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Start 5 Tips for Setting Up Your Own Security System
05 October 2018

5 Tips for Setting Up Your Own Security System

Estimated reading time Time 3 to read

There’s never been a better time to be a DIY enthusiast. The popularity of DIY-friendly smart home devices has expanded the smart market, giving you more options to choose from for every aspect of your home. Home security is no exception – new systems with DIY-friendly installation and setup are available through most major smart home retailers, and costs are plummeting.

DIY-friendly home security systems that use smart home technology give homeowners more flexibility to make changes over time. The flexibility and ease of installation makes them a great option for renters (or anyone looking for a weekend project). Some systems are “plug and play,” offering easy setup right out of the box, but more tech-savvy users might consider combining devices from different manufacturers. These tips will help you avoid any hurdles on your path to DIY home protection.

  1. Choose Your Smart Hub First

A smart hub with a digital assistant acts as the brain for your smart home. Digital assistants are voice activated and powered by artificial intelligence, allowing you to control multiple smart home devices from one central device. Almost all DIY home security systems can function without a hub, but if you’re planning on syncing your home security system with other smart home devices like lightbulbs, appliances, or a smart thermostat, your smart hub choice will be particularly important.

Google Home controls compatible plugs, light bulbs, thermostats and more than 5,000 smart devices from over 400 brands. / Image: Google

A smart hub enables seamless voice control across all your devices, but only if they’re all compatible. Google Home, Apple’s HomeKit, and Amazon’s Alexa all have partnerships with different brands, so you’ll want to double-check the compatibility of everything in your system before you make any purchases. Doing your homework before you start shopping will help you avoid headaches later on.

  1. Choose a Security Kit

You don’t have to choose from hundreds of devices to build a DIY system. Many companies offer complete kits that include all of the basic elements of a home security system. Most of these packages come with an alarm, a handful of window and door sensors, and a motion detector.

Kits can make installation much more convenient, but be sure to research your kit’s compatibility with third-party devices. If you’re limited by devices from one manufacturer, you may not be able to upgrade your system with the latest technology over time. Kits that are compatible with a major AI hub like Amazon’s Alexa will generally be more future-proofed since you’ll have more flexibility when shopping for upgrades.

  1. Pick a DIY-Friendly Alarm System

Your alarm system is the heart of your home security system. Many traditional alarm systems work the same way – a professional installation service drills a few holes in your wall and wires your alarm system directly to your home’s landline and electrical system. Most DIY systems take a more lightweight approach, with simpler installation and a wireless connection.

DIY-friendly systems like abode or Simplisafe use window and door sensors that attach to your walls with paint-safe adhesive. This design makes them easy to install or uninstall and provides a cleaner aesthetic appearance that won’t draw any attention. Wireless systems also utilize a cellular connection instead of your home’s landline, which prevents a would-be thief from cutting your connection to subvert the alarm system.

  1. Choose a Professionally or Self-Monitored Service

Most alarm systems use a subscription to a monitoring service to call emergency services if something goes wrong. This system ensures that the fire department or police are dispatched as soon as there’s an emergency, even when you’re not home. With the advent of smartphone controls and other intelligent features, some DIY-savy homeowners choose self-monitored security systems instead.

A DIY system that doesn’t require a subscription to a security service is much less expensive, which can be enticing. You’ll receive a notification on your smartphone if any of your window or door sensors are tripped, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to call for the police. Self-monitored security systems might be the ideal choice for renters, and some of these systems can be upgraded with a monitoring service later if you change your mind.

  1. Choose Your Peripherals

One major draw of a DIY home security system is the ability to add additional security devices over time. Most DIY kits offer a range of stand-alone devices you can add to your base system at any time. These devices might include additional door and window sensors, smart locks, doorbell cameras, security cameras, flood and heat sensors, and other devices. Having the flexibility to choose your peripheral devices helps you save money by avoiding anything you don’t need.

Next-Level: Customization

There’s a lot of customization options available if you’re willing to dive a bit deeper into your initial research. Many home security devices are compatible with advanced programming technologies like IFTTT (“If this, then that”). Advanced programming lets you set conditional triggers into your smart home system, such as turning on all your smart lights when an alarm goes off. With all the DIY options on the market, it’s easy to design the right system to protect your family and keep your home secure.

Alec Sears

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