Follow these guidelines when choosing a security system for your home

By Todd Lewys

Technology has — and is — changing the way we live.

Thanks to smartphones, Wi-Fi and a host of head-spinning technological advancements, we are more connected than ever.

With the touch of a screen, we can text, read and send emails, check our stock portfolio and order dinner.

And now — if you so desire — you can monitor your home from afar with the ability to make your home’s security as airtight as Fort Knox’s at the touch of a button on your tablet or smartphone.

These days, with so many investing so much in their home, it’s understandable that people want to be secure.

Question is, what’s the best way to gain that peace of mind? With so many different home security options out there, it’s often difficult to determine which one is best for you.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when choosing a home security system.

• What do you want it to do? The first thing you need to do is figure out how comprehensive you want your security system to be. Do you simply want it to be a deterrent, or do you want your home to be wired to the hilt so that the alarm will sound if even a hair drops in the wrong place when you’re not around?

• Determine your budget. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The more comprehensive or elaborate a system is, the more you’re going to pay. There will be upfront costs associated with purchasing the system, and then there’s the likelihood of having to shell out extra cash for monthly monitoring fees.

• Professional installation or DIY? Are you a techie, or do you know someone who could help you install a home security system? Installing a system isn’t a simple task, so if you don’t possess technical savvy, you could install it improperly, or it could take days to put it in. You can google alarm companies with high ratings that can install a system in short order, saving you a ton of angst and time.

• Level of security. Do you want a system you can monitor yourself from your smartphone, or do you want to pay a subscription fee to have your home surveilled by professionals who’ll call the fire department and police when an alarm is triggered? Response time could be quicker with a system that’s professionally monitored – and give you one less thing to think/worry about.

• Beware entry-level DIY security systems. FYI, basic DIY security systems might support only one or two wireless protocols and usually offer a limited selection of add-on components. If in doubt, go with a higher-end system to get what you need. Some DIY systems are self-monitored, which means you’ll be notified of a security breach. Still, you will have to call local authorities to respond.

• Peace of mind. No matter whether you go the DIY route or choose a professionally monitored
security system, you can leave home for work and go to bed at night knowing that your home is secure. Not only that, but you can also add on additional systems, such as carbon monoxide monitoring. That’s a very useful add-on, as carbon monoxide leaks can be life-threatening.

• Opportunity to create your own Fortress of Solitude. Get the system that’s right for you, and you stand to have the capability to use your smartphone to arm/disarm the system, create your own airtight system rules and have a complete camera view of your home both inside and out. You can even monitor your home remotely from near or far.

• Be realistic. Ultimately, the security system you choose should fit your needs, lifestyle and budget. Take your time to think about what you need, and what your budget is. Then, do your research. Do that, and you’ll be ready to choose the security system that’s right for you.