Home Security Types

Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

There's an old saying, "A man's home is his castle." In medieval times, castles were protected with moats, drawbridges and armed bowmen. Today, you can protect your castle with a sophisticated home security system that costs a lot less in labor costs than hiring a crew to dig a moat. And when you consider that the average home burglary costs the homeowner around $2,000, getting a security system installed is well worth the price.

Home security options

When you begin to research home security systems, you will find an astonishing array of options. A basic system usually consists of the following:

  1. control panel
  2. keypad
  3. window and door sensors
  4. audible alarm
  5. motion sensors (optional)

You can choose from hardwired or wireless systems. You can find a basic self-installed system for under $150, or spend $500 or more for a more sophisticated system. Some security companies advertise an installed basic system for as little as $99, but it will require a contract for a monthly monitoring fee. Other home security options include smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, glass break sensors, security cameras, keyless entry systems and more.

A home security installation can be installed and monitored by a security company for a monthly fee, or a system can be purchased and installed by the homeowner for a one-time cost. However, if you choose to do your own home security installation, be aware that electronic skills and perhaps computer programming expertise may be required, particularly if you want notification of alarms via your smartphone. For a recommendation of qualified home security installers in your area, you can fill out the form on this page.

Home security providers

When you begin shopping for a home security system, it is a good idea to ask friends and neighbors who have a system about their experience. There are many providers of security systems, both with and without monitoring.

ADT, Brinks, GE and Honeywell are national brands you probably recognize. There are also reputable regional providers like Bulldog and CPI, as well as a host of others. If you elect to go with a monitored system, be sure to ask your provider how they handle false alarms, and whether your city requires a burglar alarm permit and charges fines for false alarm response.

Not only does a home security system provide peace of mind, it can also save you money on your homeowners' insurance. Many insurance companies provide discounts for homes with security systems. And displaying a sign or window sticker proclaiming that your home has a security system will cause most potential burglars to walk away and seek an easier target.