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What’s the Best Way to Monitor Your Home Security: Smart Home or Home Security System?

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by James Cummings on May 21, 2019

Is security or convenience more important in protecting your assets? The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Here’s how to make an informed decision about monitoring the security of your home.

Introductory home security systems - what comes in a starter kit?

A smart home requires smart security. It’s not solely about being alerted to break-ins. Security systems can be tailored to tell the owner about fire, leaking pipes, changes in the climate and air conditioning. Any home security system installed after 2019 will provide remote monitoring. However, there are add-ons if you want something truly smart.

Keep Safe

Standard home security

Most standard home security will have a keypad at the entryway, sensors and a piercing alarm.

There are loads of extras which you can add for security, including:

  • Indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Backup batteries
  • Different alarm zones
  • Panic button
  • Fog cannons to make burglary virtually impossible (if you are protecting valuable business assets)
  • Multiple keypad codes for multiple staff and users

Sensors go on openings including doors and windows. These are attached with tape, screws or other fixatives. These sensors will include a magnet side and metal side. When separated, the magnetic field between the two is broken and a signal is sent to the brain of the security system. These control panels are programmable with whatever delay you need, or they can be instantaneous.

There are also motion sensors which are positioned in the corners of rooms. After activating the home/stay setting on an alarm, the motion sensors are told to ignore movement in the house. Once away, however, they’ll respond to any movement. The instructions will advise that pets are kept well clear of motion sensors and you can minimise the sensitivity of them so you can still have animals in the home.

They can connect to smoke alarms, too, letting the system know when carbon monoxide or smoke is sensed. Such systems also have settings sensitive to glass breaking.

- A remote control is normally provided for setting an alarm. If no remote control key fob is provided, the system may come with software or an app.

- Room to add extra features later, including camera: if the security system’s base package doesn’t come replete with a security camera, it’s likely you can easily purchase security cameras of the same brand/manufacturer which should integrate seamlessly.

Is monitoring my own security system as effective as paying professionals to do the job?

Subscribing to professional alarm monitoring each month costs money. The question is whether the benefits of that monitoring are worth it.

  • The staff monitoring your property contact emergency services if they suspect a break-in
  • The monitoring security staff contact you immediately upon any break-in or fire
  • The monitoring company receives instant notifications without delay
  • Is camera monitoring is included, this can be helpful if you need to establish if there is an intruder
  • Insurance premiums.

Consider whether the boxed security alarm package you’ve bought from your local store can be handled by the monitoring company. It’s possible you can save money by buying the package yourself then handing the hard work over to the experts.

What does a smart system offer that’s different?

A smart home simply allows you control of most electronics already in the home via your phone. This includes:

  • Lighting
  • Motorised window shades
  • Outdoor sprinklers
  • Security cameras (CCTV)
  • Water leak sensors
  • Air conditioning
  • Music

So while security systems and smart homes do intersect, they are not the same thing. If you want a full home alarm system, you need to invest in an alarm system. The smart home system is nice to have and can incorporate some elements of an alarm system, but it is not a replacement for it.

Things to look for when choosing an alarm system

What you want from your home alarm system will be different from others. What works for you might be too much for someone else. However, there are a number of things you should be looking for when choosing a home alarm system.

  • Testimonials from satisfied customers, in particular, check out their Facebook page
  • Does the system have a recognisable and respected brand name
  • Has it been made for the conditions for your climate zone and country?
  • Is the warranty reliable?
  • Does the alarm have degrees of notifications, or does it progress straight to a full alarm?
  • If help is needed with any problems, can the manufacturer be easily phoned or emailed?
  • Does the maker of the system have staff who can visit you on-site to remedy any problems?
  • Does the siren meet the decibel requirement needed to deter burglars?
  • Does the system come with stickers? Remember, stickers are completely lacking in tech, but hugely effective in warning away intruders. A good alarm system needs to come with at least four stickers which are designed strikingly enough to be noticeable.
  • Can you access the alarm from an app?

Take your time to find the system that works for you and your family. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are even great DIY options to investigate.

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