Home security systems seem pretty straightforward but there are actually several different types with varying degrees of sophistication. All are designed to protect your home against break-ins and burglary and some even guard against dangers like fire or carbon-monoxide poisoning. Different systems all come with several different extras like security cameras, temperature monitoring, or remote monitoring. However, there are two major choices to make when choosing a security system:
Hardwired or Wireless
A hardwired system involves physical wires that run from the control panel to each sensor on the windows and doors. This is by far the most complicated installation process because it requires a professional to run wires behind walls and beneath floors. However, the burden of a hardwired system is also a positive because of its reliability. Wired devices, in general, are more reliable than wireless systems because they are immune to interference or loss of signal. Unless the wires are severed, your sensors should remain constantly connected to your control panel. Unfortunately, getting that extra dependability means some interior construction. Use this system if:
- You are confident that you will be in your current residence for an extended period.
- You are able to run wiring through walls and under floors.
- You prefer the added reliability that comes with a wired system.
A wireless system does not require wires to communicate between the controller and the sensors. Instead, wireless systems are connected by radio waves that are broadcasted from the sensors to the system. While this kind of security system is simple, easy to install and even portable, it does have drawbacks. Wireless systems are vulnerable to electrical interferences and may lose connection if signals are mixed. Use this system if:
- You like that this system can be easily moved into a new home.
- You don't want to open up walls and floors for wiring.
- You want easy installation.
Monitored or Unmonitored
Monitored home security systems offer a lot more than just the protection and warning of an alarm. When your alarm goes off, an operator will respond by contacting you to determine if it's a real emergency or a just a false alarm. If you do not respond or if the operator otherwise determines that it is an emergency, he or she will contact the authorities on your behalf. Home security systems can also detect things like fire and carbon monoxide as well as burglary and break-ins. This is useful for when you are not home or if you become incapacitated and unable to call police or firefighters. This type of service typically comes with monthly fees. Use this service if:
- You want the extra security of home monitoring.
- You can afford with the extra expense.
- You want protection from more than just break-ins.
Unmonitored systems have no outside home monitoring and typically use sounds and lights to alert residents and neighbors and to scare off intruders. With an unmonitored system you have no extra monthly fees but you are also responsible for calling the police yourself during the emergency. Additionally, some systems involve remote monitoring and alerts so that you can at least monitor your home from a cell phone, computer or tablet. Use this when:
- You don't need the added security of a monitoring service.
- You don't want the extra fees.