At one time, buying and installing a home security system meant buying a single monolithic system with no options, few features and having to pay whatever the security company demands. Long term contracts, massive fees, and obligatory maintenance schedules all worked to ensure homeowners were kept under the thumb of the manufacturer if they wanted the feeling of security that comes with a functional system. Perhaps the worst thing was massive 10,000-page user’s guides that had to be understood before a homeowner could safely turn the thing on. The alternative was buying a cheap system that was almost guaranteed not to work, or to just buy a lawn sign and hope criminals wouldn’t get too nosy.
Today there are many inter-compatible DIY home security systems that can be mixed and matched to compose a home security system that suits your budget and your security needs.
This kind of system is affordable and offers a minimalist type of security coverage for your home. Wireless systems are always easier to implement than wired systems since they are so much more flexible. The downside to wireless is the potential loss of functionality due to batteries running down. Also, there’s the problem of signal interference, spotty wireless connections, and radio interference with other devices. Aside to these kinds of troubles, wireless cameras are exceedingly flexible, and can be even more so depending on what features they come with. Naturally, the more features a wireless camera has the shorter the battery life.
These are not the first thing to come to mind for most when they think of computer-integrated DIY home security systems. That’s because most homes come with smoke alarms in place, and they work pretty darned well. A few of them, however, combine the other important features, and carbon monoxide can be a very dangerous threat to the security of your home.
Many modern systems incorporate sensors that will detect one or two of these dangers. Few, short of industrial hazard detection systems, exist which cover all the non-burglar related types of threat. Such systems for the home do exist, though, and can be quite effective- if pricey
These items have been a mainstay of home security systems since the invention of automated home security. These simple devices are placed at each window and door. They usually operate on a magnetic field which is broken when the contacts are separated which sets off an alarm. These can be employed very inexpensively, and there are a number of them on the market that need no central hub as each is battery powered and wireless.
One drawback to these is that it can be difficult to know whether or not a given unit is working without testing each one frequently. Their second failing is that they can be defeated, if used with no backup system, if an intruder simply breaks the window.
These and timed lights are very popular around the perimeters of commercial properties. Studies show, however, that they come with one significant drawback- criminals are wise to them. Unfortunately, when a light comes on as the result of detected movement, or by timed automation criminals can tell- and the message it sends is- no-body is watching. These devices should never be mounted anywhere other than in a main entry walkway or another very visible area. Only then would an automated light deter a criminal. This kind of device will be much more effective indoors, especially when combined with a siren.
Outdoor cameras are going to cost in general about twice as much as indoor ones. They need to be weatherproof and tough. They will tend to employ higher video quality since out of doors locations are subject to greater variations of lighting quality. Few, if any of them come with the extra features that come with some of the indoor ones like audio support, live streaming, and the intercom feature. But for most homes, one or two would be all that is really necessary. Unifore provides various indoor and outdoor home video security systems to meet your special security needs.
An excellent addition to any effective security suite. A glass detection system is a good way to secure the full perimeter of your home. It’s important to note that these are not much good should you forget to lock the window. Possibly the best feature to these is that most of them use visible strips on the glass which send a clear message to potential intruders that a very loud noise will wake the entire neighborhood if this glass is broken. For that reason alone, glass break detectors are a wonderful deterrent- especially against professional burglars.
Another option is to purchase a package which incorporates some, if not all- or more, of the features we have discussed. Such systems can run between $270.00 and $500.00 in the lower range and can be quite effective in the right situation. The ability of a homeowner to choose the right all-in-one will depend on her or his knowledge of the system and how well it meets the security needs of the home it is used in.
For the DIY minded, it is probably preferable to go at compiling a security system from hand chosen parts, rather than going for the shotgun effect.
For small homes with minimal security needs the best, and cheapest route is likely to be to purchase motion sensors to cover the most trafficked areas of the interior of the home and to connect these to an audible siren. Such a system needs no support service, no Internet connection, and can sometimes work on direct current power. Motion detectors are cheap, reliable and have been around for almost 40 years.
Those who wish for slightly more comprehensive security than just motion detection are advised to add a second layer of security in the form of wireless, Internet-connected cameras. This can help to identify the intruder and aid the police in their investigation. Remember that you will need cameras that are either combined with an automated lighting system or that come with an infrared mode, because if your camera can’t see- then it’s just a paperweight that draws power.
Contact sensors and breakage detectors are just an extra flourish at this point, but they can provide an additional layer of security if you wish it.
Flood, Smoke & Heat, and Carbon Monoxide detectors are recommended for every home- no matter what kind of neighborhood you live in. Chances are, you already have smoke alarms. But if you value your life, and the lives of your family members- carbon monoxide and radon detectors are must-have items.
Remember, the most expensive or the most flashy devices are not always the best. Sometimes, the least expensive items are the most reliable. It all depends on the layout of your home, the neighborhood you live in, and how well you arrange your security components.