DIY Home Security Systems

When it comes to protecting your home with a security system, there are two ways to get it done — having a professional install it for you or doing it yourself. In the last few years, more and more options for DIY security systems have entered the market, making self-installation easier than ever before. However, there are a number of pros and cons for each option. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of each, helping you decide which method is best for you.


Pros and Cons of DIY Systems

Professional Installation Pros

You don’t have to lift a finger – The best part about a professional installation is that all of the work is done for you. You don’t have to read through a lengthy instruction manual, worry about whether you installed it correctly or bother with any troubleshooting. Just sit back and relax while leaving it to a professional installer. The work done by the installer will likely be covered under warranty should you find that anything was done incorrectly and the company will fix it at no extra charge.

Professional expertise – A professional installer has the advantage of conducting anywhere from dozens to hundreds of security system installations. They’ve been trained on how to use your system, the best locations to place sensors, cameras and motion detectors and the best troubleshooting resources. As a do it yourself-er, you likely have none of these things going for you. And if you make any mistakes during the installation process, you could suffer an undetected break-in.

Professional Installation Cons

Installation fees – This is probably the biggest reason for foregoing professional installation. Depending on what service you sign up with, it can cost up to $300 to have someone come to your home to install your security system.

Must schedule an appointment – While some companies may be able to come out to do your installation the next day, oftentimes, you’ll have to wait. You or a family member may also need to take time off work to be home on the day of your installation, costing you a precious day of PTO.

Companies that provide professional installation include ADT, Vivint, Protect America, and XFINITY.

DIY Installation Pros

It’s less expensive – By doing it yourself, you’re going to save money (most of the time). Depending on what kind of system you choose, installation shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re a fairly handy person. Wireless systems are easier to install, they don’t require you to drill any holes or make any electrical connections. Hard-wired systems may be more challenging to install but are often more reliable as they don’t need an internet connection.
Once you purchase a DIY alarm system, you won’t have to worry about additional hardware expenses.

Install on your schedule – There’s no need to make an appointment and no need to take time off work. Your DIY security system will ship to your home, and you can install it on the weekend or in the evening, according to your schedule.

It’s Wireless – Wireless DIY alarm systems aren’t hard-wired into your electrical system, making them easier to install, expand, move, upgrade, and change.

It’s Portable – DIY alarm systems are easy to uninstall and take with you to another location if you’re a renter or move to a new home in the future. Some renter may not be able to get a hard-wired alarm system installed on the property, making a wireless system their only option for ensuring the security of their families.

Online Monitoring – Many DIY systems allow you to monitor your alarm and its component online via the internet or a mobile app. Some also offer smart home features that enable you to control your system or other objects in your home such as your door locks and light bulbs from anywhere with an internet connection.


DIY Installation Cons

You do the work – With a DIY installation, you need to read through the entire instruction manual, do the hard work of setting it up, and possibly spend time on the phone with customer service to activate it and work out any kinks. It can be a time-consuming process.

No in-person professional – Once your system is set up, you’ll also need to learn how to use it. There will be no one there to walk you through the process and explain how to use each feature. If you’re a tech savvy person, this may not be a big deal, but for others, it could be a real pain.

Add-ons Can Add Up – According to Energy Star, the average American home has 15 first floor windows. If you add in one front door and one back door, you are looking at up to 17 contact sensors. Most DIY systems come with only two or three sensors. Therefore, if you need additional components like extra window sensors or key fobs, you may need to pay $20 or more for each new part. Things can add up quickly if your home has lots of windows, multiple doors, a garage, and other entry points. Before you know it, a DIY alarm being advertised at $200 can suddenly cost you three times that amount.

Just the basics – Most DIY home alarm systems generally offer basic wireless security, while many professional security packages come with upgrades that add additional layers of protection, such as battery backups, panic buttons, fire monitoring, pet-immune motion sensors and more.

No Connection to Police – Most DIY alarm systems don’t offer a direct connection to the police or fire department in case of emergency. Instead, they will notify you first and then allow you to decide the next course of action. However, in a real crisis, a few minutes or even seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

Limited Warranty and Support – Once you buy a DIY alarm system, you’re often on your own. While the manufacturer may answer basic questions, but you won’t be able to call for regular tech support, free equipment upgrades, etc. And if a component (or the entire system) fails, the replacement cost is yours.

Companies that provide DIY installation include FrontPoint, SimpliSafe, Protect America, and Scout.


Is This Right for You?

While DIY security options are becoming more popular, if you are not comfortable installing a system on your own, or if you don’t have the time, spending extra for the installation could be well worth the additional cost. Not to mention, if you make any mistakes during the installation, you may risk the safety of your family should a break-in occur.

For those that are relatively handy, a DIY installation may be an easy undertaking and could easily save you a few hundred bucks in the process. If you also do DIY monitoring, you could potentially save thousands; however, it certainly is a riskier option.

One look at this list and it’s clear to see that DIY security systems have more pros than professionally installed systems. However, they have quite a few cons too. It’s important to carefully review each type of system, as well as the many differences between providers to determine what’s right for you.


Nest Secure: A Comprehensive Home Security Solution

When it comes to property crime prevention, a quality security alarm and monitoring service is a must. Whether you already have an alarm system or are looking to buy or upgrade, you may be wondering which brand to choose. Here at Knight Protection Services, we use Nest Secure to protect our assets and keep our loved ones safe. In this article, we’ll provide you with an overview of what Nest offers, as well as why it’s our security system of choice.

