The questions currently shown below are some of the most commonly asked by first-time owners. Users like you will add more questions over time for us to include as we go along. If you feel like there's an important subject we didn't touch on, please let us know in the form below.
A security system is an alarm system that operates on various standard and add-on components, each of which help to deter crime away from your home in its own way. The standard equipment shared by all first-timers are contact sensors for your doors and windows, a medical emergency pendant, and fire and smoke protection.
If you need more protection, more upgrades can be incorporated which include text and email alerts, home automation features, mobile access and control, geo location, cameras, motion detection, and energy management.
The prices for around-the-clock monitoring from quality providers ranges between $20 and $65 per month. One of the perks of signing up with a monitoring plan is skipping the separate purchase of equipment while having a professional service do the monitoring for you.
Apart from substantially decreasing the likelihood of a burglary, having a home security system increases the resale value of your home and can qualify you for a discount on homeowner’s insurance.
It depends. If the alarm system is wireless, then it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to set up. If the system comes with a monitoring deal from your provider, you can install the wireless system yourself but you would have to call them to activate it. If the alarm system is hardwired, you will need a professional to install it – which may cost you $99 to 199.
Different cameras have different capabilities that strengthen your home security in various ways.
If you’re looking for a simple motionless camera concentrated on one spot only, a fixed – or basic - camera should do the trick.
If you need a more thorough capturing of the entire space of a room, porch or driveway, a pan-and-tilt camera has a range of motion of 180 degrees that could automatically follow any movement within its proximity and zoom and pan accordingly.
On the subject of movement, there are also motion activated cameras that work by having a motion detection module capable of triggering the camera to begin recording when an intruder crosses its line of sight. This is especially useful for recording suspicious activity to be sent to you through email or the provider’s app to be used as evidence against the perpetrator.
For a completely covert approach to video recording, nanny cams blend in with their environment and record a happening undetected.
Any of these camera features can be incorporated into models for outdoor recording, but the dome camera, in particular, is built specifically for outdoor use as it has a tamper-proof glass protecting it from outside forces.
What’s important is that you can have any camera recording ability you want, the models only differ in how capable they are in terms of night vision, outdoor and indoor use; and whether they are installed without wires.
As a renter, a wireless system is what you need to protect your home. The reason being that wireless systems are easy to reinstall by yourself when it's time to relocating. Homeowners have more options with all sorts of systems, whether they're wireless or wired.
The answer to this question primarily depends on the contract you have with your provider. Most contracts expire within 12 to 36 months, although there are plenty of other ones that exceed this range, so you have to be in the know. If your contract expires in two years and you plan to move in only one, you'll have to inform yourself of the leverage you have against that of your provider. Some of them will move all your equipment for free, and others will charge you.
If you want to take advantage of home automation, you can only do that remotely. Most setups that come with a key fob or an app give you more control over your home's electrical appliances and security devices. Arming or disarming your doors and windows, switching your lights on and off, and adjusting your thermostat can all be done with your phone or tablet.
Motion detectors trigger an alarm whenever their line of sight is broken by an object of a certain mass. Motion detectors are sensitive to weight, and some models will even allow you to customize the weight class that the device should overlook.