When it comes to protecting your home, you have many choices. If you are considering installing a home security system, there are several decisions you’ll have to make about the type of system you want.
One of the most important decisions is determining if you need a monitored home security system or an unmonitored one.
Security systems are not one-size-fits-all, and you’ll have to evaluate the benefits of monitored alarm systems and unmonitored ones to decide which is best for you. In this guide, we’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of monitored and unmonitored security systems.
The primary difference between these two options is that a monitored system connects to a safety monitoring centre through some communication channel; it could be a landline telephone, home internet, cellular communication, or any combination of the three.
Both types of systems will have some of the same components. Whether your system is monitored or not, it will have a control panel and security devices for homes like door contacts, motion detectors, fire alarms, and cameras.
When considering different types of alarm systems, you can also choose different levels of monitoring. You have fully monitored ways, self-monitoring, and entirely unmonitored methods.
- Monitored Systems: These systems connect to a monitoring centre. When the system is armed, it will send signals to the monitoring professionals, and they can take various actions depending on the circumstances.
- Self-Monitoring: Newer smart alarm now has self-monitoring features. You can find these features with systems that have monitoring plans and those that do not. With this, the alarm system connects to the internet, and the user can monitor the system from a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Most plans also have alerts that can be set up to send notifications for different events.
- Unmonitored Systems: An unmonitored security system may have the same components as systems that have monitoring plans or self-monitoring features, but it is essentially just a noise machine. When the system is armed, it will trigger a siren if one of the devices is tripped.
What Is A Monitored Security System?
Comprehensive security ensures that if something happens, it can be dealt with quickly. Imagine if you were home, and a pot on the stove caught fire. The smoke detector starts beeping, and you either put out the fire yourself or call emergency services. Scary, yes. But it’s dealt with quickly.
Now imagine if you aren’t at home or your business and something catastrophic happens, like a thief breaking in.
You might have a doorbell camera that alerts your phone with news that someone was just at your front door. But what if you don’t have a doorbell camera?
What if you don’t see the notification right when it comes through? Unfortunately, there is little you can do if you don’t know about an emergency at your home or business, and you’re the only one who can respond.
A professionally monitored security system gives you an extra layer of security. The moment an alarm goes off—whether you are present or not—an alert is sent to a monitoring centre staffed with monitoring agents 24/7.
They will determine if the situation is a false alarm and notify emergency services if needed, which helps to rectify emergencies more quickly.
Along with alarm monitoring, some security companies also offer live video monitoring, which can further help agents determine the situation when an alarm is triggered.
Monitored alarm systems are also less likely to cause a false alarm dispatch since monitoring agents work to verify the nature of the alarm before notifying emergency services.
Monitored Security Systems Are Convenient And Comprehensive, But They Aren’t The Right Choice For Everyone.
While there are clear benefits to a monitored alarm system, they aren’t for everyone. One reason that you might decide against a monitoring system is the cost.
To get alarm monitoring, you usually have to buy security equipment from a security provider, then pay a monthly fee for monitoring services.
(In some cases, older alarm equipment can be transferred to a new alarm company, so don’t write off alarm monitoring if you already have equipment installed and are just switching providers.)
Regardless of cost, what remains true is that unmonitored alarm systems leave a hole in your security—how much that matters to you is a significant factor in whether or not you go with a monitored alarm system.
That hole in your security might amount to false alarm dispatches, or perhaps worse, delayed or no response during an actual emergency (especially when you are not physically present at your home or business).
Alarm monitoring and live video monitoring are great options to protect your home or business against these common issues.
Here Are Some Things To Consider When Thinking About Adding Alarm Monitoring And Video Monitoring To Your Home Or Business:
Do you already have security equipment from a security provider? If you already have security equipment installed, and are just looking to add alarm monitoring or switch to a new provider with alarm monitoring, then you shouldn’t hesitate. Since you’ve already invested in the equipment, you’ll want to take full advantage of alarm monitoring from a security provider like bay alarm.
