When is comes to Home Security Systems today there are literally thousands of options on the market, ranging from DIY kits to hardwired systems built into your home.
While budget may often determine the type of suystem you choose, something is better than nothing.
Wireless vs. hardwired
Most home security systems are hybrids, meaning that parts are hardwired but they can still use wireless communication. For wired systems there are some that require analog phone lines whereas most of the world is moving towards digital. Analog phone lines will disappear, so you don’t want your system to be obsolete in a few years.
Homeowners should instead choose a system with wireless communication, be it the internet or cellular backup. A few systems work over cellular networks and act just like a cell phone to notify you or your home security company. For the best of both worlds, use a system that communicates over a cellular network and goes through your home internet, assuming you have that service.
Having cellular capabilities ensures that your system won’t go down just because the power went out or the cable is out and you lost internet service. On that same note, be sure that your system has a battery backup in case of power outages. Surprisingly, many systems, do not.
Go beyond the standard alarm
One of the biggest advances in the world of home security today is the pairing of security and automation into one smart home ecosystem.
Some systems know that when the fire alarm system trips, authorities are immediately notified, and the system can also unlock the front door, and shut down the fans, so they are not pushing smoke in and throughout the home. Security systems are more than just alarms. Some systems let you know when someone rings your doorbell. You get notified remotely on your cellphone app and have a video and a camera to talk to the person at your front door or better yet, your proprty gate.
A self-monitoring system is a good solution for many home owners. Self-monitoring means that if someone breaks into your home, you get a text message or an email, putting you in control of the situation. You decide what to do with that information: if you need to contact the authorities, or pull the plug on a false alarm.
This may not be the best or most secure system, however, considering there are times you may have turned off your phone or don't have it with you. For many it is an affordable option, provided you are never far from home or have an established network of friends who can investigate should you be alerted by the alarm system.
Using a central monitoring station instead that has people on staff 24/7 whose main purpose is to respond to your alarm is normally the best solution. Cost will be a determining factor when it comes to the type of system you choose. Self monitoring is certainly more affordable, since monitoring will be free.
If you opt for central monitoring, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription fee to know that the authorities are on call. On average, you can expect to pay $30 to $50 per month for monitoring. Installation costs will vary depending on the company and type of setup, but a basic system should be less than $500.
Do your due diligence
It is always best to consult with a local installer, one familiar with the area, needs specific to your property and able to offer a range of options. While a loud alarm can notify the neighbours of a problem, it can also become a nuisance if it going off frequently for long periods of time.
If you have a property manager, make sure they are aware of your system and that they are notified whenever you are out of town or away from home. Be sure they know how to set and reset the alarm and have a written list of instructions they can provide to renters to secure the home if you are leasing to vacationers.
If you have a security company, make sure they can reach you or the property manager should the alarm be triggered.
And remember an alarm system is useless if no one responds in a timely manor. It takes minutes for thieves to get in and get out, so don't make it easy for them.