home security

15 Things You Need to Know Before Buy a Home Security System

More than 2 million homes are burglarized in the U.S. each year, according to the FBI so you need to buy a home security system. That means someone breaks into a home in this country about every 13 seconds. If you’re thinking about buying a home security system to protect your property and valuables, here are 15 things to consider.

Understand a Wireless vs. Hardwired Home Security System
With a wireless home security system, there are no wires to run other than the electrical cord on the control interface. And that means if you can hang a picture on the wall, you can install a wireless security system and save money on installation costs. Hardwired systems usually require you or the installer to do a lot of drilling in walls to run cable and hook everything up to your home’s circuit breaker box.

Burglar Alarms vs. Home Security Systems

Burglar alarms and home security systems are very different. Burglar alarms have sensors on doors and windows that will alert you or police that someone has entered your home. And a home security system provides additional benefits, such as alerting you to fire, a high level of carbon monoxide and even flooding. Be sure you know what you’re getting before you sign on with a security company.

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Shop Around

Get at least three price quotes from well-established security companies for both system installation and monitoring. Also, check with companies highly rated by organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List.

Consider Monitoring

For about $20 to $50 per month, central-system monitoring will notify the alarm company that there’s an emergency. And the company can then notify police or the fire department. However, if your home is usually occupied or you believe your neighbors will call police or fire if there’s a problem and the alarm is going off, you may not need monitoring as a part of your home security system.

Protect Your Valuables

You can install asset protection devices that will alert you if your valuables have been tampered with. This would let you know, for example, if you were having work done in your home while you were at work and a jewelry box or safe was opened or moved.

Ask About Power Outages

Most systems will continue to operate even when your home loses power. A traditional electric home security system is usually low voltage, so it doesn’t take a lot of power to run the system. And most systems also contain a battery backup.

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Solar Security Options

There are solar-powered security systems that are more costly, but are a green option with various components. You can set up a solar home security system as just an outdoor security camera or use solar to run your home’s entire system.

Size Matters

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a home security system. A small DIY system may be great for an apartment, condo, or small home. However, if you’re looking to secure a larger home, you’ll need to buy a home security system that can handle a larger amount of information and monitoring.

Do You Need Personal Security?

Seniors and those who live alone may want to consider a home security system that offers personal security. Suppose you slipped going down the stairs or in the shower and can’t get to your phone. And these systems often offer users a pendant or bracelet with a button that will alert emergency personnel.

Live View vs. Recorded Video

Those interested in installing surveillance cameras need to understand the difference between live video and recorded video. Do you want to be able to watch a live feed of what’s going on in and around your home while you’re away? Or would you rather be able to just watch a recording? IP (internet protocol) cameras offer a live view, while a system with a DVR allows you to watch recordings later.

Don’t Buy a Cheap Camera when you buy a home security system

Webcams from retail stores won’t get the job done if you’re serious about a home security system, as they are typically designed for video chatting. And instead, look for dome cameras and bullet styles when installing security cameras.

Camera Considerations

When buying cameras for security, consider the image type (color, black and white, infrared), image quality and range of view. How many cameras will you need to cover your space, and how high-quality do you want the picture to be?

Understand the Contract

Some home security system companies may offer you additional services or devices as add-ons, so knowing exactly what you need and what the contract covers is essential. Will the contract cover security of your garage, valuables or offer personal security? Also, be sure to ask about all up-front charges, including installation and monitoring fees. Also, how long does the contract last? Can you cancel at any time?

Inquire About Insurance Discounts

Many homeowners can get a percentage discount on home insurance premiums for having a home security system with a monitoring service. However, that discount typically won’t cover the monthly monitoring cost.

Are There Some Easy Security Upgrades You Can Do Yourself?
Burglars aren’t usually that sophisticated, so there are many things you can do that would discourage would-be robbers. Be sure to lock your doors and windows when you’re not home and install a deadbolt. Outside motion sensors also work well, as do dogs and beware-of-dog signs. Good luck when you buy a home security system.

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Your Wired Security System Can Cause Concerns

People employ various ways and means of enhancing their wired security system for at home, and wireless home security systems are often touted as one of the best ways of implementing home security. Other methods are – use of watchdog, use of wired camera security systems, joining a neighborhood watch group, use of alarm systems, sophisticated locks, and a plethora of other security systems and measures (some of which are quite weird). None is denying the fact that all these traditional home security measures are quite useful. However, wireless home security systems seem to have the edge over these traditional home security measures.

