DIY Security System Buyer’s Guide - firstenergyhome | Blog
110 views | June 1, 2020

DIY Security System Buyer’s Guide

No matter where you live, your family could benefit from the added protection of a home security system.

Home security systems provide beneficial protections that every family deserves, no matter where they live. A DIY home security system offers a bundle of competitively priced security technologies that users can tailor to unique needs, and most devices are easy to install. Besides saving on the installation cost, there are no contractual obligations for system monitoring with DIY smart security devices.

What is a DIY Home Security System?

A DIY security system can include all of the components and features of a conventional home security system, with the main difference being professional monitoring.

The DIY smart devices operate on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Z-Wave/Zigbee technologies. Many are compatible with Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and other voice-command home assistant hubs.

Another difference between conventional and DIY home security is building the system with components that make sense to the user. Homeowners may choose to create a sophisticated system of cameras, control hubs, keypads, door and window sensors, smart locks, smart lighting, motion sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and other elements. Or they may choose to start with the basics and add components over time.

These smart home protection systems are wireless, and most are easy to install, which may avoid professional installation costs.

Do-it-yourself home security systems don't require long-term contracts for professional monitoring. The homeowner has full control of the system devices through an app installed on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. This mobile control allows the homeowner to self-monitor the home 24/7 from anywhere. The type of monitoring may include real-time video feeds and smartphone notifications for any activity.

How to Plan Your DIY Security System

One of the primary advantages of a DIY home security system is the ability to custom-tailor the system to the home's layout and the family's needs. Some of the more common customization considerations are listed below.

  • Unique Structural Needs – The home's layout is the number one customization factor. Ground-floor doors and windows probably require more monitoring than upper floors. Do you have outbuildings that need protection? Where should cameras be positioned to identify visitors or prowlers?
  • Placement of Control Hub/Panel and Other Components – Ensure the keypad is easily accessible to family members but not apparent to anyone else. Position cameras inconspicuously, making it harder for prowlers to avoid.
  • Customizable Motion Sensor Technology – Does the security system allow motion sensor placement anywhere? Can the sensors tell the difference between humans, pets, or objects? The best sensor technology can be customized to minimize false alarms yet provide necessary alerts.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector – Stay protected from deadly fires and carbon monoxide with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Video Resolution and Viewing Angles – High camera resolution provides clear footage and freezeframes. A higher resolution is crucial for distinguishing picture details, such as making out a person's face, clothing, or accessories. Strategically position cameras to minimize blind spots and provide the most comprehensive views of the property.
  • Video Storage Capabilities – How long do you want access to images generated by video cameras? Some systems allow for limited free storage of stills or video, anywhere from a few days up to a week. Other systems might offer a monthly charge for unlimited or 24-hour storage. High-resolution video results in larger file sizes. If you want to keep footage, consider the cost and storage.
  • Compatibility with Existing Systems – Voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are popular smart home devices; if these or other smart home devices are already present in the home, be sure to choose DIY security system components that are compatible.
  • Power Source and Backup – Will the DIY home protection system be battery-powered or plugged into an outlet? If the system is powered through an electrical outlet, it may lose power during a power failure. Because of this issue, consider battery power as a blackout backup.

In Conclusion

Today's smart home market offers a wealth of innovative options in DIY home security systems. Discover how easy it can be to choose and install smart devices like cameras, sensors, locks, alarms, and other components to provide home protection.

To learn about more smart home devices that may be incorporated into a DIY home security system, check out other articles in the FirstEnergy Home Learning Library.