Home Security for the 21st Century
Ross Trethewey introduces a home security device you can monitor from your smart device!
Recently, thieves broke into my parents’ home and stole my mother’s jewelry. What modern protections can they install to feel safe in their home?
—Gabriel Cortes, Corona, CA
I’m sorry to hear that your parents had a break-in and that your mom’s jewelry is gone. These events are tragic and violating—I know from experience—and are big motivators for people to put a security system in a home.
Your parents have basically two options: a traditional wired system, which requires paying a technician to install it and a monthly monitoring fee, or a newer no-fee, Wi-Fi-enabled system that a DIYer can install. I recently equipped a house with one of these new systems: a Nest security package that included a hub, motion and contact sensors, a doorbell camera, and an indoor security camera. The installation took just 2 hours. The equipment came to about $1,000, but you can pick up a basic no-camera package for $400.
Setting up the hub that communicates with each device is as simple as registering it on your phone- and plugging it in to a wall receptacle. The hub sits near the front door, where it can be disarmed with a key-fob swipe or a smartphone. (There’s also a 10-digit keypad, for other visitors.) Contact and motion sensors on each entry door alert your phone if someone opens a door when the system is armed. Want to let the dog out? Just disarm the sensor; you don’t have to shut off the whole system.
With a Wi-Fi system, your phone is the monitoring service, with the police on speed dial. However, in the event of a power outage, your phone won’t be reachable even though the system remains operational. To stay connected, choose either a cellular backup service or a third-party provider that keeps an eye on things 24/7, like a traditional security system. Both options have a monthly subscription fee.
Shown: TOH home technology expert Ross Trethewey finishes installing a new Nest Hello video doorbell. It connects to your phone, allowing you to see, record, and talk to anyone who approaches the door no matter where you are. It also rings when you push the button.