Do you really need a home security system? You may be debating whether it’s worth the expense. But these systems do more than prevent break-ins. There are many reasons to consider investing in home security.
Do You Really Need a Home Security System?
Many people dismiss a home security system as an unnecessary expense because they feel that their neighborhood is safe. It also seems like a lot of hassle – monthly fees, arming, disarming, dealing with false alarms, and more. It’s fair to wonder if these systems are even worth your money.
The short answer: They are
Burglaries happen, whether you expect it or not. And a significant percentage of property crimes occur at private residences. Home security systems are proven to deter intrusion attempts and burglaries.
They offer protection from intruders, warn about fire and carbon monoxide leaks, and offer remote home automation. Cherry on top, these systems increase your home’s value.
As for the hassle, modern home security systems are easy to install, so much so that some can be installed even by a DIYer with basic skills. The system will keep you linked to and updated on what’s happening in and around your home, no matter how far you are.
If we’re talking numbers, there are two primary sources of government crime statistics – the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI. According to the annual publications of the FBI, an estimated 1,1 million property crimes were reported in 2019. This includes intrusion attempts, armed robberies, burglary, vehicle theft, and arson.
Most criminals look for easy targets. A research study conducted in 2018 by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina states that 80% of burglars would check for security cameras and systems before they attempt to break in. Sixty percent said they would walk away if they saw an alarm.
The U.S. Department of Justice and UNC likewise agreed that a security system is highly effective in discouraging criminals. Out of 400 convicted thieves questioned, half stated that they would leave if they found a security system mid-break-in, 31% said they would hide, and only 13% said they would continue.
A recent FBI report states that the burglary rate has decreased by 8.9% from 2020 to 2021, but this does not eliminate the risk. You cannot predict if you’ll be the next victim. Statistics tell us that burglary victims lost over $3 billion in 2019, for an average of $2,661 per incident. Of all burglary offenses recorded, 62.8% accounted for residential properties.
These statistics provide pretty convincing evidence that a visible security system is actually an incredible tool to shoo away people with bad intentions.
How Do Security Systems Work?
Home security systems are designed to protect your home’s entry points with the help of sensors, cameras, and alerts. A command center or control panel inside the house communicates with the sensors on the doors and main windows. Most of these systems are entirely wireless and don’t require a lengthy installation.
When an intrusion occurs, your professionally monitored system sends an alert to the home security company and a high-decibel alarm goes off.
A trained expert then reaches out to the homeowner and stays in touch until the matter is resolved. The company also notifies emergency departments, including firefighters, police, and paramedics, if needed.
Here’s a quick rundown of common features of a home security system and their working
- Control Panel: This hub is the brains of your security system. It communicates with the monitoring center, security sensors, and with you via radio signals. It’s where you manually disarm or arm the system. It comes in touchscreen and keypad variations.
- Sensors: Most security system sensors have two parts that are installed adjacent to each other. One goes on the door or window and the other on the door frame or window sill. A security circuit is established when the door or window is closed and the sensors come together.
In case of a breach, the security circuit breaks, and the sensors communicate this breakage to the control panel. This sets off a high-pitched alarm, and the monitoring service is notified. Three types of sensors include:
- Motion sensors are battery-powered devices, typically placed high, that use passive infrared technology to sense body heat and detect movement.
- Glass-break sensors listen for sounds, specifically of breaking glass, within 20 to 25 feet. They are a great choice if you have pets who might trigger motion sensors or if you have a considerable number of glass doors and windows in the house.
- Environmental sensors monitor your house for gas, fire, and frozen pipelines by detecting the presence of carbon monoxide, smoke, heat, water, and temperature changes.
- Cameras: Surveillance cameras may or may not be a part of your home security system. In any case, cameras are a popular add-on. They can be wired, wireless, or solar-powered and can be accessed remotely to monitor activity. Cameras send alerts when they detect motion, and a few advanced models also feature face recognition.
- High-decibel alarms: The biggest deterrent in a home security system is a loud siren that alerts neighbors and everyone inside the house in case of a breach. The shrill 80- to 115-decibel sound often sends the intruder scurrying away.
- Stickers and yard signs: Alarm companies install yard signs and put window stickers that practically announce “off limits” to potential burglars. These signs essentially tell that the property is professionally protected by a security company with high-quality tools and expertise.
Are Home Security Systems Worth Your Money?
Here’s why getting a security system is a good idea:
Home security systems protect your home from intruders, fire, and other disasters. Research shows that homes without a security system are three times more likely to be a target for burglary than homes with one.
