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What do I need to know about home security?

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ID:	11386Home security is a major concern, with a wide array of possibilities, and the options have increased a great deal since the days of alarm-wired doors. Weíve assembled tips from security professionals that help homeowners think about security from the perspective of a pro.

Once you know what you want and how to protect your home, a professional can help design the best system for you. On average, a security system will cost about $1,300. Most range between $600 and $2,000, depending on how extensive the system is and whether you include extras such as multiple surveillance cameras.

1. Think about your needs.

A home security system offers a dizzying array of options, starting with a basic door-and-window monitoring package including a control pad, but can include many customized options such as security cameras that you can view from your phone. Research what youíre looking for and be ready to think about how youíll customize it to your home.

2. Donít forget to be vigilant.

A home security system is a vital part of keeping your home safe, but donít rely on it as a safety shield. Practice vigilance and situational awareness and keep your eyes open. When you think of burglaries, you may envision theft by night, but most break-ins take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If somebody is home during those house, the security system will do little for them if someone breaks through a window. Have a plan for what to do in an emergency.

3. Itís about more than just security.

Home security systems can often form the hub of a home automation system, creating the infrastructure for remote systems where you can control many aspects of your home from a smartphone screen. Home security and automation go hand-in-hand, so keep that in mind.

Talk to your security pro about where to place the security keypad, too. Keypads donít necessarily need to be right next to the door, as many are no longer prewired. Your contractor can help determine the best placement, taking into account exit and delay time.

4. Be aware of your systemís limitations.

Listen carefully to your pro about what youíre buying, and be ready to think about alternate and redundant security methods. A window sensor wonít go off if somebody breaks a window, for instance. A glass-break sensor can monitor when glass is broken, or a motion sensor can pick up if somebodyís entered. Let each method backstop the others.

5. Donít overlook smoke and fire.

The battery-operated smoke detector you acquired from the fire department years ago can be replaced with monitored smoke and heat detectors that will protect your family as soon as a fire begins. A monitored system can dispatch the fire department as soon as smoke is detected.

6. Inform your insurance company.

A home security system often translates to a discount on homeownerís insurance. Youíre leaving money on the table if you donít let them know as soon as itís installed!

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