A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
Have you ever wondered what goes into an effective security system? There are many factors to consider when fortifying anything, so it can be hard to know what you need when installing a home security system.
Any security is potentially something that a thief can work around, so efficient security is all about layering. A well-defended home is one with a large variety of defenses. Therefore, an effective security system is one with a variety of features.
Whether you’re getting professional installation or going the DIY route, there are many features to look out for if you want something that works well. Here’s an overview of different security features, including how to make the right choice and what to do when installing home security systems.
Before you install a home security system, you need to know if it’s installed via DIY means or professionally installed. DIY is simple to install, while professional systems require electrical knowledge and expertise.
Some home security systems are supposed to be installed by the customer. These tend to have more expensive hardware, and there’s no professional you can ask questions to, but they’re usually cheaper month-to-month and are much better for renters.
Installing home security systems that are DIY is easy. You’ll need a place to put the control panel, which should have some adhesive so you can stick it to a wall. Next, you need to mount sensors and cameras. Finally, all that’s left is testing the system.
Most security systems have a central hub where you control everything, whether it’s a physical device, an app, or both.
When installing a home security system, you’re going to want a control panel that’s intuitive and simple to use. A lot of nifty extra features don’t mean much when you don’t even use them. You can opt for a system with voice control if that’s convenient. Also, get one from a company with good customer service so you can ask questions easily.
Downloading any necessary app into your phone is easy. Physical control panels, however, can vary.
If yours has a wireless connection to the rest of your system (which is ideal), you only need to find a good place to mount it. Try putting it in a central location in an easy-to-reach space. If you don’t want children messing with your security, place it high up.
Other control panels may need to be wired through and should get installed by an electrician. Make similar choices regarding placement.
There are a few questions to ask when buying security cameras. Do you only need them inside, or would you benefit from outdoor monitoring? How high quality do you need the video and audio? Do you need night vision? How much data is necessary? What about AI facial recognition software?
Also, who’s watching the footage? A professional setup means the installation company is monitoring your home at a monthly fee. But you might prefer DIY cameras with locally stored SD card footage or the ability to watch on your phone.
There are a few things you always need when installing home security systems. Make sure all the data is encrypted. There should be permissions and two-factor authentication for sharing any data from your camera. Tamper alerts and limited location data sharing are also helpful.
The process for installing home security systems with cameras depends on whether you’re getting wired or wireless security cameras. Outdoor cameras and professionally installed cameras are often wired.
Wired cameras must involve an electrician connecting the correct electrical pathways in your wall. If you’re renting an apartment, this usually isn’t an option. On the other hand, wireless cameras often simply stick to walls.
Consider where you need things monitored. The front entrance is obvious, but if there are other ways to get into your house, you should monitor those too.
First and foremost, secure locks need top-of-the-line encryption. Encryption is the digital equivalent of hard-to-pick locks.
Be sure your smart lock is hard to break physically. It doesn’t matter how secure the lock is if it can be broken open.
Think about how often you and your housemates are going in and out every day. The unlocking process should be relatively easy if you leave often or if many people need a key. Some smart locks work by reading fobs in your pocket that offer remote access for convenience.
You need to know how to remove the old lock. You may also need to hook your new lock up to an electrical system (although many smart locks are wireless).
Installing home security systems in your door gets complicated in the end. Luckily, a locksmith can help install a smart lock for you.
Many environmental detectors come with packages for installing home security systems. They aren’t related to theft prevention but are still crucial in keeping you and your valuables safe.
Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are necessary no matter what. The others are more dependent on other factors.
If you live in a cold place, freeze detectors can warn you before your pipes freeze. And heat detectors alert you when the temperature indicates a fire could break out. Water detectors can even warn you about flooding.
Installing home security systems with environmental sensors is all about placement. Think about where things are likely to occur – where will your house flood? Where will your pipes freeze? Where is there smoke?
Mount these sensors in the center of the room. They need range if you want them to go off as soon as there’s a problem.
Glass break detectors are straightforward. The only consideration you need to make in investing in this security is to ask yourself how many windows you have. You only need these for windows on your ground floor – you can write off any other windows inaccessible to professional thieves.
These usually use adhesive backings, so even installing home security systems with break detectors is straightforward. They can be as far as fifteen feet away from the windows they’re sensing, too, so you can use one for multiple windows. Try to strategize for maximum window security throughout your home.
When installing home security systems, there are three main types of motion sensors you can choose.
The most common and probably best are PIR or passive infrared sensors. They’re adjustable, so you can make them extremely sensitive if they need to be – or not very sensitive at all. Their main problem is that heat sources, like HVAC systems, set them off sometimes.
Next, there are microwave sensors. These can detect motion through walls, which is either great or a huge problem if your alarm goes off every time a squirrel walks by outside. They can also be set off falsely by electronic interference.
Finally, there are ultrasonic sensors. These are not very good, requiring significant energy to operate. They also emit sounds pets can hear.
You can also get entry sensors that go off when a door opens. These attach directly to doors and often are wired in.
Place motion sensors over every entrance in your home. Consider windows as potential entry points too. You can also set them up at “choke points” where passers-by have to be, such as mudrooms and hallways that lead to bedrooms.
Motion sensors can be mounted easily. They’re versatile when installing a home security system.
Entry sensors must be attached to your electrical system with wires, so they’re more of a hassle.
You might want a panic button installed in case of an emergency. You hit one of these once, and the proper authorities are alerted.
Customer service is an important factor. With DIY, you don’t need to worry about customer service, but you’re also more on your own. A professional can answer any questions you have and help you out better. Also, consider the response time of a professional company before installing home security systems from them.
Something easy to forget is the fact that most security systems use WiFi, so if there’s an internet outage, your security will shut down. Internet outages are rare and aren’t the biggest concern, but this is something to consider. Similarly, jamming attacks are possible with any wireless signal, although they’re unlikely.
If your system has an alarm, do not forget to get an alarm permit.
Finally, remember to place any signs about your home security system outside, as this can help deter burglars.
Many technologies go into an efficient home security system. There are so many considerations to make that it can feel overwhelming.
Hopefully, you know what to look for when installing a home security system. You know which vulnerabilities to compensate for, and you have a list of the devices that will protect your home best alongside where you need to put them.
Home security doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what you’re doing. You can stop burglars with the correct setup and protect yourself from theft.
Category: Buying Guides, How To's, Safety & Security