If you’re ready to set up a home security system and would like to explore the possibility of doing it yourself, the good news is that you’re not alone, and the process doesn’t have to be all that daunting.
In this complete guide to DIY home security systems, you will learn what’s available and what steps to follow to take home security into your own hands.
Why Home Security Is Important
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of home security. In an increasingly complex world, the less you have to worry about, the better. A home security system can give you peace of mind in addition to simplifying your life.
If your home is broken into, not only can it be expensive in terms of repair costs and lost valuables, but also it comes with a psychological cost. You want you and your family to feel safe and never have to encounter a situation that would make you or them feel otherwise.
But home security can be about more than help to protect you from break-ins or package theft. Security camera systems can help you monitor the nanny, your kids, elderly family members, and your pets while you are away. Sensors can also be included in a security system that monitor for smoke or flooding.
Setting up a home security system not only helps keep your house and property safe but also the people and pets inside your home. A good home security system allows you to monitor the goings-on in your home while you are away, so you don’t have to wonder or worry as much. In the end, peace of mind, along with the prevention of catastrophic losses, significantly outweighs any cost of installation and maintenance.
Six Benefits of DIY Home Security Installation
There are benefits to both professional installation and DIY installation. Which one is right for you can be a personal decision. It might simply be that you prefer to have control over the system yourself, or perhaps you are looking to save on the overall cost. Whatever the reason, if you have decided on a DIY home security system, you can feel confident that you are making a valid and solid choice.
The benefits of DIY systems include the following:
Easy setup: With the right system, setup can be easy and straightforward. Many DIY systems are wireless, which keeps you from having to do any overly technical electrical work during the installation. Purchasing a system from a reputable company can also provide you with access to how-to videos and experts you can call if you need to. ADT offers DIY security systems that you can have up and running in as little as an hour.
Customization: By designing and implementing the system yourself, you can be sure that it meets your specifications. You can purchase what you need for your home and property and make your own decisions about priorities. You can also add to and upgrade components at any time.
Flexibility: A DIY home security system does not require a subscription to a monitoring service. You can choose to self-monitor or pay for a monthly service without a long-term contract.
Installation on your schedule: There is no need to wait around for a technician to show up and complete the install or to let them into your house when you aren’t there. You can do the setup when it is most convenient for you.
Cost savings: Depending on the system, there may be cost savings associated with installing it yourself since you do not need to pay a professional to do it and only need to cover the cost of the equipment.
Good short-term option: If you rent or plan on moving in the near future, a DIY system is as easy to uninstall as it is to set up, and you can take it with you when you move.
Once the system is installed, you can control it and self-monitor it via an app on your phone. Most systems allow for easy integration of multiple security and even other smart home devices so that you can take care of everything all in one place.
The Planning Process for a DIY Home Security System
If you are preparing to install a DIY security system, you will first need to plan and determine what your needs are.
The first step in the planning process is to determine all the ways your home can be entered. Windows and doors that you want to secure will need sensors, which will notify you if the circuit is broken. This includes the following:
All doors that open into your house
Windows, particularly on the ground floor (you may wish to add security to upstairs windows, as well, if you have a balcony or a fire escape)
Outbuildings, such as storage sheds and garages, depending on what you store there
Next, you will want to consider control panel placement. Control panels should be easily accessible so that they can be activated in an emergency, but they should be hidden well enough so as not to be visible from the outside. (You don’t want a potential intruder to see you entering the code through the window.)
It’s usually a good idea to assess your home’s exterior lighting, as well. Entryways and window areas should be well lit so that anyone who shows up at night can be easily seen by both yourself from inside the house and your security cameras. Adding motion sensors to outdoor lights is also another step that can help deter intruders.
Determining camera placement is another part of the preparation process. Decide if you want interior and/or exterior cameras and what you would like to be able to view on them. At a minimum, you will likely want exterior cameras that offer a view of entryways, but you may also opt for complete exterior coverage, as well as interior cameras. For DIY installation, these cameras should all be wireless, which makes them easy to put in and tamper-resistant (no wires can be cut).
Make Your Shopping List for Your DIY Home Security System
Once you have analyzed your home’s needs, it’s time to start shopping for a security system and accessories. Items on your list might include the following:
Base and entry keypad: This is fundamental. The base is what all of your security sensors will “talk” to, and the keypad allows you to arm and disarm your system, as well as call for emergency assistance.
