Home security systems
Home security systems are a big business and there are a wide range of options when it comes to picking one.
Security systems can cost several thousand dollars or a couple hundred bucks. There’s also a wide range in the monthly monitoring fees.
As always do your homework. I’m not recommending a service or company nor am I recommending which route to take in getting a security system installed.
You can go with a large nationwide firm, a local home security company or take the do it yourself approach.
Put together a plan and a budget before actually buying or installing a system.
When it comes to equipment there are a wide range of options to choose from and they all add to the cost of the system.
There are window and door sensors, glass break and motion sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, video cameras, door locks and doorbell cameras, etc.
Determine your wants and needs. Most systems are expandable, you can add to them as your wants and needs change.
Remember, if you have a company doing the install, there will be a charge each time they come out.
If you are doing the install yourself, you can buy and install equipment at your own pace.
Whether or you are having the installation done by professionals or doing it yourself, as you are make your plan ask yourself some questions.
How many windows do you want to protect? Do you really need all of your windows protected? Second or third floor windows without easy access, maybe not.
Do you want motion sensors? If you have pets think about the sensitivity of these sensors. You don’t want nuisance alarms because your cat jumps up on a counter (and your cat will jump up on your counter).
Where do you want the main panel located? Do you need or want a sub panel? Take into consideration how you use your home. When you come home do you enter through the front, back or garage door?
Do you want to include security cameras? Monitoring video with a service usually costs extra, over and above the basic monitoring service cost.
Once again, make sure you have a plan in place, as to what you want or need installed before making the call. Get multiple bids and ask lots of questions while the salesperson is there.
This is important because you need to know how much things cost, monthly fees, who owns the equipment, contract lengths, what happens if it breaks, who pays for repairs, etc.
Get all of this in writing and compare. Having these bids can also help if you choose the do it yourself route. It will give you an idea as to what type of equipment to buy.
24- hour monitoring is a given. You need to know how much the service costs and how adding equipment, like cameras, will affect that monthly fee.
Also ask how the service is being monitored. Is it Wi-Fi, Cellular or both?
This is important to know, if your system is only connected to your internet service provider (ISP) and there is no cellular back up… What happens when your ISP goes down? Are you no longer connected to the monitoring service?
Will they contact your local police if an alarm goes off and when? Do they call you first and your back ups first or the police first?
All systems including the do it yourself ones have a phone and or a PC application. You should be able to enable, disable and configure your system remotely.
A couple of other items I’d like to mention. Post signs in your yard and put stickers on your windows that show you have a security system.
Your home is more likely to get a pass if a burglar sees these signs. They’ll go to the next house that doesn’t show the potential of having a security system.
Don’t post vacation plans on social media, it’s ok not to post vacation pictures or videos while your away. It can wait until you get home.
Having a security system installed is a good way to get a break on your home owners insurance. Check with your agent for details.
Check with your local police department and see what their policy is in regard to nuisance alarms. Some departments will charge you if they have to repeatedly come out to your home only to find nothing is wrong.
Security systems can provide peace of mind if configured and installed properly and does its job without you having to think about it.
A properly installed security system should provide you and your family with hassle free protection.