A home security system is an unsought product. It isn’t something a lot of us have on our wish list because it isn’t as enticing as the next new iPhone. It isn’t something we’re very excited about but recent advancements have made a home security system immensely useful for security. Moreover, the rising crime rates make it immensely important to install a good home security system. The goal of this article is to raise awareness about what a home security system is and why it makes sense to get on in 2018.
Importance of Home Security
- Do you really need a home security system?
- What is a home security system and what does it include?
- How does a home security system work during an intrusion?
- What are the benefits of having a home security system?
- Demystifying the most common Home security system myths
- Important FAQ regarding home security systems
P.S. It is highly recommended you read the article as is but feel free to skip to the parts of the article you would like to read.
Do you really need a home security system?
The main source of this question is because most homeowners are ignorant to the fact that burglaries and crime occur. Most people haven’t really experienced a crime in their life which gives them a perception that crime does not really occur. This part of the article is to make you think otherwise.
Let’s look at how many burglaries really occur by looking at some numbers.
Some Home Security and Burglary Facts in the USA: Source
Every year over 2.5 million home break-ins occur
- Of which 1 of residential assaults are a result of a burglary
- 1 of 3 home intrusions result in a burglary
- 2500+ cars stolen per day ( which is about 2 per minute)
- 85% of burglars aren’t professional criminals but those desperate
Home fire Facts in the USA: NFPA
- 352,000 fires were reported in 2016 USA having killed 2,735 and injuring 10,750.
- Every 90 seconds a home fire occurs of which 50.8% start in the kitchen and 13% are smoking-related.
- The leading cause of residential fires is unintentional and carelessness at 17%
- You have less than 4 minutes to escape a fire
Sounds pretty bad but why do only 17% of American homes have an installed security system! That’s because a majority of us are ignorant towards stuff like this. Much of us have such busy lives that we don’t have time to research and invest in a good home security system. We think ignorance is bliss and go on living our lives until it’s too late.
OK I get it a break in isn’t very common but you have no idea of knowing it will never happen do you? And if and when it does you rather be the prepared 17% than be an easy target like a majority of the homes. Much of us are ignorant because not too many of us have really experienced a burglary. The problem is that we don’t know it’s bad it’s that we don’t care until we actually experience it the hard way.
It isn’t just the financial loss but the trauma your family, friends may experience. Do you really want to take that risk and be that 17% to regret it for the rest of your life?
What is a home security system?
A home security system isn’t what it used to be. Today it is used universally for much more than simply security but also as a universal control, monitoring, and automation system for your home or personal space. Recent advancements in home security systems have made them smarter and more efficient than the conventional CCTV cameras of the past.
Today we have features like motion detectors, face recognition, night vision, smartphone alerts that make it a no-brainer to get one right away. Moreover, as your average burglar isn’t a professional burglar makes it really easy for a smart home security system to help you catch them in the act or log enough evidence to help authorities find the criminal in question.
The basic principles followed are securing entry points and windows that are usually controlled by a control panel that can now conveniently be your smartphone.
A home security system usually includes:
A home security system isn’t a single device it is a system of many security devices that go hand in hand to secure your home. They are all connected via a network or a circuit board which makes it easy to detect intrusions. Below we’ve highlighted all the major devices a home security system comes with to help you understand what you are really getting:
- Control panel: This is how you control and manage everything. It can be a simple touchpad or even your smartphone through a proprietary software/app. The system can also work on voice command and can be customized to your preference to primarily control the settings of your home security system
- Motion Sensors/detectors: These are fit in to detect activity in a monitored area. They all form together a security circuit that signals to the control panel when it detects a disruption which is how you get real-time alerts.
- Security Cameras: Available in both wired/wireless setups that can be used for monitoring and surveillance purposes. They are your eyes and ears when you are not there or in a certain part of your space as they record and store remotely and notify the control panel upon detecting something strange
- Siren/Alarm: This high-decibel alarm is how the system can alert you or your neighbors if it detects something strange. Sometimes they can also send the startled burglar running.
- Home security window stickers and Yard signs: Mind you this isn’t a marketing gimmick. They play a very important role telling burglars what they’ll be getting into before even thinking about the act. This is sometimes enough to prevent a burglary from happening as much of them are simply desperate for some means to survive. If a burglar had an option to pick two homes to break into he would rather pick a home without a security system in fact research has shown that a home without a security system has a 300% higher chance of being a target or burglary.
How does a home security system work during an intrusion?
Knowing how a home security system works during an emergency is very important which is why we’ve highlighted exactly what will happen upon an emergency.
- Alarm: A high decibel alarm is triggered when the security zone is breached this helps alert the surroundings of an intrusion.
What triggers the alarm? This depends on the entry the intruder takes to get into your home it could be the door/window sensors or motion sensors. Sometimes glass break sensors are triggered by vibrations and sound waves from breaking the glass. There are additional emergency sensors that get triggered due to carbon monoxide or fire.
Additionally, you can manually trigger the alarm using the panic button on your control panel.
- Alert notifications:
- Security companies like ADT are notified. If there is an actual emergency the monitoring company will notify the authorities to respond to the area in question.
- The homeowners as well are contacted via smartphone via text messages/alarms about a disruption.
- Once the emergency is verified: Dispatcher contacts you and gives you all the details as to what is really going on. If there is a false alarm the dispatch will notify you as well. Communication will be maintained in every situation and you will be well informed even when you aren’t at your home.
- Help is provided: The emergency team should arrive at your home to provide assistance and support you or your family shortly after receiving intimation about the same.
What are the benefits of having a home security system?
