How To:

Choose A Home Security System that Best Fits You and Your Family’s Needs

Choices to Keep your Home protected

Keeping your home protected from an unwanted intrusion is naturally high on the priority list of every family. Choosing a home security company or more importantly the right security company for you can quickly become a not so fun experience given the sheer number of security companies out there. To help we have created a quick guide on the best practices on selecting the correct security company and the actual equipment that will make up the security system for you to protect your home and loved ones.
At the end of the day you want to know that you got a fair deal, that the protection is of good quality along with quality equipment. This could mean for some adding on the extras such as home surveillance cameras.

While a video security system can be beneficial, the best home security will not rely solely on video. Even the best security cameras cannot get the police to your home. Here are a few things to have as a priority as you sift through and find the home monitoring system for you.

Cell Phone or Phone line?

The way your system communicates with the security companies monitoring station is one of the single most important aspects of any security system built regardless of what security company it is. You basically have two choices: Cellular or phone line, three if you count your internet connection as a viable option.

The first and 100% recommended way is to get a cellular system. All of the top home security systems will be offered with cellular as the means of communication to the monitoring center. Simply put, if you choose a phone line or internet line (yes, this includes Wi-Fi) and those utility lines are cut by the thief prior to entering your home, well he just duped you and your security company and will get away with all of your stuff, not to mention your peace of mind, which can be hard to gain back.

In short only get a traditionally set up system if cellular is not available in your area. With it being the norm for American homes to not have a home phone line the traditional method ends up costing more by the time you add phone line costs and the monitoring costs for home security, the traditional method can often end up costing more for something that may or may not keep you protected. Cutting of utility lines is the #1 way that home security systems are defeated by criminals.

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DIY or Professional Installation?

These days both DIY systems and a professionally installed system are on par with each other in terms of functionality and reliability. With DIY home security systems this means the system is definitely a wireless alarm system and the setup is typically a “peel and place” set up with no tools required. A DIY security system may not be for everyone, if you are not very handy do not write this option off just based off of how the setup takes place. Most reputable companies will guide you through the process and have you up in running in 20-30 minutes. Most of us have done much more complicated things in life.
With a technician visit for a professional install of a security system, typically getting started costs a bit more to get a human out to your home. To some it is worth the extra cost and extra time it will actually take to get things going. Just keep in mind a professional install can mean extra holes in your walls you don’t want and a more difficult and costly time replacing or upgrading sensors and control panels over time and you may end up spending the whole day hanging out at home, maybe two if there are any issues the technician runs into while trying to hardwire different components in.
At the end of the day what it really comes down to if you are comfortable with a DIY security system or not. With all the advances in technology the evolution of a wireless alarm system makes perfect sense.

Warranty?

Any reputable home security company should have some type of warranty that keeps you covered for at least the term of the agreement. Don’t be shy here folks, as with anything man made, it’s not an issue of if things will ever stop working, it’s rather when will it stop working. You want to make sure your are covered and what comes with the warranty as the warranty policies vary from company to company. and know about any potential costs you could end up with later.

Power out?

What happens if the power goes out? What happens if you get too much power in the form of a lighting strike? A hardwired security system could have some issues being shorted out by a lightning strike. A wireless alarm system will not have that issue since the sensors are well, wireless and battery powered. With both types of security systems if the power is out – they should be functional, unless the system runs off of an internet connection. As previously discussed always go 100% cellular if that option is available for this reason as well as the obvious added security of the intruder not being able to simply cut the line outside, prior to breaking in. Cellular of course involves no lines in the first place.

Call and ask questions

This may seem like a no brainer, but call a home security company and see how the initial interaction goes. Keep in mind you will be talking to a sales rep, so don’t get too upset if he or she tries to get you to buy…it’s kind of thier job. Pick their brain, gather the information you need to make an informed decision. How does the system work in terms of being hardline based or cellular based. Do you have online access and customization options? Is the system scalable to include home automation such as lighting control or a security camera system? Is there a mobile app available and how well does the app work? Check out the app store for your smartphone and tablets, a bad app will just give you a headache. Slimming down to 2-3 choices and then compare the home security systems after making your list of pros and cons.

Reputation

While reputation is not everything, it certainly stands for something and the reputation was obviously earned somehow, whether it is good, bad or somewhere in between. Check out places like homesecurityreviews.org for reviews and even the BBB- Better Business Bureau. Even more so , look into the types of complaints the company has. Through all of this keep in mind that every home security company will have some bad reviews and good reviews, if you see a lot of the same complaints over and over ask about it when you call. At the end of the day weigh everything out and what the best home security company for you is. The cool thing about reviews is there are tons of people who have already done the homework for you.

Equipment

Obviously you want to have good quality equipment in place for your home security system as this is the physical manifestation of your service. Choosing the right brand is equally as important os choosing the right security company. It doesn’t mean you need to spend a small fortune either. The good news is that the top home security companies use the best brands. The key to the best security system is that you have what you need and not a ton of stuff you do not need. Proprietary equipment is available from some companies, with proprietary equipment keep in mind you can only use it with that specific company, so make sure that you absolutely love them. Typically the top home security systems will be recognizable brands from manufactures such as GE, Honeywell, DSC, and 2GIG to mention a few.