Complete Guide to DIY Home Security Set-Up

In Home Defense Tips by homedefense

You are serious about getting that security system installed to protect your home. You have decided to do it yourself saving you installation cost. You are now saying to yourself, what are the steps I need to take to install my own home security system.

You are in luck because we are going to go through everything you need to know about a DIY home security system set up. Let’s look at a brief overview of what information you will find in this article.

The logical place to start is to look at what type of security systems are out there and which one is right for you. I had to go through this process when I was looking for a home security system. Just like you, I had no clue which one of these systems I needed for what I wanted to do. I did my research to come up with the 2 systems I liked and then decided on price, benefits, and features.

Which home security system to choose

To understand which system to buy you need to answer some questions to see what system may best fit what you are looking for in a DIY system.

  1. What type of DIY system do you want when it comes to monitoring? There are two types of monitoring you can choose from either you monitor your own alarm or you pay a company to monitor the home.
    • You monitor the alarm – If you pick a DIY system that you have to do the monitoring. This means if the alarm alert comes up on your phone you have to call the police or fire. No matter what triggered the alarm if someone breaks into your home while you are away or a fire started. You will have to call the police or fire department. This means 24/7 you will be monitoring your home.
    • Professional Alarm Company will do the monitoring – You can pay for a company to monitor the home. If the security system is tripped it will go to the monitoring company. The staff will call you to see if it was an accidental alarm. If you do not answer the courtesy call from the monitoring company they will dispatch the police to the home. When the monitoring company calls if it was a false alarm you can tell them so the police will not be dispatched.

You have determined which type of monitoring you would like to use. Now you need to look at the different alarm companies to see which one fits what you are looking for in an alarm.

DIY Alarm Systems that you do the monitoring

Here is a list of the companies at the time this article was written that allow you to do the monitoring yourself. This means you download an app from the company you buy from and that app is connected to the security system.

If there is a break in when you are not home your phone app will alert you that someone has triggered the alarm. You can look at an internal camera if you have one installed to see if anyone entered the home.

If you do not have a camera set up then you would have to call the police to have them go to your home because the alarm has been triggered. Basically, you are the alarm monitoring company for your home security.

Some homeowners do not like doing there own monitoring they would rather have a professional company do the monitoring. It all depends on how you want to secure your home.

Adobe
iSmartAlarm
Skylink
SmartThings
Nest
Wink

Adobe – What do you get

  • No monthly fees
  • Can do push or text notifications if alarm sounds
  • Can do phone call notifications using VIA IFTTT
  • Can do remote arm and disarm the system
  • Does have battery backup
  • Works with Amazon Echo, Google assistant, Nest
  • Depends on the package you buy but you get door and window sensors plus motion detector
  • Additional features like a smoke alarm or video surveillance would be an additional cost
  • The base kit is at 5 stars for 93% out of 15 customers

iSmartAlarm – Will give you

  • No monthly fees
  • Can do push or text notifications if alarm sounds
  • Can do phone call notifications
  • Can do remote arm and disarm the system
  • Does not have battery backup you need to add UPS
  • Works with Amazon Echo, iSmart Plug
  • Depends on the package you buy but you get door and window sensors plus motion detector
  • Additional features like a smoke alarm or video surveillance would be an additional cost
  • The base kit is at 5 stars for 46% out of 903 customers, read reviews before buying

SkyLink – Features

  • Arm/disarm the system and see the sensor status with the Skylink App
  • IFTTT compatible, allowing you to integrate the system seamlessly with other manufacturer Smarthome devices.
  • SkylinkNet available for IOS and Android.
  • Receive push notifications anytime a new activity takes place.
  • No monthly fees and no contract.
  • Conveniently arm/disarm with the Keychain Remote within a range of 300ft. Easy Installation and do-it-yourself (DIY).
  • Add up to 100 sensors or controllers for additional control.
  • In case of a power outage, backup batteries will provide additional protection and uninterrupted runtime.
  • Event Log stores all recent activities in your history.
  • Add up to ten cameras for video monitoring; view live and recorded footage.
  • Add Outdoor Solar Siren for additional security.
  • Be connected during a power failure by External Telephone Dialer.
  • All sensors and main unit are operated by AA/AAA alkaline batteries to ensure low cost running cost.
  • You can check out SkyLink cost and rating

What’s included SkyLink:

  • Internet Hub
  • 1 x Window/Door Sensor
  • 1 x Motion Sensor
  • Power Adapter
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Mounting Accessories

