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The Best DIY Smart Home Security Systems

by James Kilvert on Apr 29, 2019

Technology is moving at an ever-increasing speed, and with each innovation comes a better way of doing things. This applies to the smart home security system market as well, where technological advances have brought forth smarter DIY options.

`If you want to have a home security system to monitor your home, but a professional system can be a pricey proposition, with installation, expensive equipment and monthly fees. However, now there are quite a few DIY options out there, and you can set up a smart home system without breaking the bank or needing to get professional installation and take on the commitment of a multi-year paid contract.

For a DIY home security system, you simply hop online and order the various components that you want. They are then shipped to you, along with detailed instructions that you follow to set up the system yourself.

Let’s take a look at some of the best DIY smart home security system options.

What are the different kinds of DIY security systems available?

p>There is a lot of variety in home security systems that you can install yourself. Some have an LCD panel that acts as the control centre, with the panel being installed on a central wall in the home and connecting to your home network. These panels typically have touch screens and a number of radios (including a cellular radio) embedded that give them the ability to control WiFi, Bluetooth and other sensors wirelessly, as well as home automation mechanisms.

Another type of home security system will have a hub device that operates in a similarly, but are designed to be embedded in your home as part of the décor and can be set up on any flat surface you choose.

And then there is the all-in-one, which generally is a security camera with many wireless radios, motion and sound sensors and a siren which will sound in the case of an intruder. Some all-in-ones also have environmental sensors, which means you can monitor humidity, air quality, and the temperature in a room. You can also use your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to arm and disarm your home security system.

How much does a DIY home security system cost?

The cost will depend on the size of your home, how many sensors you choose to order and what add-ons you want.

SimpliSafe Foundation is a $229 option which is a starter package that comes with a hub, motion sensor, door/window sensor, and a sign for you to place on your property. You can get more door/window sensors at $14.99 a pop, a smoke detector is $29.99, a glass break detector comes for $34.99, and these are all add-on options.

Then there is the LifeShield Essentials system that costs $199.99 and contains a base station, four-door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one fire safety sensor, a keypad, keychain fob and an Asus Memo Pad 7 Tablet with LifeShield software that allows you to control the entire home security system. For additional sensors, prices are comparable to those mentioned for SimpliSafe solutions. And there are separate costs associated with professional monitoring services if you choose to add those.

What are the components of a DIY system?

This varies depending on what you want and which brand of security system you order.  Do you plan to place a sensor on every door and window?

Motion sensors should be put into the main hallways, entrance and stairs – wherever an intruder has to cross to get in or out of the house. PIR (passive infrared) are the most commonly used motion sensors, which detect body heat. Both are cost effective and suited for indoors and every kind of lighting, making them suitable for home security systems. There are active motion sensors which detect motion by emitting microwaves. These are best for the outdoors, although they can trigger false alerts.  Finally, there are dual motion sensors, which have both active and passive tech and are most reliable.

Another component of most DIY security systems is cameras – for both the indoors and outdoors of your home, rigged to record video in the case of a sound or movement. There are other add on components like thermostats, sirens, glass break sensors, key fobs, flood/freeze sensors, and smoke detectors.

Almost all DIY security systems can be monitored using a mobile app, where you can arm and disarm the system remotely, view live and recorded video and monitor sensors. You get an alert when a sensor is set off, but the onus of calling the authorities lies with you, unless you sign up for a package (for a fee) with professional monitoring, in which case the company will also monitor and if unable to contact you or the next person you have designated, will reach out to local authorities and sound the alarm.

How do I install a DIY system?

One of the reasons DIY security systems have gained popularity is the ease of installation. When you’re choosing the system, remember to check if it needs a wired connection to your router or works with WiFi. The sensors come with double sided tape, so all you have to do is press them into place where you want. Usually, the door/window and motion sensors come pre-paired to the hub, which means you only have to activate the sensor and add it as a device on the app, and name each sensor appropriately. Other components come with specific instructions, and overall, you should have no trouble having your home security system up and running in no time at all.

Is a DIY alarm system worth it?

Because you can select the components that you want, this means that your security system is extremely cost effective. You can tailor the system to be everything you need and no more. Usually, there are alarm stickers that come with the unit too, which are an effective deterrent to would-be intruders. The other benefit of a home alarm system is potentially decreased home insurance premiums. For more information on contents insurance and different cover options get 3 free quotes.

If you are considering a DIY home security system, it’s worth shopping around to find the one that works for you, but it is worth investing in one.

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