Your home is your castle, but you probably don't have a moat surrounding your yard to protect yourself against intruders. In the US, there are over one million home burglaries every year—and almost half happen during the day, Or used to, before the pandemic forced so many homeowners into working from home. What's really shocking is not that there are so many bold criminals, but that 75% of US households don't have a comprehensive security system. About 40% of homes have a security camera, but 30% have a security system without video.
If you haven't gotten a security system because you don't think you need one, you're risking a lot. If you don't want to invest in a hard-wired system that is expensive to install and monitor, there's good news. Modern home security systems are wireless, easy to install, and inexpensive to monitor, so there's no reason not to set one up at your home. You can even monitor your home from your phone with an integrated app.
How can I make my home more secure?
You can protect your home against intruders with a security system that just provides the basic motion and light sensors, or opt for a complete system that includes cameras, driveway alarms, pool alarms, and flood detectors. That's the high-tech way, but you can also implement these basic household rules to decrease the possibility of a burglary.
- Lock your doors and windows.
- Don't open the door to a stranger. If you're expecting a repairman, ask for ID before you open the door.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked
- Install light timers and landscape lighting
- Set your alarm any time you leave home
- Remove the hidden key
How can I secure my home from the inside?
The reality is that locking your doors and windows only goes so far—someone who is determined to get inside won't be deterred by a window lock; they'll just break the window. A professional burglar knows where to look and how to maximize their time; the average time to break in and leave with your possessions is about 8 minutes—not nearly the time you spend chatting with a neighbor in their yard.
A home security system is really nothing but your eyes and ears that are always on alert. Cameras that are strategically placed around the perimeter of your home and indoors let you see who's outside, and motions sensors let you know when someone is on your property.
How many cameras do you need for home security?
The goal is to protect the most vulnerable parts of your home—exterior doors and large ground-floor windows. Indoors, you'll want a camera at the doors and in hallways and stairwells. The number of cameras isn't as important as capability. Here are common camera options.
- Night vision
- Motion detection
- HD resolution
- Wide angle lens
- Wide angle lens
- Night vision
- Two-way audio
- App connectivity
- Motion detection
Do I need a wireless doorbell?
Wireless doorbells are a great addition to your security setup. You can spend a little on a budget doorbell, or a lot on one that is integrated into your system and has features like an integrated camera, two-way audio, and motion detectors. You can monitor what's happening outside with your phone, whether you're standing in the kitchen or at cooking school in Paris.
Most advanced wireless doorbells, like Guradline Security's, feature compatibility with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, and have cameras that can tell the difference between a small animal in the yard and a human.
What about motion sensors?
A motion sensor is a security system's first line of defense. It detects when there's someone in your yard or home who shouldn't be, and is also a pretty handy way to know when your teenager comes home late. The sensor sends a signal to the control panel, which lets you know there's something out there. It also alerts to the monitoring company.
If you're installing motion sensors yourself, be sure to place them at "choke points"—places an intruder has to go through to access the main part of the house—stairwells and hallways. Put contact sensors on windows and doors that could be points of entry.
If you have pets, make sure that your motion sensors won't trip when your big dog walks past—a dual technology sensor is best.
Tips for Outdoor Installation
- Install the sensors away from overhangs that will reduce the range
- Don't block the infrared—be sure there are no shadows falling across the light position
Motion detectors have a really wide price range. You can pick a basic model for under $50 or spend some extra money to get one with a total property system that covers several buildings and acres. We recommend the latter.
How can I stop false alarms with a motion detector?
Nobody wants to have the police come because a bird is nesting in the eye range of a motion sensor. Here are a few things that cause a false alarm, and the ways to avoid that happening. Always remember passwords and share them with emergency contacts.
- Poor installation location
- Improperly mounted contact sensors
- Arming the alarm incorrectly—setting for Away when you're home
- Place smoke detectors away form the oven if you tend to burn things
Can my security system be hacked?
Any system is vulnerable to hacking, but most professionally monitored systems and some high-end self-monitored cameras have high-end encryption that makes hacking in extremely difficult. As long as you keep your apps and devices updated, you shouldn't have any problems with hacking. There have been some horror stories about home systems hacks so the Security Industry Association has implemented standards designed to prevent future hacks by technicians.
Can I monitor my system myself?
You can opt to self-monitor your security system via the app, but be aware that you are responsible for calling 911 if there's any intrusion. This takes away the levels of security and peace of mind that you get with professional monitoring; if you are asleep, unconscious, or even away from a signal, there's no one to alert law enforcement or medics. Monitoring staff are trained to be cool and ask the right questions, whereas homeowners tend to get hysterical and lose precious time in getting help.
What is the Guardline Security Wireless Driveway Alarm?
Rather than wait until an intruder is at your door to alert you and the police, what if you could head them off at the driveway? That's exactly the thinking that led Guardline Security to invent the Wireless Driveway Alarm. When you think about guarding you house, most people tend to think of the structure itself and not the surrounding property, but Guardline takes the entire property into its protection perimeter.
How does the Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm work?
There are two parts to the alarm. The sensor is installed at the street end of the driveway and detects any movement. The receiver, which is placed somewhere in your house, emits sounds when motion is detected. Guardline Security can cover a driveway up to 1/4 mile long, but some shorter ones need that long-range option.
This is the maximum length the sensor will cover in perfect conditions. Trees and curves in the driveway limit the range, as does metal. So if you have 300-foot driveway on a hill with twists and turns, you'll need the 500-foot range option to ensure complete detection. Our rule of thumb is to add 200 feet to the distance between the sensor and receiver, but if there are lots of trees or hills, double the transmission range.
Guardline Security offers four types of motion sensors.
- Driveway alarm distance sensitivity—how far away are the objects your system detects, from 13 to 39 feet. Lowering the distance can reduce false alarms from large animals or cars.
- Speed sensitivity for motion sensor—slow or standard. The standard speed setting captures anything going faster than 2 mph. The average adult walking speed is 3 mph. This is the recommended setting.
- Night-only mode—you can enable this mode if you only want low-light or nighttime monitoring
- Interval sleep timer—you can adjust how long the sensor waits between signals after activation. The factory setting is 7 seconds, but you can adjust as needed.
What's the power source for the Driveway Alarm?
The motion detector is wireless, and runs on four AA batteries. The batteries should last about a year and are easy to replace. The receiver has a compartment for backup batteries so you can get a signal if the power goes out.
Does it need WiFi?
The Outdoor Wireless Driveway Alarm does not require WiFi, although you have the option of connecting it to your Google Home or Amazon Alexa smart hub.
Guardline Security Driveway Alarms aren't just limited to your entrance. If you have a pool, for example, you can install the system to alert you when anyone comes near the pool perimeter. Since the system is expandable, you can install security across your entire property, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing what's way out there.
Contributing Writer: Elizabeth Johnston