With so many options available today, choosing a home security system can seem daunting. Whatever the additional perks, make sure that the home security system service you choose covers these five expectations in order to ensure that your home and your family will be protected in the best way possible.
1. Cellular Backup
A cellular security system uses cellular technology to communicate to your monitoring service. It effectively houses a cell phone of its own within the control panel, eliminating the need for a direct connection to your phone line. Where wired systems can be cut or tampered with, rendering your security system ineffective, cellular security systems have no wires that can be cut and continue working in the event of a power outage, just like your cell phone. Any good home security system provider should offer this technology, even as backup to a hardwired system, as it provides an added layer of protection against intruders.
Cellular security systems also communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system, including motion sensors, security cameras, flood and fire detectors, and keyless entry systems. This means that installation is simple and quick, and can often be done by a nonprofessional. While some wired systems require running lines from sensors through your walls and floorboards to connect with a central control panel, a wireless security system simply requires batteries and screws or tape to connect various sensors to different points in your home. Given that this method of installation requires no wiring, it allows you to install sensors in areas that may not be feasible or reachable with a wired system, and to move them around easily if your needs change or if you decide that you’d rather have your motion sensor in another room.
Cellular security systems are also great for renters, as they are extremely mobile and do not interfere with the structure of the building. A landlord may get upset if you install a complicated wired system in his or her property, messing with the woodwork or walls. But a wireless system leaves no damage behind and is much less invasive to install. It can also be moved from location to location if you decide to move.
2. Reliable monitoring
A good home security system should be monitored ‘round-the-clock by your security provider. If you go with a nationally recognized brand, this should always be the case. If you go with a smaller, local security system provider, make sure you ask what they’re monitoring procedures are. If they have a smaller staff, they may outsource their monitoring to a larger company. Either way, it’s a good idea to know who will have your back in the event of a break-in.
Additionally, if your security system provider offers a wireless security system, they should also offer a number of self-monitoring options. Many national brands have their own monitoring apps that you can download on your smartphone or tablet and use to enable and disable your system, track entries and exits, and alert the authorities in case of an emergency. Many security cameras are wirelessly integrated as well, allowing you to keep an eye on your belongings from your mobile device or computer. With the technology available today, there’s no reason that these mobile monitoring options shouldn’t be available to you.
3. Home automation integration
Along with cellular monitoring and mobile access, today’s security systems easily integrate with the functionality of your home. For example, your home’s temperature controls can be wirelessly connected to your security system for easy monitoring, as well as your lights, small appliances, and basically anything else that plugs into the wall. Enabling these features not only makes it easy for you to control everything from one central location (ideally, your smartphone or computer), but also can save you money or your electricity bill. Gone are the days of leaving the lights on while you’re at work or forgetting to lock the front door; now, all of this can be monitored and controlled remotely, alleviating a lot of worry.
4. Clear pricing structures
A reputable home security system company should be upfront about their costs. Many will try to convince you to sign a long, sometimes expensive contract with the promise of free equipment or installation, and others may use scare tactics to convince you to purchase an expensive security system when a much simpler one could meet your needs.
Whatever you do, make sure that you read the fine print and talk to your security service provider about how much your system is going to cost you, both for the initial setup and for the monthly monitoring services.
5. Home protection
Of course, more than anything else, a home security system should protect you, your family and your belongings. If your security system isn’t giving you peace of mind, or doesn’t have the capabilities you need to feel secure, consider switching to a new company, because, in all likelihood, there is a system that exists in your price range that can meet all of your needs.
A good way to know whether a system is a reliable one is to read reviews online and to talk to friends and family about their experiences with certain brands. Make sure these five expectations are covered when investing in a new or upgrading an existing home security system.