SmartThings – What do you get

  • No monthly fees
  • Can do push or text notifications if alarm sounds
  • Can do phone call notifications using VIA IFTTT
  • Can do remote arm and disarm the system
  • Does have battery backup
  • Works with Amazon Echo, Google assistant, Z-Wave, Zigbee
  • Depends on the package you buy but you get door and window sensors plus a motion detector
  • Additional features like a smoke alarm or video surveillance would be an additional cost
  • The base kit is at 3.5 stars for 47% out of 2262 customers

Nest – Has gotten popular

  • No monthly fees
  • Can do push or text notifications if alarm sounds
  • Can do phone call notifications using VIA IFTTT
  • Can do remote arm and disarm the system
  • Does have battery backup
  • Works with Amazon Echo, Google assistant, Z-Wave, Zigbee
  • Depends on the package you buy but you get door and window sensors plus motion sensor that is integrated with window/door sensors. Nest gives two sensors with base
  • Additional features like a smoke alarm or video surveillance would be an additional cost
  • Best Buy had this base kit at 4 stars for 79% out of 84 customers

Wink – Here is what they offer

  • No Required Monthly Fees
  • Real Human Support
  • Free Shipping in the US
  • 30-Day Return Policy

What’s Included in Wink:

  • Wink Hub 2
  • 2x Door / Window Sensors
  • Motion Sensor
  • Siren & Chime
  • Power Adapter
  • Ethernet Cable

To check out more on Wink visit here.

I hope that helps you look at what is currently on the market for security systems that allow you to do your own monitoring.

Many of the systems we just discussed will allow you to add on monitoring for a cost. If you do not want to monitor your home you can pay to have a company do it. Here are the security systems that offer monitoring.

iSmartAlarm is the only system listed above that does not allow you to add on monitoring services. Here are the systems that offer monitoring for an additional monthly cost.

  • Adobe
  • Iris
  • Skylink
  • SmartThings
  • Nest
  • Wink

Some other DIY security systems that include monitoring. The security systems listed below all have monitoring with the systems.

We will look at the features below for the three security systems with monitoring.

Simplisafe

  • Cellular communication
  • Plug-and-play
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • SMS or email alert features
  • You can install it yourself so no installation fees
  • Very affordable system
  • Add as many sensors or you can add a camera
  • Amazon rating was 3.6 out of 5 stars with 75% at 5 stars

Simplisafe at this time does not offer home automation.

LiveWatch which is now Brinks

  • Wireless I don’t need cable or phone line
  • The console has panic buttons so if you pressed any of those buttons fire or police come no matter what
  • It works just as advertised
  • Remote you can use to turn on or off the alarm
  • The package I got had 3 door sensors and one motion sensor which is all I needed
  • I found a special and paid $99 but with the special, I had to do monitoring for $29 a month and you had to do it for 12 months.
  • After 12 months I can cancel monitoring anytime so no contract
  • SMS texts and email alerts
  • Can name sensors to know which one was triggered or to know if there is an issue

Frontpoint

  • This system is pretty easy to install yourself
  • They have 24/7 monitoring which most systems that offer monitoring they all provide 24/7 so nothing new
  • DIY to save on installation
  • Tons of accessories to choose from
  • Frontpoint does require a contract at the time we wrote this
  • Does have Z-Wave home automation option but you have to buy their highest tier to get it

You have reviewed the DIY home security systems with self-monitoring and professional monitoring. Most of the systems offer the same type of base system. The real difference is in the price for the equipment and the pricing for monitoring if you decide you want that feature. Check out the pricing and reviews which is what I did when I decided to buy LiveWatch for my property.

We are now going to look at the basic installation of a DIY home security system. Many people look at the DIY installation and want nothing to do with it. I will tell you installing one of these is really easy.

When you first decide to buy and install your own home security system. I would actually map out a plan if you really go all out and buy all the options for the security systems listed. If you were buying security cameras, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, a video doorbell, and additional sensors. You want to maybe just put together a design so you have an overall idea of how you want everything installed.

If you are just installing the basic packages for these alarm systems then you do not need a plan. Usually, they give you 2 door sensors and a motion sensor which is pretty easy to figure out where you want to install the devices.

Installing the equipment for a new security system

The first place I looked at installing the sensors is on my doors. The doors are the most common way someone will break into a home. I would put one sensor on the front door and one sensor on the back door.  

Door installation

  • No tools needed unless the frame of the door and door itself do not line up.
  • I just took the first part of the sensor and it has a sticky back so I pressed it against the edge of the door where I wanted it. I then took the second section and pressed the sticky part to the door frame. The hard part is you need the two parts to be close to even and both parts need to line up. The other issue if the door and door frame do not align you may have to do some creative stuff to get the two parts to line up.

