I recently moved into a new house. I started researching alarm systems and was very surprised by what I found. There are the usual full service alarm companies, you make a call and they take care of everything else.
For this article, I am going to discuss DIY alarm systems. When you do a search on the Internet you will find many companies that offer these types of alarms. I’ve found that most will offer the same type of hardware at discounted prices. I will discuss the 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 is it automatically renewed?
- What is the duration of the contract, if any?
- Can you pay annually for a discounted rate?
- What is the hardware warranty?
What you are looking for is a non-renewable contract of up to one year with a discount for paying annually. Once you’ve narrowed this down, start looking at the hardware and the apps they offer.
You have some decisions to make when it comes to door switches and motion detectors. All sensors and the main control unit will be wireless and battery operated. Batteries will last 3-5 years. In my opinion, you should consider putting switches on all the doors and windows on the bottom 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 in the optimal locations to detect movement.
All switches and motion detectors will be installed with double sided industrial tape, once installed you need to ensure that they communicate with the main control unit. All alarm companies will offer some type of phone support to help you through the installation process. They can’t start charging you the monthly fee until your system is up and running. They earn their money from the monthly monitoring fee.
Most alarm companies have apps for your smartphone 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 know which switch triggered the alarm. 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.