What Constitutes Top-of-the-Line Home Security Monitoring?
By Space Coast Daily // February 24, 2021
Monitoring is a big part of installing a home security system. Both professionally installed and DIY systems come with monitoring options. The question is this: what constitutes top-of-the-line monitoring?
Not all monitoring options are created equal. First, understand the difference between professional and DIY monitoring. The former involves connecting your home security system to a professional monitoring service that keeps an eye on things 24 hours a day.
Professional monitoring is characterized by fully trained home security specialists responding to your system’s alerts from a remote location.
DIY monitoring is just what its name suggests: you monitor your system yourself, relying on alerts being sent to your mobile device, email, or both. You can program DIY monitoring to send you alerts based on specific parameters. What you do about those alerts is up to you.
Choosing Between the Two
Choosing between professional and DIY monitoring is often a matter of price and objective. When price is the main consideration, DIY monitoring wins. You do not pay for it because you are doing it yourself. But when it comes to the objective, professional monitoring certainly has an advantage.
Having your system professionally monitored means having someone paying attention around the clock. Whether you are home or not, there is an extra set of eyes and ears on your system. Things are even being monitored when you are asleep. It is hard to beat professional monitoring if you want maximum protection at all times.
5 Things to Monitor
Once you settle the question of professional vs. DIY monitoring, the next step is to determine the things you want to monitor for. There are five primary options, each of which adds to the cost of both the security system and monitoring services.
1. Unauthorized Intrusion
The first thing that usually comes to mind in discussions of home security monitoring is burglary. Burglary is just one form of unauthorized intrusion that security system monitoring can pay attention to.
Monitoring is achieved through a number of hardware devices:
■ Window and Door Sensors – Sensors placed on windows and doors utilize magnets and electricity to create a constant connection. Upon entry, a two-piece sensor is separated, breaking the connection and triggering an alarm.
■ Motion Sensors – Using infrared and other types of technology, motion sensors detect movement in a given area. They can be used both indoors and out.
■ Glass Break Sensors – Sometimes breaking a window is easier than opening it. A glass break sensor sends an alert when glass is broken.
■ Video Cameras – Although often thought of separately, video cameras are a form of sensor for detecting unauthorized intrusion. They have the advantage of providing live video feeds during intrusion events.
Intrusion monitoring is considered entry-level in the home security market. You would be hard-pressed to find a monitored security system that did not offer it.
2. Fire Monitoring
The earliest home security systems offered both intrusion and fire monitoring. In terms of the latter, monitoring is a matter of deploying detectors throughout the premises. A detector in or around the kitchen is considered standard. At least one or two more near the bedrooms is also fairly common.
Smoke detectors work by emitting and measuring light beams. If a light beam is interrupted between emitter and sensor by way of smoke, an alarm is triggered. In the case of a monitored system, an alert would be immediately sent to either the monitoring center or the homeowner’s mobile device.
3. Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
If you are willing to pay a little more, you can add carbon monoxide monitoring to your home security system. Specialized sensors are installed throughout the home to measure carbon monoxide levels 24/7. Any such detection automatically triggers an alarm.
Carbon monoxide monitoring is absolutely critical – even if that means purchasing standalone detectors you install yourself – for the simple fact that carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas capable of killing. The key to effective monitoring is installing CO detectors in the right places.
4. Excess Water
In a recent blog post targeting Texas homeowners, Vivint mentioned two types of monitoring that don’t get a lot of attention. One was monitoring for excess water. Whether that means keeping an eye on a home located in a flood-prone area or just monitoring for plumbing leaks or burst water tanks, this type of monitoring can prove invaluable.
Monitoring for excess water is as simple as installing sensors in the lowest level of the home. Installed at floor level, they are able of detecting the slightest bit of water collection that could prove damaging. A triggered sensor would send an alarm right away, giving the homeowner opportunity to respond.
5. Medical Monitoring
Finally, modern home security systems can be equipped with medical monitoring. Medical monitoring keeps an eye on things when one or more occupants of a home need special attention. One way to achieve this is to provide occupants with some sort of device that can be carried or worn. In the event of a medical emergency, the individual simply presses a button to alert the monitoring center.
Medical monitoring is ideal for seniors who want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. It is an excellent solution for any caregiver whose home is occupied by individuals suffering from chronic illness. It is an option that not only protects, but also adds peace of mind.
Customizing Your System
At the end of the day, top-of-the-line monitoring would include every option provided by a professional monitoring service. Your monitoring company would be watching for unauthorized intrusion, fire, carbon monoxide, excess water, and medical emergencies. What must be understood is that not all monitoring providers offer all five services.
Depending on what you are trying to accomplish with your home security system, this could influence your choice of security systems. Also note that adding every monitoring option adds hardware to your system. It goes without saying that top-of-the-line monitoring costs more than entry-level monitoring. Still, it might be worth it to you.