Cost and savings
When it comes to home security, it can be hard to know what features and elements are best for your home, but it’s even harder to pick the system that will work best for your home. In this post, I’d like to compare and contrast some of the features and benefits of a few alarm systems available to a homeowner or renter in the beautiful city of Houston, TX.
Houston is a great town with plenty to do, from parks to NASA, but unfortunately, bad weather and crime are realities in a city with Houston’s population and proximity to the coast. Houston’s crime rate is one of the highest in the nation: 52 crimes per thousand Houston residents. With this level of crime, a home security system is a necessity to protect yourself and your home. Burglary may potentially be on the rise after the coronavirus pandemic and large job losses in the area, so it is important to be prepared. Houston also experiences multiple floods each year due to the many hurricanes in the area. Some security systems incorporate elements that can be helpful not only with anti-burglary protection but with environmental protection.
ADT is one of the best-known alarm systems in the country, and it has a huge clientele and fairly good service for the price. ADT requires a credit score check, and their equipment is the basic home security system equipment. Here are the main elements of an ADT home security system:
Monitoring Keypad: This acts as the control center of an ADT system and has a few features, including arm/disarm capabilities and one-touch access to authorities.
Security Cameras: ADT offers two cameras, one indoor and one outdoor. These cameras are helpful for seeing what is going on both in and out of your home.
Alarms for Doors and Windows: Since these are the two most common points of entry into a home, these alarms are extremely helpful.
Smoke and Fire Alarms: If you don’t already have these, you should. ADT incorporates them into their security systems.
According to ADT’s website, they charge $36.99-$52.99 per month in equipment and alarm monitoring costs, depending on the level of monitoring you are looking for. ADT also charges a $99.00 installation fee. At these prices, you are looking at $450-$636 per year in security costs. ADT may be a good option, but it’s important to do good research before committing to a particular system.
ADT is launching a new DIY home security system to compete with the growing market for DIY home security systems. This system is called Blue by ADT and incorporates essentially the same technology as the traditional ADT security system.
The Alder security system is a good option for a professionally installed or DIY home security system. Alder does not have a minimum credit score requirement to receive the service. Monthly monitoring costs at Alder generally run around $34.99 per month, although you should call to get a quote to find out for sure. There are no hidden fees and the contract lasts 3 years, or 36 months. Thus, you are likely to spend about $425 a year in security costs, which is slightly cheaper than ADT. Professional installation costs extra, but the DIY installation option is a quick way to cut costs.
Alder’s home security system incorporates a few important elements:
Touchscreen Control Panel: Like the monitoring keypad of the ADT system, this is the command center of the system. From the seven-inch panel, you can arm and disarm your alarm system, contact authorities, and be notified of emergencies. This panel will ping any security sensors in your home regularly to make sure everything is working properly. It’s easy to set up and doesn’t require any screws or fancy wiring. Instead, the panel has an adhesive backing that leaves no mess, wherever you decide to place it. Your security system is backed up to a 4G cellular network, so you won’t have to worry about anyone shutting it down from outside, and the system also incorporates backup batteries in the case of a power outage.
Keyfobs and Mobile App: These allow you to arm and disarm your alarm system from outside your home.
Fire, Carbon Monoxide, and Flood Alarms: Like ADT, Alder offers fire alarms integrated into the system, but they also offer integrated flood and carbon monoxide detection. The flood sensor will notify you when there is standing water in your home, which can be especially helpful in a place like Houston.
Door and Window Sensors: These sensors essentially consist of a magnetized system that notices when doors and windows have been opened. When your system is armed and people shouldn’t be coming and going through your home, you’ll know.
Motion Sensors: These detect motion within 45 feet of the sensor, with a 90-degree viewing angle
Cameras: Alder utilizes Kami’s outdoor security camera to provide an expansive and reliable look outside your home. Alder’s YI Indoor camera is even smaller and more discreet than the outdoor camera. It incorporates night time vision, motion detection, and even detection for crying babies. The inside of your home will be totally covered with this camera. Alder also offers an Arlo doorbell camera for you to keep an eye on your porch.
Medical Pendant: Alder’s medical pendant provides the peace of mind you need regarding your loved ones’ health. Simply press the button in case of a medical emergency, and they’ll rapidly send the authorities to your home.