Motion sensor installation

  • The motion sensor has a sticky back so you can stick it to the wall but I just put it on the fireplace mantle scanning the living room and dining room. This is an easy install when it comes to the motion sensor.

Window sensor installation

  • Window sensors you just have to install the same way you do the doors. Add one part to the window and the other part stick to the frame with both sections lined up. The alarm will trip when someone opens the window breaking the two section pieces.

Additional add-on devices installation

  • When adding devices to a security system you can add cameras, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and additional sensors. You can also add on home automation features with certain systems. These different add-ons are pretty straightforward to install and integrate. If you have any trouble just call the security system company and a representative can help you with any issues.

Amazon and Google integration

  • Amazon Echo or Google Home can also be integrated with many of the new security systems on the market today. If you want to use your Amazon Echo or Google Home make sure the system you buy is compatible with either.

The system I bought was LiveWatch so I called their customer support center and talked to the activation center to do the install. The other alarm systems you will have to look at their guides when they ship you the equipment to install. If all these systems are as easy as LiveWatch you should have no problems doing the install and activation.

Important Information on Permits – Make sure you get an alarm permit for your system before activating the alarm. Many cities require you to have a permit before the monitoring company can activate your system. You just need to get online and look up alarm permit for Columbus Ohio. The website should come up in the search then you just fill out the application and send them a check.

App install

App install for LiveWatch was easy and it allows me to monitor my system. If the alarm is set off the app will also alert me to the alarm. I got the basic system so the app was not that big of a deal for me. Many of these systems if you get the more robust packages the apps can really control many aspects of the security of the home.

Let’s look at another new and popular component of the home security system video doorbells.

Recently with the reports online about package stealing especially at Christmas. People have started buying video doorbell systems for their front door. I have a video doorbell system from a brand called AKASO. The most popular video doorbell is the Ring system.

Here is a list of top 5 video doorbell systems

Skybell

  • HD video
  • Hear and speak to anyone at the door
  • Live monitoring
  • Motion sensor
  • Color night vision
  • Free video recording
  • Must connect to old doorbell wires this is not battery powered
  • You can check out reviews here

Ring

  • HD video
  • Hear and speak to anyone at the door
  • Motion sensor
  • Color night vision
  • Video recording there is a cost
  • Battery powered but can also connect to old doorbell wires
  • Works with Alexa and Google Home
  • Check out the reviews of this doorbell

Akaso

  • HD video
  • Hear and speak to anyone at the door
  • Motion sensor
  • Night vision
  • Video recording to a san disk
  • Battery powered but can also connect to old doorbell wires
  • Check out the pricing and reviews

Nest

  • HD video
  • Hear and speak to anyone at the door
  • Motion sensor
  • Night vision
  • Video recording to the cloud
  • Connect to old doorbell wires
  • Works with Google

August

  • HD video
  • Hear and speak to anyone at the door
  • Motion sensor
  • Night vision
  • Video recording to the cloud for the previous 24 hour period free
  • Connect to old doorbell wires
  • Works with many smart home devices
  • Smart lock integration

You might be trying to figure out which video doorbell is right for your home. Most of these systems have similar benefits and features. I bought the AKASO because the reviews on Amazon were good and they have a battery that powers it. The wires I have in my home for the doorbell were too short for me to connect to it. That is why I needed a doorbell that had a battery for power. I also liked the price and all the good reviews. The system has worked well for me the last 9 months I have had the system.

The installation of these video doorbells is really straightforward and requires minimal effort. I was able to install and get mine working within maybe an hour to an hour and a half. I had to adjust the motion sensor but once I did that it works really well.

Installation video doorbells

I just needed a drill, some concrete screws and the parts they gave me. I already had one of the holes in the concrete brick so I marked the other hole and drilled it out. I then took the back side of the doorbell and screwed it into the brick wall on my porch. I did not use the old doorbell wires because they were too short I instead used the battery that came with the system. The battery is rechargeable and I have not had to charge it for 9 months. I installed the outside video camera to the back side and use their special screw to secure it so no one can steal it from my porch. I then loaded the app and configured the system.

The reason I got one is the postman told us someone has been stealing packages in our neighborhood. He said we should not leave packages too long on the front porch. With the video doorbell, the postman usually rings the doorbell alerting me a package is there or the motion sensor alerts me. I then have my wife or my kids can grab the package so no one steals it. The video doorbell also deters thieves once they see it on the porch because they know if they grab my package I will capture their face on the video camera.

I hope the review of the security systems for users that self-monitor and users that use a monitoring company helped you. We wanted to give an overview of the features and benefits. Then we wanted to look at installation since these security systems are a DIY installation. If you wanted to look at any other home security products you can check out our recommendation page to see what we use and like to secure our home.