Buy from the store or a security company? You will need to decide if you want to go with a security provider or tech from the store. If you choose to go with a security company, be sure to find one that offers alarm monitoring. Otherwise, retail-grade doorbell cameras, smoke detectors, and z-wave innovative technology are good options, albeit without alarm monitoring.
Are you a DIYer? If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, then you’ll probably be more apt to buy and install security devices yourself and maintain complete control of your security system. But bear in mind that alarm monitoring is 24/7, and it’s always possible that you happen to miss an alarm notification sent to your phone.
Home and business security can be bolstered with 24/7 monitoring services. You should consider your monitoring options when purchasing security equipment and ask yourself if the support of a security provider with alarm monitoring is proper for you.
Have more questions about alarm monitoring and live video monitoring? Contact Bay Alarm today! We can answer any questions and even provide you with a free security system quote.
The Benefits Of Choosing A Monitored Alarm System
When you opt for a monitored alarm system, you get everything that comes with a state-of-the-art monitoring centre, including:
- Highly trained staff: Our staff members are trained in emergency response and can quickly and accurately assess the situation and send out the right team.
- Immediate dispatch: Across the industry, you can count on response times that average less than a minute. When you choose Wayne Alarm Systems, you can see response times within eight seconds.
- Situational assessments: Our response team takes precautions to limit falsely dispatching police or fire departments. This approach can prevent unnecessary fees and avoid wasting the authorities’ time.
Monitored alarm systems take care of your home when you aren’t there. Whether your home is empty or your kids and pets are there, a monitoring service can send help as soon as it’s needed.
While safety is at the forefront of home security services, they can also prevent property damage. Moisture detection can send an alert if your basement starts flooding or the fire department if flames are detected.
In the case of theft, a fast response could prevent a burglar from taking your most prized and valuable possessions. Choosing a monitored system could also qualify you for discounts on your homeowner’s insurance.
What Is An Unmonitored Security System?
An unmonitored security system is a blanket term for any system that’s not professionally monitored. That means if an alarm is triggered, you may be alerted, but it’s up to you to contact emergency responders as necessary. Unmonitored systems can be installed by professional companies, or you can purchase the equipment and install it yourself. Either way, the plans typically include some or all of the following components:
- Control panel
- Window and door sensors
- Motion sensors
- Security cameras (indoor and outdoor versions)
- Smoke detectors
- Alarms and sensors
- Yard signs
Under the unmonitored umbrella, there are two subcategories—self-monitored and truly unmonitored security systems.
Indeed unmonitored systems are much like the sound and come with no monitoring capabilities. Cameras may record activity, and if an intruder is detected, an alarm sounds. However, the only way someone is alerted is if they’re close enough to hear the alarm.
Self-monitored systems, on the other hand, allow you to personally monitor your system’s activity, usually via an app on your smartphone. Alerts are sent to you when movement is detected and will enable you to view the real-time or taped activity of it. Calling the authorities if a break-in is detected, however, is up to you. Some monitoring features, such as cloud storage of the footage your camera records, may require a monthly subscription fee, but there are no monitoring fees to pay.
Pros Of Getting An Unmonitored System
They Cost Less
The one primary advantage of unmonitored security systems is that they will cost you a lot less money. While you may have to spend some money on the system upfront to buy the equipment and to have it installed if you so choose, there are no monthly monitoring fees to pay after that.
Cons Of Getting An Unmonitored System
They Are Less Safe
Unmonitored systems are better than not having any plan in place, but they don’t provide the same level of security as monitored systems. You can’t do the same job monitoring your property that a paid team of professionals can do around the clock.
They May Not Be Installed Properly.
If you install and attempt to monitor the system yourself, you may save a few bucks, but it may cost you peace of mind knowing that things are set up correctly and continue to run correctly.
They Won’t Automatically Notify The Authorities.
While you may be alerted that something is amiss at your home. Hopefully, an alarm will scare intruders off; authorities aren’t notified automatically like they are with a monitored system. It’s up to you to call them. But what if you’re in a meeting or are sleeping and don’t hear the alert? Burglaries happen around the clock, and it’s unlikely that you can adequately monitor your system 24/7 as a professional company can.
