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Pros and Cons of DIY Home Security Systems

Dec 26, 2022|

A quality home security system can help you keep tabs on your home and make intruders think twice about entering your home. Smart home security systems even have functionality that allows smart devices to work together using Wi-Fi or Z-Wave technology.

A home security system is made up of a collection of security devices, like cameras, motion sensors, and alarms. There are so many security devices available on the market that your combination choices are virtually limitless.

Some homeowners choose their own smart devices and DIY (do-it-yourself) their home security system installation. Others rely on a trusted home security company to design, build, and install a system that meets all their particular needs.

If you’re trying to decide whether to DIY your system installation, this guide is for you. We’ll break down the pros and cons of DIY home security system installation.

Vivint indoor camera and thermostat inside a home.

Can you install a home security system yourself?

Technically, it’s possible to install your own home security devices, but it can be a big challenge depending on your needs. It can be even more difficult if you have a big house with intricate security demands.

You’ll need to identify your security needs and select the right devices to fulfill them. If you want your security system to be “smart,” you may need to do some research to choose devices that have compatibility with each other. You can make this step easier by purchasing a home security kit designed for DIY installation, but it may not have all the right security tools for your specific needs.

Even if you buy a DIY security system starter kit, you’ll still need to mount your security equipment where it will give you the maximum amount of protection. Avoid placing security devices in spots that will make them ineffective.

For example, a sensor that uses passive infrared (heat-sensing) motion detection technology can get disoriented by direct sunlight when it’s placed close to a window. However, dedicated window sensors can activate your home alarm when an intruder tries to open your window.

If you’re building a smart security system, you’ll need to connect your devices to a central base station using Wi-Fi or Z-Wave technology so they can communicate with each other.

There’s a reason many security companies like Vivint offer professional installation for their security systems. Installing your own security system can be time-consuming, complicated, and risky (especially if you have to install things like home security cameras or smart lights in high places).

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Pros and cons of DIY home security systems

A professionally installed system will likely have better functionality than a DIY one, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to purchasing a DIY security system. We’ll go over some of the main pros and cons of DIY systems to help you decide what’s right for you.

Pros of DIY home security systems

DIY systems work best for homes with simple security needs. For example, if you live in a studio apartment, your entire security system may consist of only a video doorbell, a motion detector, an alarm system, and your CO and smoke detector.

Here are some of the benefits of DIY installation.

  • You can build your security system over time. Building your own DIY security system means you don’t have to buy all your equipment at once, which lowers your upfront costs. You might start with an outdoor camera with a floodlight to watch your front yard. As time goes on, you could buy add-ons like glass-break sensors, door sensors, or even an indoor camera for your system.
  • You might be able to avoid monthly fees. Many professionally installed systems charge for things like cloud storage and professional monitoring. You also won't spend money on installation fees.
  • Wireless DIY security systems are easy to take with you if you ever move. It can be more difficult to disconnect a more elaborate, professionally installed system and have it reconnected in a new location.

Cons of DIY home security systems

While DIY security systems can work for smaller living spaces like apartments, professional installation is usually the best way to get the most functionality from your smart devices. Here are some reasons a DIY security system may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

  • When your DIY system breaks down, you might have to perform repairs yourself. Professionally installed systems generally have dedicated support staff to help you fix your devices. This may not be the case when you have a DIY system.
  • DIY installation can be risky. You may have to do dangerous things like mount outdoor security cameras high up on your outside wall.
  • You may have to research where to place your devices. Even the best DIY home security systems won’t offer maximum protection if you don’t set them up properly. For example, motion detectors should be placed 6 to 8 feet high on your wall for peak effectiveness.
  • It can take time to learn how to connect all the devices in your smart security system so they work together. You also need to be familiar with the technology your system uses for connectivity.
  • A DIY system might not have cloud storage. Cloud storage lets you remotely access video clips from your security cameras and receive notifications on your smartphone when your system picks up unusual activity.
  • You might have to self-monitor your system. A reliable home security company that offers professional installation, like Vivint, will likely have its own monitoring service. It will offer multiple monitoring plans to keep tabs on your home and automatically notify the authorities when there’s an emergency for a monthly monitoring fee.
  • Systems designed for DIY installation typically have short warranties. A DIY system warranty might last a year or two, while professionally installed systems, like Vivint’s offerings, often come with extended warranties.
Vivint Smart Home Pro installing an outdoor camera.

