5 Questions To Help You Select a DIY Home Security System

Home security systems are becoming increasingly popular. According to a recent survey by Safety.com, 38% of American households own a home security device. That percentage should increase as more people install DIY home security cameras and sensors in their homes.

The growth is partly due to the popularity of smart home technology and the simplicity of “plug-and-play” options for cameras, sensors, and remote door intercom systems.

Traditionally, security systems were installed by professionals and monitored 24/7 at remote service centers for a substantial monthly fee. Now, homeowners can set up many of today’s options in a few minutes and personally control the system with a smartphone app.

If you want to do it yourself, these questions can help you be sure you are purchasing the right system for your current and future needs.

1. Do you spend a lot of time away from home?

If you’re gone a lot, you may want to include a digital door lock in your security system so you can issue a temporary passcode or remotely unlock your door for a delivery or cleaning service, or someone who cares for your pets and plants.

You may want to include a video doorbell answering system to help give the appearance that you are home, even when you are miles away. Also, remote options for turning on lights can help your home to appear “lived in” while you’re gone.

2. Do you have pets?

Many pet owners like to “check-in” on their fur babies if they’re home alone. If you fall into that camp, decide if you want to be able to talk to your pet(s) or if a camera without audio will work just as well.

If you’re planning to use indoor security cameras that are activated by motion, you may prefer a system that disregards pets. Otherwise, you’ll need to position your cameras so your animals will not “trip” the motion detection alerts or alarms.

You may also want to include an automatic food or treat dispenser in your system for more convenience or interaction with your pets. Some dispensers operate on a timer, while others are controlled remotely.

3. How much coverage do you need?

If you want to monitor all areas inside and outside your home, you will need to select a system that can accommodate the total number of cameras required for complete coverage.

On the other hand, if your needs are less demanding, you may be able to get by with one or two easily portable and moveable cameras.

4. How do you want to use your system?

Make sure a security system includes a convenient app (and possibly a website) that delivers on all your top priorities. For example:

Do you want to receive alerts on your smartphone every time motion is detected? Do you want your system to include a loud, audible alarm? If yes, what will trip the alarm?

Do you want your system to be armed all the time, or only when you’re away, or while you’re sleeping?

Do you want to be able to view live camera feeds or recorded video from your computer as well as your phone?

If you want to be able to review video footage later, you’ll need to select between using an off-site cloud-based service or storing video footage at your home, on a hard drive or USB drive. Some systems offer free off-site storage, while others charge a monthly fee for this service.

5. Will you expand your system in the future?

If you are planning to start with a small system, but add more cameras and other detectors (like water, smoke, or window and door alarms), try to select a system that will grow as your needs grow.

It’s important to note that you can still purchase older DIY security systems that use old-school internet protocol (IP) cameras and complex web-only interfaces. However, unless you enjoy the challenge of setting up these less intuitive systems, you should opt for one that uses a simple smartphone app.

Few Easy Answers

These are just some of the factors to consider when purchasing a DIY home security system. Plus, new features like face recognition and innovative third-party integrations are on the horizon, which will provide more options (and complexity) to your decision.