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We ensure your home is monitored and secured for a variety of disasters. Deciding whether or not to install your own surveillance cameras depends on the type of cameras and your personal comfort level. If the information in this article or the manufacturers’ instructions make your head spin, there’s no need to tackle it alone. Security cameras that you’ll be monitoring yourself as opposed to professionally monitored security systems usually have the simplest installation. Many of these cameras communicate via Wi Fi and only need hard wiring to their power source. Smaller cameras like video doorbells and peephole cameras frequently use batteries, which is even more user friendly. Outdoor security cameras can present more of a challenge, especially if the home’s exterior has limited power sources, if you don’t have many tools or if you are concerned about affecting your home’s appearance. In these cases, you may want to hire a professional with experience on prior camera installs. Finally, there are some circumstances where you can’t install your own cameras. Many leading providers of monitored home security systems such as ADT and Vivint require professional installation to make sure everything is in working order. In these cases, a trained technician visits your house to relieve you of this responsibility altogether.

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Although we may reach out for technical support or for clarification on a particular feature, the companies have no input on our testing practices and we don’t share our results or rankings with them before publishing our reviews. As we researched this topic and security systems in general, we reached out to Jamie Vos, vice president of the Electronic Security Association ESA for his thoughts on DIY systems. He emphasized professional monitoring for security systems: “If you receive a text alert, you may not be in a condition to respond and you may not hear an alarm. At that point, you have lost valuable response time, whereas a professional monitoring station can automatically alert first responders. ”We also contacted Kirk MacDowell, a board member with the Security Industry Association SIA and president of MacGuard Security Advisors Inc. He said a security system can act as a central heartbeat in the home. “Devices such as locks that can be opened remotely, home light control and thermostats that can raise or lower temperature are all tied into one convenient app and then tied into the alarm, making the operation seamless. ”How we tested DIY home automated systems For each new DIY security system, we test in two areas: user experience and ease of installation. These help build a picture of a system's effectiveness and how it affects you. For user experience tests, we see what each system and its companion smartphone app can do. In our experience, the best DIY home security systems have many ways to arm and disarm so you don't always need your smartphone.