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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Home Security Systems

Cameras, motion sensors, do-it-yourself or professional: there are so many home security options, it’s tough to know where to start. Here’s a simple guide to the best systems.

Buying a home security system these days can seem more complicated than purchasing your home. They’re all a little different, and it’s not like comparing apples to apples when pricing, systems, set-up, and monitoring are all so different. But older adults want to feel safe. We break down the basics and then give you the lowdown on some of the top-rated systems.

First, you need to think about what features you’d like. Here’s a list of common products you may need or want:
  • Video doorbell. Great for knowing when a package has arrived, or who is at the door.
  • Nanny camera. Watch pets or check in with a caretaker or aging parents.
  • Spotlight camera. Record video clips when motion is detected to catch intruders or simply light your path in the dark.
  • Door/Window sensor. Tells you when a door or window is opened to guard entrances. It can also alert you when a cabinet is opened, for example when someone accesses medications. 
  • Panic pendant. Wearable pendant that can send out an alert when pushed to let others know of a fall or other mishap.
  • Glass break sensor. This will protect you from anyone trying to enter via a window by setting off an alarm when glass is broken.
  • Motion sensor. You can use a motion sensor to know if an older adult is following his or her usual routine, such as getting out of bed in the morning. 
  • Smart home integration. Allows the security system to team up with smart home devices so you can control everything with a single app.
  • Wireless monitoring. Uses radio signals to connect home devices, sending alerts to a base station and then pushing a notification to your cell or monitoring center. Simplifies installation and gives continued service during power outages.
  • Two-way talk. Turns a control panel or security camera into an intercom, so you can tell a salesperson to leave, shoo the dog off the couch, or call for help with certain systems.
  • Carbon monoxide detector. Senses carbon monoxide and sets off an alarm. 
  • Flood sensor. Alerts you about pooling water to catch plumbing and appliance issues or flooding.
  • Freeze sensor. Alerts when temperature drops to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Fire and smoke alarm. Senses fire, smoke, or heat to prevent home fires from spreading.
  • Professional monitoring. Whether or not you install the system, you can elect to have a call center take emergency alerts. You’ll have a calm person to guide you and alert fire or police.

Next is figuring out whether you want to install the system yourself or have a professional do the job. 

Systems like SimpliSafe or Frontpoint come preprogrammed and ready to go. They will not have as many options as professional systems, but they are budget-friendly. Most of the equipment sticks on your walls, doors, and windows, so you don’t have to be an Einstein to set it up.

Professional installation can cost a pretty penny, but you can let someone else do the work. Companies like Vivint and ADT send someone out (usually as a free consultation) to discuss priorities, cost, and expectations.

Six Systems That Make the Grade

We went to the internet to find the top six systems:

Vivint Smart Home sells for $599 and $29.99 and up per month for monitoring. You’ll get professional installation with no contract, a trial period of three days, and a warranty that will last as long as your service agreement. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

SimpliSafe stands out in the DIY category. At $229 and up initially then $14.99 and up, it’s affordable and there’s no contract. You get 60 days to try it out, and it comes with a three-year warranty. It works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Cove offers either DIY or professional installation for an initial $219 and up, and then $14.99 and up per month, depending on options. There’s no contract, a 60-day trial period, and a lifetime warranty. It’s compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Frontpoint starts at $326.96, and you install it yourself. It’s $49.99 monthly with no contract and a 39-day trial period. It comes with a three-year warranty and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. 

Abode is a DIY product that starts at $229 and as little as $6 per month for a very affordable option. There’s no contract, you’ll have a 30-day trial period and a one-year warranty. It’s compatible with not only Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but for all you Apple fans it also works with Apple Homekit.

ADT is the biggest professional in the business. Their kit may cost you nothing up front, with monthly monitoring at $27.99. However, it does require a contract so make sure that’s what you want from the get-go. ADT does offer a no-contract product labeled Blue by ADT that starts at $199.15 and $19.99 monthly. It is DIY. Both work with Amazon and Google voice assistants.

Finding the right home security system can take time. Do some research online, shop around, and see if you can find any special deals offered by podcasters, bloggers, or at the company site. The time you put into doing your homework will reward you in the end!


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors