The Best Home Protection: Home Security Systems

By: Sarah Sheppard

Millions of burglaries occur every year. In fact, there are over 4,500 home burglaries per day in the United States. If you want to protect your valuables, home, and most importantly, family, purchasing a home security system is an invaluable asset.

Depending on the home security system, you can even enjoy the benefits of built-in heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, medical assistance, 24/7 monitoring, and/or home automation.

Navigating the options can be overwhelming, so we explain the difference between smart home security systems, DIY options, and why home security is the first step in achieving home protection.

What should be included in your security system?

There are dozens of home security system options. No matter how basic or elaborate, you’ll want to make sure your home security system includes the following:

  • Central alarm monitoring—If someone breaks in through a door or window, your system should sound an alarm, notifying you or a professional security service company.
  • Security control panel—The panel, often installed near a door, is the hub of the system. This is where the information is communicated and monitored.
  • Motion sensors—Security systems are triggered by sensors. You have door and window sensors, and depending on the plan, you have can both outdoor and indoor sensors to track unusual movement.
  • Sirens—You know a security system works when the alarm or siren sounds off. Most systems have high-decibel sirens, so you can hear them from all areas of the home.

Most security systems come with yard signs or window stickers, too. These may seem useless, but actually, these small signs can signal to potential burglars that your home is protected and deter them from attempting a break in.

Most popular and beneficial home security system options

The best home security systems offer more than just the basics. Vivint Smart Home security systems or ADT Security systems, for instance, offer professional security monitoring, a wireless system, battery backup, security cameras, remote access, and home automation.

Not sure what type of system you want or need? Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want a home security system with camera options?
  • Do you want to have control from your smartphone?
  • Are you willing to install the system yourself, or do you want professional installation?
  • Would you prefer wireless or hard-wired?
  • How much do you want to spend on a system? Do you want to pay for professional monthly monitoring?

Choosing the wrong system can be frustrating—though many include return policies or trial period—so that’s why we’re going to breakdown the different options for you.

Phones aren’t the only “smart” devices that can make your life easier. Some of the more advanced home security system providers offer these features:

  • Doorbell cameras: No longer do you have to press your face up to the keyhole in your front door or peak through the shades to see who’s on your doorstep. Now, you can get notifications on your phone of front door or back door visitors. Some systems allow you to respond to the visitor through two-way audio or live video doorbells, so you can actually talk face-to-face with the visitor.
  • Additional sensors: Your security system should come with sensors, but if you want to elevate your home security with more sensors, you can. There are indoor motion sensors, outdoor motion sensors, all-in-one floodlight, camera and motion sensors, as well as flood sensors and motion sensors with Google Assistant built in (which is available from Nest Secure and comparable smart security system companies).
  • Home automation: With smart systems, you get a variety of high-tech options, most of which are add-ons or included in a bundled plan. You can enjoy a smart thermostat, smart lighting, smart locks, and/or live video streaming or monitoring, which is available from companies like ADT Pulse or Protect America.
  • Monitoring apps: As we mentioned, many smart security systems offer apps that make remote home surveillance possible. You can now monitor, adjust, and control everything from your lighting and heating to your garage door and your front locks.

With these features, you don’t have to wonder if you left the front door unlocked and panic thinking about what might happen when you’re away from home. You can also rest assured knowing that if you’re running late, your kids won’t be left sitting on the doorstep after school. You can let them in and ensure they’re safe and secure.

Motion Flood LED Light on House Brick Wall Outdoor. How to Choose and Install Motion Detector Lighting. Motion Sensor.
under the roof of the house motion sensor, smoke, close-upю

Image 1: Motion Sensor Flood Light

Image 2: Vivint Doorbell Camera

Image 3: Outdoor Motion Sensor

DIY home security systems vs. professional home security systems

When purchasing a home security system, it’s important to consider whether you prefer a do-it-yourself system or a professional one. Some systems require professional installation, whereas others are self-starting. What exactly does this mean, and is one better than the other?

It all depends on your preference. DIY is often less expensive and offers more flexibility in terms of placement, but a professional will ensure that it’s properly installed and will suggest the most effective placements.

You’ll also have to consider what sort of monitoring you want. Your options for monitoring are landline, cellular, or broadband systems.

  • Landline: This monitoring center alerts you of an alarm through the phone. It’s the least popular but most affordable option.
  • Broadband: This monitoring center is connected through Internet, which makes it safer than landline. However, it won’t work if your Internet isn’t working. You can add home automation to this type of system.
  • Cellular: The most reliable and popular option, this system can be wireless and communicates through a cellular connection. Some systems require cellular coverage.

The home security system provider often determines if the system should be installed professionally or if you can do it on your own. Professional installation has its perks: the professional will evaluate the home, determine the best placements, and ensure that the system works properly. However, there is an installation cost. With a DIY installation, you’ll save money and get to decide where you want to place the system.

Installing a security system yourself is fairly easy, especially if you choose the most basic package. All you have to do is install the home security panel (ideally, near a door), and place the sensors and detectors throughout the home. Then, you’ll simply test the system to make sure it works. Some of the most common DIY home security systems are Adobe or LiveWatch.

The more complicated the system, the more reason to hire a professional if it’s not already required in your plan. A professional will know how to connect the different systems and can walk you through the process.

How much do home security systems cost?

The cost of a home security system varies drastically. According to HomeAdvisor, the basic equipment package for sensors, a control panel, and a siren ranges from $320 to $1,119, but this doesn’t include installation costs or upgrades. The national average cost of a home security system is $700. This may seem expensive, but consider how much your TV, jewelry, and of course, your safety is worth.

If you live in a tight-knit neighborhood or a subdivision, you might want to consider a neighborhood-wide security system. Companies like Flock Safety offer wireless home security systems, which include cameras that are designed to blend in with surroundings, license plate reading, and constant monitoring that can protect up to 500 homes. Splitting costs can also make the security system more affordable for residents.

Payment options depend on your home security system, but some of the costs may include:

To save on one-time costs, you can take advantage of bundled options, or if you want something more affordable, consider a home security without a long-term contract. When reading home security system reviews, take note of the contract length, upfront costs, optional add-ons, and customer service ratings.

Just remember: there are many benefits of a home security system. You can monitor your home from your smartphone when you’re at work or on vacation. You can add additional sensors to make sure all areas—not just the entryways—are monitored. You can adjust your thermostat and save on energy costs. You can add smart locks or flood sensors.

Best of all, you can sleep soundly or travel peacefully knowing your home is monitored 24/7 by home security professionals who will notify you of any major concerns. Isn’t that worth the investment?

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