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DIY Home Security Systems: What They Are, and How to Choose One

Here is a deep dive into DIY home security. Understand your options so you can choose the best option for your household.

DIY Home Security Systems: What They Are, and How to Choose One

Not long ago, if you wanted a security system for your home, you had to begin a contract with a home security company. You bought or leased their equipment. They came to your home and installed it. Then, you paid the monthly fees per your contract. This approach worked — it still works for many people — but for some, it’s a bit too expensive. Also, the home security setups were often inflexible.

Now, many homeowners and renters are choosing a different option using technology they purchase and install themselves. Thanks to apps that can monitor these systems, a professional-type home security monitoring system is within reach — even without a home security company and subscription service. 

So how does it work? Read on to find out more about DIY home security systems.

DIY vs. Professional Home Security Systems

Do-it-yourself home security systems are fairly new. In fact, not long ago, the only people who would have attempted to install and use a self-monitoring home security system were the very tech-savvy. Now, the average homeowner with a WiFi connection can choose this option. In fact, if there’s an Amazon Alexa or other smart home automation system in place, much of the work of putting in a security system has already been done.

Of course, none of this information is intended to devalue what home security providers offer. These monitoring services have proven reliability. They are an excellent choice for someone who prefers professional installation and monitoring without doing any hands-on work themselves. For everyone else, however, there’s the DIY approach.

What Is the Functionality of a DIY Security System?

Each DIY system varies. That’s why they’ve become so popular. You choose the components you want and whether you want notifications to go to you or a monitoring center. 

Some people choose to purchase an all-in-one system that includes a variety of components, such as:

  • Motion detection
  • Door sensors
  • Smart lighting
  • Smart locks
  • Window sensors
  • Security cameras
  • Video doorbells etc.

These components can be purchased as a starter kit or chosen cafeteria-style through providers like Abode. The majority are compatible with Google Assistant or other smart home devices.

How Do You Choose the Best DIY Home Security Option?

Once you’ve decided you want to install a DIY home system, follow these steps.

Research and Compare Security Options

You should start by compiling a list of companies that offer products and services in your area. Your choices may vary but often include Ring, Frontpoint, Iota, Simplisafe, and Cove. 

Now, create a list of the components and functions that are deal-breakers. These might be:

  • Keypads at every entrance
  • An extra key fob
  • Entry sensors
  • A glass break alarm

With your list, you can quickly eliminate the companies  and devices that can’t meet your basic requirements.

Narrow Things Down

Once you’re sure about the products and services you need, start refining your choices. For example, would you like to be able to code smart home integrations for your IFTTT app? Then, you should make sure that’s a possibility.

Be aware of special deals. Many end after a period of time, and you could end up paying more than you plan. The Ring Alarm is one example of this. The company has canceled its $10 monthly plan, leaving customers no choice but to opt for a more expensive monitoring option.

Questions to Consider Before You Make a Final Decision

Here are some FAQs to answer prior to selecting a DIY smart home security system.

What Are Your Biggest Security Concerns?

Every homeowner, landlord, and renter must decide for themselves what their security concerns are. This understanding will drive what you choose for your home security kit.

Here’s a real-world example: Imagine you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, but your neighbors have had some car break-ins and minor vandalism. In that case, you probably want an outdoor camera and lights that operate with motion sensors.

Do You Want to be Responsible for Monitoring?

When it comes to monitoring, you have two choices. If you want independence, you can choose to monitor your system yourself with a mobile app or a home hub. Alternatively, you can pay a monthly monitoring fee to have a provider watch your system for you. 

It’s easy to save money if you monitor your own system because there are no monthly fees for home monitoring. However, it does take more commitment, and you may have some additional costs upfront.  

For example, you may need to purchase a battery backup in case of a power outage. 

Choose a monitoring plan, and you may need to pay for:

  • False alarm disarm fines
  • Monthly monitoring costs
  • Security response to break-ins
  • Warranties 
  • Security camera monitoring

However, some people find that it’s worth the cost to have the peace of mind that kind of professional coverage confers.

How Important Is Add On Compatibility?

If your home already has features such as a Nest smart thermostat or Apple Home, you will probably want any new alarm system components to be compatible with those. Otherwise, your solution could be overly complicated and expensive.

DIY home security works best with the right kind of smart home services and devices. SmartMove can help. Check out our resources for smart homes today.


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