For many this predicament will lead to investing in some type of
home security system. In today’s market, there are dozens of options
from the highly technical and sophisticated to the simple yet
effective. What you choose may very well be based more on peace of
mind than on what you need. But that is a decision you’ll have to
So, before beginning the shopping process, it would be good to take
a step back and look at the question on the whole. “What do I need
in order to have peace of mind?” Then, couple that with “what can I
Today, technology, wi-fi and the “Cloud” are up and coming in home
security systems, but they are expensive and not without their
For example, ADT has an advanced system that can be connected to
light switches, window blinds, thermostats and more. At about $400
for the product and a monthly fee of $50.00, this is a $1000
investment for the first year. In addition to the system, the home
will need some upgrading in technology. Items such as smart switches
on lights and thermostats and a wireless control for blinds and door
locks will increase the installation cost by $500 or more depending
on how many doors and windows need to be set-up with smart devices.
Wi-fi connected monitoring systems that allow you to view your home
from your cell phone are still in their infancy. Though they are
heavily marketed as the next best mousetrap, the risks of security
hacks are still high.
Another pitfall to these systems is “Cloud space.” Systems that work
through the Cloud and are not tied to your home computer require
additional Cloud space for good functionally. While you can monitor
the system from your cell phone the additional Cloud space is going
to cost you additional dollars on your monthly device bill.
Accessing the secure system has some wrinkles that need to be worked
out. Systems today are available with voice recognition, iris scan,
and fingerprint identity. There are difficulties that exist with the
fingerprint method. At initial set up, the resident needs to record
his or her thumbprint for example. But depending on the placement of
the thumb at that initial imprint, getting the system to recognize
the thumbprint later will be dependent on getting the thumb in the
exact same location and angle on the finger pad. Some consumers have
reported spending as much as five minutes getting their thumbs in
just the right position to disarm the system.
Another security company, that according to one local realtor in
Lincoln, is more widely used in this area is Vivint Security.
The company offers a standard startup kit, installed by a
professional. The startup includes one control panel, one motion
detector, one IP camera, one key fob, and three door/window sensors.
They also note that additional window and door sensors may be needed
and can be obtained separately from the company.
This system features “crash and smash” protection. In this case, if
a burglar is able to disarm the system, the smart technology will
contact the resident and advise him or her of a potential breach.
The homeowner has an opportunity to send a “disarm code” to the
security company that will then tell the company there is no need
for further action.
While these are the “Cadillac” models of home security, the systems
are hackable, and at the same time, gaining legitimate entry into
the home can be a hassle, and they are costly. The question to the
consumer should be, is video monitoring necessary to satisfy your
home security needs. While it might be nice to see what is going on
in your home from anywhere, is that supposed peace of mind worth the
risk and the cost?
The question should be if a person is breaking into your home, where
are your priorities? Watching the break-in or notifying the police?
There are alternatives to these higher priced, monthly fee applied
systems, which are simpler do it yourself systems. One such system
is the Skylink wireless security system. Though there are others,
this one offered good information on its website to help educate the
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The wireless AAA+ Series system comes with a control panel, motion
sensor, two window/door sensors, with additional sensors sold
separately. The system can be adapted for up to 10 window/door
sensors, and up to 5 key fobs. It operates off of rechargeable
batteries and also comes with an a/c adapter, mounting brackets, and
an instruction manual. The system is also “portable” with no
hard-wiring required, it can be moved from home to home when you
move. The system will notify the homeowner of a possible break-in
and it also emits an ear-piercing alarm that is designed to frighten
This product and other similar products may be found at several
higher-end home improvement stores.
We all have things in our home that we care about that have personal
value, and we want to protect. But systems even of this caliber may
not be affordable or even necessary, especially if your primary
concern is that your home stay safe and secure while you take a week
There is always the option to go old school with light timers and
motion lights, telling trusted neighbors and the local police that
you’re are out of town, stopping your mail delivery, and making sure
your doors and windows are all locked when you leave.
Timers and motion lights are available locally at several locations,
and can equal a minor investment compared to a full-blown security
There are options for timers such as a “smart timer” that can be
programmed to mimic your habits when you are gone. One such timer is
the GE 7-day timer. The timer works on a single outlet, so if more
than one light is to be lit, you’ll need multiple timers at about
$13 each. The timer is programmable for seven day cycles and allows
for up to 20 different on/off settings. It should be noted that of
these 20 settings, half are used to turn the timer on and half to
turn it off, so you only have ten total cycles of lights on and off,
spread across seven days, per outlet. Set-up of the timer may be a
little complicated. But GE has thoughtfully provided a YouTube video
that will walk you through the process.
Many have mixed emotions about using outdoor motion lights for home
security. There is a camp of thought that says all you are doing is
lighting the pathway for the burglar to get into your home. Others
though believe that shining light in vulnerable parts of the home
exterior can deter thieves.
Both views are understandable. So the bottom line will have to be,
what makes you feel more secure.
One of the greater benefits of exterior motion lights is not just
security but also safety. For those coming home after dark, a light
that turns on automatically on the porch or at the garage door may
have separate benefits of its own. Also, having a flood light that
goes on and is in view of that trusted neighbor’s front window, can
assist them in knowing something might be awry. However, it should
also be noted that the lights can be set off by wandering dogs,
stray cats, and falling leaves.
As always, the bottom line of what you need for a home security
system falls to you. It is important to remember that bigger is not
always better, but will almost always be more expensive. The best
recommendation: Evaluate what you need for your peace of mind, and