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When a Self-Monitored Security System Could Be Right for You

Jun 19, 2023|

Choosing between a monitored or self-monitored security system can be a complicated and important decision. This decision will impact how you interact with your security system and dictate the benefits you enjoy.

In this article, we’ll discuss the following:

  • What a self-monitored security system is
  • What a professionally monitored system is
  • How these systems work
  • The pros and cons of a self-monitored system
  • What to factor in as you decide which security system is right for you

Let’s start by learning more about what a self-monitored security system is and its overall functionality and features.

Vivint security professional working in the security monitoring center.

What is a self-monitored security system?

A self-monitored security system is an integrated security system that gives the homeowner complete control. In this system, the homeowner can view their security status, receive notifications, and take action accordingly.

Here are a few security devices, components, and features available with a self-monitored security kit:

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  • Base station. This is the “brains” of your home security system and connects all your components to one central keypad or control panel.
  • Alarm system. Arm and disarm your alarm with ease wherever you are.
  • Smart locks. These allow you to lock and unlock your doors with your mobile app, a custom code, or another digital method.
  • Door and window sensors. These sensors alert you to activity around your home’s entry points.
  • Security camera system. Watch the live feed from your indoor and outdoor cameras with features like night vision and motion detection.
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Smart detectors send an alert when they detect trouble, so you can stay on top of things even when you’re not home.
  • Thermostats. Adjust your indoor temperature with just a few clicks.
  • Push notifications. Receive notifications anytime something triggers your alarm system and determine your next steps.
  • Two-way audio. See someone at your doorbell camera or on your security feed? Find out what they want with two-way talk.
  • Smart home integration. Set up your security system to work with smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Homekit.
  • Home automation. Automate your security system to work seamlessly with the rest of your home. For example, you can set up your smart home to turn on lights when you unlock your front door.
  • Cloud storage. For a monthly fee, your security information will save securely to the cloud. This is an essential feature for wireless system video storage.
  • Cellular backup. Cellular backup keeps your system functioning reliably when your wireless home security cameras lose Wi-Fi or experience an outage.
  • Extended warranty. With so many components, you need a security system that offers a product warranty.
Vivint security monitoring center.

How do self-monitored security systems work?

Even with the best self-monitored home security systems, you are responsible for monitoring your own security. A mobile device or control panel can help you keep an eye on your home’s security. It’s your responsibility to call emergency services and get help in the event of a security issue or break-in.

Self-monitored systems can be a great solution for homeowners who are comfortable taking charge of their home’s security. With a convenient smartphone app or control panel, you’ll enjoy an all-in-one smart security system at your fingertips.

Let’s take a quick look at how this system works.

Let’s say you’re away from home, and someone unexpectedly comes to your door.

The motion detector on your video doorbell senses the person and sends a notification to your mobile device. You can open your app, view your camera feed, and decide whether to talk to the person on the other side.

If you determine the person is trying to break into your home, you can call emergency services.

This is a great system with many features designed to keep you safe and in complete control.

But before deciding that this is the security system for you, let’s compare it to another security option.

Monitored vs. self-monitored security systems

What’s the difference between these two monitoring options?

For the most part, the difference between monitored and self-monitored systems comes down to who’s doing the monitoring.

As we’ve already touched on, self-monitored security systems put the responsibility for surveillance on the homeowners.

With a monitored system, you have access to all of your security details and a professional monitoring service that watches out for your safety. When something triggers an alarm—whether a burglary alarm, smoke alarm, or something else—your monitoring service will receive an instant notification and jump into action.

As an example, let’s say someone breaks your window. The glass break sensors trigger the alarm and send a signal to your security company’s monitoring center. Then they attempt to call you.

If it was a simple accident, you pick up the phone, give them the security code you set up, and return to what you were doing. If it was not an accident, they take care of calling your local police department to dispatch help so you don’t have to worry about it.

As you can see, this kind of system offers a more thorough level of service that keeps you protected at all times.

So, between these two options, which is better?

It’s truly up to your individual situation and preference to determine which type of security monitoring is best for you.

With that said, a professionally monitored system gives users more protection and peace of mind. The difference lies in the level of monitoring each system offers.

A professionally monitored system provides more dependability and convenience. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you know someone is watching out for your home. Many people prefer the peace of mind this option provides.

Some people may still prefer to keep an eye on things themselves with a security mobile app. This can be a good option if you’re confident you can always respond to the notifications.

Vivint security monitoring center.

Pros and cons of self-monitored security systems

Home security systems are a serious purchase. How can you tell whether a self-monitored system is right for you? Let’s consider both the pros and cons of this type of system.

Pros of self-monitored security systems

  • No or low monthly fees, depending on the security company you use and how much of your equipment you’ve payed off
  • No middleman
  • No penalties for false alarms
  • Easy portability, so you can view your security feed from anywhere
  • Flexible configuration that you can set up however you want

Cons of self-monitored security systems

  • No backup protection—just you
  • Limited connection in areas with weak or no internet
  • No fail-safe option
  • Potentially more stress

Considerations when choosing a home security system

As previously mentioned, every person’s situation is unique. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when deciding which security system is right for you.

  • Home size. The bigger your home, the more complex your security can be. Monitoring a small house on your own may be easier, but it can get much harder with a large home.
  • Smart home compatibility. Those wanting to integrate security into a smart home need a smart security system compatible with what’s already installed.
  • Professional installation. We can’t recommend professional installation enough—it’s why we include it with each purchase. It provides a level of peace of mind that self-installed or DIY home security systems just can’t offer.
  • Necessary equipment. Take stock of what you want your security system to do. This will help you determine your top picks for security equipment, including indoor or outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, motion sensors, entryway sensors, and more.
Vivint home security monitoring center.

Discover why so many opt for Vivint home security systems

We hope you’ve come away from this guide with a better understanding of monitored and self-monitored security systems and how they work. Armed with this knowledge, you can make an informed decision that keeps you and your loved ones safe.

Learn more about Vivint home security systems, from our security starter kit to our more advanced, customizable security packages.

Let Vivint help you find a home security system that fits your home and lifestyle. Give us a call at 855.822.1220 to learn more 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.