What components do you need for a home security system?

Every home is different and has different security needs. For example, a house with large windows may need glass-break sensors that activate a home alarm when an intruder breaks a window. A home with several entrances might need extra entry sensors to protect all its doors.

Here are a few common smart security system devices.

  • Security cameras: Most security cameras have motion sensors that activate the system when they detect movement. Different security cameras have different functionality and designs. For example, Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro has a two-way talk feature that lets you speak to people at your door.
  • Motion detectors: Motion sensors use mechanics, like heat sensing or ultrasonic audio technology, to detect movement on your property. A home security system may use indoor sensors, outdoor sensors, door sensors, and a variety of other motion detectors.
  • Smart lights: Smart lights can be programmed to turn on whenever they detect movement. Often, the sudden light can be enough to cause an intruder to flee during an attempted break-in.
  • Smart locks: Smart locks allow you to open a door without using a standard key. You can program them to lock or unlock at specific times of the day remotely. Vivint’s smart locks let you program and track different keypad codes for visitors so you know who’s entering your house and when.
  • CO and smoke detectors: Not all security threats come from outside your home. Safety alarms will activate your alarm system when there’s a fire or dangerous gas in your house.
  • Smart thermostats: Not only can a smart thermostat keep your home at the perfect temperature, but it can also alert you when the temperature in your home is too high or low. For example, you might receive a notification that your home is too hot for your cat. You could then lower the temperature from your phone.
  • Smart garage door opener: Garage doors can be a popular place for intruders to enter your home. You can program a smart garage door opener to automatically secure your garage at specific times. Some smart openers even have a battery backup or cellular backup that allows them to work even if your Wi-Fi router goes down during a power outage.
  • Base station: A base station serves as a central panel that lets you control and monitor all your smart home appliances in one place. Vivint has an intuitive control panel with touch-screen functionality to make smart home integration simple.
  • Mobile app: One of the best things about a smart security system is that you can access, arm, disarm, and manage it remotely using a mobile app, ike Vivint’s dependable smart app.

How do you build a smart home security system?

All the devices in a smart home security system are interconnected. This allows them to work together seamlessly. You could program your garage door to shut, your front door to lock, and your motion sensors to activate right after you pull out of the driveway to go to work in the morning.

If you want your home security system to be “smart,” you need to get smart devices that are capable of working together. If you’re building a DIY security system, it may take a considerable amount of time and effort to research which devices are compatible and configure them so they can function together.

Or you could rely on a trusted home security company, like Vivint, to do the heavy lifting for you. A home automation expert can help you find and install the best smart security devices for your home without you having to do anything.

Build the ultimate home security system with Vivint

If you’re ready to get serious about your home security game, Vivint has all the smart home devices you need to build the ultimate home security system. With Vivint security tools, you can keep an eye on your home while you’re on the go, so you don’t have to worry about it even while you’re on vacation.

Wireless home security systems from Vivint also have integrations with programs like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can control your devices without lifting a finger by using voice-activated commands.

When you reach out to Vivint, we’ll set you up with a smart home expert who will listen to your preferences and examine your home’s design to help you decide on the best setup for your smart security system.

Give us a call at 855.822.1220 today.

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*Offer Details

Qualifying system purchase requires minimum $599.99 expenditure on equipment after all discounts have been applied, professional installation, and execution of Vivint monitoring services agreement. Click here for monthly service plan prices. DIY system purchases and reactivations of previously-installed systems not eligible for offer. Offer not available in all states or provinces. Equipment purchase may be financed separately subject to an agreement with one of Vivint's third-party financing partners. Monthly $1.48 cellular network maintenance fee applies. Taxes and local permit fees may apply.

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Financing eligibility and terms subject to credit approval by one of Vivint's third-party financing partners. Qualified customers may finance equipment purchase at 0% APR for up to 60 months. Month-to-month service agreement available when equipment is purchased upfront.

Vivint Systems & Services

System supports up to six cameras subject to sufficient WiFi speeds. Without a Vivint services plan, product and system functionality is limited (including loss of remote connectivity). Speak to a Vivint representative at the phone number in this offer for complete equipment, services, and package details, including pricing and financing details. Products and services in Louisiana provided by Vivint Louisiana Commercial Certificate #58280. See Vivint license numbers here.