Deciding to install a home security system is a wise investment for your home and family. Alarm systems are considered by most professionals in the field to be the number one deterrent in home invasions. However, there are a lot of different home security systems on the market these days. From DIY kits, to professionally installed and fully monitored service, there is a lot to research! As a former employee in the home and security industry, I have compiled this home security guide to help you select the right security choices for your needs, situation, and budget. You’ll learn tips regarding the more common and available home security technologies and services available, their pros and cons, and what questions you should ask yourself and professionals before settling on your choices.
One of the most important factors you are going to face with choosing a home security system is whether or not you want to use a monitoring service. Most DIY home security kits are just an alarm with NO monitoring service available. Monitoring services will typically monitor the alarm system in your home 24/7. And if a problem is detected, will call the home first in order to deem if they need to take further action to help protect your home such as calling in emergency services. A monitoring service does add a lot of extra comfort and security. But there is usually a subscription fee involved. If you are away from the home often or live in a high crime neighborhood, then a monitoring service is definitely worth considering despite the cost of subscription.
When choosing a monitoring service, do shop around! Not all home security monitoring services are the same. Bigger monitoring companies doesn’t always mean better. Some smaller local only monitoring services might have a better relationship with emergency services and keep more abreast of crime happenings in the area in order to improve their prevention techniques and keep you and your home safer. You should ask each potential monitoring service these general questions. What sets them apart from other such services operating in the area? Do they have any system in place to backup their monitoring abilities in case of a power outage or malfunction? What different types of emergencies (IE fire, forced entry, carbon monoxide, etc) do they have the ability to monitor? Do they also have their own security patrol that they send out on beat patrols and / or can dispatch along with emergency services? All of these are great questions that you should ask any potential home security monitoring service.
Once you’ve chosen to use a monitoring service or not, it is time to consider home security detection elements for your home.
As the old saying goes, you do get what you pay for! Some home security kits are incredibly basic. They can be a simple all in one device that attaches directly to a door or window which sounds an alarm. These are probably better than nothing, but can be easily disabled. Therefore you should strongly consider a home security system that has a control interface separate from the sensors. A control interface will either need to be hard wired into your home’s electrical system, or simply plugged in to an electrical socket. To help guard against power outages and skilled home invaders, you should highly consider obtaining a control interface that supports a battery backup and can be mounted securely to the wall. If you are looking at a DIY option then you should highly consider going with a wireless home security system, as wired systems take a lot of skill to install properly if the home has not already been pre-wired for it.
Most alarm systems will feature the traditional type door and window seal (AKA Trip) sensors. These are basically two magnets or foil strips that trigger the alarm when the contact is broken when the door or window is opened. You should make sure that you have enough sensors in your home security system to place upon every window and door in the entire home that can be opened, including small openings such as small bathroom vent type windows and pet doors. So look for systems that allow for enough sensors.
Infrared motion sensors have become more common in home security systems, even at the DIY kit level. Motion sensors are very effective when placed properly in the home. They are not as easy to fool or disable as traditional window and door seal sensors are. You will want to reconsider placing them in areas where a pet has access to, but generally most homes should be able to effectively make use of one or two such sensors in rooms where valuables or a safe may are kept.
There are still plenty of other types of alarm sensors and home security gadgets. Some will detect smoke and / or carbon monoxide. Others will turn on lights and even a radio in the home in order to try and fool a would-be intruder into believing that someone is home. You can get a closed circuit camera system that can monitor and even tape areas around or in the home. There are even broken glass sensors that listen for the sound of a broken window and trigger the alarm, which is a great idea if you have display type windows that you can’t attach traditional sensors to. All of these options have their uses, but at an additional cost. If you feel strongly that you might want to add on to your home security system at some other point in time, then I suggest that you highly consider looking into a system that will allow for such additional upgrades and add ons.
While I hope that you found some enlightening information in this home security comparison guide, do still feel free to consult with various professionals. Ask them any questions and share your concerns. They should be enticed into happily addressing all of them in order to possibly gain your business. Then weigh your options against your needs and budget, and you should be able to decide upon the home security system that is best for you and your situation. You might not be able to get every single bell and whistle in a home security system. But you might not need every gadget either! What is most important is that the security system you decide on is as effective as it can possibly be for your situation.