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The One Stop DIY Home Security Guide

DIY Home Security

DIY home security doesn’t mean rigging your own system from fishing line, duct tape, and other odds ends around the house.  It simply entails installing products yourself that make your home safer.  There are many different choices depending on what you’re looking for and your budget.  Here is what you need to know about each.

Deterrents

One of the least expensive and most often overlooked DIY home security choices are deterrents.  Fake security cameras for example usually only cost a few dollars but can make the difference between a criminal targeted your house or deciding to move on to a less protected one.  That’s because most cameras look so real that they can even sometimes fool security experts.  A large number even use the shell of a real camera but without the components inside to record of course.

DIY Home Security

They are meant to be obvious and placed somewhere they can easily be seen by would-be criminals.  And as even the dumbest of them know, getting caught on camera is a bad thing.  In addition to being extremely realistic looking, some also include a red light to indicate to anyone checking it out that it is recording.  Others may have a motion detector sensor that starts the camera swiveling when someone approaches.

Fake security cameras can be installed in a matter of minutes and are often used to make an existing real camera system  look like it has more eyes watching than it really does.  Adding yard signs which clearly say your property has a surveillance system along with your cameras can also be an extremely effective and cheap combination that most criminals will avoid like the plague.

Security Cameras

Outdoors

For those who require a real camera there are many DIY home security cameras to choose from both indoors and out.  When placed outside at strategic locations like the front and back doors, on the side of the house, near basement access, or close to off-street windows you can not only deter crime but catch someone in the act if they actually do try and break in or damage your property.

DIY Home Security

 

Outdoor security cameras and their components can be bought individually but the best deals can be found in purchasing entire systems.  Virtually all of these can be installed by the average person which can save you even more cash.  Just be sure to choose one that is weatherproof and has an effective range that is suitable for your needs.  Having LED’s for night vision is also very important too.  Today many systems are wireless and can record video to your DVR.

Indoors

For use indoors there are even more options since they don’t have to be durable enough to deal with the weather.  The majority don’t look nearly as obtrusive as the ones used outside.  In fact many look just like webcams and have a base so they can be simply placed down on any counter top, table, or desk where they will have an unobstructed view of the room and don’t require you to put any holes in your walls.  Others can be mounted on the wall or give you the option of both.

DIY Home Security

Many consumers use their DIY home security camera not just for surveillance but to keep an eye the kids and pets when in another room or from outside the house via a smart phone or computer. A few models even have two way radios so you can have a conversation with your family if you need to, or talk to your pet if it’s looking lonely or getting into something it shouldn’t.

Motion detector cameras or ones which have a motion detector setting are very popular because they only record when the sensor is triggered. That means if you were to need to watch the footage later on, it would take much less time to do so. While some DIY home security camera systems record to an SD card, other models may save to a DVR.  There are also many IP cameras that will keep your footage in the cloud as opposed to physically in your home.

DIY Home Security

Motion Sensors  

One of the least expensive DIY options are motion sensors. These are also both a cinch to use and set up, and you can often have them up and running within a few minutes of taking them out of the box. While some units use a reflective beam, the majority use a sensor with infrared technology that detects changes in heat, and therefore picks up movement by humans and animals. When the sensor is triggered it sends a signal to a receiver and either an alert or alarm is sounded.  They can do a phenomenal job of letting you know anytime someone or something has entered your property.

You can choose to go with just one sensor or many manufacturers offer models which can be used with multiple sensors for each receiver.  By using more than one sensor in different locations you can create a simple yet effective DIY home security system.  Some but not all units can also be set up so that different sensors can have their own alert tones allowing you to instantly know where someone has entered your property by the unique sound.  Motions sensors can also be used indoors and ones which are battery operated can be portable for use when camping along with a wide range of other applications.

DIY Home Security

Driveway Alarms

DIY home security systems don’t just target people but vehicles too.  A driveway alarm can be used to alert you whenever a car or truck has entered your driveway.  A large number of these are actually infrared motion detector systems that are meant to be installed with the sensors near your driveway. If that is the case they will be triggered by humans too.  Other units may actually only be set off by vehicles. This type is known as a magnetic driveway alarm as it will go off only when something large and metal passes through its electromagnetic field. Normally sensors of this type are buried under the ground requiring you to simply dig a hole. Driveway alarms are a great way to add to an existing alarm system or can be used on their own.

