DIY Alarm Systems

Safety comes first. But why should traditional alarms systems be the only solution,especially when all they have to offer is a one-size-fits-all standardized protection? It makes little sense when every individual has its own security needs, both at home and at the workplace. It makes even less sense when considering costs, be it for set-up or maintenance. The bottom line is your safety needs should not have a hefty price to it.



If you do not want to compromise on the security your loved ones, then you may want to go for DIY alarm systems.

As the name suggests, you set up your system yourself. The system offers hands-on knowledge of what kind of protection is being offered, and may do away with the service charges of a technician.

Whether your priority is simplicity, efficiency or keeping within your budget, DIY alarm systems may offer quality services in less time, money and hassle. And, with more customizable options at hand, there’s less compromise.

Here are a couple of things you need to take into account before deciding whether to go for DIY alarm systems.

Home/Workplace Requirements

A security system should be bought after proper consideration of the area that needs to be secured. Some of the things to check beforehand are:

  • The number of entrances to the area.

  • The square footage that needs to be covered.

  • Whether the area is pre-wired for security or not.

  • Where sensors that will be monitoring the various area zones can be placed.

  • Where the main control panel, which will be operating the system, should be placed.

On a side note, recommended locations for a DIY alarm should be close to an electrical outlet that is not controlled by a light switch and is not a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter).

Cost Structures:

Most DIY alarms may come with a monthly fee structure or include it only with premium packages. So the price usually covers only the equipment expenses. Any costs remaining then, such as for maintenance, could also fit into your budget better.

Equipment Information:

Available in various designs, the equipment could include a starter kit and/or wireless alarm system, which makes set-up relatively easy.  The system itself can be expanded and customized with a range of devices according to your needs.

Security Devices

Contrary to popular belief, a standard DIY alarm system is anything but low tech. It instead provides a range of options and could include the following components:

Alerts

With quick response times, the various alerts in DIY alarms could cover any or all of the following potential hazards:

  • Intrusion –Approximately 2 million home burglaries are reported each year in the US. (Safe guard the world)

  • Smoke and Fire Alert – 2500 deaths and 12,600 injuries annually are caused by home fires. (FEMA)

  • Flood–All 50 states have experienced floods in the past 5 years alone. (NFIP)

  • Power Failure Alert – The 2003 Northeast blackoutaffected approximately 55 million people in the US. (The History Channel)

  • Natural Gas –Gas leaks and explosions cause an average of 17 fatalities, 68 injuries and $133 million in property damage annually. (Scientific American)

  • Carbon Monoxide Detection – CO poisoning causes approximately 15,000 hospital emergency visits and nearly 500 deaths annually. (CDC)

Monitoring Capabilities

DIY alarm systems usually provide an option for self-monitoring. This could give you control over your own privacy and lets you decide whether to call the police in case of emergencies instead of alerting them automatically. This feature could include any or all of the following:

  • Round-the-clock monitoring –Monitors the area 24/7. Trained professionals could also answer emergency calls at any time.

  • Remote Access – An online account showing your system’s status or history.

  • Cellular/Internet Monitoring – Uses a cellular/internet connection to communicate with the monitoring station.

  • Home Automation – Integrates devices allowing you to automate your home.

  • Alarm Status Reports – Shows the history log of all the alarms that have been triggered.

Adjustable

The best part of setting up alarm systems yourself is that you can customize the devices to suit your own needs. For example, these systems could come with:

  • Portability, thus making them easier to uninstall and take with you (especially suitable for renters).

  • Hard-wired alarm set-up option if wireless is not a preference.

  • Professional monitoring services, if self-monitoring does not sound like a viable option.

  • Professional installation services are also offered as an option by some companies.

Help and Support

These systems could come with their own equipment warranty, but in case you would like the assurance of having technical support available,that could also be provided:

  • FAQs – Provide answers to common installation and general usage questions.

  • TutorialsGuides you through installation or use of the system and various security devices.

  • Live Chat – Technical assistance available on the company’s website.

  • Email or phone – Contact customer support.

Things to Do Before Getting a DIY Alarm System

While this choice of home security may appeal to you more than conventional security systems, in the end it is the thought and effort that goes into the initial set-up, decides its effectiveness. After all, you are the main handyman who knows the system inside and out. Therefore, a few points to remember before making the decision:

  1. Do take the time to understand the types of DIY alarms available and how they will improve your home security.

  2. Do plan your security system and decide which sensors you want to install and where. Knowing the detection range of your sensors could help.

  3. Decide whether you want it to be wired or wireless, and whether you want it to be monitored by a third party.

  4. Do talk to your local police about recommended alarm companies as well as the fines charged for false alarms.

  5. Do read through the instruction manual and components list thoroughly before set-up to check that all the hardware has been packed and is working.

