Home security systems come in many shapes and sizes. Which one is right for you? That really depends on what you are looking for in a home security system, how much you are willing to invest in one, and what type of features you are interested in. Here are 4 of the most common home security systems on the market today:
- Do it yourself monitoring
Do it yourself monitoring, aka unmonitored systems, are the cheapest options available. These are basic alarm systems that set off a loud noise when they are triggered. The siren is meant to scare off intruders and alert you (and possibly neighbors) of an intruder. These systems are not connected to the police station, nor are they being monitored remotely. So, if you're not home, you might be out of luck.
- Full professional monitoring
Conversely, professional monitoring home security systems are being manned by security experts at all times. If an alarm is triggered, the monitoring center will take action. This can include contacting you directly, speaking with the intruder directly, and getting in touch with the necessary assistance services such as the fire department or police station. Monitored systems generally come with a monthly service fee on top of the cost of equipment and offer you the peace of mind in knowing that someone is always watching out for you.
Electric current home security systems rely on the electrical system of your home to power them. These systems generally come with window and door sensors and send off a small noise when they are triggered. Unfortunately, these types of systems are easier to tamper with because external electrical currents can interfere with their efficacy.
- Wireless home security systems
The alternative to electric current systems, wireless home security systems work via your WiFi signal. There are several advantages to these systems, including the greater security (because the system can’t be cut or tampered with) and the ability to sync with other smart home devices. Plus, you can connect to these systems remotely from wherever you are, so it’s security on-the-go.
How to Choose the Right Home Security System for You
Each year, millions of homes in the United States are burglarized, and while belongings can always be replaced, your sense of security can really suffer once you've been the victim of a break-in.
One of the best ways to avoid being the victim of a burglary is to “harden the target.” That is, make your home a less-appealing target, and would-be burglaries will be more likely to try elsewhere. This can be as simple as setting up exterior lighting outside the house, getting extra locking devices for windows left open in the summer months, or just making sure to always lock your doors whenever leaving the house.
One step that tens of millions of Americans have taken is to install a home security system, which can provide a layered defense against burglars.
When purchasing a home security system, there are a number of considerations:
- Do you want a system that only secures windows and doors, or a more comprehensive system that includes home automation, such as cameras and 24/7 monitoring?
- Does the security system require professional installation, or can you install it yourself?
- How long is the service plan, and can you easily change to another provider?
- Do you want a system that automatically alerts police in the event of a security breach, or would you prefer a system that contacts you first?
- Is there a charge for false alarms?
- Will installing a security system help you get a discount from your insurance provider?
- Does it also safeguard against fires?
What Type of Features do Home Security Systems Have?
With any home security system, you can expect certain features, in particular, motion detectors that will automatically alert you and/or authorities in the event of a security breach. The features can be far more extensive, though, depending on the plan you sign up for.
Today's home security systems make full use of our reliance on mobile devices. Most come with a smartphone app that you can use to control the security system when you're away from home.
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
The majority of break-ins happen during the workday hours when most people are at work or school. With a comprehensive security system, operators will be on hand day and night to contact you and/or local law enforcement in the event of a break-in.
Security systems of the past were easier to disable, in that they ran off phone lines outside the house, which a burglar could easily cut. A wireless connection solves this problem—just make sure the system can still run in the event that the WiFi connection goes down.
Cameras are a fixture of our modern life, and more and more security companies are including HD cameras in their service packages. These can be set up inside and around the house, to provide high definition, real-time images from your house. The cameras can be hidden so that would-be thieves can't see them and can be set up to work with your mobile device, so you can remotely zoom in, out, and pan cameras at your house even if you're miles away.
- Fire and Flood Monitoring
Many security systems include sensors that can detect heat and humidity, thus letting you know if there is potentially fire or water damage in your house while you’re away. These can even be set-up to detect a carbon monoxide leak.
- Smart Doors and Smart Locks
Smart doorbells can be set up so that when someone approaches your house and rings the doorbell, a camera switches on, and you'll get an image directly to your smartphone. These can also be motion-activated and enabled for 2-way audio.
With smart locks, you can lock the doors remotely with your mobile device, allowing you to lock or unlock your doors no matter where you are.
- “Crash and Smash” Protection
One method burglars use when hitting a house with a security system is called "crash and smash." Most security systems have a delay to allow the homeowner to enter in the security code after they enter the house. In a crash and smash, the burglar will quickly force their way in and then attempt to smash and destroy the security panel before it can go off. With crash and smash protection, the security system is set up to notice these forms of sabotage and will set off the alarm no matter what damage is dealt to the panel.
Being the victim of a burglary can leave you feeling violated and unsafe, not to mention saddled with replacing stolen valuable. A home security system is one of the best ways available to reduce your chances of falling victim, and to safeguard your house and family.