When it comes to choosing the right smart security system for a home, the cost and ease of which a homeowner can achieve seamless home automation are two key overriding factors.
Below we look at how much it really costs to attain a fully automated home you can control from your smart phone from nearly any location.
Overall Smart Home Cost Estimates
Parks Associates, one of the leading smart home research companies, shared recent data on the average upfront price consumers paid for a security system that included smart home devices. The total was $1,405, around double what they paid for a basic security system that only included a control panel, system sensors and a keypad, according to Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates.
Many security companies offer a good, better and best option, with each adding more smart home devices into the mix. The basic package may include a smart home control panel, window and door sensors, while the next package up would add a camera and a few smart home devices like a smart thermostat, lights and doorbell camera, while the premium package would be full automation with an unlimited number of connected devices.
The majority of the monthly costs for monitoring and control of your devices are either through Honeywell’s Total Connect system and app, or through the My Virtual Keypad app, both of which give homeowners complete control at their fingertips.
Depending on the type and sophistication of the systems you are monitoring, costs can vary from basic alarm monitoring for $35-$45 per month and go up incrementally once you start to add in devices such as cameras and other smart home devices.
The nice thing about smart home security and automation is its scalability. This allows homeowners to start with some door and window sensors, a camera and a few smart home devices then add on as their needs and budget allow.
Smart locks, for example, are slightly more expensive than traditional locks but not prohibitively priced and are an easy add on. The same can be said for thermostats, lights and window shades, for example.
The list of smart home devices and other home automation controls that are available are endless. Some examples of what you can automate and/or control include:
- Remote arm/disarm of your security system
- Adjust smart lights
- Control smart door locks
- Adjust smart thermostats
- View home security cameras (live and recorded)
- Track vehicles and other assets
- Turn ceiling fans on/off
- Lower/raise shades via a Z-Wave device
- Open/close garage doors
- Pool, hot tub and steam bath temperatures
- Home theater systems and speakers
- Phone and Internet lines
- Yard irrigation
- Turning off or lowering water heaters and HVAC functions
- Detecting water and gas leaks
So even if your budget doesn’t allow you to add all of these features at one time, you can always expand functionality in the future.
Installation costs vary depending on the scale of your system, from a basic security panel to a complete home security and automation system, your consultant will work with you to address your needs and budget. Some companies may offer financing options so homeowners can pay for the equipment and installation over time, say two years, like a mobile phone pricing model. This would be added to the monthly monitoring fee to get to your overall monthly cost. And some security dealers will give you the equipment upfront as long as you are using their services and monitoring, so it is important to ask about the terms and make sure you understand them.
With many homeowners purchasing devices and looking for help installing and integrating with their existing system, expect to pay about $85-$150 per hour to get a security professional to come perform the installation.
Another factor that will greatly affect cost of the overall system is whether the security and home automation system will be wireless or hardwired, with wireless providing a cheaper option for many today.
Other Factors To Consider
In addition to the different packages and cost options, factoring in some of the savings and return on investment that can be achieved with a complete home automation is vitally important.
Just starting from an energy management and consumption standpoint, there are some immediate savings that can be had on electricity with better control of lights and smart thermostats, providing greater savings overall as well.
Another area that doesn’t really have a price tag but is really the whole reason for choosing a home automation system is convenience. As homeowners, the peace of mind of knowing your doors are locked, or that your children are home from school, or that an elderly parent has taken their medication, is invaluable when looking at overall life safety and convenience. In addition, many home insurance policies provide a discounted rate for a properly installed and monitored security system.
A monitored system is vital to your protection. Choosing the appropriate pathway; systems can be network monitored, cellular monitored, or by radio.
Choosing the Right Partner
Once you decide that you want to have a fully automated smart home, it is time to pick a security company to work with. Make sure you do your homework here and ask about costs upfront, as well as monthly monitoring fees and services.
In addition to working with a company that has a proven track record in residential security and smart home automation, you want to make sure the company you work with can handle all of your monitoring needs and be confident you are getting the most out of your monthly monitoring. You should also find out if the monitoring is done locally, such as Moon Security’s monitoring center, or if the monitoring is out of state, or even in another country.
Another sign of competency is having a security company’s central station TMA (The Monitoring Association) Five Diamond certified. This certification is granted annually to monitoring centers that satisfy stringent requirements of the five points of excellence, including:
- Commitment to random inspections and quality criteria standards by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as FM Approvals, Intertek/ETL and UL
- Commitment to the highest levels of customer service
- Commitment to ongoing job-related education and testing by having 100% of its central station operators certified using the TMA online training series
- Commitment to raising the industry standards through TMA membership and participation in its activities
- Commitment to reducing false dispatches
Once you have found a company that meets all of the above minimum standards and requirements, give them a call and ask for a home evaluation and estimate for the options right for your home and budget.
If you are looking for home security in Eastern Washington state, Northeastern Oregon, and the Idaho Panhandle get in touch with Moon Security for more information about our smart home security and local monitoring options.