The good news: home security systems no longer require tiresome appointments with sales guys and technicians, or hefty installation fees. Today’s DIY home alarms save you time and money, even if you’re not usually a do-it-yourselfer. DIY alarm systems are easier to set up than hanging a picture on the wall and you don’t need any tools. So there’s no bad news!
Why Go with DIY?
DIY home alarm systems are quickly gaining in popularity because of their many advantages over traditional alarms that require professional installation. Here’s a quick summary of the benefits:
- Convenience – Nobody likes waiting around for technicians to show up, like the cable guy or repair man. We lose half a day, at least – every time. And there’s no guarantee they’ll arrive within the promised timeframe. Setting up a wireless DIY alarm system takes far less time, and you can do it on your own schedule. Unlike with traditional alarm installations, there is no complex programming or wiring.
- Privacy – In the movies, how do bad guys get into someone’s house? They pose as repairmen, right? We’re not saying home security technicians are bad guys, but when it comes right down to it, does anyone really like having strangers tromp through the house? If you’re a woman home alone, it’s potentially even less desirable. DIY home security empowers you to take care of setup on your own, quickly, easily and safely.
- Aesthetics – DIY security equipment is wireless, which means you don’t need wires or holes in your walls. The sensors are small and discreet and you can place them anywhere you like – on a shelf, wall, doorframe, ceiling, etc. If you redecorate, you can move the equipment around, easily – anytime.
- Flexible – Since wireless equipment is so easy to install, you can add to your home alarm system anytime. Start with a basic system and add additional protection later, when you have the budget. Building an addition? Add a security sensor for the new room. Baby on the way? Add a smoke/heat sensor near the nursery. No fuss, no fees.
- Safety – Wireless home alarm systems are safer than the wired systems. Wires can be cut or broken. If the connection between your security components is severed, the system is no longer effective. DIY/wireless systems are simply more reliable.
- No Phone Line Required – If you’re one of the many homeowners who has done away with your landline, no problem! DIY home alarms include a built-in cellular signaling device – no landline required.
- Cost – This is the bottom line: DIY saves you a lot of money, usually hundreds of dollars. There are no installation fees. Why pay extra?
Setting Up a DIY Home Alarm System
Most DIY alarm system purchases take place online or over the phone. There’s no need to schedule a meeting with a sales consultant and listen to his pitch. The system comes in the mail, shortly after ordering. The sensors are pre-programmed to connect wirelessly. The controls are programmed to automatically communicate with the monitoring center over a secure cellular network.
When you see the instructions, you’ll see we really aren’t kidding when we say DIY setup is easy. First, you plug in the control unit. Pick a convenient central location for it, since you’ll use it often for arming, disarming and customizing the system.
Next, decide where you want the sensors. When you talked to your alarm company’s security consultant prior to ordering, he or she probably reviewed your needs with you, and determined the best locations for the sensors. It’s highly recommended to protect each ground-floor entry point, such as doors and windows. For rooms with lots of windows, use a glass-break sensor or motion detector, to cover the whole area, rather than pay for multiple door window sensors.
Each sensor is equipped with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive, for placement on walls. Door sensors include two pieces – one for each side of the doorframe. When the door opens, the sensor detects the two pieces separating, and will trigger an alarm.
Most people complete their setup in 30 minutes or less. Then you simply call your alarm company and they’ll test and activate your system, as well as answer any remaining questions.
Finding the Best DIY Home Alarm Systems
Now you’re convinced that DIY is the way to go, right? So how do you pick the best DIY system? We recommend starting with the reviews. Hundreds of customers already have real-life experience. They’ll tell you all about it in their online reviews. Check with your favorite review site or Google “home alarm systems reviews.” Check with the BBB, too, to confirm the company is in good standing.
Don’t get tripped up by ads for “wireless alarm systems” that don’t include cellular connections. Many companies offer wireless sensors but do NOT have wireless (cellular) control units. If the system requires connections with your home phone line, it is not DIY and there will almost certainly be an installation charge. Some companies also try to charge an extra monthly fee for the cellular monitoring connection, but that cellular component is what you need for safety, and you shouldn’t have to pay extra for it.
Make sure your alarm system includes all the features and benefits listed above – like the ability to add or move equipment anytime, without extra fees. Watch for companies who claim their equipment is free, but then charge inflated prices for the extra components you really need, such as smoke sensors, motion detectors, glass-break sensors, etc. Compare pricing carefully and understand the total cost of ownership before you make your final decision.