It also protects your irreplaceable valuables such as art pieces, jewelry, heirlooms, and other items that you otherwise would have to keep safe in a locker or safe deposit box.
Peace of Mind
Knowing that your house is safe wherever you go in the world or soundly sleeping is a relief. The sense of security allows you to live comfortably, especially if you have kids, the elderly, pets, or are often away from home.
Installing a home security system can make you eligible for discounts on your homeowners insurance if the company offers one. A few even require homeowners to add a security system if the property is located in an area with a high crime rate or has been burglarized before.
Home insurance companies offer discounts typically ranging from 5 to 20%. The more components and features your home security system has, the higher the discount. For example, if your system is monitored by a central monitoring station then it will qualify for a larger discount compared to one that isn’t monitored.
These discounts might not cover the cost of the system, but they sure make it reasonable in the long run.
Remote Access and Control
Virtually every modern home security system allows users to monitor their homes from a phone. Just a few taps and you get a full video view of your property from anywhere in the world.
You can remotely arm or disarm it, monitor cameras and motion detectors in all locations, and control smart door locks, smart thermostats, and other features of a smart home. Integration with home automation systems also allows you to remotely open or close doors and let friends and family in.
Some home security systems come with medical alert pendants that will call for help in case of a medical emergency. It can also be in the form of an emergency pull. Once the button is pressed or the cord pulled, the alarm company dispatches an emergency service to your home.
This is a great help for people with elderly, ailing, or special needs loved ones to take care of.
New home security systems support home automation, allowing users to control how, where, and when appliances and lighting work, in addition to security controls.
You can change the thermostat settings, turn them on or off, lock doors, control the lights, and shut down heating and cooling when away from home. Homeowners utilize this technology in different ways to lower energy consumption and enhance security at the same time.
Some turn off the cooling and heating system when they go out while others use it to switch lights and trick potential intruders into thinking that someone is home.
Protection from Fire and Odorless Gas
Smoke alarms notify you when there is a fire, but wouldn’t it be better if you KNEW something was wrong and could prevent the fire altogether? There is.
Time is the biggest factor in such emergencies. It takes just thirty seconds for a small flame to turn into a full fire, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Monitored home security systems warn homeowners of smoke and heat and will contact authorities without wasting precious minutes.
These systems also protect your home and loved ones from a colorless and odorless gas – carbon monoxide from stoves, gas ranges, burning charcoal or wood, and heating systems in the home.
Carbon monoxide detectors detect the presence of the gas, but just like a smoke detector, they will only set off an alarm. Monitored systems, however, alert authorities and provide emergency service dispatch. It also automatically calls paramedics that treat serious symptoms of CO poisoning.
Monitor Kids, Pets, and Overall Home Activity
Another great aspect of security systems and home automation is that you can keep tabs on your kids, pets, or the elderly at home. Security cameras and video doorbells show you who’s coming and going when you’re at work.
You can remotely control the doors if you have electronic door locks. If you have a pet sitter coming in or want to see what your teen is up to when you’re out, the doorbell camera will tape it all for you.
Professional installation of a home security system costs $260 to $1,090 on average, although the price varies depending on the alarm system, features, ease of installation, and add-ons you get. This average cost range covers equipment costs, security services payments, installation fees, and costs related to the first-time installation of security equipment.
The upfront cost range is pretty affordable considering the advantages it offers.
After installation, all you have to pay is a monthly monitoring fee. The best home security system companies offer packages with different features, services, and monitoring levels. You can choose according to your needs.
Some security providers such as ADT also offer customized plans tailored to your needs, and most reputable companies offer solid basic plans for less than $20. Some security monitoring companies also charge an activation fee that ranges from $25 to $100.
Investing in a home security system saves you money in the long run. It will make your life easier and make you feel more at peace knowing you’re protected and will get help if something happens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some important features to keep an eye out for:
● A good battery backup.
● The system should be easy to navigate, configure, and communicate with.
● The system should be adaptable to allow a wide selection of communication protocols such as Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi.
● The system should not be dependent only on Wi-Fi for communication. A cellular radio option is excellent so you can easily command the monitoring center if the Wi-Fi isn’t accessible.
There are six main kinds of security systems, including:
● Fire alarms and smoke detectors
● Burglar alarms
● Carbon monoxide detectors
● Environmental sensors
● Monitored home security
● Video surveillance
Yes. A hardwired security system has the potential to enhance your home’s resale value.
Getting a monitored or self-regulated security system will add an extra layer of security and offer you the comfort that your family, valuables, and property are secure. It’s worth the investment. But if you’re unsure, consult one of our home improvement experts and see what type of security suits your home.
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