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How to Install Home Security

Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

There are many home security options, from a big dog to armed response and biometric entry systems. If you are reasonably handy, you can install a system yourself that will discourage burglars and even alert you of problems via computer or phone. The average burglary loss is around $2,000, so a security system that costs a few hundred dollars is a good investment.

Home security system components

If your home has not been pre-wired for a security system, installing a wireless system is by far the easiest option. If you live in a large city, you probably have one or more stores that specialize in do-it-yourself systems. If not, there are lots of Internet sites that can sell you the components and installation instructions. First, you must determine how many entrances (doors, windows) you have. You will need a sensor for each. Then, decide if you need additional home security options like motion detectors, cameras, carbon monoxide sensors, keyless entry locks, surveillance cameras, an emergency dialer and other options.

System costs

A basic wireless system consisting of a control panel, two door/window sensors, a motion detector and a key chain transmitter can be found for around $100. Additional window/door sensors cost around $25 each, with motion detectors about $50 apiece. More sophisticated systems include the capability of sending alerts to a smartphone or Internet-enabled computer. They can also be programmed remotely via such devices. This type of system will run in the neighborhood of $250 to $350. Basic sensors cost about the same as a low-end system, but there are also more sophisticated devices such as pet-immune motion detectors that won't cause a false alarm if your cat walks across the living room. Adding security cameras to your home security installation will add considerable cost. A wireless two-camera system with monitor and digital video recorder will run $300 to $400.

Easy installation

Wireless home security system installation is fairly simple. Manufacturers provide installation manuals which give step by step instructions for installing and programming the systems. You should make sure that your system is secure and not susceptible to interference from a wireless computer router or other potential sources. Have the manufacturer's technical support number handy when you begin your installation, just in case.

For added protection, use window stickers or a yard sign signifying that your home is protected by a security system. This will discourage most potential burglars. Also, check with your insurance company to see if your home security installation qualifies for homeowner's insurance discounts.