Investing in a home security makes for a great peace of mind although it also carries certain financial burdens. The latter is mostly due to drastically conflicting prices, scare tactics in the sales pitches and antagonistic contracts. According to a Consumer Reports survey, about 80% of homeowners with alarms rated their alarms very effective in home protection. The Consumer’s Checkbook found no correlation between quality and price that reported that the ones which are lower-priced were actually rating higher in effectiveness.

The basic home security system is wired as a central control panel and goes off if a window or a door is opened while it is on. Aside from the additions of fire and carbon monoxide, an increasing amount are also coming with the options of monitoring the light or temperature.

Choosing a Home Security System

adt security
Companies like ADT offer sophisticated security systems for your home.

Investing in a home security system is not a decision that needs to be rushed. In most cases, burglars are not all that creative and usually take advantage of something that’s easy to open such as a window that can easily be jolted. A few economical alternatives may be to install deadbolt locks, sizeable window locks, motion-sensitive lighting on the outside or adopting a dog (if you’re willing to care for it). Even simply posting a Beware of Dog sign or an alarm sticker on your doors is often just as effective.

Another reason owning an alarm tends to be a hassle is that you need to remember to turn it on when you leave home and then the second you walk in the door after returning home, you need to rush to turn it off.

Children, unaware houseguests and pets can also inadvertently trigger the alarm, which tends to result in local fines. It also needs to be tested monthly to make sure that it’s still maintaining its communication with the supervising system.

Do Your Homework

If you do decide to invest in an alarm system, the first thing you need to do is get quotes from several companies, check such things like ADT reviews and also check Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. A couple of other red flags: when the salesperson acts alarmist and tries to scare you into making a quick decision and if they don’t seem to be able to explain the workings of the alarm.

The next thing to ask yourself is whether the fee (which is about $20-$50 per month) to monitor your alarm is worth it. The monitoring company automatically sends a notification to an alarm company who then notifies the police or fire department. Though your alarm will most likely be effective without it and it may be especially unnecessary if your house is almost always occupied or there’s always someone home in your neighborhood.