To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.
There are many other elements to home security that you should consider besides installing a security system. Have you considered how to protect your family from items like carbon monoxide and fires? What about securing your home when you leave for vacation? Or how about how you can deter a burglar from targeting your home? These (and more) are all parts of securing your home that we can help you with. We’ve spent countless hours learning about this topic and love sharing our knowledge with others in hopes they can make use of our extensive research.
Home Security: What Do I Need To Know?
- Components & Terminology
- Why Do I Need A Security System?
- What’s The Best Home Security System?
When most people hear the words home security, they think of a security system. A home security system is comprised of different sensors and devices to help monitor your home. The equipment mentioned here do different things individually but can also work in tandem to ensure maximum protection. Keep in mind that it’s not just burglars that you want to deter and scare away, but you also want to consider environmental hazards.
- Cameras – can be installed inside or outside of your home to keep an eye on people coming and going (including recording video when they sense motion).
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors – detects carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can be very dangerous (if this goes off, go outside and seek fresh air immediately).
- Door & Window Sensors – also known as contact sensors, they attach to windowsills or door frames and activate when opened (they can also be used to monitor pretty much anything that opens or closes, like medicine or liquor cabinets, for example).
- Door Jammers – a quick and easy way to reinforce entrance doors.
- Driveway Alarms – notify you when people and/or vehicles enter your property via the driveway.
- Motion Sensors – usually in the corner of a room, or a high traffic area, they activate when they sense motion within a certain range (one motion sensor can cover several windows and eliminate the need for multiple window sensors).
- Outdoor Security Lights – activates the light when they detect motion within their range.
- Smart Locks – use Bluetooth and/or WiFi to provide keyless entry.
- Smoke Detectors – alert you when the presence of smoke is detected. It’s important to remember other fire safety measures included escape ladders and extinguishers too.
Here is what various components of a security system may look like. They are wireless and usually don’t require any drilling or holes in your wall.
Z-Wave and Zigbee are wireless communication protocols used for home automation equipment. Companies that support these protocols are able to expand their product lines to support many third-party devices, giving you access to more equipment options. The two protocols broadcast at different frequencies and send data at different rates, so they are not equivalent to one another.
IFTTT is a way to integrate your devices and apps to work together. All you have to do is sign up for a free account, turn on any Applets you want to use, connect the services needed for the Applets and tell them what you want them to do. For example, you can back up your Instagram photos to Dropbox, have your lights turn on when you enter your home or remind a Slack channel about a meeting.
Each Home Is Unique In Its Needs
Keep in mind, every home is unique, so not all homes need the same security setup. For instance, a 4th story condo might not need window sensors since that would require quite the ladder. But they could benefit from a motion sensor. A stand-alone, ranch-style home, meanwhile, could benefit from door and window sensors as well as a driveway alarm.
According to the FBI, in 2017, there were 7,694,086 property crimes in the U.S. (that’s just one of the many crime statistics we’ve gathered — you wouldn’t believe some of the others!). While rates vary by geographic area, home intrusions, property damage and burglaries can happen even to the best of us. In addition to general security purposes, there are many other benefits to having a home security system:
- Find out if there are unwanted animals or intruders in your garage or yard.
- Know when people are entering and leaving your home.
- Let people in remotely via access codes (such as the cleaning person or babysitter), or unlock the door for them via your smartphone.
- Receive alerts when smoke or CO is present in your home (a good way to keep pets safe when you’re not there).
Having a home security system can also help decrease the time it takes for police to arrive at your door. Instead of missing a break-in because you’re sleeping or hiding in a closet without your phone while a stranger ransacks your home, you could have someone else contact the police for you. You’d be surprised to learn what happens when you dial 911 and what the average police response time is.
Security When You’re On Holiday
Self-monitored home security systems have mobile apps that notify you when something triggers a sensor. This is especially handy when you’re away for vacation or a holiday and can’t check on your home easily. If you receive one of these alerts, you can contact police or a neighbor to check your home for you. In addition to having a home security system installed, we have more advice on keeping your home safe on vacation.
We also have more holiday-specific safety tips to share with you to help ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season. Read our holiday safety tips.
Installing a security system is an excellent way to monitor your home, but how do you choose a company? There are hundreds of home security companies on the market, and it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to sift through them all. We’ve done extensive research, taken our findings and put them into a comprehensive, detailed home security systems guide that can make your decision easier.
Do you have any home security tips to share?
Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.