Differences Between Unmonitored and Monitored Home Security Systems

Article Posted by Expert Author: Emma Prior  on 06/14/2013

understanding options for home securityHome security describes comprehensive technological measures designed to deter or prevent intruders from entering your home, as well as providing adequate monitoring to warn of dangerous environmental concerns.  There are a variety of options available to homeowners at various price points, depending on the budget and goals of the homeowner.

Today's home security systems don't necessarily require a traditional landline, and can work with other telephone technologies like digital voice through internet service providers, or cellular technology.  However, there may be some trade-offs, depending on the type of technology you opt for.  It's important for consumers to know what these trade-offs are up front.  For instance, with Internet telephone a power outage may affect your system, and voIP technology utilizes voice compression which may distort your alarm signal.  Or in the case of cellular radio signals to transmit alarm signals, if you experience a power outage you must rely on backup batteries, which only have limited stored power.

There are two main types of home security systems available to the public that can be classified as monitored and unmonitored.

Unmonitored Security Systems

Unmonitored security systems, or do-it-yourself models, are the most popular because of price, and in most cases can be easily installed by the homeowner.  As the name suggests, this system, once set up by the homeowner, is not monitored by an outside service, which means that the costs are finite.

There are a number of optional components that can be included in your home security system, including door and window sensors, motion detectors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, keypads for entry into the doors or the garage, and cameras.

Wireless systems are usually selected because the homeowner doesn't have to worry about hard-wiring their system.  A wireless home security system relies on battery-powered transmitters that send radio frequencies to a control panel that interacts with all the components of the system.  The downside of this type of system is that you need to maintain the batteries and sensors.

An unmonitored alarm system, when triggered, emits a loud sound designed to deter intruders from entering the home.  Door and window alarms provide the backbone for the alarm system, along with surveillance cameras that can provide streamed coverage of the home from any internet connection.

Monitored Systems

A home security company provides the highest level of security with monitored coverage 24/7.  Like the do it yourself system, you can opt for a number of different components that provide layered and targeted security that can be designed for your specific needs.  Some of the added features include:

  • Cameras - This feature is particularly beneficial when combind with a monitored system, as the security company can assess the threat in real time.  These cameras can also be set up to stream to an internet connection so that consumers can monitor their home themselves.
  • Door and window alarms - Since these are the most likely entry points for would-be intruders, door and window alarms are an integral part of every system.  They consist of magnetic contact strips, door stops or keypads that, if broken, emit an alarm at the control panel or call center.
  • Motion detectors - These devices are often used in conjunction with lighting, cameras or an alarm.  That can detect movement or body heat, depending on the device.
  • Sensors - Attached -primarily to doors, windows and safes, these sensors are easy to install, and provides extra protection in the form of al alarm that triggers unauthorized entry.  Parents have adopted these sensors to keep their children out of places they should not go as well.
  • Smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors - state-of-the-art components are the backbone of fire safety in any home security system.   These multi-gas detectors protect your home, family and pets from the hazards that can come from within.
  • Keypads - from the most basic touchpads that secure your home, to complex functionality that enables interactive systems within your home to work together, keypads are an integral component to any home security system.
  • Personal medical emergency response - home health services are a wonderful option for senior citizens who wish to maintain their independence without being vulnerable to unexpected medical emergencies.


Learn how home security systems can give you peace of mind from all kinds of issues, including unscrupulous individuals or simple natural occurrences such as fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.  Think of it as an investment in your family's safety and security.

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