Saturday morning is here! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and finally install that home security system or one-off device you ordered. You’ve read all the manuals and feel ready to get the job done—until the project is finished and your system doesn’t work.
We’ve all been there. Who can blame us? It’s both gratifying and budget-savvy to take the DIY home security installation route. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when installing home security systems and products since it’s a bit more complicated than hanging a photo. That’s what we’re here to help with. Follow our tips below and check out our DIY guide to learn what to do and avoid when embarking on a DIY home security installation.
1. Take Pets into Consideration
Even the greatest DIY-er, handiest handyman (or woman), and most sophisticated home security equipment won’t work out if you have large pets. While there are many home security products (motion sensors, cameras, etc.) out there that distinguish between furry family members and intruders, most are designed for animals under 30 pounds. If you have Great Danes and Golden Retrievers, you won’t be able to install motion detection devices without setting off false alarms. Choose a home security system and products without interior motion sensors to avoid this annoyance without compromising your safety.
2. Gather All Your Tools
Most home security systems—even wireless ones—require drills, nails, screws, brackets, and tape. Replenish your toolbox before attempting to install home security products to spare yourself from having to take multiple trips to the store. Also, double check that your home security products come with mounting gear so you don’t buy twice. Then, think about where your security devices are going. You might need to rent scaffolding or a large ladder to reach high places where motion sensing cameras and the like need to be mounted.
3. Check Your Connection
Most home security devices operate through cellular uplink or wireless internet connections. Although, if you live in a rural town you might need to purchase equipment that can communicate through a landline. Whichever system you choose, read the specs to see what internet speed, cellular connection, or landline cables it needs to work properly. Otherwise, your fantastic security products will be dead on arrival.
4. Pay Attention to Battery-operated and Hard-wired Specifications
Before you buy any security equipment like smart smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, and motion sensors, learn whether the products are hard-wired or battery operated. If you’re comfortable wiring electrical, go for hard-wired. If you’d rather only have to pop in a battery and hang a Command strip, choose battery-operated models. Whatever you choose, just make sure you’re not surprised when your stuff arrives.
5. Write down Your Passwords
When you have a professional install your home security system, they’ll set you up with a password. If you do it yourself, you’re in charge! Write down your password as soon as you make it and put it somewhere safe. If you can’t disarm your security system because you forgot your password, then you’ll have to deal with a visit from the police.
6. Choose the Right Spot
So you ordered three top-of-the-line surveillance cameras, but you placed them next to a large tree that obstructs half off the lenses? This means your entire home security system has a blind spot and intruders can sneak by unseen! Before you install cameras, look right, left, up, and down so you can see if an awning, tree branch, or downspout is obstructing your camera. Every camera should have a clear 180-degree view of your home, yard, and property to utilize the wide-angle video capture.
7. Inspect Your Equipment
As soon as you open your equipment, give it a thorough inspection. Otherwise, you could fall victim to the Christmas tree light catastrophe; when you don’t test the lights, spend an hour wrapping them around the tree, and then learn they don’t work. In short, save yourself time and frustration by ensuring your security products are in working order before installing them. If there’s anything wrong, return and replace parts immediately to avoid wasting time securing your home.
8. Think about Security Deposits
Renters and homeowners can benefit from home security systems. However, if you rent an apartment, don’t choose an invasive home security system that makes a bunch of holes in your walls; that can wind up costing you your security deposit! Instead, renters should opt for a wireless security system and products that can be put up and taken down damage-free. This will also allow you to take your security system with you when you move.
9. Check for Compatibility
It’s totally possible to cobble together a home security system (without monthly monitoring) from different brands and models. However, you have to make sure each device is compatible. For instance, does your home security equipment need a hub to connect each device? Do your motion sensors, smart outlets, and smart locks work with every other brand and smartphone network? These questions are all something you should answer to avoid having to return products and waste time and money—and compromise your safety while you get up and running.
10. Test It!
Once your installation is complete, don’t forget to test it! Every nail hole and mounting bracket may be secure and pristine, but there’s a technical glitch that’s keeping your security system from connecting to the network. Run a thorough test before marking your DIY home security installation project complete (and cracking open that beer). Then, sit back and revel in your workmanship and newfound security.
Doing it yourself saves a lot of money on home security equipment installation. If you can follow directions (and this list of tips), you can do it! Make sure to check out our DIY guide for more insider tricks to help you become the master of your domain.