Home security is a very important subject, and we all know we should secure our homes. We know that, but the vast majority do not. Why not? It’s a bit complicated and confusing, right? Of the hundreds of systems out there and with all the advertisements on cable television and satellite and even on Youtube ads, all claiming to be the best, which one do you choose? This article will share lessons from the school of hard knocks on home security. I’ve spent years studying home security and trying various systems, and that also means I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to narrow it down to a reliable system. Today for the first time, I’ll share my experience and suggestions, although I do not pretend to be a security expert by any means. I have, however, learned a lot from security experts, and I’ve learned how any homeowner can substantially improve their home security system, especially if you don’t have one.
Home Security is Not Optional
Do I need to persuade you that you need a home security system? I seriously doubt anyone doesn’t know the importance of having some kind of reliable home security system. You wouldn’t drive your car without insurance, not because you think you will get in an accident, but because if you did, it could be a nightmare scenario if you weren’t insured. Yet 1/3rd of every California driver is uninsured. Go figure!
Who wants to wait until their home is broken into and precious keepsakes are stolen and gone forever. The police can’t help if you didn’t see the burglar. The police are likely to ask, “Do you have a photo or a video of the thief?” Of course, if you have no security system, you will have nothing to share with the police. Pause for a moment please so you can feel the agony, the negative emotions you would experience if your lifetime precious items were stolen, jewelry, cash, computers, iPads, your lawn mower and weed eater, your backup generator, your tools, your big screen monitor, your small safe, your guns, and so on. All gone forever. Do I have your attention now? Would you buy a home security after that, or would now be a better time to secure your home?
Home Security That is Reliable and Affordable
You might want to bookmark this article, and you might want to share it with neighbors and family and friends, because I’m not getting paid to do product reviews, and I’m not writing from theory. Everything I’m writing here is what you would learn if you spent years and thousands of dollars studying and buying various home security systems.
I’ve tried all the systems in these two photos, and along the way I learned that wireless systems are not 100% reliable, especially if you have less than a lightning fast Internet. Wireless sounds great and the installation is much easier than a wired system, but some routers will not broadcast the Internet with enough strength all the way to the wireless camera at the other end of the house or further away on the garage or the outside of the house. That means the signal keeps getting dropped, and in some cases if the camera disconnects to the Internet, it will not re-connect without you manually turning the camera on and off in the house. That’s a problem if you are on vacation in Austin, although I don’t know why you would vacation in Austin!
The Arlo is one of the most reliable wireless systems with video cameras, and these days you definitely need video surveillance. You also want to be able to see live views of your video cameras while you are away right on your smartphone. You want to get immediate alert notifications on your smartphone if there is movement in front of one of the video cameras. And you want your system to record that movement and store it safely for you, whether that is in the cloud or on a hard drive.
I recommend you use a wired system. It is a technology that has been around for decades, and it is very reliable, far more reliable than wireless systems. Even if you have extremely fast Internet (download and upload), a wireless camera might not re-connect if your power goes out or your Internet goes down and then comes back up. Wired systems are built to stay connected and re-connect automatically. And here’s something that can drive you crazy with wireless video cameras–they eat batteries like your dog eats steak. Six cameras can easily cost $20 a month in batteries, because they never use standard batteries. The Arlo uses a 123+ battery, which is many times more expensive than a double A, and the newer Arlo which you can buy with a rechargeable battery sounds great, but I bought one and after one charge the batter would not charge at all, and these cameras cost $139 apiece. The other issue is that these wireless video cameras are constantly going dead on you as the batteries run down, and then the camera isn’t working. It’s a constant battle. Wireless cameras are using electricity and never have a hiccup.
You’ll need at least four video cameras, and six is better. The Nightowl wired home security system shown in the first photo above is only $299 at Costco with four cameras, and it works great. You can buy two to four more cameras for it so you will have plenty of coverage. You need coverage on the front driveway where someone would approach the house, of the front door and the back door, and where someone would walk around the house and to the garage or barn.
You can also make your home a “Smart Home” and equip it with an alarm you can turn on from anywhere in the world through your smart phone, and much more. A loud alarm is a nice addition to your security system, because if it is loud enough, it will scare the burglar away, and that would be good. The key to getting alerts of movement on your smartphone is that you can be aware immediately, and you can call 911 to get the police over there. You could also call a neighbor to alert them.
If you’re going to install a wired system, you can either do it yourself, because it isn’t that hard, or you can hire someone to help you. Since a wired system only costs $300 to $500, it is well worth it, although if you need to hire help to install it, that’s where it could cost you another $500 or more.
Much more could be said about home security, but I’ve gone long already. I hope this is helpful. Please do yourself a favor and get a wired security camera system installed soon. It could even lower your home insurance premium, and you’ll have peace of mind. I guarantee it.
Last Updated on July 8, 2019 by Chuck Marunde