DIY Home Security

Window and Door Alarms

Another low-cost DIY option are window and door alarms.  Both function in the same way and many units can be on the door or window.  Each alarm comes in two parts. One is attached to the window frame or door frame while the other is mounted on the window or door itself.  When the window or door is in the closed position the two pieces are parallel to each other.  But when either is opened the alarm will recognize that the pieces are separated and be triggered.

Using both of these can help you to make sure all entry points that a thief could use to get in your home are being monitored.  Some models have different modes so that if you know you will be opening your doors or windows frequently you can set them to only make an audible alert when opened as opposed to an actual alarm.  This can also be very helpful for letting you know when young children are going in and out.

DIY Home Security

 

***All-In-One DIY Home Security System Packages***

One of the biggest sellers in recent years are all inclusive packages or kits.  These are entire systems that conveniently come in one box and are very appealing for many reasons.  One of the biggest incentives is price.  In the past your only option was to pay a private security company a hefty installation fee and then also every month for monitoring it.   This can really add up to a lot of cash spent especially over time, and is the most common reason the majority of homeowners do not choose to purchase one in the first place.  DIY home security systems are a game changer.  They are affordable, usually not more than a few hundred dollars, and offer a tremendous value for what they provide.

Basically it is fairly simple concept. You purchase a system which means that you personally own all of the components not a company.  Those components are then installed by you, which is designed to be as effortless a process as possible. If you want a system which is monitored by a security company many brands offer this service with their products for a greatly reduced monthly fee.  A lot of consumers prefer this knowing that if there is an emergency the company will contact the police or fire department for them.

DIY Home Security

The other option is an unmonitored system which is monitored by you and costs nothing every month.  Typically if there if there is a break in you will get a text message or phone call to alert you and a loud siren will sound to let others know something is wrong.  Some unmonitored systems have a direct-dial feature which will automatically call emergency services.

Each individual system is different in what it includes which is really great because when shopping it allows you to choose the best DIY home security system for your unique needs and budget.  In general they will usually have multiple motion detectors, window alarms, a siren, and a console where everything is controlled. Remotes that can be used to arm and disarm your alarm are pretty standard as well. Some remotes may also have a panic button which can instantly let your security company know you are in serious trouble.

DIY Home Security

 

An intercom that allows you to speak with people in the house can be very handy feature, as can one that just lets you secretly listen in on what’s being said in the house.  A few kits include security cameras too which can allow you to see inside your home when at the office, on vacation, or even in another country from a computer, tablet, or smart phone.  Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can also be something to look for, if you want a truly all-in-one system.

Because it makes installation much easier for the average consumer, the majority of kits are not hardwired, meaning they aren’t physically wired into the house’s electrical power supply. Instead sensors usually run on battery power while consoles and sirens may need to be plugged in but have a backup battery just in case of a power outage.  That is why you will see them advertised as, “DIY wireless home security systems”.  And, they may operate using a cell connection, land line, or a combination of the two in order to help guarantee that if one were not to work the alarm system would not be affected.

DIY Home Security

When shopping for one, the best place to look is online.  That’s because unlike in local shops, or even some of the really big home stores, you’ll not only be able to find the biggest discount but also accessories and add-ons for the system you want that are not always available where you live.  Being able to check out the latest DIY home security system reviews is always a plus too.

Home security is one type of Do It Yourself project that often times requires little or no skill yet that can pay huge dividends in safety, peace of mind, and protection from theft.  Consider what area you would like to keep safe and what level of protection you need to make deciding on an option easy.  In the end like all DIY projects, when it’s completed you’ll feel a little extra bit of pride every time you use it, knowing you installed it by yourself.

DIY Home Security

 Extra DIY Home Security Tips

-One of the most important yet overlooked things you can do to help ensure the security of your home is to not skimp out when it comes to quality.  While this may seem like common sense and it is, many consumers love DIY projects because they save money, however it is very important that you always purchase high quality products.  While it’s smart to buy on sale and take advantage of good deals, even if it costs a little more, by sticking with the top brands you can greatly increase the chances of protecting your home.

