areas that you should focus on for determining value.
1. Equipment Packages
Today’s modern security hardware isn’t much different than a decade ago when it was more expensive. You have window sensors, motion detectors, and video surveillance both working in tandem.
Some “smart home” security systems use all of these things and require no wiring or fancy setup.
Remember, though, much of what is out there revolves around the door entrances. Make sure you don’t leave your driveway out of the equation. You can learn more about securing your driveway, while also making it more convenient to use, thanks to ground sensors.
2. Ease of Installation
The most consumer-friendly and reliable DIY security systems are going to be wireless. This goes back to the advent of smart home technologies.
Having your security system integrated with your Amazon, Google, or Apple makes installing easy.
The devices will do all the work on syncing, communicating, and updating your accounts and devices.
3. Wireless Signal
Your DIY security system needs to have access to a steady WiFi to work. For some, this may not be a comfortable notion when it comes to security.
This is one of the main reasons why professional security systems aren’t going anywhere for a while.
Even if you’ve never experienced any bad WiFi issues in your home, that might change with devices operating outside. WiFi boosters can correct weak signal issues for doorbell cameras and outside sensors.
4. Access to Support
If you need help installing your security system or encounter any problems, you need good techs there to help. Settling for the status quo of tech support just isn’t acceptable when it comes to something as pivotal as home security.
Make sure you check out online reviews of each brand’s customer service. Check out their website and see if they offer thorough FAQs. Having an active online community/forums are all good signs of a trustworthy service.
5. Returns and Refunds
Don’t let any company try to lock you into a purchase. If the device fails, you should be able to get it replaced painlessly and quickly. Look for return policies that allow you to try out systems and do not penalize you for returning them.
At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable with their system, whether there is a technical problem with it or not.
What’s Makes You Safe?
The lack of competition in the past allowed companies to charge whatever they wanted. Now, security systems need to compete based on their merits and user-friendly features.
Nothing is stopping the average person from installing their own security system with the exact same features as a major company.
It all boils down to doing the research, knowing security weaknesses, and knowing what you can afford. Of course, nobody can afford to be a victim of a burglary. Your Homeowners’ Insurance certainly won’t help you (see more here).
Take matters into your own hands, DIY or pro, and take advantage of security technology today.