How to Install a DIY Home Security System Yourself

No Comments

Photo of author

By tom.baldridge

Enhancing home security is a top priority for many homeowners and renters. DIY security systems offer an affordable and customizable alternative to professionally installed solutions.

This comprehensive guide covers how to fully install your own DIY system with door/window sensors, motion detectors, cameras, control panels and smart home integrations. Follow these steps to protect your property without breaking the bank.

Understanding DIY Security Systems

DIY security systems refer to kits you can purchase and install yourself without requiring professional monitoring or installation. Popular options include Ring Alarm, SimpliSafe, and Abode.

Benefits of DIY installation include:

  • Significant cost savings over pro installation
  • Customization and flexibility in setup
  • Add or remove components easily
  • No long-term contracts required

Downsides to weigh:

  • Installation requires technical skill and physical labor
  • Lack of professional monitoring may be less secure
  • No expert guidance on ideal setup

DIY systems are great for tech-savvy homeowners who prefer customization and cost savings. Those wanting hands-off installation and monitoring may prefer professional installers like ADT or Vivint.

When selecting a DIY kit, compare features, components, pricing, and ease of use between top brands like:

  • SimpliSafe: Wide range of accessories and fast cellular monitoring
  • Ring: Seamlessly integrates with other Ring smart devices
  • Abode: Flexible monitoring plans and home automation integration

Also consider any lifestyle factors that may impact your security needs before choosing a system.

Planning Your DIY Security System

Careful planning ensures you select the right components for optimal protection:

Assess entry points: Identify all external doors and windows that need protection. Measure the size to determine sensor requirements.

Consider risk factors: Are you in an isolated area? Have there been recent break-ins nearby? Identify any security concerns.

Determine sensor and camera needs: Sensors on all ground floor windows/doors is recommended. Indoor and outdoor cameras provide visual monitoring.

Know your smart home goals: Will you integrate with smart locks, lights etc.? Factor this into system selection.

Select the right DIY kit: Choose a starter kit that provides the foundation and includes the control panel. Avoid choosing individual components.

Order expansion modules (if needed): Some homes may require additional sensors or cameras beyond the starter kit. Calculate total requirements ahead of time to avoid gaps in coverage.

Budget accordingly: DIY systems may cost $200-$1000 for equipment depending on components, features, and home size. Narrow kits by price point and needs.

With the planning done, it’s time to install. Ensure you have these tools handy:

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Equipment

  • Power drill – For securing mounting brackets and drilling holes
  • Screwdriver set – For sensor/camera mounting and control panel wiring
  • Wire cutters/strippers – For cutting and connecting wires
  • Measuring tape – For measuring sensor spacing and cable runs
  • Pencil/Marker – To denote holes for drilling
  • Level – Ensures camera alignment and aids installation
  • Ladder – For access to install upper-floor sensors/cameras

Recommended system components:

  • Control panel – Acts as system hub and manages sensors
  • Keypad – Arms and disarms the system
  • Motion sensors – Detects movement when system armed
  • Door/Window sensors – Detects openings to trigger alarm
  • Indoor cameras – Monitors activity in key interior areas
  • Outdoor cameras – Captures exterior footage and alerts to visitors

Now we’re ready to begin installation, starting with door and window sensors.

Installing Door and Window Sensors

Door and window sensors trigger your alarm when a protected entry point is opened while the system is armed. To install:

1. Clean the door/window surfaces where sensors will adhere using rubbing alcohol and let dry completely.

2. Separate the sensor components. Place the main sensor on the stationary frame and the magnet component on the moving door/window.

3. Position sensors within 1/2 inch or less for optimal performance without actually touching. Refer to manufacturer guidelines.

4. Mount the sensor sides using the provided adhesive, screws or mounting tape. Some kits include window molding clips.

5. Insert the provided battery in the sensor once mounted if required by your kit.

6. Run a test by opening the door or window after arming the system to check the sensor is triggered and activates the alarm.

Pro tip: If limited on sensors, prioritize ground floor exit points first. Place on windows that can be reached from the exterior vs. interior rooms only.

![Door sensor mounting]

Now let’s set up motion detection.

Setting Up Motion Sensors

Motion sensors detect activity, triggers alarms, and can light up areas at night when your system is armed.

To install:

1. Determine optimal placement using provided motion detection range guidelines. Include central rooms, hallways, staircases etc.

2. Mount the motion sensor using adhesive strips, screws or brackets and insert the provided battery if required. Place 7-9 feet off the ground.

3. Adjust the sensitivity dial to avoid false alarms from small pets if needed. Conduct motion tests and adjust as required. High sensitivity is recommended.

4. Consider creative angling such as tilting sensors downward on stairs or angling across doorways to optimize motion detection zones.

5. Check for any obstructions like plants or furniture that may block motion detection. Keep in mind pets and kids when positioning.

Pro tip: Install multiple sensors at intersections of detection zones for full coverage. Stagger heights for multi-level protection.

![Motion sensor coverage diagram]

Now your perimeter and interior motion is covered. Let’s move on to security cameras.

