Home security systems have become a popular option for homeowners that are concerned about leaving their home unattended. Whether the home is unattended for a few hours, or a few days or months, an alarm system can give homeowners the peace of mind of knowing that they will be alerted if there is an intruder, fire, or other unwanted event at their home while they are gone.
Today’s home security systems can be customized with a wide range of options such as motion and glass break sensors, door and window sensors, smoke and heat detectors, moisture sensors, and even camera systems. These various components add additional layers of protection to the overall security of the home.
Traditionally, commercial home alarm systems have been installed and monitored by an alarm company. In this arrangement, the homeowner signs a monthly or yearly contract with the alarm company and often pays for the cost of the equipment and installation. In some cases, the alarm company provides the equipment and installation for free, although those costs are usually reflected in higher monthly/yearly prices.
Over the last few year, with the popularity of Internet of Things technology and the do-it-yourself craze, several manufacturers have started producing and selling home alarm systems that can be self-managed by the homeowner and therefore do not require a contract with an alarm company. These self-managed systems are both affordable and easy to install and configure.
When considering whether to purchase a commercial alarm system or a self-managed alarm system there are a few things that should be considered. Here are a few pros and cons for each solution:
Commercial Alarm System:
- Managed by the alarm company 24x7x365 and does not require attention from the homeowner.
- Alarm company can call Police and Fire Departments on homeowner’s behalf in case of an alarm.
- The alarm company often provides a warrantee of their equipment and installation.
- Most Home Insurance companies will give you a discount on your premium for having a commercial alarm system.
- A commercial alarm system can get pricey based on the size of the house and the number of entrances that need to be monitored.
- Most alarm companies require the homeowner to sign a contract for a certain length of time, usually 1-3 years. Breaking the contract early is expensive.
- Alarm equipment may not be transferable from one alarm company to another or have the ability to be self-managed, so the equipment may be obsolete once you leave an alarm company.
Self-Managed Alarm System:
- No monthly monitoring costs.
- Many self-managed solutions are reasonably priced.
- Buy only the components that you need, and add on other components in the future.
- Most Home Insurance companies will not give you a discount on your premium for self-managed home alarm systems.
- The homeowner is responsible for all alarms. If the homeowner is not around to receive the alarm then it will go unnoticed.
- Most police and fire departments strictly forbid having a self-managed alarm system automatically call the police/fire department during an alarm. The homeowner must make the call personally after receiving an alarm from their home security system.
- Installation and configuration of the system is the responsibility of the homeowner. This can be a challenge for those who have trouble with technology.