– If you will be installing motion detectors and also own pets, it’s very important to place your sensors where they won’t be set off by your animals.  You can achieve this either by setting them at a height taller than your pets or at an upward facing angle.  When using them outdoors you may also want to be careful there are no shrubs or tree branches in the field of view of your motion detector that are likely to sway back and forth in strong winds and cause a false alarm.

DIY Home Security

– Even though most DIY options are made to be easy for the average person to install, some may require a little more skill than others.  Also, not everyone has the same physical abilities, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who is handy if you need it. Even the best DIY home security systems can’t be expected to function properly if they are not installed correctly from the start.

-Criminals are often surprising good climbers, especially when motivated by your valuables.  To keep your home from being a target be sure to cut down any tree branches that could help a thief gain access to the upper floors of your house.

-Any shrubs or bushes that could also provide cover for a criminal while breaking into the lower floor windows or even doors should be trimmed down or removed. If you insist on having plants in these locations stick to ones with thorns that would make any attempt to hide behind them extremely painful.

-Making it seem like you’re home when you’re not can also be a huge deterrent.  Something as simple as setting timers for lights or just leaving the TV on can often times prevent a break in.

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Biometric Door Locks For Unmatched Security

Biometric Door Lock

Biometric devices are ones which  can identify users by their unique physical characteristics.  While this technically could mean your eyes via a retinal or iris scan most often when it comes to door locks they use your finger print. The fact that there has never been a case so far in recorded history of two people having the same fingerprint patterns makes them a perfect way to identify  and allow in only the users who should have access.

Advantages

There are many advantages of using a biometric door lock over other types.  Such as:

No Keys

Whether it’s  the front door of your home or a secure room in an office or business having to constantly use a key can not only be annoying but inconvenient as well.  Phishing around in your pockets or bag looking for it is a huge time waster not to mention if you happen to actually forget or lose that key.  Even if you are carrying groceries, files, or supplies in your other hand a biometric door lock lets you get inside with no hassle, pocket searching, or time wasting. Simply place your finger on the scanner and you’re in.

Biometric Door Lock

Most Secure

Unlike with keys which can be stolen or copied, and pass codes which can be sometimes figured out or stealthily observed, fingerprints provide access only to the person to whom they belong.  Biometric fingerprint door locks can be programmed to accept multiple users’ fingerprints or just yours, it’s up to your needs.  By using this type of technology you won’t have to worry if someone is looking over your shoulder or has found your spare key, unless they are authorized they are not getting in.

Simple To Use And Update

While fingerprint scanning technology might seem hi-tech using and updating locks that use it is pretty simple.  This is always a good thing especially if you are not a tech-savvy person.  It also makes them an even more ideal option for businesses and situations where employees may be fired and need to be removed from the system and denied access immediately.

Easy Installation

These locks are also easy to install.  You don’t need any special doors and they can be used to replace your existing lock which will usually only require having to drill a few extra holes.  Some models will actually come with all the tools you need to do so.  That being said we always recommend you have your lock installed by a professional locksmith.  You’re much better off paying a few extra bucks to guarantee that it has been installed correctly.

Biometric Door Lock

How Does A Biometric Door Lock System Work?

While each model has its own specific features in general they all basically work in the same way. You place your finger on the sensor which in turn scans your fingerprint.  If the mapping of your specific fingerprint matches one which has been previously marked by computer algorithms and stored in the locks database it will open.  Locks run on battery power and those batteries are of course safely on the inside of the door.  Virtually all units will have some type of alert to let you know when they start running low which is normally at least after a year of use sometimes much longer.  They usually also will have backup keys for in case of the off chance that you are unable to change the batteries before they die. Other units may come with an external power pack that plugs into the lock giving it power so you can get in.

Residential and Commercial Biometric Door locks

Unlike other types of door locks most biometric door lock systems are actually designed to be able to be used for either residential or commercial use.  That is why you will find in shopping for one that the majority of models have commercial lever handles as opposed to standard knobs. Most  can also store quite a high number of fingerprints if necessary so that if you were using your lock in a business or office setting with many employees you would be able to allow as many as you need access.  But if you wanted to use the same one as a biometric front door lock for your residence you could do that too.