Installing Security Cameras

Security cameras provide 24/7 recording and alerts to detected activity. Position strategically indoors and outdoors:

Outdoor placement:

  • By front and back entrances to record visitors
  • Overlooking driveway and yard access points
  • Near sheds or outbuildings holding valuables

Indoor placement:

  • Entryways and hallways to see those entering
  • Overlooking stairs and landings
  • Within main living spaces like lounge and study

Installation process:

1. Mount the security camera using provided screws or adhesive mount. Point the camera lens to the desired direction.

2. Adjust the angle during installation so the camera view is properly oriented. Verify a clear line of sight.

3. Connect the camera to the central hub using the provided cable. Some systems may support wireless cameras.

4. Configure the camera settings like resolution, night vision mode, and motion activated recording in the accompanying mobile app.

5. Check the camera view and position in the app and adjust until optimally configured. Consider using camera mounts that enable rotating and angling post-installation.

Pro tip: Try different mounting heights and lens angles during installation to determine the optimal placement.

![Security camera coverage diagram]

With eyes now inside and outside your home, it’s time to set up the control panel.

Connecting and Configuring the Control Panel

The control panel acts as the central hub for connecting all your sensors and cameras while managing system functions.

To set up:

1. Mount the control panel in a centrally located discreet spot using screws or adhesive. Near an electrical outlet is recommended.

2. Connect the power adapter to provide consistent power to the control panel instead of disruptive battery swaps.

3. Connect the backup battery that kicks in during power outages as an alternate power source.

4. Wire in a phone line if your system offers optional 24/7 monitoring that requires a phone connection. Newer DIY systems often rely on wireless connectivity instead.

5. Sync components to the control panel like sensors and cameras so it can monitor them. Refer to manufacturer guidelines.

6. Program user codes for family members so each person can arm and disarm the system with a unique code. Some systems also support key fobs for arming/disarming.

7. Set up alerts and notifications like push notifications and emails for system events like alarms triggers.

Integrating Smart Home Features

One benefit of DIY systems is seamlessly integrating with other smart devices for enhanced security:

  • Connect smart door locks so the system auto-locks when armed and unlocks when disarmed.
  • Have smart lights turn on/off automatically when the system is armed/disarmed.
  • Use smart switches to trigger alarms or cameras if protected doors are opened.
  • Integrate smart home hubs like Amazon Alexa or Google Home for voice control and automation.
  • Enable geofencing so your system automatically arms and disarms based on your phone’s location.

Take time to configure rules and automations within your system’s app to take advantage of these integrations. Consult documentation on setup if needed.

Testing and Troubleshooting

Before regular use, extensively test your DIY security setup and fix any issues:

  • Trigger each sensor and camera intentionally and verify the expected system response like alarms sounding or recordings triggered.
  • Walk test motion sensors by doing a circuit throughout your home while armed to check motion detection coverage.
  • Check for connectivity issues like sensors showing as disconnected or experiencing intermittent power.
  • Inspect sensor and camera mounts to confirm they are securely adhered and will not become dislodged.
  • Review camera views and sensor coverage for any gaps that require additional components to be purchased.
  • Adjust sensitivity settings to prevent false alarms while maintaining proper motion detection.

Don’t hesitate to contact customer support for troubleshooting help if needed during testing. It’s better to identify and resolve problems now.

Maintaining and Upgrading Your DIY Security System

A properly functioning security system requires ongoing maintenance:

  • Test components monthly to check they trigger the expected response and have good battery levels.
  • Inspect mounts on sensors and cameras and re-adhere if becoming loose over time. Adjust angles if needed.
  • Check motion detection coverage periodically in case adjustments are needed due to relocated furniture.
  • Update firmware and software to maintain connectivity and enhance performance.
  • Clean camera lenses using a microfiber cloth to keep video quality crisp.
  • Replace backup batteries based on manufacturer guidelines, usually every 2-3 years.

Over time, consider upgrading components to expand capabilities:

  • Increase video storage with cloud plans or microSD cards
  • Add extra sensors and cameras where you need more coverage
  • Upgrade to a cellular monitoring plan for emergency response
  • Incorporate new smart devices like flood sensors and smoke detectors

Don’t hesitate to enlist professional monitoring or assistance if you find the DIY system overwhelming over time. Maintaining your own security system does require diligence.

Final Tips for Protecting Your Home with DIY Security

A DIY security system enables robust protection at lower cost, but requires research and proper installation. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Take time to understand your home’s unique needs and layout when choosing a system.
  • Carefully follow manufacturer instructions during installation and testing.
  • Invest in quality cameras to provide sharper indoor and outdoor recordings.
  • Position and angle sensors and cameras for optimal coverage with minimal gaps.
  • Integrate smart home devices to add automation and take advantage of special features like geofencing.
  • Perform regular system checks and maintenance for best performance. Don’t let things slide.

Did you undertake your own DIY security install? Ask questions or share your experience in the comments!

Leave a Comment

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.