With one house burglary taking place every 13 seconds in the United States, you can never be too safe. You may find DIY alarm systems relatively easier to use as you have installed them yourself. After all, setting up an alarm system by yourself puts you in the driving seat and in charge of your family’s security.

 

FAQs

Q:Once my DIY Home Security system is setup, how will I know its actually working?

A:The best way to see if your alarm system is working is to test it. Since it's a DIY system, you might have gotten something wrong while assembling it. So before you finalize your DIY system setup, give it a test run. For instance, if it is a door alarm, activate it and see if it goes off when you open the door.

Q:Do I need special tools to install do it yourself alarm system?

A:No, usually you don't need special tools to install alarm systems yourself. DIY home security systems usually come in the form of a starter kit, complete with informative installation manuals, and may even be wireless to make the process easier for you. All that it may take is to plug in your main control panel and place your sensors. These sensors could be placed by peeling off any double-sided adhesive or even by mounting with a small screw if you wish to make it more secure.

Q:How does DIY home alarm systems monitoring actually work?

A:DIY alarm system monitoring requires you to monitor your system actively yourself. Certain manufacturers have started providing remote monitoring services now which allow you to manage and operate your security system with the help of your smart phone. This service enables you to control your security system and keep an eye on your house even when you are away.

Q:How much do it yourself home alarm systems cost?

A:When considering a security system there are basically four kinds of cost to look at: the purchase price, monitoring cost, installation cost and maintenance cost. Unmonitored systems are usually DIY wireless systems which can be easily installed, enabling you to avoid the installation costs. Moreover, you have to police them yourself or by a remote monitoring service using your smartphone, also cutting down on the monitoring costs.

Q:What features should I look for in DIY alarm systems?

A:DIY systems are typically unmonitored wireless systems that can be easily installed by following a set of simple steps. When going for a DIY system, it is recommended that you opt for system components from the same manufacturer in order to avoid compatibility issues and to make future additions to the system easier. Moreover, you should ensure that the manufacturer that you choose is licensed or registered by a relevant authority.

Q:What is the best way to start planning DIY alarm monitoring?

A:Since you have control over what kind of home security you're getting, you could also control what kind of monitoring you get by looking into packages which offer such services as option. This means that not only could you opt to monitor the system yourself. For example, if your alarm detects a potential threat, it could alert you via internet/text messages, and give you the option to call the police. On the other hand, you could always go for professional monitoring services as well

Q:When and how often should I check my DIY home alarm system?

A:The control panel of your DIY alarm system will usually notify you (via a beeping sound or a flashing light) if there are any issues with your system, e.g., low battery power, hardware malfunction, etc. However, it's always a good idea to check each sensor at least once a month to make sure it's working properly.

Q:Why should I buy DIY alarm?

A:A DIY alarm system offers you the following benefits: • It is cost effective: You can avoid technician fees and installation charges • Simple to install and operate: Usually comes in a kit with a user friendly manual for guidelines • Just as efficient: Contrary to common belief, there are various advance technologies available in DIY alarm systems as well • Customized to your needs: You don't have to buy standard equipment, that is designed for everyone. You can list down your needs and build an alarm system suited just for your home

Q:Can I set my DIY alarm with a pet left inside?

A:This depends on what kind of home security system you have installed. If your security system is not pet friendly, you cannot leave pets inside the house and activate the system. This can increase the risk of false alarms. You can install pet friendly sensors which are easily available. These sensors are specifically designed to ignore motion caused by pets in the house.

Q:Do I need a land line for my DIY alarm monitoring?

A:With the advancement of technology, alarm monitoring can work with different types of communication services. You don't always require a landline as other options are also available. Some major services include traditional phone line, VoIP, cellular radio, and internet. Each service has its pros and cons and the choice of a communication service normally depends on the situation and the individual preference of the user.

Q:Do it your self alarm systems prevent break-ins?

A:DIY alarm systems are no different to regular alarm systems. Studies have proven that alarm systems help deter burglaries. By installing an alarm system, you can lower your chance of being a victim to property crime. However, when installing a DIY system, make sure you connect all the components and check if the alarms function properly. You can contact a professional if you have any difficulty in installation.

Q:Will a DIY alarm system give me total security?

A:An alarm system can help protect your home and family from intruders and burglars. If you have opted for a DIY system, it is crucially important that you set up the system carefully. Once you have set up the system, make sure you test the system to see if all components are working properly. Any error in installation can reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of a security system. According to research, home alarm systems have proven to reduce the risk of burglaries in homes.

Q:Whats the best (low cost) setup to secure a 100m2 apartment with a DIY alarm system?

A:There's no one best DIY alarm system for all users. Since individual preferences vary, not all alarm systems are suitable for all homes. However, you can consider certain aspects of an alarm system to make a good decision. You may look for alarm systems that support two-way communication, sense intrusion, detect fire and gas leaks, and monitor home temperature. For an optimal cost, it is better to look for cost comparisons online to get a quality system within your range.

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