Few people disagree with the idea that having a home alarm system is a wise move, especially if you live in an area that is experiencing increasing incidents of burglary. With monthly monitoring ranging from $30 to as much as $47 per month, the cost of a traditional home security system has become an issue for many families. This article will address money saving alternatives to the big name home security companies.
1. What Are Your Security Needs?
Each family must assess their own security situation and realize that there is no one size fits all answer to this issue. For example, if your home is left vacant a large percentage of the day, you have an entirely different security profile than a household where there is almost always someone present. Other considerations such as past burglaries at your location or in your neighborhood, known medical issues that may require emergency medical assistance, and other unique considerations should all be factors in your decision.
2. Is A Monitored System Really Necessary?
The greatest sales point of the major home security systems is off site monitoring. This is featured in almost every ad they run on TV. Monthly monitoring fees are principally where the major home security firms make their money. Monitoring can have its own problems, however, such as slow response in some cases, and the possibility of being fined by your municipality if you have a false alarm. In many areas fines can be from $50 to $200 if the police are called out by your security company and it turns out there is no security breach.
The Free Security System Pitch
The way that most security contracts are structured is that you get a basic security system for free if you sign an agreement for three years or more of monitoring. Keep in mind that this is usually a very basic set up that would only provide two door sensors and one to two motion sensors and maybe a smoke alarm. If you opt for something more elaborate than this, you will be required to pay for the equipment and installation cost. All of this can make a free security system a really expensive proposition. What makes matters worse is that the hardware is proprietary and is useless if you try to use it with another security company or use it without monitoring. Even after the three years is up, you can not move to another service without encountering another three year contract and the cycle never ends.
An alternative to paying monthly monitoring is to utilize a system that calls your cell phone if the system is tripped. An excellent option would be to combine an Internet camera with self monitoring. This allows you to go online and see what is happening at your home before you call the police. A decent home camera that can be set up in a few minutes should cost no more than $100. If you use an iPhone or other smart phone device, you can check on your home throughout the day even without access to a computer. Additionally, you may have a neighbor you can call on if receive notice of an alarm. Many homeowners form groups such as a Neighborhood Watch for this purpose.
3. Security Systems Without Monthly Monitoring Fees
One of the really great features about most do-it-yourself security options is that they are wireless. This makes installation very quick and easy in most cases.
4. Other Low Cost Security Measures
Motion activated exterior lights
Door Viewer (also known as a peep hole)
Timers to turn interior lights on and off while you are away
Security System Sign (you can buy these for about $10 online)
Do you have your own ideas or suggestions on home security? List them below in the comments section.
Helping you make the most of God’s money!