Studies have shown that having a security system significantly reduces the chance of your home being broken into. However, with the plethora of features, companies and security systems now available, how do you choose which one is best?
The popularity of home security systems has prompted the development of a diverse range of professionally installed and DIY security systems. Choosing between these if you’re new to the concept can be a little confusing. Thankfully, a common-sense approach with a brief introduction to the tech aspect of these systems does help finding one that works for your home.
Home security system essentials
Choosing basic features that are technologically up-to-date, efficient and easy to use will give your home security system a strong foundation. After you have these essentials in place, you can add features that work for your lifestyle, property and neighbourhood.
In addition to the basic intruder alert aspect of your system, having fire sensors and smoke alarms will alert you to potentially disastrous accidents. Carbon monoxide sensors and sensors to monitor glass breaks on patio doors, windows etc. are equally useful. Smoke detectors that have dual power supplies means that you don’t have to mess around with changing the batteries every 6-12 months.
You can also choose sensors that emit 110 decibel sirens to frighten off intruders or alert you and your neighbours to criminal activity. Some alarm systems can be connected to the lights in your house so when the alarm sounds the lights come on, making it easy for everyone in the house to escape to safety.
If you are able to control your home security system via your tablet or phone, you can keep an eye on your home remotely. This means you can let a trusted neighbour in to check on your house if needed or disarm or arm the alarm remotely from anywhere. You can even turn the lights on before you get home. Essentially, it lets you operate your security system in a cost-effective way from practically anywhere.
Choose a trusted security monitoring company
Besides sending alerts to you, your security system can also alert a monitoring company, prompting them to send help to your address. You should opt for a company with a solid reputation and check their references. If they’re expected to respond to alerts, you should also check the reliability of their response time.
The budget for a home security system with these features could range from $1000 to $3000 +for a new home, plus the annual fees for the monitoring.
Intruders and burglars tend to stay away from properties and houses that have lights on for fear of being seen. So, another important feature that you should install are security lights. Sensor-triggered lights are most effective and useful as well. You can install security lights at your backdoor, the patio door, balconies or anywhere else. When the sensors are triggered, they turn on strong security lights that surprise and illuminate intruders.
The budget for security lights could range from $200 to $500 for a new home.
Other features you may need
Burglars will take advantage of careless slip-ups (like forgetting to lock the doors/windows), the regularity of daily routines, your habits and gaps in your home security to strike. So, installing a few more features to close these gaps is always an advantage. You will have to choose these based on the specific needs of your family.
Before you or your children answer the door, doorbell cameras let you check who is on the other side to determine whether it’s safe to answer or not. These cameras can even take photographs or videos of the person at the door and send these to your smartphone or email.
For new homes, this can cost anything from $300 to $400.
High-definition security cameras can be installed to see who is at your gate or even to check whether your children are home safe. These can record footage, stored either on site or in the cloud, so you can play it back if you need to.
The budget for these cameras range from $1000 to $3000 for newly built homes. To future-proof, you may have to spend between $200 and $500 on pre-wiring.
Your front gates can be fitted with a system that allows them to open or close via remote control from an app. It will help to keep pets and children securely inside your property when they’re playing outdoors. It also keeps strangers out until you can verify who they are. This is also helpful when it’s raining and you don’t have to step out of your car to open the gate manually. For safety, there are sensors and safety beams to keep the gates from closing on people, pets or vehicles.
For most systems, the budget for these could range from $2000 to $4000. To future-proof, it could be between $300 to $500 for pre-wiring.
Make your home more secure
Remember that a home security system is there to reduce the chance of a break-in and burglary taking place. If one does occur, the alarms, data and footage from these systems can help you control the damage. However, common sense safety precautions are also important to strengthen this layer of protection. Educate your family on the dangers of leaving windows and doors open, giving out personal details and so on. Teach them how to use the security system to their advantage.
Even with the right level of security it’s worth making sure that your special items are covered with the right level of insurance. Provide your insurance company with a list of any special items that you want to be included in your cover – such as works of art, antiques, jewellery, valuable collections or expensive equipment. AMI insurance have a handy contents checklist to help you calculate the cost of different levels of cover.