I hope that as you have been following along in my blogs, you will have picked out that most security systems have a weak spot in the system. Whether it be limited by battery, poor functioning apps, or slow response times. At the same time, some of your less expensive systems have gaps, or loopholes that an intruder could get around. These are not the best security system for the home.
To insure you have the best security system for the home, you need to blockade or monitor every possible entrance or path to your home, and address each possible threat. A person could purchase a solution for each possible scenario, but I can tell you from experience, that if all the systems do not tie in to each other to one interface, it is going to make it very tedious and downright annoying for you to manage 5 or more systems and user interfaces.
Best Security System for the Home – The Reality Of It
As an engineer, I have seen countless attempts by businesses to purchase software or mechanical solutions to problems in their industry, only to end up purchasing 20 different tools to address 20 different problems. I had to use these tools on a daily basis, and it was less than productive.
The reality of it, was the business was too cheap to buy an all-in-one solution because it meant they had to reorganize the business. The business felt like they needed total control over their tools and build custom solutions to meet their needs.
The best security system for the home is not going to be something that you have to constantly manage and take time away from your family. Focusing your attention on multiple tasks takes your focus away from what’s important, like your situational awareness.
Having many different solutions in place is also not the most cost effective alternative. Even if you purchase the cheapest product for each tool you plan on implementing, the added costs can end up being more than a total coverage solution offered by another company. Take in to consideration the cost of replacing your stuff if it does get stolen. A basic security camera does not offer coverage, and it does not help in stopping a burglar in the act.
Something that most people don’t even think about, and something I want to make you aware of, is something called cost avoidance. In the business world they utilize cost avoidance to reduce any future costs that might occur. For example; a plant needs a pump for part of their process. The warehouse has found a pump that is half the price from supplier X. This looks like a great deal, but this cheaper pump, based on reviews, breaks more often because of inferior parts. To avoid paying more in replacing the pump often, the plant decides to buy the more expensive, high quality pump. The costs are more upfront, but the plant knows they will pay less down the road as they get longer life from the pump. A similar cost benefit analysis can be applied to any purchase you make.
Everything has a balance, but the headache of managing cheaper tools is probably not in the best interest for your families safety. It only takes forgetting to change the batteries out once for something unexpected to happen.
These Expensive Monitoring Services are not Expensive Anymore!
My biggest mistake in purchasing a security system was relying on years old information I had about monitoring services. Even 15 years ago, I remember pricing out monitoring services for my parents, and the upfront costs were insane! There was no way we could afford to pay $2000 in installation fees, and then another $100 a month contract on top of that.
Go price out plans now, because I was shocked to see how the industry has changed. We wish we would have looked before we bought our current system, or my parents system even a few years back. I am kicking myself in the butt as I type this.
To help you avoid the same mistake, let’s take a look at some of these plans and discuss the cost benefit of each!
Vivint – Affordable Quality
Let’s look at Vivint for example. I have been seeing Vivint signs pop up in front of homes for the past few years. The best part of this company, is that they allow you to build out your own security system! You get to pick and choose what equipment and services you want. And the list you can pick from, it is long!
Vivint also allows you to pay for the equipment on a monthly basis. If you can’t afford the $500 upfront, you can split it up in to smaller $13 chunks every month. This has changed the game in home security. Your family’s security is now within reach.
Vivint offers dozens of variations of packages you can build. This gives you the ability to keep the system as cheap or expensive as you can afford. Just some of the equipment you can pick from:
- 24-HR Alarm Monitoring
- Digital Smart Hub
- 24/7 Video Monitoring (not many wireless systems do this)
- Infrared Motion Detectors
- High-Decibel Alarm Siren
- Fire and Water Alarms
- Door and Window sensors
- Car Guard
- Smart Hub
- Smart Thermostat
- Home Automation
The list goes on…
Monthly subscription plans are not even necessary (with the exception of paying for the equipment). BUT, if you want 24-7 monitoring (a must have), it starts at $30 a month. That’s one dollar a day to get the best in home security. And you do not even have to do anything! Everything is wireless, the information is securely encrypted, and your home is on 24/7 watch even when you are away.
