So, you want a home security system but want to do-it-yourself.  Cool! It can totally be done. First, let’s create a quick shopping list for the items that you might want for your system:

  • Keypad/Control Panel
  • Window and Door Contacts
  • Wireless Cameras
  • Broken Glass Sensors
  • Motion Activated Alarm
  • Heat/Smoke/CO Detectors
  • Temperature/Flooding Sensors
  • Cell Phone Controls

Now, not everybody will need all of these sensors and contacts. Before you go blow the budget, let’s look at what you will need, and what might be overkill. 


Keypad/Control Panel

You will need a control panel–there’s no getting away from this.  It’s the thing that ties all your cameras and contacts together, allowing you to set the alarm when you are home or away.

Window and Door Contacts

You need contacts that will alarm if your entry doors are opened (all of them!) and at the very least on the windows on the ground floor of your home. These are the most likely spots that a burglar will attempt to break into your home.

Wireless Cameras

You might one or a half dozen. Many new wireless cameras can be accessed through smartphone apps, allowing you to see the feed from your office or while at the restaurant. What do you need to see? Your front door, garage, major footpaths in your home, the nursery, and safes are the most common locations.

Those are the items the most basic home security system often comes with if you buy a pre-configured set at a big box store. Here are a few others that you might need if you are often away from your home or rental property.

Broken Glass Sensors

In neighborhoods where vandalism is a concern, your system can detect when a rock flies through your living room window. For a second home, this can help you get it fixed right away, instead of in two months when you visit again.

Motion Activated Alarm

Even if the burglar managed to slip past your window sensors, a motion sensor in your front hall and kitchen can trigger an alarm when it detects a person in the space. This may not be a good option for homes with pets who are left alone during the day.

Heat/Smoke/CO Detectors

A standard smoke detector only lets the people who are at home know that there is a fire, but it’s not going to call the fire department to help minimize damage. If you are going to have a monitored system, tying in the fire and noxious gas detectors into it can meaningfully protect your property even while you are at work.

Flood Sensors

Mother nature isn’t always the cause of a major flood in your basement. The washing machine or water heater can fail, sending hundreds of gallons into your home. A flood sensor can help you stop the damage before it gets too deep.


Connect to Your Smartphone

This will determine how you will interact with your home security system.  Whether you intend on having an active monitoring company or want to go it alone creating a "smart home," you will need to know up front if you want the system to be able to connect with your phone. It will significantly affect the types and prices of products you will buy for your system.

If this seems like a long laundry list of must-haves and you are not sure which ones are right for you, consider checking out a home security company like

They will walk you through the design process, ship you a complete system that meets your specs, and offer affordable home monitoring without charging you exorbitant fees for installation. Give them a call today!