The wired security system (e.g., Wireless camera security system) have six main advantages over their wired counterparts:

Easy to install

1. Easy to install: The wireless home security systems are so easy to install that you can install them all by yourself. There is no need to get outside help for the installation/ configuration of a wireless security system. This is an advantage because in such a case, only you would know the location of your wireless security cameras and the security codes etc. On the other hand, most wired security systems are quite a hassle owing to their inherent ‘wire-full’ nature. Managing these wires is quite a task in itself, and in tackling those wires, you often tend to lose focus from the actual job i.e., proper and intelligent installation of a home security system. With wireless home security systems, you just need to concentrate on your home security plan without worrying about where you would run the wires from, etc.

Install anywhere

2. Install anywhere: Since wireless security systems forego the use of wires, you can install them wherever you wish (as long as they are in the range of their controller). This really makes things very convenient. You can install the wireless home security cameras in the bushes, on the terrace, or just about any point that you want to monitor. This is something that you would not be able to achieve with a wired security camera. Moreover, wireless home security also comes in camouflaged forms e.g., wireless home security cameras pre-fitted (or pre-hidden) in a lamp or a showpiece, etc. all for your wired security system

smart home system
smart home system


3. Flexibility (in altering your home security plan): With a wireless security system, you can easily change your home security plan whenever you want e.g., the location of outdoor wireless security cameras can be easily changed in a hassle-free manner. On the contrary, a wired home security system would have you thinking about the wiring plan and the related hassle even before you can think of altering your home security plan.

Cleaner look

4. Cleaner look: One very distinctive advantage with wireless home security systems is that they are not at all messy. While a wired security system would have wires running all through your house (unless you want to compromise on your home security), a wireless security system (due to its inherent ‘wireless’ nature) would give a much cleaner look and without any compromises on the security of your home.

The extra safe wired security system

5. Extra safe: Your wired security system can also be considered safer than wired security. A wired security system can quickly become un-operational if the wires get severed either due to lack of maintenance or due to intentional tampering by burglars etc. However, wireless home security is difficult to tamper with in that sense (sophisticated thieves/burglars might still be able to tamper low-end wireless security systems using devices that disrupt the wireless signals).

6. Ease of maintenance: A wired security system is as such bulky (since the wires used for a wired security system also form part of the security system). Maintaining a large network is generally tougher and needs much more effort than a simple, less bulky one. The wires might need replacements or re-anchoring or re-routing etc. In case you go for home improvement, your wired security systems might get affected quite a bit. However, with wireless security, all these problems are nonexistent, and hence their maintenance is quite easy

Wireless security is often treated as the aptest answer to home security concerns. However, the best thing to do is to use a combination of traditional home security techniques, together with some of the wireless home security systems.

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How Does Home Security Monitoring Work

Home security monitoring does not mean that there will be 24 hours day surveillance of your home to ensure that your home is protected from a burglar. At least it does not mean that in a literal sense but home security monitoring does provide you and your family 24 hours day protection from burglars and in some cases, even fire. The level of protection that you receive will depend on the complexity of your security system and the capabilities of the security provider you have chosen. The one thing in home security monitoring that is relatively similar no matter which provider or system you choose is the sequence of events that occur while the security system is in use. This article will provide a brief synopsis of how security monitoring works.

home security monitoring system

Just about every home security monitoring system is activated as the first step in the process. Usually the homeowner pushes a button or series of buttons on the keypad to turn on the security system. This sends the message that the security system should trigger if it is breached in any way. Once this happens the various components of the security system are activated. This may include access contacts, motion detectors, security cameras, and any other components of the home security monitoring system. These components remain activated until the homeowner returns home and deactivates the home security monitoring system. Again, this is usually accomplished by typing in a series of numbers in the keypad.

If there is a breach of security, the home security monitoring system will begin a sequence of events. In most cases the first event, upon detecting an intruder, is to sound a warning alarm. This is usually a low-level alarm and the intent of sounding this alarm is to allow the homeowner the opportunity to deactivate the alarm when they return home. The homeowner usually has approximately 30 seconds to deactivate the alarm before the security alarm system takes the next step.

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smart home system

Alarm deactivated

If the alarm is not deactivated two things happen simultaneously in the security monitoring system. A loud alarm is sounded and a message is sent to the monitoring station that there has been a breach of security in the home security monitoring system. This message reaches personnel at a 24 hour per day monitoring station who responds to this message. The first response is to contact the homeowner to determine whether or not the home security monitoring system has been breached or it was a false alarm. If the homeowner does not respond to the home security monitoring personnel and supply them with a security password, the staff will contact the local police department and send them to your address.

Security monitoring is a precise service that has a clear path of action. Most security monitoring companies react and proceed in a very similar fashion when a security system in their network is breached. While each security monitoring company may have differences they all generally work in the same way.