Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Craig Gibson
What is more important than the safety and security of your home?
Not much, which is why having a home security system is not only sensible, it may well be required by your home and contents insurer. The good news is that home security systems come in different shapes, sizes and price points, giving you the flexibility to choose the features you need to secure your home. Advances in technology are also changing the type of home security products on offer, with a shift to wireless devices that can be controlled from your smartphone and integrated into a ‘smart’ home automation system.
This article will help you figure out, what home security products are available, what practicalities you need to consider and how much they are likely to cost you. As a guideline you can expect to pay:
Read on for more detail on the costs and practicalities associated with this project.
Before you take the plunge and invest in a home security system, take the time to research your options and plan your security setup. Some points to consider include:
Mapping all this out will enable you to budget your project and allow your installer to provide an accurate cost estimate.
Wired home security systems have been the traditional approach to securing a home, but this is changing with the advent and increasing sophistication of wireless systems. And while wired systems are reliable and do not suffer from signal interference, they are more time consuming and difficult to install and cannot be taken with you if you move house.
The pros of wireless systems are that they offer DIY installation as well as the possibility of taking the system when you move. This is in contrast to wired systems which require a licensed electrician or registered cabler to install.
A typical home alarm system consists of some or all of the following elements:
This is the brains or hub of your system, connecting and controlling all the elements of your system, like enabling and disabling the alarm and/or sensors. It is typically a touchpad, though increasingly a digital screen. It can communicate with other components in your system, such as motion sensors and cameras, and ensures they all work together. If you have a contract with a security company for monitoring your home, it will also communicate directly with their system.
Home security or CCTV surveillance cameras are increasingly popular, offering you remote visuals of your home. Wireless security cameras can give you real-time information on your smartphone, including notifications if they detect movement in your home. This is very different functionality from ‘traditional’ security cameras which simply record footage if they detect movement or a breach of a window or door.
Security cameras can be installed indoors or out, and can also be controlled to pan or zoom and may also have night vision capability. In terms of specs, you will come across the 960H standard, which are cameras capable of producing a high definition picture, but do need a recorder capable of recording at this resolution. Wireless cameras will often come with a HD spec, which generally translates into a sharper picture.
Motion sensors use a variety of technologies - infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, heat - to detect movement in your home. They then either trigger an alarm (traditional system) or send a notification to your device. There are even pet sensitive detectors, which will not trigger a false alarm if your pooch wanders about.
Key fobs allow you to control some basic functions of your home security system, typically access and activating/deactivating the system remotely.
Once activated these sensors are designed to trigger if your door or window is opened. They are typically fitted to the door/window frame and door/window itself and operate magnetically. Alarm systems need to be installed according to Australian Standard (AS 2201.1-2007).
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Lighting should be part of every home security system. It is affordable and an effective deterrent to would-be intruders indoors and out. The most common option is a simple motion activated wall-mounted light outdoors.
Security screens and doors are a very effective physical barrier providing they are well made and installed correctly. All security screens and doors have to conform to Australian Standards (AS5039, AS5041 and AS5040 (installation)) , which ensure they meet a variety of impact, leverage and cutting tests. Stainless steel doors, screens and mesh are considered the most secure and durable, with structural grade aluminium also popular.
For the most security for your entry doors look to fit one with either a mortise latch lock or deadbolt combination. These have been shown to be the most secure. You also have a number of options in terms of the entry type, specifically:
All states have regulations governing the installation of security equipment such as home alarms security screens and camera systems. This also applies to anyone who performing security related work; including providing a consulting service or a security monitoring service. All need to have a valid security licence and/or be a licensed electrician or cabler.
It is important to note that not all electricians will install home security systems. Dedicated installers will generally have undergone specific training and accreditation to be registered as cablers. They are licensed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) who accredit technicians under the Australian Cabler Registration Service (ACRS).
Here are the relevant licence/registrations required in each locality:
For more detailed information contact the relevant security regulator where you live.
So how much is a home security system going to cost you?
It really does depend how much you want to spend and what sort of features you want your system to have.
For an idea of what individual outdoor security products or packages cost, here is a sample of quoted prices for a variety of camera-based systems:
Here is a sample of quoted prices for a home monitoring package, which involves you entering into a contract with a security company:
The cost of security screens depends on a number of factors, specifically quality of construction. Also expect additional costs if your frames or tracks need to be reinforced or replaced. Aluminium screen doors cost in the region of $350 to $450, with custom made models in excess of this. Quality custom made steel doors with stainless steel mesh start in the region of $650, but can cost more than $1000 for some brands.
Don’t forget you need to factor in installation costs for all items that do not specifically list this. The best way of finding out is to get quotes from alarm installers or home security businesses. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.