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Beyond Home Security: Home Automation

Sunday, January 24th

Beyond Home Security: Home Automation

Home security systems are no longer just for home security. Today's security systems can be used for a variety of purposes beyond alerting the homeowner about break-ins. Home security systems now have features that allow you to control and monitor other systems in your home. These are being called home automation systems. The new home automation systems can control almost everything in your home including door locks, lighting, thermostats, blinds and more.

With a home automation system, homeowners can program many features within the house. When you come home from work, the home automation system can ensure the lights are turned on inside the house, the exterior walkway is lit and that the oven is preheating for dinner. With a little extra effort, you can even have your favorite song playing as you enter the house.

The programs can also work while you're in the house. Automated control also allows the house to adjust to your movements within the house. Light sensors can operate so lights go on and off as you enter and exit room within the house.

Home automation programs don't end there. That's just the beginning.

Not only can they notify you for security risks and break-ins, but they can notify you when children enter the home after school, if an exterior or garage door has been left open or if a medicine cabinet has been opened. Using an automation system, you can control your video and audio systems and also limit your children's access to those systems. You can also monitor energy usage throughout the house and program the system to turn off those appliances and lights which aren't in use.

With a home automation system, you can control your home security features and home automation features from any mobile device including your smartphone, tablet or laptop, whether you're at work, in the home or on vacation.

Home automation systems are endlessly flexible, letting you decide what features you must have and what features you don't need. In fact, you can purchase a basic kit and add components as you decide you need or want them. For example, video cameras may be something you may not want to spend money on at first. However, it may be a component you want to integrate into your system later so you can monitor both the inside and the outside of your home.

You can either purchase a home automation system from a reputable dealer who will install it for your or you can choose to install it yourself. There are both hardwired and wireless home automation systems. With a wireless system, installing it yourself may be an option. Go online to compare systems, components and prices. Investing in a home automation system may be the security system option you're looking for.

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Home Security System FAQ

There are more than 2 million break-ins every year in the United States alone. Home security systems are the most logical way to give yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you, your loved ones and your property are being watched over.
The most important feature is 24/7 monitoring, which most services offer as part of your monthly fees. At a minimum, you'll want to have sensors for all of the exterior doors in your residence.
There are many add-ons that can offer additional security and protection. Your home security system could have smoke and CO2 detectors, flooding sensors, motion detectors, night vision cameras, and much more.
You'll find plans both with and without required service contracts. The tradeoff is usually in the price of the equipment vs. the monthly service fees. (See the next question for more on that.)
That depends. You should expect two costs: equipment and monthly service charges. Some providers of home security systems give you the equipment "for free", as long as you sign a contract (usually 2-5 years). Others have you pay for the equipment upfront as a one-time charge, but their monthly fees tend to be lower. And, with most services, you'll pay more for monthly monitoring if your system has all of the bells and whistles.
One of the most customer-friendly aspects of today's home security systems is DIY installation. While there are still a handful of companies that require you to sit down with a sales rep and then wait for a professional to come and set up your system, the vast majority are designed to be easy and fast for you to install yourself. You'll have ample support via phone or online chat if you need extra guidance during the process.
Yes, most of the time. You'll typically have a 30-day window to use your home security system and decide if it provides the protection and service you need. Terms vary, however: you may get a full refund for all fees paid, or you may only be allowed to break your contract without getting any money back. Be sure to understand the details of any plan you select, before you sign up.
Usually, yes. Because of the do-it-yourself nature of most of today's systems, you can uninstall and move your equipment just as easily as you set it up the first time. You'll just need to update the company with your current address, so that emergency responders have the right location in the event of an alarm.
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