Lily Dittschlag & Dennis Dittschlag
CHOOSING A HOME SECURITY SYSTEM
As homeowners, it is common to worry about your home while you are out of town. Was the house broken into? Did a pipe burst? These thoughts may cross your mind at one point or another. Investing in a home security system is worth considering if you want some sort of peace of mind. But what exactly is a home security system? At the most basic level, a home security system consists of a sensor that sounds an alarm when an entry point is breached. Both the type of sensors and monitoring varies based on what you're willing to pay for. There are many options to choose from and it boils down to your personal preference and what gives you the most sense of security.
Nowadays, home security systems can detect more than just intruders. With the many options of sensors available, you can detect malfunctions in your house, such as broken water pipes or gas leaks. Often the sensors are wired, meaning it requires an electrical source. So if you are building your house, now is a good time to decide if you want a wired system before the walls get closed up. Of course, in today's market, more and more sensors come with a wire-free option where they run on batteries and don't need any wires at all. But these require batteries to be replaced frequently and might not be ideal for video cameras that consume a lot of power.
Below are some of the common sensors available in today's market. Let's check them out!
Door and Window Sensors
These sensors alert you when a door or window opens. This is good for guarding entrances against intruders and preventing kids from accessing off-limit areas. Costs can add up quickly per sensor, so you may want to think about which windows you want them installed. For example, second-floor windows might not be necessary when intruders are less likely to climb here unless they have a ladder.
Motion sensors alert you when movement is detected inside a home within a certain radius. This is also good for alerting you about intruders and keeping kids away from dangerous areas of your house.
Security cameras can provide live video footage from inside or outside your home. However, if you want to save footage, you often need a storage solution. Most providers offer a monthly subscription for cloud storage, but this can be costly over time. Alternatively, some cameras have physical storage capabilities but this is often limited in size and requires you to frequently delete or archive the video files.
Doorbell cameras allow you to record video of what's happening at your doorstep. This is good for monitoring the delivery of your packages or interacting with people at your door using two-way talk.
This has become increasingly popular as it helps stop package theft before it happens.
Glass Break Sensors
Glass break sensors provide an additional layer of protection on top of window sensors. If intruders break the window glass to enter your home, the window sensors might not be triggered if there is no normal open activity. With glass break sensors, shattered glass is detected and sounds a high-decibel siren to alert you and hopefully scare away the intruders.
Flood and leak sensors detect excess water in your home to alert you at the earliest sign of moisture so that you can take immediate action to avoid flood damages and costly repairs. This is ideal to place near sump pumps to alert you when water levels have reached a threshold that is on the verge of flooding.
Temperature sensors allow you to monitor your home for extreme temperature changes that can be indicative of malfunctioning heating and cooling units or freezing pipes.
Sirens that offer audible alerts for intrusion can be a deterrent for burglars. They working in conjunction with sensors to sound the alarm when necessary.
The control panel is the core of the security system that connects all of the sensors, allows you to arm and disarm, and alert you of any breaches.
With all the sensors that you can choose to add to your home security system, monitoring them can be time-consuming and exhausting. If you would rather have someone else do the monitoring, many providers offer 24/7 monitoring of your home. Otherwise, DIY self-monitoring is an option if you prefer to be more hands-on.
Professional 24/7 Monitoring
Most security providers offer professional monitoring of your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They keep an eye on all the sensors and if there's a serious breach, they will call the authorities for you so that cops are on the way. This gives you peace of mind that you're protected from intruders as you sleep or travel out-of-town.
DIY Self Monitoring
Since most of us now have smartphones everywhere we go, some security providers have an app that allows you to check on your sensors anytime and anywhere. This saves you some money on the professional monitoring fees, but it is up to you to alert the authorities when needed. This requires you to be more vigilant and proactive when you're sleeping or away from home.
When it comes to the cost of a home security system, there are a lot of things to consider:
What type of sensor bests protects you?
How many sensors do you need?
Do you want professional 24/7 monitoring or self-monitoring?
What are the installation and activation fees?
What are the monthly fees?
How many years are locked in with the chosen provider?
What are the termination fees?
With all things in consideration, home security systems often come with a hefty price tag. The cost of equipment will vary from provider to provider and from package to package. Most providers will require you to sign a 3-year contract along with one of their eligible internet packages. This bundle deal is often more costly and has the unwanted effect of locking you into their ecosystem in the long run.
To save a few dollars, you can opt for an entirely DIY solution by purchasing your own sensors and do your own monitoring, but not all sensors will work the control panel or compatible with the smartphone app. You also run the risk of products being discontinued and have difficulty finding product support.
It's tempting to put the price tag as your top priority, but you shouldn't have to compromise safety. You should balance your budget with your priorities to find the best fit. There's a lot to consider to keep your home safe. The best alarm system is the one that makes your life safer without breaking the budget or feeling too complicated. Choosing the right one can be a tough decision.
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