DIY Home Alarms – Which One Is Best For You?

Thinking about getting a DIY home alarm system. Not all systems or companies are the same. With Think Protection, Simplisafe, Frontpoint, Livewatch and Protect America, there are so many choices. How do you know which DIY alarm company is best? When choosing a DIY alarm system, here are some things to think about and questions to ask.

Professionally Monitored vs. Self Monitored

What’s the difference between professional monitoring and self monitoring? Self monitoring means that when your alarm is triggered you get notified. You then have to respond. If you don’t have your phone, then you won’t know you had an alarm event. Professional monitoring means a 24/7 professional response. Your alarm gets triggered and you get notified. Then a signal is sent to a professional monitoring centre. A professional representative can then respond. They’ll notify emergency contacts. After they’ll contact police if necessary. When choosing a DIY alarm system, get it professionally monitored. Self monitored alarms provide limited peace of mind. Only a professional monitored alarm will truly protect your home.

What’s The Price?

Now that you’ve decided to get a professionally monitored DIY alarm, it’s important to look at price. How much is the monitoring? Some companies charge as much as $50/month. Others as low as $12.99/month (Think Protection). Understand that most people stay with an alarm company for 9 years. This means that $37/month difference will add up to over $3500 in savings! Think long term and go with a company with great rates.

Contract

Some alarm companies will force you to agree to a long term contract. Others go month to month. Never sign a long term alarm contract. Contracts only benefit the company, never the customer. With there being so many DIY alarm choices, go with the best value. And by not having a contract, if you’re unhappy you can cancel anytime.

Money Back Guarantee

Some DIY alarm companies have a money back guarantee period. Some go from 7 days and others go for longer.  Avoid DIY security companies that don’t have a money back guarantee. A guarantee gives you a period you can return if you’re unhappy. If you have cold feet or they don’t live up to promises. Peace of mind comes with a money back guarantee. Make sure your DIY company has one.

Easy Installation

Technology has come a long way over the past few years. DIY alarms are now easy to set up. Ask on your purchase call what the steps to installation are. Look at online reviews. See what other customers are saying. Do your research. Most should be easy to install. Some panels are harder than others. Check if the DIY company has a money back guarantee. If they do, then most likely the installation is easier. If it wasn’t they wouldn’t have the guarantee!

Online Reviews

Check online reviews before purchasing. Trustpilot and Homestars are two online review sites. Both show actual customer reviews. They both eliminate fake reviews. Read about the quality of product. How good is the service? Was the DIY installation easy? How are the prices? You can learn alot from these review sites. It will help you choose with DIY company is best for you.

 

Why Should You Choose A DIY Home Alarm System?

Over the past few years, the security industry has seen the rise of the DIY home alarm system. How do they compare to a traditional security system? What are the benefits? Here are a few reasons why you should choose a DIY home alarm system.

Better Technology

Technology has come incredibly far over the past 10 years. This is especially true in home security. New wireless alarms can do everything a wired alarm can do, and more! Everything is simplified and can be connected to a central station through broadband or cellular signals. This means that a home phone line is no longer required. The advances in technology mean that a DIY home alarm can be easily set up. Some in around half an hour. Plus these systems are completely wireless, so no drilling is required. Simple, fast and effective, a DIY monitored alarm system easily protect your home and family at an incredibly low price.

No Installer

Traditional alarm companies try to convince customers that installers are beneficial. They say they are needed to provide the best customer experience. The truth is that they are unnecessary with a new system. If you have an old, wired alarm system then yes you need an installer. A new system though does not.

In fact, installers are extremely detrimental. Customers have to take time off work to wait around for an installer. Most companies give half day windows, and on average a large number of installations either get rescheduled or the installer comes late! The reality is with new technology a homeowner can easily do everything the installer would be doing themselves. Plus, the installer doesn’t come for free. The alarm company pays large sums to the installer. This means that the costs get passed to the customer! So you’re paying more for an unnecessary service!

Plus an installer is someone you don’t know inside your home. They could be a smoker or wear dirty boots throughout the house! Who wants a stranger in your home? The beauty of DIY is you can do everything easy by yourself, in a fraction of the time an installer can do it.

Better Prices

DIY monitored alarm systems can provide lower prices than a traditional one. Why is this? Because of the cost of the installer! Less company overhead means more savings for you. For examples, Think Protection charges only $12.99/month for monitoring. ADT is $40+ per month. Vivint is $50+ per month. Both of these companies have installers and significant overhead! The cost of those gets passed to the customer. With a DIY system, you’ll save and get the same (if not better) technology.

What Is Aura By Cognitive Systems?

Aura is a new home alarm system created by Cognitive Systems, based out of Waterloo Ontario. Aura is a different kind of home alarm system. Cognitive Systems say that with Aura only two pieces of equipment can protect a 2500 sq ft home. Aura is definitely different from traditional alarm systems. The question though is how does Aura work and is it a better home alarm solution?

Aura does not have motion detectors and door contacts. Instead, Aura monitors the change in spectrum inside a home. Noise changes alter the spectrum in the home. This then sends invisible ripples throughout the area. Aura will pick up these “ripples” and will trigger the alarm.

Cognitive Systems says Aura was created for two reasons. The first is they claim this technology is perfect for people concerned about privacy. A camera inside your home can (with very low likelihood) be hacked. This way someone can see inside the home. Aura lends itself to privacy-focused individuals, as what would a hacker hack? They’d see lines of data. Changes of ripples. Not streaming video.

The second reason is they say that traditional home alarm systems have equipment that can lead to false alarms frequently. According to Cognitive System staff, this system should have less false alarms. Plus they say that traditional alarms need lots of equipment to protect a home. Aura though can protect with just two pieces of equipment.

