What Are the Key Components of a Good Home Security System

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There is no shortage of companies selling home security systems these days. You have your DIY sellers who offer systems ready to go right out of the box. You also have your companies that sell and professionally install systems – and offer 24-hour monitoring to boot. Regardless of the type of system a consumer chooses, there are some key components to consider.

You can get a basic starter kit with a couple of door and window sensors, a single video camera, and a central control panel to tie everything together. But is that enough? That depends on what you are trying to accomplish. For most families, at least a few more pieces are necessary.

Vivint Smart Home has published a pretty detailed guide covering all of this. You can find it here. In the meantime, this post will take a broader approach by discussing the types of components most people would want in their first home security systems.

Window and Door Sensors

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Window and door sensors are the bread and butter of home security. Way back when electronic home security was brand-new, these particular sensors made up the bulk of what you got. Sensors were placed on every first-floor window and door. They were connected to a central control panel which was, in turn, connected to a monitoring service via the telephone line.

These particular sensors are still important today. Given that burglary is among the most common threats home security systems protect against, it’s vital to protect those areas most susceptible to breaches. That would be first-floor windows and doors.

Video Cameras

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Window and door sensors offer the vital function of informing you when someone has broken in. But that is all they do. Therefore, homeowners should consider several video cameras.

Video cameras do two things: act as a deterrent and provide evidence in the event of an actual crime. From the deterrence standpoint, it helps to install video cameras so that they can be seen but still remain well out of reach.

For evidence-gathering purposes, it is important to choose locations wisely. Experts recommend one camera giving a clear view of the front door and another monitoring a rear door or patio. Inside the home, a camera near the door to the master bedroom is ideal. Other interior locations include the front entryway and family room/living area.

Smoke and CO Alarms

Protecting against fire and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning tends to take a backseat to preventing burglary and home invasion. Nonetheless, both smoke and CO are deadly intruders that need to be considered. For that reason, smoke and CO alarms are key components of a modern security system.

Noise making devices can do an adequate job of alarming occupants so they can get out of the house. But in a professional monitoring scenario, connected smoke and CO alarms also alert monitoring personnel. They can contact the local fire department and police more quickly, getting both on the scene faster.

It is pretty common for homeowners to skip the smoke and CO alarms because they already have standalone devices in their homes. There is nothing wrong with that. But adding new alarms to a complete home security system offers the advantage of also having them monitored. There is value in that.

A Central Control Hub

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The next key component, a central control hub, is standard with prepackaged systems. There are many companies that certainly sell hubs with their systems. But if you are building your own system from the ground up, not having a central hub means relying on multiple mobile apps to keep track of your system. It works, but it is not convenient.

A centralized hub gives you access to every piece of your system from one location. You can adjust camera angles, view live feeds, and so on. When you invest in a top-of-the-line model with a companion app, you also get full remote access to every piece in your system.

Note that it is possible to use smart speakers from Google, Amazon, and Apple as hubs. Not only do you get a central location for programming and modifying your devices, but you also get the added benefit of voice control. But there is a downside: all the components in your system need to be compatible with your smart speaker.

A Few Extras

Source: vivint.com

All the previously mentioned options are considered key components of a modern home security system. Now let us talk about a few extras. Each of the items described below can be added to an existing system or included in a brand-new system:

  • Smart Locks – Smart locks are electronic, keyless locks that can be accessed remotely with the mobile app. The best can be programmed with multiple access PINs assigned to different individuals.
  • Video Doorbells – A video doorbell is a smart device that combines a traditional doorbell with a wireless video camera and onboard audio. Smart doorbells are also remotely accessible.
  • Water Sensors – Just as you can put smoke and CO sensors in your home, you can also deploy water sensors. A water sensor warns of an impending flood situation, whether it is related to nature, a broken water heater, or burst pipes.
  • Medical Alert Systems – A medical alert system offers a wireless pendant worn around the neck or wrist. In the event of a medical emergency, the wearer simply pushes a button to call for help.
  • Broken Glass Sensors – Regular window sensors are activated when a window is opened. Broken glass sensors are more useful when someone tries to break in by smashing a window.
  • Motion Sensors – Motion sensors pick up intruders by constantly scanning for motion. They can be placed in strategic locations throughout the home.

Without a doubt, modern home security systems are far more advanced than their first-generation counterparts. That is a good thing. If you are in the market for a new system, everything discussed in this post would be worth investigating. And even if you would rather save some money, getting all the key components will still go a long way toward keeping you safe.