Door and window sensors: These sensors can alert you if anyone opens a door or window when it shouldn’t be.
Motion sensors: These can be set up to alert you if motion is detected outside your home. Some even come with the ability to adjust threshold detection settings, so you don’t get an alert every time a squirrel comes into the yard.
Smoke detectors: These can alert you remotely as well as sound an alarm if there is smoke detected in your house.
Glass break sensors: These sensors can be placed on windows and send an alert if the window glass is broken or tampered with.
Flood sensors: If you live in a flood zone, installing a flood sensor can give you peace of mind.
Security Cameras: These allow you to view and record activity both inside and outside your home 24/7. Security camera options are discussed in more detail in the following section.
Keychain remote: This allows you to easily arm and disarm your system when you are coming and going.
Yard signs and stickers: These can work as deterrents. If a potential criminal sees that your home is monitored by a professional security company, they are more likely to move on to an easier target.
Mobile app: This allows you to monitor and control your security devices remotely.
Smart home voice assistant: An assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa can allow you to control all security and other devices in your home with voice command.
Additional smart home devices: While you are installing your security devices, you may also wish to incorporate other smart home devices, such as smart light bulbs and thermostat, for increased convenience.
DIY Home Security System Camera Options
A big part of the DIY home security process is choosing the right cameras for your needs. Cameras fall into three basic categories:
Indoor Security Cameras
A good indoor camera may include features such as night vision, facial recognition, motion detection, fire and carbon monoxide detection, and even the ability for two-way communication. These cameras work great for alerting you if there is motion in your house when your system is armed but can also be used for monitoring pets, kids, or elderly parents while you are away.
Outdoor Security Cameras
Outdoor cameras may come with many of the same features as indoor cameras, minus fire and carbon monoxide detection capabilities, but with weatherproofing and the ability to withstand a wider range of temperatures.
Doorbell cameras allow you to receive notifications when someone rings your door, no matter where you are. You can then see who is there and even communicate with them. This is great for letting the delivery driver in to drop off a package safely or even letting guests who arrive before you know that you’re on your way.
An additional item to consider with your camera purchase is an extender and chime. This device extends the range of your Wi-Fi so that you aren’t left with a camera too far away to connect to the rest of the house. It can also chime when the doorbell is pressed or give other alerts for motion detection.
Smart Home Integration with Your DIY Home Security System
Smart home devices are becoming more and more popular. Nearly anything electronic in your home can be updated to become part of a smart home system, from light bulbs and garage door controllers to smart switches and plugs. The ability to connect devices in your home to a central hub and operate them either remotely or as part of an automation process can add significant convenience to your life.
Whether you just have a few smart home devices or your entire house is set up with them, if you install a security system, you will want it to be able to interact with your smart hub. Make sure when choosing a system and devices that they are compatible with your smart hub and digital assistant.
Monitoring Options for Your DIY Home Security System
When setting up a DIY system, such as Blue by ADT, you have two options when it comes to monitoring:
Sign up for a professional monitoring service
Self-monitoring has the benefit of being free of charge. You can set up a monitoring app on your phone and receive alerts for various potential threats and then act on them accordingly, including calling for emergency assistance if needed.
Professional monitoring can alert the authorities for you when something happens. Your home will be monitored around the clock, so you don’t need to always be within earshot of your alarms and monitoring application. Blue by ADT offers professional monitoring services for just $19.99 a month, which might be well worth the peace of mind.
Choosing the Right DIY Home Security System
When choosing your security system, you want a name you can trust. ADT has been in the business for 145 years. ADT is well-known for providing professional installation complete with monitoring, and now we offer a DIY home security option called Blue by ADT.
Through Blue by ADT, you can get DIY home security systems and standalone cameras from the most trusted name in the industry, with setup taking just one hour or less. Build protection your way with customizable system options anytime, and enjoy the freedom to choose between self-monitoring or professional monitoring without worrying about long-term commitment.
Blue by ADT provides affordable DIY security solutions that focus on privacy with encrypted networks for your personal and home data.
Because Blue by ADT is completely DIY, it is not only free to set up but also easy to do. ADT also offers videos and technical support that can guide you through putting your cameras in place and connecting them wirelessly.