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DIY Home Security Systems vs. Monitored Systems: 5 Big Differences

Posted: April 18, 2017

You’ve probably read a headline in the news that made you stop in your tracks. An unfortunate home break-in, often without a home security system installed. A tragic house fire. A gut wrenching carbon monoxide poisoning. These news articles make your heart race. You want to pull your loved ones closer to you. After hearing about such heartbreaking news, you may think twice about your own life. You may even reconsider how you can better protect your loved ones and homes using a DYI home security systems or monitored systems.

Wendy Haughian of Washington knows this feeling. But thankfully, she was protected with a home security system. She shared her story with ADT, "I heard a loud noise at the back of my house. Glass was shattering from the sliding door on the patio. ADT called me right away and I told them to send help because someone was in my house. It is reassuring to know that ADT and the police officers were there."

When it comes to home security, some people opt for a DIY home security system vs. a monitored system. DIY and monitored home security systems are vastly different. Though some level of home security system is better than no system, the two concepts are not synonymous. They have different objectives and outcomes for helping better protect your home.

Common DIY home security systems include:

Most of the above DIY security systems are modular. The devices and detectors stand alone and often aren’t interconnected. The fundamental idea that sets them apart is the idea of monitoring services.

At a high-level, here’s how we view the differences:

Monitored home security systems DIY home security systems
Objective: Save lives & provide real-time alerts and updates Help provide basic protection
Home owner intent: Provide highest level of security Introduce some level of home security
Connected devices: ADT helps connect all your home security & safety devices Varies (based on app functionality, if available)
Measuring effectiveness: Response rate Failure rate / downtime

Let’s break these down into more detail. Below are 5 key differences between a DIY home security system vs. a monitored system.

  1. DIY security systems aren’t always easy to install
  2. DIY home security systems require more attention
  3. Burglars are less likely to break into a monitored home
  4. DIY home security systems seem appealing for a smaller budget
  5. Monitored systems connect all your home security devices together
easy home security installation

1) DIY security systems aren’t always easy to install.

We live in a Pinterest and DIY world. But home security isn’t something you want to take lightly. Most DIY projects aren’t easy, especially related to home security. You can buy home security systems that come from a box. They promise you can unbox it, plug it in, and activate the system. However, professional installation has its benefits. Such as, having the professional installer test the system and help ensure the home security system will work when you need it most.

When a Security Advisor is in a home, they personalize a system to meet your needs. They provide you with a total solution for security, fire, carbon, flood, and emergency situations. They handle all of the installation, testing, and documentation for next steps. You can build a robust home security system with cameras, alarms, detectors, devices, apps, sensors, and monitoring capabilities.

diy security requires more attention

2) DIY home security systems require more attention.

DIY systems without a contract mean the system is usually monitored by the customer. You lose 24-hour monitored protection from a professional staff that can send the proper services or authorities in time of need.

Without professional monitoring of your home security system, you're the one doing the monitoring. DIY home security systems are designed to work with your mobile device. So, you can check your system or hub from wherever you are and set-up alerts or notifications if anything's amiss. This requires a bit more attention on your part, so bear that in mind if you choose a DIY system.

In addition, DIY systems are typically tied into your internet, via the modem. If you lose power, you will lose security, too! This is even more critical if you do not have a generator or battery backup. All ADT-monitored home security devices come with backup batteries that last up to 24 hours. They are still monitored during power outages, too.

monitored homes lower burglary rate

3) Burglars are less likely to break into a monitored home.

Did you know simply having a home security system installed can help keep criminals at bay?

Almost 60% of the burglars indicated that the presence of an alarm would cause them to seek an alternative target altogether. This was particularly true among the subset of burglars that were more likely to spend time deliberately and carefully planning a burglary.

Always use the signs and stickers that your home security system providers gives you.

 DIY home security systems seem appealing for a smaller budget

4) DIY home security systems seem appealing for a smaller budget.

Installing a DIY home security system typically starts around $99 and up. DIY may present itself with advantages like no contracts, low installation or no monitoring fees, and low upfront costs. But DIY systems do have drawbacks.

Monitored home security systems typically range from $27.99 - $59.99. Struggling to fit that amount into your budget? Simply skip eating out to dinner 1 night a month. If you’re looking for a bigger budget reduction idea, consider eliminating cable TV. Stream your favorite shows via an app or use a service such as Netflix or Hulu. Those small saving ideas can help you pay for a monitored home security system.

If a DIY home security system does offer monitored services, there will likely be an associated monthly fee, too! So, read the fine print and do your research before making a purchase!

monitored home security connects devices

5) Monitored systems connect all your home security devices together.

With a monitored home security system, you will have a professionally monitored security 24/7. ADT has 6 monitoring centers across the United States. If technical difficulties arise at one monitoring center, you will still be protected by another monitoring center.

In addition, the equipment that was professionally installed can offer unique security features to maintain protection at crucial times. Professional installation packages often include a limited lifetime warranty, too.

With a DIY home security system, you have no monitoring capabilities. And as we noted, those monitoring services can be a matter of life or death. Amy Steffens of Indianapolis knows all about how monitored home security services save lives.

She said, "One of the firemen the night of the fire said, 'Do you know how lucky you were tonight?'. But I like to look at it as, we weren't lucky we were protected by ADT."

Are you ready to help better protect your home and loved ones? Call us at {{Phone800}} to learn more about home security options best for you and your budget.