If you are not the DIY type of person, Vivint will send out a professional to install the system for you, for as little as $50. I don’t know about you, but Vivint makes it quite appealing to get a home security monitoring system.
How This Compares to CCTV
When I was helping my parents pick out a security system for their new home in Idaho, I honestly do not know why we didn’t look in to a security company. I spent a week looking in to security systems that we had to wire up ourselves. We picked one based off of reviews, not what was in the system!
Take a look at a basic CCTV (closed circuit television) security camera system. This system, if you even trust the brand name, is $500. You have to install the system yourself, run a bunch of wires and drill holes in your home, and set up a recording station in your home. This is just so you can watch what is going on around your home!
The system does not alert police of an intruder and it does not have an alarm system that goes off when a window is broken. If something malfunctions in the system, you have to fix it. My dad and I were sweating our butts off crawling through the attic of his new home to run the camera wires. On a positive note, we did find a leaking air conditioning duct, so woohoo!
Wired CCTV systems have their pros and cons. A burglar could cut the wires to your camera, rendering it completely useless. In general, CCTV systems are not hackable, meaning your security feed is safe from online security threats. If you connect your CCTV system to Wifi though, you just opened up a potential gateway for hackers to view your security feed, so what’s the point of having a CCTV system for that feature alone?
If you are set on installing a CCTV system for the added reliability of wires, look for a system with power backup. Robbers may turn the power off to your home, you still want your cameras to record what is going on.
If you happen to be out of cell range on a hike, what good does it do to watch the video later of burglars stealing all your stuff anyhow? Even though the system can notify you of a break in, it does not notify the police. Nor does it stop a burglar and prevent them from stealing in the first place.
How This Compares to Wireless
So let’s look at a wireless system. This one in particular costs almost $800. What I do like about having security cameras, although a false sense of security, is the ability to check in on the house from time to time. The cameras alert you when the dog sitter shows up, or when a vehicle drives by the house, and any movement (aka a burglar) that occurs within the cameras field of view.
Wireless systems are much easier to install, and have built in Z-wave technology to prevent hackers from stealing your wireless security feed. If you opt for a monitoring service like Vivint, their wireless systems come with built in battery backups that last from 24-48 hours.
The downfall of wireless, and the reason you may choose CCTV, is the fact you need Wifi for this system to work. If your home does not have a good Wifi signal, or the service in your area is slow, you will receive delayed notifications and unreliable camera connections.
When an intruder has broken in to your home, you do not have time for these system issues. You need to be calling the authorities. In fact, a good home monitoring company would have already called the authorities! The Arlo system will not alert you with a loud audible screeching tone if somebody is breaking in to the home in the middle of the night. Sure the phone might ring a notification, but my phone does not wake me up with its Verizon jingle.
Learn from my mistakes when choosing a security system to protect your home. If you had $300 saved up to purchase a cheaper wireless security system, is it really going to protect you? That $300 lasts you 6 months worth of professional monitoring services through places like ADT, Vivint, or ProtectAmerica.
The biggest complaint I hear from people who have monitoring services, is the contracts associated with them. Like most services, companies want you to sign up on yearly contracts to lock in on pricing. You would be surprised to learn that many monitoring services have moved away from contracts to a month to month basis.
Don’t Go Cheap on Security Systems
Your family and your home are the most sacred parts of your life. Do you really want to just sit there and watch all your stuff be stolen? Or do you want a loud audible alarm to scare off the intruder and police to be notified immediately? ADT, Vivint, and many other companies will help you get a discount on your homeowners insurance policy, thereby making up some of that cost. For about $1 a day, even the smallest package that these monitoring companies have to offer are better systems at scaring off burglars and calling emergency services to your aid.
It is unparalleled when it comes to the safety of your family. The cost of a monitoring service may cost more in the long run, but has immediate value the day you install it, and your return on investment will always be more beneficial than a standalone system.
My family will be upgrading to a security monitoring company. How about you?