Cove is a DIY-only home security company with home automation, incredibly competitive pricing, and great customer service. We will ship all security system orders within 1 business day, and the security system usually arrives at your home between 3-5 days later. We also offer a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you find that you are dissatisfied with your security system, you can send it back for a full refund within 60 days of purchase.
Cove's packages are customizable. The set packages range in cost from $229-$389, with a $0 down option also available.
If the provided packages don't seem right for your situation, no problem! You are able to build your own package. Cove’s security systems incorporate the following elements:
Central Touch Alarm Panel: Cove uses a touchscreen control panel. This panel connects to the central monitoring station using a 4G internet connection.
Cameras: Cove’s YI indoor camera incorporates several features, including night vision, baby-crying detection, and two-way communication.
Motion Sensors: These sensors will detect movement within your home using advanced infrared technology.
Environmental Detectors: Cove offers a fire alarm, a carbon monoxide detector, and a water leak/freeze sensor. These are great tools to keep track of your home’s air quality and to stop disasters before they happen.
Medical Button: Because Cove is working to create a full-life home security system, we incorporate a medical button. This medical button is especially useful if you are a caretaker for a loved one who is elderly or disabled
Alarm Monitoring Service: Cove offers multiple alarm monitoring options, including an option for self-monitoring and an option for professional monitoring. Whichever you choose, you’ll know exactly what’s going on in your home.
Each sensor and camera is individually priced if you build your own package, which has the potential to save you a lot of money in the long run. Cove also frequently has sales on equipment, which can allow you to build your ideal system for an even lower price.
Cove's monthly monitoring costs range from $14.99-$34.99. Cove is also now fully integrated with Alexa and Google Assistant, making it a fantastic option for budget home security at professional smart home security prices.
Vivint is generally considered a good option for home security, and their service is used by thousands of customers, but once again, does it give you the best bang for your buck? Maybe not. Vivint also requires a minimum credit score of 600 for financing their system.
Equipment costs with Vivint will generally run around $600 for a basic system. Monitoring service costs are generally $38.99-$39.99 a month. Vivint does have a pretty wide range of products, which is helped by the fact that they specialize not just in security, but in home automation. Be aware, Vivint will try to upsell you on these products, which include:
Cameras: Vivint offers three kinds of cameras. One is an indoor camera, one is an outdoor camera, and one is a video doorbell.
Smart Locks: Vivint does have smart lock technology, with a key code to access the door, as well as an automatic garage door opener
Sensors: Vivint has many motion and window/door sensors, as these are a basic feature of most security systems.
Environmental Detection: Mostly a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
The nice thing about Vivint is that you can pick and choose elements of the security system that best fit your needs. Once again, however, you’re paying around $500 per year for your security coverage.
Like Alder, Protect America offers itself as a cheaper alternative to competitors like ADT and Vivint. Unfortunately, Protect America also offers a much more limited range of equipment. Their monitoring costs range from 20-55 dollars a month, which is pricier than Cove but does offer a cheaper option than Alder. They offer DIY installation, but you must call to get a quote for a security system.
This company’s equipment includes the following:
Door and Window Sensors: These are advertised as “micro” sensors, but incorporate technology similar to that of a Cove system.
Motion Detectors: Basic motion detector technology to sense heat and motion within your home.
Security Camera: Protect America offers two security cameras. One is an HD indoor camera, and the other is a doorbell camera to protect against porch pirates and identify visitors before you open your door.
Smoke Detector: Protect America does offer a smoke detector, but none of the other environmental detectors offered by both Alder and Cove
Smart Home Integration: Protect America can be integrated with Alexa.
Before you commit to Protect America, make sure they have everything you want in your home security system. They do offer DIY installation and professional monitoring.
Google Nest is another system that integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant, and it is fairly well-known, although it is not necessarily the most cost-effective option out there. The most basic Nest package costs around $399, making it more expensive than many other DIY home security options. Nest does have some fancier tech available such as a smart thermostat, but for additional fees though. Monitoring costs are an additional expense, landing somewhere between 5 and 30 dollars a month.
If Cove sounds like it might have what you’re looking for, please check us out. We want to help your home in Houston be the safest it can be!
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