You probably don’t go out and buy a new television or appliance without first doing research to ensure you’re getting a quality product. Choosing a home security system is no different. You don’t want to just choose the first system you come across. Thoughtful research can guide you to the right security system for your home and family.
A range of home security options exist, which come with many different features. Read on to discover what to know about home security systems before you buy.
You’ll be glad you did your homework!
Security system options
Each family is unique, so finding the system that best suits your home and your loved ones is important. There are three different types of home security systems to choose from:
- Alarm system: An alarm system includes everything a burglar alarm does (see above), plus it has fire and smoke detectors.
- Burglar alarm: This consists of the sensors needed to detect intrusion, and alarms. The sensors are placed on doors and windows, and motion detectors can also be utilized. If one of the sensors or detectors is set off, an alarm will sound audibly in your house.
- Home security system: This includes the features of burglar and alarm systems (see above), and can include home security cameras, monitoring by a central station, and home automation options such as automated lighting, heating and cooling, and door locks, controlled from your smartphone or mobile device. Read about what home automation is and how it benefits security.
The question everyone wants to know is how much do home security systems cost? Like anything, the price depends on the system and features you choose. There are bare bones DIY options, or companies that take care of all your home security needs.
On average, home security systems range from $250 to $1,000, depending on the system, installation, and equipment. You may be able to find equipment cheaper, if you want a simple system or features.
If you choose an unmonitored system, which is typically more expensive, there are no monthly fees, however system monitoring will be up to you.
If you choose a monitored security system, you’ll pay a monthly fee to the alarm company which will monitor for unusual activity. The fees can start as low as $10 per month and range all the way up to about $70 per month, which includes home automation.
Alarm Relay charges $8.95 per month, after a one-time administration fee of $35 which includes programming the system.
Can you set up a home security system yourself, or is professional installation required? Sure, you can purchase your own equipment and set up a system yourself. It’s doable, but if anything goes wrong or doesn’t work, it’ll be up to you to troubleshoot.
A few benefits of DIY home security installation:
- It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to set up
- You can install it on your own time
- No installation cost
The benefits of professional home security installation:
- Equipment is usually cheaper
- You don’t have to set it up yourself
- If anything goes wrong, you have support
Read more about how to install a home security system.
If you choose a monitored system, you’ll likely sign a contract with a company for a year or more. There are no contracts with unmonitored system, but as we mentioned, keeping watch on your system will be up to you.
Usually, the upfront equipment cost is cheaper when choosing a monitored system, offset by the monthly fee you’ll pay. Which system you choose depends on your family and what features fit your lifestyle best.
Is a landline needed?
Just as telephone technology has advanced, so has home security technology. A landline telephone is no longer required for home security systems, though some companies offer that option.
Wireless monitoring means you don’t have to have a landline. The connection is made over your home’s Wi-Fi connection, or via cell towers in your area. Having your home security system linked to your smartphone or mobile device means you can get text or email alerts when something is detected at your home.
Even with security systems in place, homes sometimes still become burglarized. If you have a home security system with alarm monitoring it will alert you that a break-in or other issue is happening, and let the central alarm monitoring station know.
If you’re away on vacation, don’t have your phone handy, having a monitoring service can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing emergency personnel will be contacted as soon as a break-in happens, or if smoke, fire, or another hazard is detected in your home.
If you are the victim of a burglary, read a five-point checklist on what to do after a break-in.
Now that you’ve learned what to know about home security systems before you buy, it’s time to make a decision on how to best keep your home and loved ones safe. Good luck and stay secure!