Archive for July, 2010

DIY Security Systems- You Get What You Pay For

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I’m starting to see a disturbing trend predominately in the home alarm industry. The ‘Do It Your Self Security System’.

When Home Depot and then Lowes Home Stores became really popular in the North East, a new type of reality TV show was also gaining popularity, DIY home fix up shows that showed how good results could be gotten from:

  1. good planning
  2. a low budget
  3. some general handiness
  4. lots of elbow grease.

These two factors, the stores and the shows, (among some other important ones) drove millions of people to try their hand at DIY home improvements. With predictable results. The people who had the wherewithal to handle all 4 of the important above mentioned points got good results. As the ability to handle less of these points whet down, so did the quality of the end result. Many DIY home fix up shows actually showed the home owner realizing they where in over their heads and called in a Pro for a certain portion of the job.

People who had realistic expectations, kept the projects within their range of ability, knew a bit about what they were doing, knew when to ask for professional help, were willing to put in hard work, mostly produced something that they could be proud of, something they could brag about having done themselves, and maybe, just maybe actually improved their home and it’s value. The other people, well, not so much…….

What really disturbs me is that websites, home shows, home DIY stores and even the New York Times are misleading the public into believing that a DIY security system is the equivalent of Professional Grade Equipment installed by a Licensed, Insured, Bonded and Educated Security Dealer! In the States of New Jersey, New York and all across the country, security dealers are HIGHLY regulated. Care to guess why? Because we are dealing with life safety issues! People regularly get robbed, burned and killed in their own homes. Just look at any news paper. To deceive the public into believing that a $60.00 system (NY Times) will give the same level of protection as a professionally install alarm system is a shame.

One of the benefits mentioned in the NY Times article is a lower monitoring costs for DIY systems. First of all, you really do get what you pay for. Facilities like Rapid Response Monitoring are proud to have customers tour their facility. Because they know you will leave understanding that they have done things correctly. Ask the cut rate monitoring station for a tour. Some cut rate monitoring stations are nothing more than an automated system (a server sitting in a server farm somewhere in the Meadow Lands of NJ) with minimal human interaction. How can you even be sure that the connection to the central station is done correctly? Believe it or not, this is one of the trickiest parts of system installation.

When installing DIY security, particularly when adding smoke detectors, you may unknowingly be modifying the home in a way that violates the International Building Code and thus voiding your homes Certificate of Occupancy.

DIY security fine fine for some situations, but keep your expectations realistic and know when to call in a professional. Like me. 201-447-9696