If you’ve been thinking about getting a security system to protect your home and property, you know how many options are out there. Some are relatively simple and easy enough to install yourself, but do they really do the job? Some are complex and require professional installation and monthly fees for a service that will respond to alarms by contacting your local fire or police departments, but are they worth the investment?
Before you feel as if you’ve fallen into a rabbit hole and can’t decide what to do, take a look at this guide to the kinds of security systems that are available and what they will provide for you.
Smart Home Security Systems
The top of the line is a smart home security system that connects to your home Wi-Fi and is controlled by an app on your smartphone. These usually include window and door sensors as well as motion detectors and can also include door locks, garage door openers, indoor and outdoor cameras, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, water sensors, thermostats, lights and sirens.
You determine the rules that the components play by. For example, you can decide to have doors unlock when fire is detected, have a camera start recording when the garage door opens or have a siren begin playing when a window sensor is triggered. Some smart systems store video locally on an SD card and others have the option of subscribing to cloud storage. Some even offer a dedicated storage drive with time-lapse recording that allows you to easily locate the video of an event if you know the time it occurred.
And with controls at your fingertips wherever you are, you can also unlock a door for a child who forgot his key or a guest who arrives when you’re not home or turn on the air conditioner for the dog if the day turns hotter than expected.
Doing It Yourself
With a budget in mind, you can go for a DIY system that is sold as a kit. Basic ones may only include a few wireless protocols and offer a limited number of add-ons, while more costly systems have a greater number of applications and support more add-on components.
While some DIY systems require you to do the monitoring and notify authorities when a break-in or fire is detected, many have the capacity to allow you to subscribe to a professional monitoring service. Rather than contract for 24/7 monitoring, some also allow the option of paying for the service only when you’re away or gone on vacation.
When deciding which DIY system to get, consider how many sensors you’ll need for exterior doors and accessible windows, as well as how many hallways, stairways and other places where movement throughout your house will require motion detectors. Then survey the house for optimum placement of cameras that will capture activity; you may only want them at entry points or you can also locate them in main rooms.
There are also logistics to consider when placing your hub and security cameras. Although there are wireless systems, most hubs will require wired a connection to your Wi-Fi router. Most cameras, both indoor and outdoor, require access to AC power. This isn’t much of an issue with indoor cameras, but installing one outdoors means having or installing a GFCI outlet or threading a power cable through to an indoor outlet.
Hiring a Professional
For utter peace of mind, a professionally installed and monitored system is pretty much unbeatable. You’ll pay more for the privilege, but everything will be done for you. No matter where you live, in Lake Charles or Los Angeles, home security services are available to provide customized solutions for your home. Some allow you to purchase the hardware outright rather than pay a monthly fee for it, and some require that you lease the equipment with ownership at the contract’s end, but all require service contracts that include penalties for early termination.
If you live in an apartment or controlled-access community, you may want only a security camera and/or a video doorbell that not only records a person at your door but allows two-way voice communication with him. Both kinds of devices will connect to your Wi-Fi and allow you to monitor them from a home computer or smartphone, and both are available in battery-operated as well as hard-wired versions.