With all the recent press about the bump key, and having seen a bit of
a show called Catching A Thief, I'm interested in putting in a home
Should I have a pro do it or can I DIM(yself). I was an audiophile at
one time and did my own installations....don't know if that qualifies
me as being able to install an alarm system, but just trying to give
I would like sensors on the windows, doors, and motion/heat sensor.
I'd also like a camera or two on the outside of the house tied in with
a motion sensor, so it would trip if there were someone walking around
outside my house and I could look at the monitor.
Do that make stuff that can tie in with my computer so I could look
from my computer desk?
Also, if you get a pro to do the install, must you sign a X year
contract and pay for install, sign contract only..... I would prefer
to pay for the install (if not done myself) and just do a monthly
I am looking on the web to gather information, but I wanted to get
some initial information here. I don't expect anyone responding to
tell me everything about Home Security, but I would hope for some
useful responses to get me started.
Pros will sell you equipment and install it for a fee, but it won't
be cheap. Some may install equipment for a small fee if you
sign a monitoring contract. They may take the equipment back
if you cancel or don't renew.
The comp.home.automation newsgroup covers this subject.
Google "home automation" or "home security" for suppliers.
If you can wire up a HiFi , install a wireless router and have
middling computer skills........ then you can do as much home security
stuff as you could possibly want.
Even 20 years ago the stuff was pretty easy using wireless.
After we had a burglar "visit" once & then come back again two nights
later (I guess he figured he did so well in just one room, he'd see
what else he could get)
But I had mechanically secured the easily defeated latches on my 1930
wood casement windows, so he didn't get in the second time. :)
Any way, at the time a relatively new system, Schlage "Keepsafer", was
on the market, an all wireless install was available.
Just slap a sensor on every door or window & you're done, there were
optional IR motion sensors (that the forced air heat would tigger,
stopped using them,
they also had glass break sensors & pressure switch pads (I didn't get
any of either)
There was a base station & remote control "keys"
the system was inexpensive (relative to a wired install & an alarm
service) and worked very well for 10+ years but I kinda lost interest
in the whole alarm system thing and since it hadn't triggered (other
than "catching" a few times per year) I just unplugged it & put it in
The burglar turned out to be the baby sitter's brother (drug habit)
plus our neighbor really never had any kind of crime probably, dead
end street, a few retired folks to keep an eye out.
Fast forward ~20 years
The tech really hasn't improved all that much over the Schlage
"Keepsafer" which was pretty advance for it's day.
Integrating the alarm system to computers, remote web access & even
telephone notification are notable additions to capability.
unfortunately they have a gazillion products
but you can DIY all of it,
While planning your security system, consider two additional areas over and
above merely detecting or reporting a break-in:
1. Discourage the attempt in the first place. This includes such things as
security lighting, hedge-trimming, guard dogs, and, most importantly,
2. Dealing with the determined intruder. Suppose a goblin defeats your
burglar bars and doesn't care about the alarm - the "smash-and-dash" crowd?
What do you do then? Solutions range from a "safe room" (most expensive) to
a shotgun (most effective). Or both.
Remember, above all, the differences between 911 and Dial-A-Prayer are not
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