I just recently moved into a new home. I started to research alarm systems and was very surprised what I found. There are the usual full-service alarm companies, you make a call and they will take care of everything else.
For this article, I am going to discuss the DIY (Do it Yourself) alarm systems. When you do an internet search you will find many companies offering these types of alarms. I found that most will offer the same type of hardware at reduced rates. I will discuss hardware later in the article. For now it is important to pay attention to the length of the contracts and the monthly charges.
Here are some questions:
- How long is the contract and does it auto renew?
- What is the length of the contract, if any?
- Can you pay yearly for a discounted rate?
- What is the hardware warranty?
What you are looking for is at most a one year non-renewing contract with a discount for paying yearly. Once you have this narrowed down then start looking at the hardware and what apps they offer.
You need to make a few decisions regarding door switches and motion detectors. All the sensors and the main control unit will be wireless and battery operated. Batteries will last from 3-5 years. In my opinion you should consider putting switches on all doors and windows on the lower floor of your home. This will be more expensive, but you will get much better security. If cost becomes an issue then use motion detectors, install them at the optimal locations to catch movement.
All the switches and motion detectors will install with industrial double-sided tape, once installed you need to make sure that they communicate with the main control unit. All alarm companies will offer some type of phone assistance to help you through the installation process. They can’t start charging you the monthly fee until your system is working. They make their money on the monthly monitoring fee.
Most alarm companies have apps for your smart phone that will control your system. You will be able to turn your system on and off remotely. If you have an alarm you will be notified and you will know which switch set the alarm off. Some systems will also offer voice. This is where the monitoring station can talk to you through the main control unit.
Most people should be able to do this type of installation, and save some money in the process.