When it comes to maintaining your home, one way to save money is to “do it yourself”. While this is a great approach to tasks like painting, yard work, or simple remodeling projects, when it comes to home security the “DIY” approach might leave your home vulnerable to burglary. There are three main risks to using DIY alarm systems, which we have outlined below.
Risk #1: No professional installation
The first problem with DIY alarm systems is that, by definition, they aren’t installed by a security professional. Although sometimes companies who sell the alarm equipment will offer what they call “professional” installation as an option, that usually means that the installation is done by a subcontractor who they have never met and who isn’t actually in the security business full time.
Why is professional installation important? Equipment that is not installed properly might not even trigger an alarm when a break-in occurs. You must know where to place the sensors, and train yourself on the proper operation of the equipment by reading whatever instruction manual it comes with. If you make a mistake, you probably won’t know about it until it’s too late.
On the other hand, when you use a local alarm company like Dynamark Security of Richmond, the person who installs your equipment will be trained on how to properly install it, and they’ll also know how to train you on the proper use of the equipment. If you have any problems or questions after the equipment is installed, someone will be available to help you.
Risk #2: No 24/7 support or local office
Another big problem with do-it-yourself alarm systems is that when something in the system breaks (which, if you use it long enough, it inevitably will), you will need to order replacement parts through the mail. There won’t be a local office with a supply of replacement parts, or local technicians available 24/7 to come out and repair your system. This means that for a certain period of time, you’ll be without a working alarm system.
While this might not be a big deal, Murphy’s Law dictates that when your system decides to break, it won’t be at a time that is convenient for you. In our experience, it usually seems to happen to people when they are about to leave home for a vacation or even just a weekend getaway. Instead of being able to relax knowing that their home is safe while they are gone, they end up having to worry that something might happen. This, of course, defeats the main purpose of having a monitored alarm system to begin with, which is to give you peace of mind.
If you are working with a local company instead of using a DIY system, they should have technicians on standby 24/7 to come out and repair your system (at least, that’s the case with Dynamark Security). That way, even if you don’t realize there is a problem until you are leaving home for vacation, you can simply call the company, tell them about the problem, and know that it will be fixed shortly even if you aren’t there.
Risk #3: Bad equipment
Although some of the companies who sell DIY alarm systems do sell equipment that works well if it is properly installed and maintained, other companies sell equipment that is fundamentally flawed even when it is working properly. A perfect example of this is SimpliSafe, which bills itself as a DIY-alternative to what they call “expensive and unnecessary” professionally installed alarm systems. As it turns out, thanks to a flaw in their hardware, burglars can easily determine the PIN number of a user and disarm the system (as outlined in this advisory from alarm industry watchdog IOActive). Looks like that professional equipment might not be so “unnecessary” after all…
The moral of the story is that the “DIY” approach is best used for simple tasks that have little or no consequence if you make a mistake. Home security is not one of those tasks. Call a professional that you can trust, such as Dynamark Security of Richmond, to help you with in this critical area.