Today homeowners are very cost conscious when it comes to home security alarm systems. This is because not only may there be a large upfront investment in equipment and installation labor, but the monthly alarm monitoring charge can set you back several thousand dollars if you go with a national company like ADT that requires a three-year monitoring commitment with every sale. Professional-grade systems from well known industry leaders such as Honeywell, DSC, Alula/Resolution, 2GIG, and Qolsys are now available to homeowners to install themselves in just an hour or two without having to rely on a local alarm dealer to install.
The hurdle to DIY installation of quality alarm equipment has always been panel programming as well as warranty support. Manufacturers such as Honeywell only sell to authorized security dealers and not to actual homeowners. The same for warranty support – it must go through the local dealer who installed the equipment. However more and more online dealers offer professional-grade home security equipment and handle all warranty issues just like a local dealer. Some will even program the security panel (the brains of the system) remotely. SafeHomeCentral for example will remotely program panels for the life of the system for free as long as cellular or WIFI/Internet connectivity to the panel is maintained.
Saving Money Installing Your Own Security System
Installing a home security alarm system does not have to be difficult. Modern fully wireless systems are now finally a reality which were designed to make life easier for dealers, but can also make life just as easy for a DIY homeowner while saving money! Installation can be fast and easy going wireless rather than the traditional method of running wires throughout the home. Its actually rare anymore for even dealers like ADT to install hardwired systems. Yes the equipment will cost more but time is money. Rather than having a three man crew at a home for two days installing an alarm system, one person (even the homeowner) can now do it all on a Saturday morning.
What is professional-grade alarm equipment?
I’m talking security systems made by Honeywell or DSC for example. Honeywell has been used by ADT for several decades now, though white labeled since ADT does not manufacturer any hardware. What I’m not referring to is no name brands sold on eBay or big box retailers such as Home Depot or Best Buy. This also includes consumer-grade security equipment from SimpliSafe.
There is a big difference between professional-grade and consumer-grade home security hardware:
- Ability to remotely control all security or home automation (lights, locks, thermostats) functions from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- True UL central station monitoring capability
- Video surveillance capability, especially with remote viewing from a smart device
- Cellular and dual-path (redundant by adding WIFI/Internet) alarm monitoring options
- Broad range of wireless security sensors such as door/window, motion detectors, glassbreak detectors, shock sensors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, flood detection, low temperature detection, panic buttons, additional sirens and keypads, etc.
- Encrypted wireless sensors to combat sophisticated intruders.
- Sensor transmission range of 1000 ft. or more
Alarm Monitoring Services
Local dealers make their real profit from recurring monthly revenue (RMR), better know in the security industry as alarm monitoring. This is why your local dealer such as ADT will require alarm monitoring and lock you in for a 3 to 5 year agreement with an expensive early termination fee, even if you move. Online dealers monitoring dealers such as SafeHomeCentral can offer pretty much the same (if not exact) as the local dealers for half the price. If installing a Honeywell Lyric wireless system for example (their newest and best on the market for 2018) you’ll need Honeywell’s AlarmNet interactive services (Total Connect 2) for remote control from a smartphone and a UL central station such as COPS Monitoring. Your local dealer will charge $35 – $60 per month for a three year commitment where SafeHomeCentral charges just $15 for cellular remote control with UL central station dispatch. I note this because many online dealers offer self-monitoring as an option which requires the homeowners to actually call the police of fire department. Crazy! For a real shock take a look at ADT’s alarm monitoring fees.
Saving Money Going DIY
Saving money without spending a lot of time installing your home security system upfront as well as on the backend (alarm monitoring) is what its all about.
- Do some research on the brands and models available, both from local dealers as well as online security dealers
- How long has the dealer been in business? This can be important especially with guys working out of their trunk and online dealers who just set up shop with their laptop. SafeHomeCentral for example has been in the home and commercial security alarm business since 1987.
- Always go with an industry leader such as Honeywell, DSC or Alula/Resolution. Some newer brands such as 2GIG and Qolsys are up and coming but just don’t have the sensor range of options yet. For a recommendation we standardized on the Honeywell Lyric for our own pro-installs in the Philadelphia area. Hard to go wrong using Honeywell security products.
- Use an online alarm monitoring provider. Always go no contract, don’t get locked in! Some can save you even more with annual prepay discounts too.