The Best Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Security Systems and How to Install Them
Home Security, once a domain for professionals, has expanded its features to accommodate DIY-ers. Do-it-yourself security systems provide protection and safety to homeowners and renters who would rather not spend the fees to hire a professional home security service. It’s easy to install and usually includes the same security equipment and features at a much lower cost. It also gives the user the freedom to take home security into their own hands - such as deciding where to install the sensors and the cameras and setting monitoring frequency.
The Costs of Installing a Home Security System
Cost plays a defining role when determining the type of home security system to go for and the installation service it needs. If you’re opting for a professional service, the benefit is that a technician will analyze each portion of your house and install the devices in strategic locations. They can also give you a run through of the whole system and provide expert advice. The downside to hiring a professional installation is that it can cost you between $99 and $300 for installation fees depending on the equipment.
Installing your home security system by yourself, however, won’t cost you anything but your time. Most DIY security systems have a wireless construction, so they’re easy to install and can be done in as little as 30 minutes to an hour. If you’re clueless on the basics of installation or are keen to check if your system works after installing, most companies have a 24/7 hotline with technicians who are ready to assist you over the phone.
How to Install a Home Security System:
The devices included in the system may vary according to brand and model, but the installation process is often the same. These are the basic steps for installing your DIY home security system:
- Mount the Security Hub/Panel. The security panel is the small box affixed to the wall of your home which serves as the hub of your security system. The best place to install the security panel is somewhere near the front door and close to the power source. Use a screw to hold it in place or a heavy-duty double-sided tape if you don’t want to drill holes on your wall.
- Position the Sensors: Sensors or detectors are one of the vital components of a home security system as it detects any suspicious activity or break-in attempts. These must be placed throughout areas in your home where strangers can gain access inside such as windows and doors. Some sensors come with a peel and stick feature that allows you to attach it easily on your preferred spot.
- Test the System: Once you’re done with the installation, read the instructions on the manual on how to test the equipment to make sure it’s working properly.
Will My Security System Still Work When the Power Goes Out?
Power outages may be rare but can happen especially during hurricanes or any disaster. Some home security systems could get compromised because of the circumstance and theft and invasion are likely to occur. Depending on the kind that you have, some security systems have a back-up supply that enables it to operate as usual even when there’s a power failure.
For a normal system, you can purchase a UPS (universal power supply) or a back-up generator to provide power to your home security system when the electrical grid is down. Solar-powered systems are gaining popularity for their sustainability and their efficiency for providing power without the use of traditional electricity as a power source.
The Best Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Security Systems
Here are some of the best DIY home security system brands in the market that offer reliable and efficient service, no matter the budget:
Vizion offers a comprehensive DIY home security setup without the costly fees and lock-in period. Vizion has partnered with security hardware producer Smanos, which is a top provider of wireless home security devices with smart technology. The advantages of having a wireless system are that it is mobile and can be easily upgraded. When alarms are triggered, your security system will alert you along with the numbers provided in the hub of the incident.
However, since this is a DIY security system, it’s also your responsibility to make a call to the authorities to report about an ongoing crime in your property.
A video doorbell is another breakthrough in modern home security. It provides homeowners with a first line of defense against burglars, intruders, porch pirates, and unwanted solicitors. The Ring Video Doorbell has a 720-pixel camera that provides crisp images and two-way audio with video interaction. It has a live streaming and recording feature which allows you to save videos on the cloud so you keep track of any activities outside your door.
The Ring Video Doorbell may need to do better on the quality of its two-way audio and its short battery life.
If you want to have the same features of a professionally monitored security system without the additional costs, SimpliSafe gives you this option too, if you prefer. The hardware also works well with a Nest Smart Home Thermostat.
However, SimpliSafe is prone to hacking which can be a huge drawback to security and charges for text message alerts.
Iris is home-improvement giant Lowe’s attempt at a home security system. It is inexpensive, easy to install and compatible with a wide number of smart-home devices and systems. The system is easy to automate and has quick response times.
The Iris system’s app has several issues such as delay in email notifications, the inability for push notifications and is not as user-friendly as its competitors. Devices also lose connectivity to the hub often, making it difficult to establish a reliable protection.
Scout lets you avail of a professional monitoring service without the hefty fees. For $20, you can hire a professional to do the monitoring. It also pairs well with smart-home devices such as Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings.
Scout does charge if you want to use an app and monitor the security system yourself. Its door alarm may also be obnoxiously loud for some users.
Nest is one of the leading companies in home security systems due to their smart thermostats. Their latest offering, the Nest Secure, has a stylish design packed with efficient security features that help protect your home without the complicated installation. The multipurpose sensors that come with the package have motion detection. This lets the user know if a door or a window has been opened. It also includes a key fob so you can arm and disarm your security system without having to type in a code.
Compared to other DIY home security systems, Nest is on the pricier side. Its professional monitoring service requires a 24-month contract and its system can only be paired with Nest’s own smart-home devices.
7. Protect America
Of all the DIY security systems being offered in the market, Protect America is the top choice when it comes to affordability. It provides 24/7 monitoring through different types like traditional landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring. It also provides live recording of security events and has a lifetime warranty.
Protect America does not have upfront charges but requires a 36-month contract. If you opt out of your contract before its end date, you will have to pay the entire remaining balance. This can be difficult if you’re a renter or a serial mover.