How to choose a home security system
Decide how much monitoring is right for you
A home security system can help protect your home and family and give you peace of mind. When you are choosing a system, you’ll want to think about which features you want, how much monitoring you want, and how much you want to pay.
How much protection do you need from your home security system?
A good first step is to decide what features you want in your security system. Typical features include:
- Door and window sensors. These sensors detect if someone is trying to break into your home through a door or window. Also think about where you want sensors. For example, you might decide you want sensors on your first floor windows but not your second floor.
- Motion detectors. Motion detectors outside your home can turn on security lighting, which can deter criminals and help protect your family by turning on door and garage lights. Motion detectors inside your home can alert you to intruders.
- Cameras. Cameras outside your home can deter criminals and provide video and images that might help the police identify persons of interest. Front-door cameras can let you see who is outside your home before you open the door. Cameras inside your home can detect intruders and capture images that might help the police.
- Sirens and alarms. Alarms can be tripped by window sensors, motion detectors, and other security features. They can help keep you safe by scaring away people before they cause trouble.
- Panic buttons. These features can call the police or emergency medical technicians for you with a press of a button. People who live alone or have health conditions might choose these as part of their security systems.
- Environmental sensors. Today’s systems can monitor for fire and smoke, carbon monoxide, high or low temperatures, leaks, and flooding. These can help you protect your home from damage.
- Control panel. Do you want to manage your system from a panel in your home, from your computer or phone, or both?
The size of your home and the character of your community can influence your choices. If you own a large single-family home, you’ll probably make different choices than if you own a condominium. If crime is not a big problem in your community, you may feel comfortable with fewer monitoring features. Consider your home and circumstances while you make your decisions.
Do you want a wireless or wired home security system?
Many wireless home monitoring systems are on the market today, which often integrate with smart home products that allow you to manage heating and cooling, lights, and more.
Wireless systems are generally easier and less expensive to install than wired systems. They can offer flexibility and convenience too. The downsides of wireless systems include dependence on electrical supply and a reliable internet connection. Monitoring signals can be disrupted by other electronic devices. If you self-monitor your system, you can miss alerts and messages.
Wired systems are often more reliable because their signals are less vulnerable to interference or disruption. Installation typically takes more time and is more expensive, however, since the company will need to run wires to your doors, windows, motion detectors, and other features.
Do you want a monitored or unmonitored home security system?
You also will need to choose between a professional company monitoring system or monitoring the system yourself. A professional company will monitor your system for you, and help you respond to emergencies or accidents. Monitored systems come with a monthly fee you’ll have to pay. Some companies may offer you a discount on equipment or installation in return for signing a monitoring contract for a period of time.
Unmonitored systems are those you watch yourself through a control panel on your computer or phone. There is no monthly fee but you don’t have a third-party watching your security system and helping you respond to alerts or emergencies.
How much does a home security system cost?
According to Forbes, the average cost of a home security system is $475 with costs running between $200 for the least expensive systems to $1,150 for the most expensive. Forbes also estimates that monitoring might cost you between $20 and $60 per month. Installation and activation charges might add to the total cost as well.
The best way to understand your costs is to get an estimate from a home monitoring company. Freedom Mortgage customers can enjoy offers from ADT. Visit the ADT offer page to learn more!