The Pros and Cons of the Nest Home Security System

Nest is owned by Google and is a well-known brand in the connected home space. They offer everything from alarm systems, security cameras, doorbell cameras, and smart thermostats. What sets smart home products apart from your standard security systems is that all of these “smart” products can be controlled via a mobile app and smart assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Nest Secure Pros

  • Nest has a variety of home security and smart home devices available
  • Nest integrates with other third-party devices
  • Nest has inexpensive subscription plans
  • Nest doesn’t lock you in with a service contract
  • Nest offers easy installation, but they also have a professional installation service available
  • Nest allows you to control all your devices via one centralized app

Nest Secure Cons

  • Nest has a higher upfront investment compared to other smart security systems
  • Nest Aware is priced per-camera



At Knight Protection Services, we chose Nest because the system is incredibly user-friendly, offering both easy installation and device management. Nest’s hardware also features clever functionality, such as contact sensors that can double as motion sensors. Nest can also learn your routines, what your family members look and sound like and more. Nest hardware is sleek and sophisticated; it doesn’t stand out like most other security systems, it blends seamlessly into your decor, which for some, is an important detail.

Key Features

Integrated Smart Home Ecosystem – The biggest advantage of going with a Nest system is the integration available, both with other Nest products as well as with third-party equipment. Options include lights, switches, and plugs that can respond to intruders, garage doors that know when you leave your property, and door locks that seamlessly connect with your security system.

Google Assistant Compatibility – With Google Assistant, you can command your Nest devices to perform specific actions, as well as ask questions about their status. If you have a Google Assistant-enabled speaker (like Google Home) or smart display (like Google Home Hub), it can also play certain notifications from your Nest products. Google Assistant currently works with Nest thermostats, Nest cameras, Nest Hello video doorbell, Nest Secure alarm system, and Nest × Yale Lock.

Google Assistant also enables you to arm your security system hands-free. You can also arm your security system by saying, “Hey Google, set Nest Secure to Home and Guarding.” Disarming it is as simple as saying, “Hey Google, cancel security.” However, you have to cancel it within a few moments of arming it, and you are only able to disarm it with a voice command if you initially armed it with a voice command.

Amazon Alexa Compatibility – Using the Nest Camera skill, you can tell Alexa to show video from your Nest camera through an Amazon video player.

Easy Arming and Disarming – While most home security systems give you just a few seconds to rush to the keypad to disarm it before it sounds the alarm, Nest allows you to set a custom time limit and gives you a countdown reminder. If also sends you a reminder should you leave the house and forget to turn it on. Nest also offers Tag key fobs that can be scheduled to disarm your system at certain times of the day, for instance when your dog walker or housekeeper is expected to be inside your home.

Smart Alerts – Imagine security cameras that can learn the difference between your family members and strangers, sending you a notification when an unexpected person or activity is present on your property. The Nest Aware subscription plan can do just that.

24/7 Recording – The Nest Aware subscription also offers continuous recording of your cameras’ video streams. You can have anywhere from five to 30 days of video saved for review, depending on the plan you select. Your recordings are available via a cloud-based service that uses AES 128-bit encryption and two-step authentication.

Voice Alerts – Between our cell phones, tablets, and other personal devices, we often hear so many beeps and notifications we’re not entirely sure where they’re coming from. With Nest, you’re told exactly what’s going on by a human-like voice, enabling you to easily and quickly understand the notifications you receive.

Pathlight – Pathlight lights briefly turn on when you walk by your Nest Protect or Nest Detect, then turn off again after you’ve passed. This prevents you from having to stumble around in the dark and is ideal for any location in your home where you’d like a little extra light. Pathlight’s high-efficiency LEDs use much less energy than standard light bulbs, making them very energy efficient.

Quiet Open – Quiet Open lets you open a single door or window one time without making a sound on your alarm system. For example, if you leave for work before your family wakes up, or want to quickly grab the newspaper off of your porch. Quiet Open lets you slip out the door without disturbing others while keeping your alarm system armed.


Security Alarm– The Nest Secure alarm system is priced at $399. It includes a base station which acts as the hub for Nest devices to connect to, it also provides a keypad for arming and disarming the system, and offers motion detection sensors. The security alarm also includes two sensors for your walls, doors or windows, and two Nest Tags.

Security Cameras – The Nest Aware subscription offers three tiers of service. The first tier is $5 per month or $50 annually, which covers 5-day video history, 24/7 continuous recording, intelligent alerts, video clips, and time lapses, and custom activity zones. The second tier increases the video history to 10 days for $10 per month or $100 per year, and the third tier offers a 30-day video history for $30 per month or $300 annually. You only need the Nest Aware plan if you purchase Nest security cameras.

Professional Monitoring – You have the option of professional security monitoring through Nest’s partnership with Brinks. The 24/7 professional monitoring plan will have security professionals contact you to verify triggered alarms, talk you through emergencies and call the police should they not get a response.

Cellular Backup – While Nest’s security service runs on Wi-Fi, they also offer cellular backup in case your Wi-Fi connection gets dropped, during power outages for instance. They offer two plans: $19 per month with a 3-year agreement, or $29 month-to-month agreement.


The Nest Secure system is a high-performing and user-friendly solution. Convenient features like Pathlight, Quiet Open and the ability to integrate other Nest devices with the system and app for nearly limitless smart home customization make it a top choice by the highly-training security professionals at Knight Protection Services.

While we highly recommend the Nest Secure home security system, we also recognize that home security systems are reactive methods of protection. Although they can very often deter criminal activity on your property, if you are going away for an extended period of time, it’s essential to also have a proactive security plan in place. That’s where Asset Overwatch comes in. Knight Protection Services employs a trusted team of highly-trained security specialists, all with law enforcement or military backgrounds, to watch over and care for your property—as if you never left.

Contact us to learn more.