Key Differences Between Unmonitored And Monitored Security Systems
Whether you’re moving into a new home or simply rethinking how you live in your current residence, one of your top concerns is likely, “How do I keep this place safe?”
Protecting your property and, more importantly, yourself and your family is a top priority. Deciding how to go about protecting your home is a big decision. Many homeowners turn to security systems to keep themselves, their family, and their property safe. And the type of home security system you choose could make a difference in an emergency.
When it comes to security systems, you can choose an unmonitored security system or a monitored security system. Both options have pros and cons. Here are the significant differences between unmonitored versus monitored security systems and how to choose between them for your home.
Unmonitored Security Systems
An unmonitored security system consists of security cameras, sirens, and other devices that activate or alert you when something is amiss but does not contact emergency services directly.
There are two categories of unmonitored security systems: self-monitored systems, which link to your phone and send you notifications, and truly unmonitored systems, which record video footage from security cameras or set off a loud siren when an intruder is detected.
Unmonitored Is More Affordable
The primary advantage of an unmonitored security system is that it tends to be less expensive than a monitored one.
You only have to pay for the upfront costs of the equipment itself. You can install the equipment yourself with your trusty screwdriver, or you can hire a professional to install it for an installation fee.
After that, the system is ready to go, and the only additional costs in the future are maintenance costs.
Unmonitored Is Less Safe
The main downside to an unmonitored security system is that while it may deter some criminals and can alert you to an intruder, the system won’t do anything to stop someone determined to commit a crime.
The best you can hope for is that a blaring siren and a visible security camera will scare off potential burglars.
Unmonitored Is Less Convenient
When an unmonitored security system goes off, you’ll typically get an alert on your phone, and you’ll have to contact the police yourself, as opposed to having an alarm monitoring company evaluate the situation and reach out to emergency services on your behalf.
Being the sole point of contact for your security system has some disadvantages: What if you miss the notification?
What if your phone dies and you don’t receive the message? What if you’re asleep and have your phone on? Do not disturb?
As with any alarm system, your neighbours may be mindful enough and call the police for you when they hear your alarm going off, but there’s no way to guarantee that.
An unmonitored security system is better than no security system, and you can always call in emergency services and respond to alarms yourself. But with an unmonitored system, there will always be gaps in your home security. That’s why some people opt for monitored security systems.
Monitored Security Systems
Monitored security systems use the same equipment (security cameras, alarms, etc.) as unmonitored systems but also include the services of professional home security technicians to keep an eye on your home security system monitoring and respond to alerts in real-time.
Monitored Reacts Faster
These monitoring services fill in the gap of unmonitored systems—all responsibility lies on you.
Did a fire manage to get out of control? Your monitoring company has seen it and has contacted the fire department. Burglars broke in through the window? The company was notified of a glass break sensor going off and has called the police.
Monitored Makes Life Easier
Your alarm monitoring company will keep you in the loop, and you won’t need to lift a finger. And while the professionals are keeping an eye on things, you’ll also have the opportunity to notify them in case of a false alarm.
Monitored Is More Expensive
The downside to a monitored security system is the cost. Unlike an unmonitored system, where you pay upfront for the equipment and installation, monitoring is a recurring expense.
In most cases, security companies require that you sign a contract for alarm monitoring services.
Each company offers a set of plans, and you can choose which one has the features you need. The company handles everything else once you pay and sign the contract.
Contract length can range from one year to five years (the industry standard is three years). Your monthly bill from a security company covers a few things: the ongoing monitoring fees, the repayment for the equipment installed, ongoing maintenance for the equipment, and, as always, overhead.
Choosing Which Type Is Best For You
When considering a security system for your home, look for a balance between cost and convenience.
- Monitored systems are best for people who own their homes and value convenience enough to pay a monthly price for them. You aren’t responsible for checking in on your property or responding to emergencies. However, this comes with an ongoing and often considerable cost.
- Unmonitored systems are best for renters or homeowners seeking to minimise monthly spending. Those choosing an unmonitored system should also be comfortable acting as their home security team, from monitoring to taking action in the event of an emergency. That means always being connected to the app through their phone or another device.