DIY or Professional Security Installation?

Professional Installation or DIY Installation

Alarm panels in the past had to be installed by a professional. You were at the mercy of whatever they wanted to charge because it was not practical for a non professional to be able to understand how to install a security system without advanced training. Alarm manufactures have made huge strides with alarm panels and with cell phones and the internet the remote access has made the perfect combination for someone with just a little hand on know how to be able to install a complete security system on their own. There are a few basic items that you will need to be able to accomplish to completely install an alarm system on your own:

  1. Stick the door and window contacts on the doors and windows
  2. Use a screwdriver to attach the motion detectors to the wall
  3. Use a screwdriver to attach the smoke detectors to the ceiling
  4. Program the Panel
  5. Test the installation

Literally this is how simple a security system is to install. The only item that does require technical expertise is number 4-Program the Panel. This one feature is best to be left to the professionals. It can be done by a beginner but it does take more time to read through the manuals to gain enough understanding to program the panel correctly. There are online companies that will sell an alarm panel with the programming already complete for you and you just stick up the devices and then test the system.

Consider Cost

There are three separate costs to consider when installing a security system. All of these costs will be applied when a professional installs your system. These costs are:

  • Costs of the Product
  • Cost of Labor for the Installation
  • Cost of Monthly Monitoring

Costs of a Security System

When you purchase a security system just like any other product you will be paying the cost of the product and also the markup on the product. This is normal but it is a cost that can be avoided if you are directly making an alarm system purchase. With a DIY system it is very easy to see the deals because you can usually compare online.

Cost of Labor for Installation

In today’s security market the competition is very tough. This makes for some great deals on alarm systems for the consumer. There is one thing for sure though; you need to know what a good deal really is. Alarm companies are doing a lot of bundling these days and it is harder to compare the costs. The only way to effectively compare is to take the entire cost over the entire term of the contract.

Initial Cost of Installation (Activation Fee) $99.00

Initial Cost of Parts $399.00

Monitoring Cost over the Contract $1,620.00

Total $2,188.00

Cost of Service

There is another factor to consider when you are researching the installation of a security system. If you system is installed by a professional the product and work is warranted for one year. After the year has come and gone the service can cost you over $100 for the initial call and around $100 per hour until it is fixed. That is on top of the replacement cost for the parts. There is also the extra hassle of having to take time off from work and wait for the technician to arrive at your home. If you have done a DIY install these costs can be eliminated or severely diminished. With older wired system it did take a professional to troubleshoot the problem. With the wireless systems you can do the same thing that the technician will do. Replace the sensor that is having an issue. You can do this without scheduling an appointment and without the increase cost of the part. Just order the part and when it arrives you can just program the new sensor into the system. You don’t even have to stick up the new sensor. Just reuse the base and snap in the new sensor electronics. It sounds like an easy operation because it is very simple.

Cost for Upgrading

With a DIY installation you can easily start out small and get a basic system and add on as you can afford it. You cannot do this with a professional installation because you will have to pay a service charge each time they install new equipment. That is at least $100 for each trip.

Worst Case Scenario

Here is the worst thing that can happen if you purchase a new home security system. You purchase the parts and for whatever reason you cannot get the system installed correctly. All is not lost at this point. As a matter of fact you are far from losing. If you have already purchased the equipment then I can guarantee that you have saved a lot of money over a purchase from a professional. So at this point just call around and have a professional come over and complete the installation. A security installer will be happy to charge you to complete the installation and if you need monitoring they will be happy to sign you up. You are still ahead of the game at this point.


Consider your options when it is time to install a new security system or upgrade your current system. The cost savings can be hundreds and thousands of dollars over the years that you will have your alarm system. If you think that installing your own security system may be too much for you to want to consider then at a minimum call new alarm companies when your contract is up. Your current company will NOT call you to reduce your monthly charge but if you call them and say you might be switching security monitoring I can guarantee that they will lower the amount that you are paying each and every month.


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