DIY Security Systems: Are They Worth It?
Are you thinking of buying a new home in the year or getting better security for your current one? If you’ve started shopping around, you’ll soon realize that monitored home security systems can get pretty expensive.
Like most DIYers, and survivalists for the matter, why pay someone else to do it, when you can get it done yourself?
Pros vs. Cons of DIY
It might seem like less of a hassle to call up a professional and have them come out and handle the installation, but for those focused on a budget, looking into a DIY security system isn’t a bad idea. Most of the top-reviewed brands, like Kuna Light Fixture or Nest Cam, come in at under $200, not too bad for a one time only cost. First, let’s look at the pros and cons of handing it at home on your own.
Pro: No cosmetic damage. You won’t have to drill holes and mess up your walls due to the installation of the more advanced system. This is big plus for renters who don’t want to deal with the damage that may result and the dwindling security deposit that may result.
Con: No professional monitoring. When you get installation from a reputable company, you also have the advantage of their ongoing monitoring and alerts. When you decide to DIY, there’s no one else keeping on an eye on your home system, but you.
Pro: No contracts. Maybe you’ve signed up for a professional system in the past and it ended up being too expensive without adding much value. By tending to the matter yourself, you don’t have to be locked into a contract or pay monthly fees for ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and other taxes and fees.
Con: No setup help. When you decide to tackle a DIY project, you have to commit full force, in order to get the project done in an optimal amount of time. With a professional security company, things move along pretty quickly. For a DIY home security system, you’ll have to make sure you have already set aside time to research, buy, and affix all the supplies and tools you need – plus, test it.
Pro: No useless products or fees. You don’t have to pay for what you don’t want. You can keep it as simple or make your system as complex as your budget will allow. Most DIY security systems include cameras and door sensors. Rental homes should already come equipped with working smoke detectors. If not, contact your landlord to have them replaced right away.
Getting Started with a DIY Security System
After weighing your options, decide if DIY is for you. If so, then there are a few tools to get you started with installation. A basic DIY home security system will include door (and possibly, window) sensors, motion lights, an alarm, and an in-home video monitoring system depending on your budget and needs.
Take a walk through your home and along the perimeter and mark prime areas for installation and setup. Make sure you place the equipment where it’s easy to access. Whether you decide to make it obviously visible or not is up to you. On one hand, you don’t want to unnecessarily alarm visitors of your house. On the other, you want intruders to know you are secured.
If you have a floorplan of your home, even better, because you can see an overview of the areas of your house all at once. If you are a renter, be extra mindful of the equipment you install. Read through your lease agreement to check if installation is allowed and what’s expected if you should move out.
Many DIY installation kits for home monitoring comes with everything you need. iSmartAlarm, for example, has a Preferred Package that comes with a CubeOne, two contact sensor, a motion sensor, and two remote tags. You can add a la carte items, as well to amp up the security.
The iSmartAlarm is then linked to your phone where you can set up “alerts” to what you want the system to do at any given time. Do you want your home lights to go on at intervals throughout the day? Configure it ahead of time and execute through the app on your phone. Easy.
If you require any tools to affix cameras or sensors, you can easily perform this project with DIY tools from WORX or Ryobi. They both offer an arsenal of tools focused specifically for taking on DIY projects, including a SD Driver with a screw holder, which has an easy, one-handed operation to keep any cords or equipment firmly in place.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you to keep your home and valuables safe. Do you want to employ the services of a professional or give it a go yourself? Seems like the advantage leans toward DIY in terms of cost, connectedness, and ease of installation. What do you think? Will you be DIYing a security system in the new year?