Installing a home security system is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home and your family. When surveyed, 49.6% of people said their main reason for wanting a home security system was to proactively add security to their homes.
Whether you intend to hire a professional installer or do it yourself, there are some important things to consider before making your decision.
Professional vs. DIY Home Security System
In the home security world, you have a few options when it comes to installation. One, you could go with a company that requires professional installation, such as ADT or Vivint. These home security providers send a technician out to your home as part of the set-up process, which often requires installation fees. It also complicates things if you move frequently, as you probably won't be able to take the system with you.
As an alternative, you could choose a home security company that offers systems you can install yourself. Frequently referred to as DIY (do-it-yourself) systems, these home security systems are more scalable, flexible and movable than professionally installed ones. As long as you're comfortable positioning and installing a few devices around your home, the process should be very doable. As yet another option, some DIY home security providers, such as SimpliSafe, also offer optional professional installation help. This is good to know if you want the flexibility of a DIY system with the reassurance of a professional initial installation.
The pros of hiring a professional installer:
- You’re not required to have any home security system expertise.
- The technician will conduct a side-by-side walkthrough of the system with you, ensuring you know how to correctly use it.
- Installation pros typically conduct a full system assessment after installation to ensure everything works properly, and give you the opportunity to ask plenty of questions.
The cons of hiring a professional installer:
- There is an installation cost associated with hiring a professional installer.
- While the professional installer will give you a walkthrough of the system, you will not have the in-depth knowledge of the system and all of its components as one you would one installed yourself.
- You must be available for the appointment and allow someone into your home.
Do-it-yourself or self-installation of a home security system is exactly what it sounds like. You perform the installation of your own system. Currently, 29.1% of Americans own at least one DIY home security product.
The pros of DIY installation:
- You will not have to pay for an installer.
- You will be able to do the install when it’s convenient for you.
- You will have an in-depth knowledge of the system and all of its components.
- DIY home security systems are more likely to allow month-to-month subscription plans instead of long-term contracts.
The cons of DIY installation:
- You may discover you lack some of the tools and supplies needed to complete the job causing you to have to buy them.
- The pressure of a successful installation is on you.
- You are responsible for all future system repairs.
- If you aren’t sure of how to do things, you may spend significant time learning.
How To Self-Install Your Home Security System
1. Conduct a home security assessment. This involves reviewing the perimeter of the home, including all doors and windows that may need sensors as well as important locations for security cameras.
2. Determine the equipment and features needed. Here are some common home security system equipment and features to consider:
- Control panel
- Motion detectors (Do you have pets? Look for pet-friendly detectors that don't activate over small animals.)
- Indoor cameras
- Outdoor cameras
- Keyfob for arming/disarming the system
- Remote control via smartphone app
- 24/7 professional monitoring
- Connectivity: Landline vs. cellular or Wi-Fi
3. Select the best DIY home security system for your needs.
4. Review all directions and support options that come with your system. Most self-install home security systems include support resources to assist in installation, including tutorials, videos, and customer support lines. Don’t hesitate to use the resources provided! If that isn’t enough, YouTube is an excellent resource for DIY installs. (Note: If you are doing any type of wired installation, be sure all electrical breakers are turned OFF before beginning.)
5. You’ve done all your homework and now it is time to install the system. Following the instructions provided, start with the system control panel then move to sensor placement in the areas you identified during the home assessment. Next, place the motion detectors and any peripheral devices.
6. The last step in the installation is to conduct a system test to ensure all parts of the system are working as intended.
Congratulations on the completion of your first DIY home security system installation!