Biometric Door Lock

One thing you need to take into consideration regardless of whether your lock will be used in a home or business is if it will be used outdoors.  If it will be you must check the specifications for the model you are considering to make sure that it is rated for outdoor use.  Many units made for the outdoors will have a sliding cover to protect the fingerprint scanner from UV rays and water.  That being said, you could still use one that is not made for outdoor use as your biometric home door lock if it is in a protected from the elements like on an enclosed front porch or behind a storm door for example.

Top Brands

Since your door lock is meant to serve as a line of defense it is always very important only to purchase from a reputable brand.  And for these types of locks there are a few which really stand out amongst the competition according to biometric door lock reviews and have some excellent features as well.

While most consumers know Samsung for their cell phones, they also make some fabulous locks.  Samsung biometric door locks are very tough, incredibly attractive and have some extras that make a big difference.  For example their Exon model offers an automatic sliding cover for the fingerprint sensor and a double authorization mode for even higher security that requires both the correct fingerprint scan and access code. It will also produce an audible alarm if tampered with to deter any would-be thieves.  They also offer several models which need no turning of door handles but use a push/ pull system where you push from the outside and pull from the inside. These will display whether the door is “locked,” or “unlocked,” on the display and have an optional indoor wireless remote controller.

Biometric Door Lock

Adel is another big name which is well-trusted for making high quality electronic locks.  Adel biometric fingerprint door locks, of which there are quite a few models, colors, and materials can hold over one hundred fingerprints in their database and have a “remain open,” function for when you have meetings or parties and need to allow the door to stay unlocked.  Scyan brand has one of the most unique features which is the self-learning ability of their locks which actually updates the fingerprint template of each user after it has been scanned to reduce the chance of a rejection.  Some of the other best biometric door lock brands include: iTouchless, Assa Abloy Digi, and Barska who not only make great fingerprint locks for doors but wall safes as well.

Biometric Deadbolt Door Locks

For those consumers looking for a more heavy-duty and sturdier lock for their home or business biometric deadbolt locks are the way to go.  Deadbolts are famous for not being able to be pried open and super tough.  Many biometric versions are can be a sleek looking way to enjoy more security.  While some are a combination of a biometric door lock and deadbolt underneath which is manually locked from the inside offering double protection others are only a deadbolt.

Biometric Door Lock

The most common type is just the single deadbolt which you install above your existing door handle.  Since these are often used as biometric front door locks the sensor will usually have a cover for protection allowing it to be used outdoors.  With this type you either scan your finger and the lock opens automatically or after scanning you simply manually must turn the face of the lock to open it.  In general there not as many manufacturers who make biometric deadbolt door locks but iTouchless and Actuator Systems are two that make the grade.  Actuator systems models actually meet ANSI grade 1 certification meaning they are the highest security grade available and come in a variety of finishes to match your existing door handles.   Because deadbolts may be a little tougher for the average homeowner to install, again having a pro do it for you is usually a much better idea and well-worth the extra expense.

Biometric Door Lock

For the office, home, or business a biometric door lock will give you the best first line of defense.  Not only are they just cool to have, you’ll also never have to worry about dealing with keys again. Easy to use, install, and much more efficient than other options biometric models are not only the lock of the future but of the present as well.

Extra Tips

-If your lock is not opening after scanning your fingerprint, your finger itself may be too wet, dirty, or even too dry.  Alternatively you may need to give your scanner a cleaning as it could be dirty as well.

-Many people don’t realize all of their fingers have different fingerprint patterns, so just because one is saved in your system doesn’t mean all your fingers will work. In fact it means the other nine won’t.  So be sure to choose a finger you are comfortable using. For most people this is either the thumb or index finger of your dominant hand.

-You could also save the fingerprint of the finger you are most comfortable using of your other hand as well, which could come in handy if you were carrying items like groceries or mail in your dominant hand.

It may sound obvious but always remember to delete any temporary guest’s or employee’s fingerprints from the system when they leave your home or office for good.  The old saying, “better safe than sorry,” definitely applies to door locks.

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