The Weakness of DIY Security Systems
Jan 24, 2019
When considering getting a home security system, some especially ambitious people might assume they can set up a fully-functioning system themselves. How hard could it be? You're tech-savvy. If you can use a smartphone or set up an Amazon Echo, surely you can slap together a decent DIY security system.
The reality is that DIY systems come with some significant drawbacks. Here are some of the things to consider before you decide to take on this project yourself.
Not Professionally Installed
The importance of having your system set up by a professional with experience can't be overstated. DIY systems are deceptively tricky to install. Manufactures of these systems often claim that the setup is easy, quick, and straightforward. However, the install time is 7 hours on average, with the first 4 hours spent struggling with the system before calling customer service. Because of this, roughly 40% of people who purchase these systems return them within one month.
An experienced installer can set up a system without wondering how all the pieces are supposed to fit together, and they can do it far more quickly. Our technicians, for example, can install a system typically in under 2 hours. There's no need to deal with tech support. You can breathe easy knowing all the right boxes have been checked and everything is guaranteed to work.
You Are Stuck with Any Problems
If you find that a particular part of your DIY system isn't working correctly, you may have to figure it out yourself. Faulty setup could end up rendering the entire system useless and would put you at risk of having an undetected break-in. Unfortunately, DIY manufacturers often provide limited warranties or support, which means trying to troubleshoot an issue could quickly turn into a nightmare. You may be able to get some basic questions answered about the equipment, but you won't get the same level of assistance that you would from a company that installs and manages everything themselves.
You're also responsible for the cost of any repairs. Most traditional alarm companies will replace faulty equipment free of charge or at a reduced cost, but with the DIY route, you pay 100% of the price if something needs to be replaced. You also get hit with higher equipment costs from the start if you install it yourself since security companies may not provide warranties since they can't guarantee that everything is installed correctly.
Lack of Proper Testing
Some DIY systems like SimpliSafe fail to have their products meet NRTL standards. OSHA created the NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) program to ensure that certain types of equipment be tested and certified for their safe use. An NTRL is a private-sector organization that OSHA has recognized as meeting the legal requirements to perform testing and certification of products using consensus-based test standards. Some of their components meet these standards, but the most critical equipment (i.e., the base station) does not. This lack of proper testing leaves systems like SimpliSafe systems open to exploitation and hacking.
Advantages of a DIY system are often quickly outweighed by the disadvantages. The supposed "cheap and easy" solution is usually more expensive and difficult than anticipated. Be sure to consider which options will provide you and your family the most comprehensive, reliable, and stress free solutions. If you're considering getting a security system, our specialists are happy to help with any questions. We can help you explore and navigate the myriad of options to ensure you end up with the best possible solution to your scenario.
The Bottom Line