Here’s a recent CBC report on Aura: http://bit.ly/2oQz3PU

We got a chance to see the Aura system at a recent trade show, ISC West. Here are our thoughts on it.

We liked how the Aura system looked. Nice and clean with only two pieces of equipment. We also thought the concept was interesting. However, there are many issues with Aura by Cognitive Systems.

First, while it seems like an easy solution for home security, the premise is inherently flawed. In regards to privacy, if the homeowner doesn’t want a camera in their home, they don’t need one. Nest Cam, Canary, and Ring.com are security solutions that rely on a camera. These systems are based on a camera. The vast majority of alarms though don’t require a camera to work. For example, Think Protection’s systems do not. A camera can be added, but it’s simply an additional service/piece of equipment. It’s not the base. With a cameraless traditional home alarm, privacy should not be a concern. It’s no different than Aura. So thus this point is a non-issue when you compare apples to apples.

Second, looking at traditional alarm equipment, there are few false alarms. PIR’s (motion detectors) rarely will trigger without actual movement. Aura currently cannot work with a pet in the home. A pet-friendly motion detector can. A properly installed motion detector is the best way to protect a home. Bar none.

Third, with new DIY home alarm systems, the installation has never been easier. For example, you can install a Think Protection Standard Package system in less than 30 minutes. Everything is wireless and requires no drilling. Anyone can do it. Think Protection staff walks you through it over the phone. Plus they make sure everything is up and running properly. So while Aura by Cognitive Systems may be easy to install, so are other alarms. With that said, the argument by Cognitive Systems doesn’t hold water.

Remember that not all DIY alarms are as easy to install as Think Protection. Frontpoint and Protect America take longer to install. However, they still can be installed by non-experts.

Last we have to look at the price. Aura is expected to retail for $500 (plus tax). A base package by Think Protection consisting of 1 door contact, 1 motion detector, 1 pinpad retails for $299.99 (plus tax). Additional motion detectors cost $49.99. A 2500 sq foot home will typically need only 2 to 3 motion detectors to protect your home. So the cost of all equipment with a traditional home alarm is far less than $500. Plus you can continue to add as necessary with a Think Protection alarm. With Aura, you’ll have to buy a second Aura system.

With Aura by Cognitive Systems, it may look cool and clean but it can’t compare with a traditional home alarm system. Aura solves a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s an expensive security solution that may sway some people who are looking at Nest Cam, Ring.com or Canary. But anyone looking for a real home security solution should go with a real home alarm system. One that uses motion detectors and door contacts.

 

Simplisafe System Easily Bypassed With Magnet And Tape

Uh oh! Self-install home alarm company Simplisafe has been selling thousands of DIY home alarm systems throughout the US. The company has been very effective in selling these low-cost systems through direct marketing channels and the systems are all monitored through a cellular connection. But things might not be looking so good for Simplisafe, as a new report states that the system can be bypassed by simply using a magnet and scotch tape.

Here is the link to the article which was written on Forbes.com:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2015/01/29/this-popular-wireless-alarm-system-can-be-hacked-with-a-magnet-and-scotch-tape/

The truth is that most alarm systems can be defeated in some form. In older systems, you could either cut the phone line which would not allow the system to contact the central station or smashing the main control box which would then disarm the system. As home security systems became more technologically advanced, they became harder to bypass. This new claim though, is alarming because of the ease of disarming the Simplisafe system.

While Simplisafe offers a great offer in regards to price point, if the system can be easily defeated then obviously customers should avoid buying a Simplisafe unit until the technology advances (perhaps hold off until they no longer use a cellular connection). There are other companies in the self-install home security space, so Simplisafe is not your only choice for home protection.

Think protection when choosing a home alarm system and make the smart decision.

Who Is Protect America And What Do They Offer?

Protect America is a home alarm company offering services throughout North America. They sell a self-installed DIY home alarm, where they ship it to their customers through the mail. Protect America has had great success with this model and have over 130,000 customers.

Protect America advertises significantly online. Customers reach out through internet and phone and order a system. The lowest cost plan is $19.99/monthly for a self-monitored system with a three-year contract. In regards to monitored home alarms, plans begin at $35.99/month with a three-year contract to $42.99/month also with a three-year contract.

There is no cost for equipment (as it is worked into the inflated monthly monitoring rates).

The self-monitored system sends a signal to the homeowners in the event of an alarm trigger. The monitored systems connect with Protect America’s central station, who then handle the break-in accordingly. Protect America does not offer live two-way voice monitoring.

Similar to other DIY self-installed home alarms, the system is easy to install, with no need for a trained installer.

While we believe self-installed systems are 100% the way to go with today’s technological capabilities, the two knocks on Protect America is the inflated monthly monitoring rates and the three-year contract. The services being offered should cost customers no more than $20/month. This inflated price is old school thinking, charge high prices simply because we can. Protect America is locked into these high prices due to a rebound effect from their current customers if they were to lower them for new accounts. Protect America is an expensive option for a self-installed home alarm.

A three-year contract,  or any contract for that matter, is completely unnecessary in today’s world of home security. Contracts encourage subpar service, as you are unable to switch to another company if you are unhappy, thus allowing the company you’ve signed the contract with to rest on their laurels. Beyond that, there is no real value given during the time of the contract. They may try to fool you into believing the value is in a warranty, but the truth is alarm equipment is now made so well there will most likely be no problems with the system not only during the course of the 3 years but far beyond that.

Stay away from any company that makes you sign a contract.

Self-installed home alarms are the way to go, however, Protect America is not the best choice in this space. There are other companies that offer lower monitoring rates, no upfront fees, and no contract. It’s important to think protection when getting a home alarm system, and think value and remember that if the company is $20/month and you plan on having your alarm system for say 6 years that’s $1440 more you’ll be paying!

Protect America can be found at protectamerica.com