As you examine the various types of home security system products, it can be difficult to tell different types of alarm systems apart and know what each one does. On this page, we’ll explore a few industry-related terms, so it’s easier for you to determine which system is right for your family.
Most people become familiar with home security products through professionally-monitored systems. In these cases, a company oversees the signals sent out by equipment and either ensures help is sent or checks in with the homeowner to see if there truly is an emergency. Most companies that offer professional monitoring do so under a contract and the individual must stay with that company for a period of time. However, there are DIY kits that homeowners can install on their own, such as LifeShield, which also come with professional monitoring and no long-term contracts.
Local/ Unmonitored/ Self-Monitored
When there is no company overseeing a system and its alerts, it’s often called local, unmonitored, or self-monitored. A local or unmonitored setup typically emits a loud sound designed to alert the homeowner and/or scare off an intruder. Most people are familiar with local fire alarms which typically emit a loud beep and may flash. In these cases, it’s up to the homeowner (or anyone else who hears the noise) to take the next step, such as calling the fire department. Some setups may also be considered self-monitored. An example of this might be a security camera which captures footage for the homeowner to view.
Wired home security products are interlinked within the walls of a home. They’re hardwired to a central control panel and then typically to the household’s electrical system (usually with a backup power source) and then usually to a land-based phone line. For many years, a wired setup was the only option. Their primary benefit is that they tend to be reliable. However, installation can be expensive and challenging.
One of the “newer” home security system products is the wireless setup. With this, individual components may be linked to power sources inside the home or may be battery-powered. The primary difference is that they can “talk” to other components without being wired in. The wireless options make it possible to secure an area that might not be easy to secure with a wired setup. For example, homes that are built with block walls or cement may be cost-prohibitive or impossible to drill into. Wireless options also tend to be the choice for homeowners who prefer DIY installations.
Which Home Security System Products are Right for You?
Generally speaking, people can choose between monitored and unmonitored and these different types of alarm systems may be wired or wireless. That said, if your choosing home security products, you will also likely have options when it comes to types of things to monitor for.
Entry Sensors: Typically used on windows and doors, entry sensors give off an alert when the system is armed and the door or window opens. These can be set with a time delay to enable you to disarm the system, which is helpful for a garage or front door you use often, or may be set to immediately call for help if set off, which is ideal for windows and doors you don’t use to gain entry to your home, such as a back patio door.
Glass Break Sensors: The sound of breaking glass is so distinct that alarms can pick it up using specialized sensors placed next to windows and sliding glass doors.
Motion Sensors: Many homeowners appreciate motion sensors because they can identify when a person is moving within a home, but don’t generate alerts for things like fans or curtains blowing. While LifeShield’s motions sensors are pet-friendly, meaning your dogs and cats won’t trigger an alert, not all systems are, so it’s important to speak with the manufacturer or provider of home security system products before installing motion sensors if you have pets in your home.
Video Monitoring: There are many forms of video monitoring. Some capture video 24/7 and save the footage for a period of days, while others are tied to activity within the home, such as a triggered motion sensor. Some, such as what LifeShield offers, makes use of the latest tech and enables homeowners to view footage wherever they may be.
Supplementary Home Security System Products
Although fire and carbon monoxide detectors are technically not for “home security,” these different types of alarm systems are easily integrated into an installation and may create additional peace of mind.