If you’ve already looked into home alarm systems you’ve come to realize there are as many brands and models as car manufacturers offer. It’s a complicated and sometimes overwhelming choice to make. Finding the right system that won’t turn into a financial headache but still provide you with the peace of mind you seek is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack.
Should you go with the simple no frills DIY home alarm system from the big box store or brave the occasional high pressure sales tactics and contracts of a security service provider? Before you leap into one decision or another, here are a few things to consider.
Do You Need an Alarm System
The first question to ask yourself is this. Do you even need an alarm system? While you can take a number of preventive measures that will rival the security of any home alarm system. Your ultimate goal is to provide for the safety of your home and deter any would be burglars.
Here’s the truth. Burglars typically aren’t nearly as sophisticated as you might think. They look for the easy way in. Often times they enter the house through unlocked doors or windows.
You can easily thwart most burglaries with a few cheap and effective deterrents. Here are a few items you should have installed in your house:
- quality deadbolts on your doors
- strong window locks
- motion sensor lights
However, none of these things will work if you don’t use them. Get in the habit of locking your doors when you leave the house. A Consumer Reports survey revealed that many of us don’t do this. Nineteen percent of those responding said they occasionally leave their doors unlocked when they go out. Another 26 percent said they sometimes leave windows unlocked when they’re away.
What is Your Budget
How much are you willing to spend on an alarm system? Be as specific as you can and consider the costs of an installed system with a monitoring service. If you only want to spend a few hundred dollars, consider the wide selection of DIY systems available. If you are leaning towards a company installed system, ensure they give you a complete list of what the system includes in addition to a detailed estimate of the system’s cost.
For an extra cost, many systems can be set up to monitor for smoke and carbon monoxide levels as well.
Do You Need the Monitoring Service
Most alarm systems, especially those installed by an alarm company, come with the option of purchasing a 24 hour a day monitoring service. When an alarm is triggered, the central monitoring system automatically alerts the monitoring service when there’s a problem. This is done by sending a signal over a wireless connection or landline. Prices for this service vary widely and are usually paid for each month with a contract that typically runs for at least a year.
Keep in mind that a system will run without the monitoring service. If someone is usually at home or you have close neighbors that will notify police when the alarm sounds, then the monitoring service may not be necessary.
Looking into the purchase of a home alarm system can be an overwhelming undertaking. But by applying the points laid out above, your task is made much more manageable.
About the Author: Lukas Nicholson is a home security specialist and reviewer. He works hard looking at different types of home security systems and inform others about what they can do to better protect themselves, their family, and their homes.