What Is A Home Security System and How Does It Work?

Scott Repasky
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What Is A Home Security System?

Don’t let the title give you the wrong impression … a home security system is not a rigid, hardwired, 9-to-5 security detail. A home security system is a broad range of technologies that work together to keep your home safe. Home security systems can be activated by the homeowner or by a security company when something goes wrong. The big question is, “which devices should you include in your home security system?”

Cameras – Most homes have cameras. The home security system controllers will let you monitor your motion detectors and cameras from any internet-enabled device.

Motion Detector – Simply place the motion detector near a door or window where you will get the most value. Don’t rely on the built-in motion detectors with your connected system. Get a sensor that you can place where you need it.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors –Place a carbon monoxide detector in areas where heaters, stoves, fireplaces, and generators are used. This is required to protect your family's safety. The smoke alarms that are installed for fire protection will not protect you from carbon monoxide gas. Carbon monoxide detectors will.

How Do Home Security Systems Work?

Home security is a term that encompasses a variety of items including wireless doorbells, standalone motion detectors and video cameras. Let’s break down how each works and what they do.

Wireless Doorbells

If you have a window through which you can watch the front door at all times, then good for you. Those of us who live in apartments, don’t have this luxury, and need to rely on audio notification of visitors.

A wireless doorbell is designed to let you know if someone is at your door, and if you connect the doorbell to your P.C., it will even let you see who is there. Most wireless doorbells come with an intercom feature that lets you talk to the person at the door without having to even go downstairs.

If you have outside motion detection, your doorbell will let you know if anyone walks up to your doorway, also a good basic home security feature. We hope you have motion detection.

Where there is a doorbell, there is usually a chime on either side. When you have a wireless doorbell, and it is connected to your P.C. there is no chime. You will need to record your own message and attach it to the doorbell cam video signal (or play music or comedy bits from your favorite comedy artists).

Professional Monitoring vs. Self Monitoring

The main difference between professional monitoring and self-monitoring is that the former is professional and secure whereas the later is slightly less secure and cheaper. However, self-monitoring is simple, easy and practical and has proven to be quite effective.

Professional monitoring will also involve a monthly fee you are expected to pay in order to stay a secured homeowner. Hence, if you have a very practical knowledge of electronics, you will be better off doing the self-monitoring.

Professional monitoring is for you if you have a large home or a lot going on in your household in terms of events and activities. Self-monitored security systems would be in place in ordinary households with no unordinary events happening in them.

Professional monitoring is more appropriate for those with a big family, a lot of things to protect and a big income. On the other hand, self-monitoring is right for those people that don’t need a big security system that needs a lot of monitoring.

A professionally monitored security system will focus on the external level whereas a self-monitored one will focus on the internal level, more or less.

Home Security System Pros and Cons

The way security systems work vary by what vendor you purchase the system from, the type of system you choose and where you live. There are pros and cons to having a security system and there are many different types of security systems available on the market today. Some systems can be quite expensive for what they appear to deliver so I'll break down a few of the options below.

You've probably heard the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That's especially true when it comes to home security systems. Acadia Security offers this advice for using your security systems to protect yourselves and your property.

If you choose to install a security system at your home, you need to make an agreement with your family members about using it. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), safety experts advise not using a personal alarm as a substitute for using common sense about home security. As an example, if an alarm goes off at your home, don't just assume an intruder is inside and doesn't know you're there. Call the police to make sure!

Install the security unit in a centrally located area of your home. Make sure the area has as few obstructions as possible. A higher level is preferred, but make sure the unit is waterproof.

FAQs about Home Security Systems

What Does an Alarm System Cover?

  • An alarm system, in and of itself, is an instant alert system for danger. The instant you set it off, you know something bad is going on. And, as a security system, an alarm has one purpose: to ensure your home is secure. An alarm does this by safeguarding it from inside and out, while safeguarding any vulnerable part of your property.
  • It does this through utilizing cameras to record people on your property and devices that will alert you via sound should anything go wrong.
  • If a thief somehow manages to get past your cameras, or inside your home, an alarm will go off when they enter your safe room.

If I Have an Alarm System, Why Would I Need Cameras?

  • The main purpose of an alarm system is to protect your home physically. Cameras work as further proof that your home is secure. Whereas an alarm makes noise, cameras can, too: taking pictures of anyone on your property.
  • Cameras also keep the perpetrator on your property, recording what they are doing.

Can Happy Homes Integrate an Alarm System and Cameras?

Yes, all Happy Homes systems can include cameras for the ultimate security package.

Do Cameras come With their Own Alarm Systems?

No, but they can.