Are DIY Home Security Systems Worth the Risk?

Ken Jezioro
Written by Ken Jezioro
Updated June 15, 2021
Nest wireless home security cameras
It's critical you set your DIY security system up correctly, so it works in the event of an emergency. (Photo courtesy of Nest)

Technology is making DIY home security systems and wireless security cameras a more viable option. But are they reliable and safe?

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Technology is ever changing, and new ways to interact with people, places, and things through your cellular devices are popping up almost daily. Home security monitoring is no different. People everywhere are becoming very fond of self-installing and monitoring their home security systems. But is this a good idea? 

Growing popularity of self-installed security systems

Almost half of Americans said in a recent industry poll they would be interested in installing their own home security system. Most, if not all, Americans believe that home security systems should automatically send signals to the authorities in the case of fire, intrusion, or environmental disaster.

Can you have both? Are DIY systems as reliable as professionally installed systems? Most people polled didn't think so.

Majority of homeowners polled think DIY security less reliable

About two-thirds of Americans polled do not consider DIY security systems, otherwise known as “self-monitored systems,” as safe as professionally monitored alarm systems. Problems with tricky installations can render a DIY security system useless. Even when committed to saving a little money (the main reason that people consider installing their system in the first place), the best-laid plans can go awry, even with the best intentions.  

That "easy-installation" DIY system might not be that easy to put in after all. Especially with electronics, the connections on all of the equipment must be exactly right. Any misappropriated device is a problem, and Joe Public is generally unaware of its gravity until it's too late. The list of mistakes goes on.

As impressive as smart-home, smart-phone and smart technology is, homeowners prefer a sure thing over bragging rights of self-installation. The mere chance that their system might not work when needed in an emergency is enough to drive consumers to hire a professional security company. 

Despite the increasing popularity of DIY, people should seek something less flashy and more secure when it comes to protecting their families and homes. Full confidence in a professionally monitored security system is much more reassuring than the hopeful confidence that a DIY security system offers.

Bottom line: DIY security systems offer a quick fix, but I don't think they are worth the risk in the long run. 

Do you think DIY security and self-monitoring is safe? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. 

As of March 28, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List. 

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