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What’s the Best Home Security System? A Chicago Security Expert Explains

Posted on September 5th, 2019 by Alert Protective

How do you know which security system is best for your home?

When it comes to home security systems, “best” is subjective. Others may try to tell you different. But based on our experience, it’s the truth.

Here’s why there’s no “best” security system: a Chicago homeowner could purchase the latest security cameras, video doorbells, smart lighting and cellular monitoring. But if the system isn’t customized to the home or accessible with their budget, it doesn’t matter which features or products it has. It’s going to be wrong for them and maybe even make their security situation worse

The way we see it at Alert Protective, the “best” home security system is the one that’s built with your home and budget in mind. To get a better idea of how far your budget will go in relation to you home security system, we’ll look at the following three factors:

  • Professional installation vs. DIY installations
  • Professional monitoring vs. self-monitoring
  • Smart home convenience features and security add-ons

This article reviews each of these factors in more detail. Alternatively, you’re welcome to call us at 773-685-8383, or schedule an appointment online. We’ll help you find the best home security system for your residence and budget. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Professional Installations vs. DIY Installations

Two types of installations are available for homeowners: DIY installations and professional installations. 

DIY Security Installations

The industry has come a long way from where it was just a decade ago. Modern DIY systems are quite powerful, giving a homeowner an affordable way to protect their home without requiring a frustrating and extended set-up process. 

That’s the good news. The bad news is DIY installations come with a number of concerns, including:

  • No customized setup: DIY systems are delivered in the mail or purchased at retail stores. They suggest placement options for cameras, but that’s about it. They have no knowledge of what your home looks like or where its access points are (kind of important when setting up a security system!)
  • Insurance risks:  Many insurance companies may not cover break-in-related damages or losses in a home where a DIY-system is used. Insurance companies often prefer (and in the fine print, require) that the system be “professionally installed” and “professionally monitored.” Homeowners may save a few bucks on DIY. But the same system could cost them big after a break-in.
  • Less-than-great support: Large national security chains that sell home security tools may have a technical support center and little else. They won’t send someone to your home when an alarm breaks or malfunctions. 
  • No in-person training: Having a security expert explain how your newly installed system works can save you a ton of time and annoyance later on down the road. DIY companies give you some online instructions and little else in the way of training. 

Professional Security Installations

Professional security systems are installed by expert technicians after the completion of a consultation and home review. They do cost more up front. But they add security and convenience features which are lacking with a DIY install. 

Some of the benefits of professional installations include:

  • Guaranteed proper setup: A professional security technician takes care of the installation for you. You can breathe easier knowing that your entire home is protected and no camera blind spots will give a burglar an opening. 
  • Instructions on how to use the system: We can’t speak for the other guys. But at Alert Protective, we spend extra time to educate our customers after their new system’s been installed. 
  • Support after we leave: It’s easy to troubleshoot security system problems when all you have to do is schedule a visit and wait for your technician to arrive. 

Professional Monitoring vs. Self-Monitoring

Two choices exist for Chicago homeowners when it comes to monitoring their homes:

  • They can elect to have their home monitored by a professional monitoring company. 
  • They can self-monitor with the help of smartphone notifications and streaming smart home security cameras. 

Importantly, a homeowner could use both options to protect their home if they wanted to. Unlike DIY and professional installations, the homeowner won’t have to make a hard choice between one option or the other. 

Professional Security Monitoring

With professional security monitoring, your home’s camera system and alarm sensors are connected to a monitoring center somewhere in the U.S. From our perspective, the closer you are to that monitoring station, the better. That’s why we monitor our customers from a central station right here in Chicago

Professional monitoring gives homeowners a chance to respond to emergencies in seconds, even if they’re unable to contact the proper authorities themselves. It’s nice to know someone is keeping an eye on your home while you’re not there, which is why professional monitoring continues to be a popular service among Chicagoans even in the age of do-it-yourself security products. 

Monitoring does come at a cost to homeowners. Most monthly monitoring bills are around $20 to $60, depending on whether you’re monitoring through a landline or a cellular connection. 

Self-Monitoring

Modern security equipment gives homeowners the chance to “monitor” their homes through their smartphones. The homeowner receives notifications and alerts on their phone in the event of a camera picking up movement or an alarm sensor triggering. 

That’s a great feature most homeowners want to have available to them. But self-monitoring by itself does have some limitations, including:

  • Difficulty assessing threats: When an alarm goes off, confusion and fear can cause havoc in a household. Precious seconds are wasted in identifying what triggered the alarm and which emergency services to call, if any. 
  • Not a 24/7 solution: Cellular service isn’t always available and phones sometimes get turned off. Regardless, self-monitoring is not a 24/7 solution for protecting your home. 

Add-On Security & Convenience Features

Home security is benefiting from the same technology trends of automation and connectivity that make smart homes so popular with today’s homeowners. At Alert Protective, we get asked about these connected, automated security products all the time. 

Some of the most popular security tool add-ons we install include:

  • Smart doorbells: The most popular device to come on the market in a long time. Smart doorbells allow homeowners to see and interact with a person at their door right from their smartphone. With smart doorbells, you never have to open the door for a stranger again.
Security systems have become fully integrated with today’s smart homes
  • Smart lighting control: Lighting is a critical component of a home security system. Lighting can be connected to motion sensors or set to turn on at certain times of the day. You can even set your inside lights on at schedule to make it seem like you’re home when you’re on vacation. 
  • Remote locks and garages: Remote locks and garage door openers are connected devices which are controlled directly from a smartphone app. Whether you need to lock up after yourself or let someone in, you no longer need to be inside your home to do it.

And this is just for starters. The possibilities of home automation and security are truly endless. Just see for yourself on our home automation page.

For Professional Installations & Monitoring, Think Alert Protective of Chicago

The best security system is going to be a subjective choice for most homeowners. We understand that, which is why we offer free in-home consultations with a professional security consultant. 

At the end of the day, we want what’s best for you and your family. If you’d like to speak with a security expert about a home security system or monitoring solution, feel free to call us at 773-685-8383, or schedule an appointment online

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