How to Create Your Own Home Security System

Pop quiz: what’s the most popular type of smart home technology? According to a  recent study byHouzz, the answer is security/safety devices. For the tech-savvy homeowner, DIYing your own home security system offers a reliable and cost-effective alternative to the standard paid monitoring service.

When done right, a home security system is an easy, low-cost investment that more than pays for itself in peace of mind and decreased risk of robbery. While burglary rates did drop by 7.8% from 2014 to 2015 (likely in large part to the growing popularity of home security systems), the number of property crimes was still a whopping 7,993,631. Those crimes resulted in about $14.3 billion in losses for homeowners across the U.S.

So how do you DIY your own home security system? First, you’re going to need a few different devices…

The Home Security Devices

There are tons of different home security devices out there, giving you a lot of flexibility in designing a system that is personalized to meet your needs. However, keep in mind that mismatched devices might not always play nicely together. We recommend choosing devices that support Z-Wave technology. It’s a common standard for smart home products, so they’ll all be able to work together without any complicated programming.

It’s also good to choose a smart hub, such as SmartThings or Wink, before you decide on specific devices. The smart home hub is what will allow you to access all of the parts of your home security system with ease. To learn more about which smart hub you should choose, check out this blog post: How to Get Started with Smart Home Automation (Part 1).

Next, pick out compatible devices. Here are some popular security devices to consider:

  • Door/Window Sensors:It’s important to monitor all the key access points to your home, and that’s where door sensors come in. Place these tiny devices on your front door, bathroom window, garage door, and anywhere else you think someone might be tempted to pry open to burglarize your home. If a window opens in the middle of the night, you can set up your system to instantly sound an alarm or send a notification to your phone.

  • Motion Sensors:Motion sensors are incredibly versatile. Not only can you put them along entry areas as a second defense against intruders but you can also use them for everyday purposes such as automatically turning on the lights when you enter a room. And once you’ve connected the lights, you can use them to aid in security. If unusual motion is detected, all of the lights in the area can automatically turn on, scaring off anyone on your property.

  • Alarm Siren:If someone is attempting to enter your home, the best approach is to let them know that your home is protected. What better way to do that than to set off an audible alarm? Choose an alarm siren that offers multiple chime styles and volume levels. That way, you can customize alerts for different scenarios (for example, an urgent blaring when fire is detected, but a simple chirp if the garage door opens at an expected time).

  • Surveillance Cameras:If a determined individual does manage to get into your home, surveillance cameras offer valuable footage that can help the police identify and track down the intruder. With security cameras, you have a lot of different choices. At one end of the range, you have options with additional features that require contracts or monthly monitoring fees, and the other end offers the bare bones—cameras that just record the surroundings. Consider Piper, a smart hub company that also supplies reliable surveillance cameras. Choose the system that works for you, but our vote goes to a camera that offers real-time viewing of footage from your smartphone as well as Z-Wave integration.

  • Smoke/CO Detector:Burglars aren’t the only danger you need to prepare against. Get a smart smoke/CO detector that will do more than just sound an alarm. With a Z-Wave smoke detector, you can get an alert sent directly to your smartphone, which is very helpful if you’re not at home when the siren goes off.

  • Smart Locks:You’d be surprised how easy it is to pick a regular door lock. Smart door locks, on the other hand, are very difficult to tamper with, making them a great choice for a DIY home security system. One of the best things about smart locks is that you can access them remotely. You never have to ask yourself “Did I lock the front door?” Just pull up your phone, and if the door is unlocked, you have the option to lock it remotely no matter where you are. Many smart door locks also offer a PIN pad so that you can keep track of anyone who might enter your home, such as cleaning services or repair companies. 

How to Set Up the System

Before you buy any devices, be sure to verify that they are designed for DIY smart home automation and won’t require professional installation. Also check to make sure they’re all compatible with your smart hub. Once the devices arrive, follow the installation instructions provided by each product and your smart hub. That’s going to be 90% of the work.

After installation, the real fun begins. Many of these devices allow you to customize different scenes and settings so that you can control how the system reacts to different situations. You might set up your smart door locks to automatically lock each night at 9:00 p.m. or program your home’s lights to turn on if motion is detected during the night. Try different settings out and adjust your system over time so that you find the perfect options for your home.

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