- Homes with a security system are less likely to be broken in than one without Every burglar passing by your house is going to walk right past those signs and surveillance cameras as the chances of getting caught would be too high for them. The mere presence of a sign is enough to prevent them from breaking-in.
- Protect your space from fires and other casualties (carbon monoxide poisoning). the home security system is well equipped with detectors that can sense things like this.
- Peace of mind: At times when leaving the house in a hurry you may forget to lock the door. Well that’s not an issue anymore as a home security system does that for you automatically using the sensors fixed in at the entry points of your house
- Homeowners Insurance savings: This is an often overlooked benefit but homes with a home security system often receive a 10-20% discount on their insurance. This is because the insurance company considers you a home that’s less likely to make a claim. An insurance which typically costs 35$ for every $100,000 would now save you upwards of $250 (Assuming your home’s worth $300,000) This means your home security system isn’t an additional expense as this expense!
- Remote monitoring and backup surveillance: Today using cloud storage it is now possible to have footage stored off-sites for future reference. Moreover, the smartphone integration has made it possible to easily track activity even if you are miles away from home.
- Easy access to emergency services: These could be Medically related like pregnancy emergencies or sick family members. A home security system can detect this or allow for easy notification options for the homeowners to provide quick medical assistance.
- Reduced energy consumption: Home security systems automate activities in your house like the lighting, thermostat and some appliances through remote access. We’ve all left lights on or even appliances which adds up to the power bills but now it’s fine to be careless for you can check on everything even when you aren’t home through your smartphone.
- Safe neighborhood: It’s not just your home that is secure but even the surrounding neighborhood homes as most of the surveillance cameras a home security system have a wide range.
Demystifying the most common Home security system Myths
#1 A home security system is expensive!
Yes it is expensive but that’s but the savings far exceed the costs. You’ll be saving on energy consumption through smart automation and more importantly all your valuable by safeguarding them. If you want more tangible savings to think about the insurance savings you’ll receive by installing a home security system. A 20% cut in an expensive homeowners insurance is a massive saving that easily covers the cost of getting a home security system that starts at $200 with monitoring plans as little as $20 per month.
#2 A home security system is complex and needs professional monitoring
WRONG! A home security system is designed to be user-friendly and to replace the expensive security personnel you would otherwise hire. The control panel can be as simple as a smartphone app and you do get professional monitoring with a monitoring plan.
#3 The home security systems don’t work well
The new home security systems despite being wireless are on another level as compare to the conventional wired systems of the past. They make it much more difficult as they can’t be easily tampered with by simply cutting off surveillance camera lines like in a wired system. In fact, there are sensors that get triggered if an element is tampered with.
#4 A home security system isn’t pet-friendly
Most systems today are in fact pet-friendly and can save your pets profile through heat maps and machine learning. Moreover, only pets over 80 pounds can really trigger a motion sensor and there is plenty of documentation from companies regarding this.
#5 Burglaries don’t happen in my area
Things aren’t like the past anymore. Even the safest city Naperville has burglaries. No city is safe or burglary safe anymore and it’s foolish to think the same.
#6 My dog can guard my home
It’s ignorant to expect your pet to guard your home when in fact he can be the victim in the even. In fact, your pet can get added protection for instance during a fire. Much of the movies romanticize pets as good guard dogs but this is far from the truth.
#7 The Neighborhood watches over my home:
Nobody is responsible for your home expect you. Everyone’s busy with their own lives it’s foolish to rely on your neighbors to watch your home.
Important FAQ regarding home security systems
#1 How long is the monitoring contract?
There is no monitoring contract, however, this depends on the company you buy from that sometimes restricts you to buying from a certain monitoring company for utilizing all the features that come with the system like face recognition etc.
#2 Are home security system tax deductible?
Most home security systems are not tax deductible. However, if you use your home for the business like childcare you can claim a certain portion of your home security system as a deductible.
#3 What are the additional purchase than the system itself?
Storage for the footage is the main purchase you would need to make. This is usually a membership plan that usually starts at 20$ a month.
#4 How long does it take for a security system to notify the provider of an intrusion?
This is subjective to the system as some home security systems have built-in delays for good reasons (false alarms)
#5 How does a home security system handle false alarms?
Systems have alarms with built-in delays of up to 4 minutes to analyze the situation and check for a real intrusion as sometimes loose windows/doors cause the alarm to be triggered.
How do I prevent a false alarm? You can do this by simply
- Setting pet-immune motion sensors
- Keeping the batteries of your alarms fresh
- Keeping the area surrounding the motion sensors clean
- Closing your windows and doors securely and overall maintaining your home security equipment for good functionality.
- Practice entering code as wrong codes is the biggest reason for false alarms.
#6 How can I control and monitor my home remotely using a home security system?
Using Wi-Fi connectivity and smartphone app integrations you can now control your system no matter where you are. You can do the following:
- View security cameras footage
- arm/disarm your system
- Control thermostats
- lock/unlock doors
- Control lighting and few appliances
#7 How does a home security system protect against floods?
Yes! Sensors detect water leaks and alert the control panel about the same which will then notify the homeowner. You can also purchase flood sensors to increase functionality in the same. Systems today can do more than help with preventing break-ins by having the ability to monitor environmental threats.
#8 Do I need a permit to install a home security system?
Yes. However, this is subjective to cities and countries. The permit is to mainly address the issue of false alarms as previous security systems weren’t as efficient and more prone to false alarms. Also depending on smoke detectors, police alarms you may need a permit that covers all the detectors or just one for all. It is best to contact the company regarding this.