We're in the process of researching home security systems for a house. We're in the process of remodeling (door change, painting, etc), so I'd like to do that at the same time. Our contractor has a standard solution that they are pushing on us. I have no reason to mistrust them, but I also don't want to adopt a system without doing a modicum of research.

I am looking for:

  • General advice on security systems,
  • Sources of impartial information on same (like CR),
  • Any input on key and not so key features for a security system (motion sensors, glass break sound sensor, contacts at doors and windows, etc, etc).

At this point I am not looking for general security advice (making the house less attractive, getting a dog, etc).

Our house is in an upper middle class area of town, and is certainly a potential target. We have several entry doors and several ground-level or accessible windows.

1 Answer 1


It all depends on how much money you are willing to spend. Obvisly the contractor is pushing some ready to fit diy type security system.

In this case you need to ask him, will the unit allow you to connect to a security company such as ADT/Police via a phone line/ gprs module? as a future option. maybe get him to put a phone wire to the main box ready just to avoid redesigning later. Always good to run 1 6core and a spare 6core in case you want to add more sensors later. Does it have a backup power supply and how often do you have to change the battery and how much will it cost. maybe buy 1 or 2 spare in advance. Will it let you know when the batteries life time is over.(nothing lasts forever)

That was the basic part.

Now thinking of intermidiete planning and costs at a later stage.

Does the unut generally allow you to upgrade to features such as remote access via internet (by purchasing an addon module to the main system), secure/desecure via Bluetooth, module to call another number on alarm trigger like your mobile, your partner (you set your mobile to always have a loud alarm even on silent when the alarm line calls you)

Now thinking of a more hightech and costly solution.

Will the system allow you to include cctv cameras with motion sensing and remote viewing of video via internet.These do not have to be wired- but jammers are easy to buy now a days, and cables are easy to cut--if exposed) Maybe run spare coax cables with power supply in places where you think you might want to have cameras installed and let them lead to the main box in the loft/secret space somewhere.

Ask him what is the make of the system.. and go google it. find a forum see what people have to say about- see if you can find your own prebuilt diy system that might meet your needs and has an option to expand.

If the contractor has no idea what you talking about.. get a specialist security person in to work with your building contractor.. otherwise you might regret it later.

  • 1
    I'm surprised that more systems aren't designed with internet/networking support. It allows the alarm company to implement VoIP to the keypads to talk to anyone that set off the alarm, allows constant heartbeats to detect when the wire has been cut, and allows it to interface with other home automation systems (thermostat, X10 lighting, etc). Lots of the internet modules out there are just VoIP boxes that reconvert the modem's analog back into digital, which is problematic and loses lots of functionality.
    – BMitch
    Aug 16, 2011 at 13:13
  • well - you are right- but people look for value for money systems- ones you can find in asda/tesco/walmart/amazon for 39.99. I agree- i a good system is a cctv enabled one that uses zones (triggers,sensors and motion detection) + its programmable for pro active defense (but that is so overkill for some people and too complicated) Most people just want a pin 1234 - Alarm on and they go on vacation..
    – Piotr Kula
    Aug 16, 2011 at 13:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.