Home Security 101: Protecting Your House (And What It’ll Cost)
Installing an alarm system won’t just give you peace of mind — it could also lower your homeowner’s insurance rate.
Your home is your sanctuary, and it’s a place where you should feel safe and secure. Whether you’re looking to install a full alarm systemor just set your lights to a timer, there are many ways to protect your house and the people who live in it.
Install New Locks
If you’re moving into a new home, it’s important to change the locks. Even if you trust the previous owners, you can’t know who they’ve given keys to. It’s also a good idea to change the locks if you’ve had a burglary or have loaned out too many spare keys.
According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average cost of changing locks can be anywhere from $30 to $300. For new door locks, a locksmith will typically charge $20 to $30 per lock plus the cost of labour.
Install an Alarm System
According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average installation cost of an alarm system is $695. Besides installation, homeowners will need to account for the cost of the basic equipment package, a control panel, sensors and a siren. This typically ranges from $324 to $1,102.
There are a number of upgrades you can add that will increase your bottom line. These include:
- Extra door and window sensors: $15 – $60
- Extra keychain remotes: $24
- Motion detectors: $30 – $50
- Glass break sensors: $70
- Fire, smoke, and CO2 detectors: $30 – $50
- CCTV or IP cameras: $100 – $300
- Smart home upgrades (including remotely controlled light, heat and locks): $30 – $300
Another factor to consider with your home security system is whether you want an unmonitored system or a monitored system. Unmonitored systems are typically DIY installations that alert the homeowner to an event through a smartphone app. Because there’s no professional monitoring in place, there’s no monthly fee.
Monitored systems are watched 24 hours a day by a professional security service and typically have a monthly fee between $10 and $65. They provide protection for your home whether you’re home or on the other side of the world.
A monitored system will directly alert police to criminal activity, and it can also alert you to changes in temperature, basement flooding, power outages and natural gas leaks. A monitored system can also be programmed to alert you and the fire department if carbon monoxide or smoke is detected.
Plus, while any home alarm system is better than no system at all, most home insurance providers offer significant discounts to homeowners with monitored systems.
Install Security Cameras
Video surveillance systems are available in a wide variety of styles and prices to suit your home security needs. According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average cost to install home security cameras ranges from $717 to $2,069.
Not all cameras are created equal, though. Interior security cameras are typically less expensive than exterior cameras, which have to be waterproof. Higher definition cameras also cost more than standard models. And for larger homes and properties, you’ll need more equipment.
You may also want a surveillance system that includes motion detectors, improved video resolution and professional monitoring — each of which will increase the cost of your system. Other factors to consider include:
Wired or Wireless Systems — Wired systems cost less in parts but more for installation when compared to their wireless counterparts. According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average homeowner pays between $150 and $200 per camera for professional installation with a wired system.
Wireless systems are easier for homeowners to install themselves, but they are subject to signal interference and often have lower resolution than their wired counterparts. The average price for a security camera with a wireless system is $100.
Monitored or Unmonitored Systems — Installation is more complicated with a monitored system, but it will include 24-hour monitoring and other upgrades for a monthly fee. Monitored services typically range from $30 to $65 a month with initial setup fees ranging from $0 to $200.
Recording Method — If you want to save the footage recorded by the cameras at your home, you’ll most likely need a physical Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or a digital Network Video Recorder (NVR). Footage recorded digitally on an NVR is susceptible to online hacks and power outages, but it often comes with better features like night vision and higher resolution video.
Install Security Lighting
Motion-activated lights are an economical way improve the security around your house. Installing these lights around your garage, front porch and other dimly lit locations around your property can deter potential intruders.
If you’re going to be away for more than 24 hours, light timers are a smart security feature. With modern timers, you can set your lights to random or predetermined patterns that make your home look occupied while you’re away.
Some homeowners install motion-activated lights and light timers themselves, but you can also hire a local handyman for these tasks. The cost will vary based on the number of lights he or she is setting up and the time it takes to complete the work.
You can also deter intruders by updating points of entry to your home or property. To increase the security of your house, consider these additions:
Windows — Outdated windows may not lock or even fasten securely. Newer windows have catches that prevent them from opening more than a few inches. The cost of window replacement will vary based on the size of your house and existing framework of your windows. Many newer windows are energy efficient and can pay for themselves via your energy savings. Get a custom estimate from a window replacement contractor near you
Fences — Installing a fence gives intruders another obstacle to overcome. A fencing contractor can analyze your property and unique security needs to help you find the fencing material that will work best. Get a custom estimate from a fence contractor near you
Smoke Alarms & CO2 Detectors — Every home should have properly working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have a smart home security system, you can easily integrate your monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for added safety.