You could argue that there wasn’t much to a home security system back in the 70s and 80s. A typical system consisted of window and door sensors on the first floor and perhaps one or two CCTV cameras. That was it. Today, home security is so much more involved. As such, designing the perfect system for any home requires a lot of thought.
Maximizing home security is no longer a matter of choosing a basic system and adding a few cameras to it. There are variables to consider, variables that affect everything from minimizing false alarms to maximizing a security system’s deterrence capabilities.
What variables should you think about? That depends on how you live your life. Below are some of the more common variables homeowners need to account for. Whether or not they apply to you depends on your circumstances.
1. The Size of Your Property
We start with property size. A small home situated on a postage-stamp lot in an urban neighborhood doesn’t have as much area to cover as a larger suburban home situated on three-quarters of an acre. More area to cover generally means a larger investment. Owning a larger suburban home does not necessarily mean home security will cost you an arm and a leg, but you still need to be prepared to spend a little more.
Along those same lines, consider the type of property you are working with. Maybe you have a lot of acreage along with outbuildings. Do you want to cover all the structures on your property, or are you mainly concerned about the house?
2. Your Family Members
One of the primary motivations for installing a home security system is for protecting family members. So, who lives in your household? Having young kids might motivate you to consider extra security cameras so that you can keep an eye on them when you’re not home. If it is just you and your significant other, extra cameras may not be a priority.
Likewise, you could be caring for elderly parents or dependents with medical concerns. A medical alert system might be something you need to think about. Extra security cameras with two-way audio can also make it easier to keep an eye on those with special needs.
Getting back to children for just one second, some parents have legitimate concerns about placing security cameras and smart speakers in their children’s bedrooms. There have been too many stories of cyber intruders hacking smart home devices for them to be comfortable about doing so. Unfortunately, it is something you need to consider.
3. Any Pets You Might Have
Believe it or not, pets in the home can influence the effectiveness of a home security system. Right off the bat, pets bring up the ever-present possibility of false alarms. This is something every homeowner needs to seriously consider if, for no other reason, then the fact that municipalities are known to fine residents for excessive false alarms.
A big problem with pets is that they have a tendency to set off motion sensors. There is often a fine line between a motion sensor being too sensitive and not sensitive enough. Furthermore, getting it right can be a daunting task.
One way around the issue is to forgo motion sensors in favor of extra window sensors, broken glass sensors, and motion-activated video cameras. Just utilizing different types of sensors to detect burglary can minimize false alarms triggered by pets.
4. Your Ability to Monitor
Home security monitoring is a more important issue than many homeowners recognize. Ultimately, a security system left completely unmonitored does little more than make noise when it’s triggered. That is not necessarily a bad thing. A smoke alarm making noise tells you to get out of the house. But in terms of home burglary, monitoring is much more effective than noise alone.
Here is what you need to consider: do you want to self-monitor or are you willing to pay for professional monitoring? Self-monitoring is exactly what its name implies. You set up your security system to send alerts to your phone and/or email whenever the system detects something amiss. You respond accordingly.
Professional monitoring involves trained personnel at a remote monitoring center always at the ready should your system trigger an alarm. Vivint is one example of a company offering professional monitoring services. When your home is monitored professionally, you can still have alerts sent to you. But you can also just forget about monitoring completely and let the service provider take care of everything.
5. Home Automation Plans
These days, companies are more likely to combine security with home automation than sell the two concepts separately. The reasoning is simple: home security and automation are gradually becoming intrinsically linked through shared technologies and devices.
This is to say that you should probably consider any future plans you have for home automation. If you have no such plans, then invest in a home security system and don’t look back. But if you do want to get into home automation at some point, your best bet is to invest in a system that either includes some basic home automation devices or will be easy to integrate later on.
6. Your Preferred Installation Method
Finally, be sure to carefully consider your preferred method of installation. You have one of two choices. The first is DIY installation. If you are comfortable with electronics and wireless systems, DIY systems are a dime a dozen. Anyone capable of setting up a home wi-fi network should be able to handle a basic DIY security system.
A lack of desire or technical capability would point you to a professional installation. A pro installation will just work, but it will also be more expensive. You might even find yourself obligated to a monitoring contract under certain circumstances.
This post has given you plenty to think about before installing a home security system. Every variable leads to a decision that will influence what you ultimately settle on.