Cancel Your Contract

Home Security How Tos: From Installation to Monitoring

From buying a home security system to monitoring your home, we’ve answered all of your home security questions

All of our content is written by humans, not robots. Learn More
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated May 17, 2023
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on May 17, 2023

Home security is both a complicated and important topic, so it’s essential that you understand your needs before diving in. There’s a lot to consider, from equipment and installation to monitoring, video storage, and maintenance.

How much does home security cost? Do I need professional monitoring? Can I install a system myself to save money? Our home security experts have compiled comprehensive guides on all topics of home security, so look below to get educated.

Security System Finder

By answering a handful of easy questions, you can discover the security system that’s perfectly tailored to your needs!

Find My System


Step Number
Step Name



Finding best options

1st step button

Home Security How Tos

From the basics of what a home security system is to more advanced matters like whether or not you need a landline for a security system, read our detailed guides.

Vivint Base
Vivint Base

Home Security Basics

Just starting off with improving your home’s security? Begin your journey here.

How to Secure Your Home

We provide step-by-step instructions on how to secure not only your home, but also your car, an area that’s often overlooked.

Make sure when securing your home that you don’t overlook sensors for all of your doors and windows, a centrally located control panel, motion sensors, and smart locks.

Home Security Equipment

One of the biggest costs in home security is the equipment itself, but what do the components do, and which ones do you need? We’ve broken it down below.

Alder - Glassbreak Monitor
Alder – Glassbreak Monitor

What to Do After a Break-in

Even with the best home security system and security cameras installed, break-ins can still happen, both in your home and your car (especially if you didn’t secure your garage with a garage security system).

Pro Tip: To avoid car break-ins, park your car in the garage and close your garage door remotely with a smart garage opener. Learn how to make your garage door smart.

Home Security Costs

The bottom line is important, and home security has a huge range when it comes to cost. For someone looking for the most affordable security system, look for a DIY system that you self-monitor to avoid monthly or annual fees. But keep in mind that you may need to pay for a permit, storage, and maintenance, and unfortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll get a tax deduction for your home security system.

FYI: A home security system is tax-deductible only if your home is your principal place of business.1

Installing the Blue by ADT Entry Sensor
Installing the Blue by ADT Entry Sensor

Home Security Installation

Finally, we answer your questions about setting up your security system. Typically, most systems have a DIY installation option for free, but there are professionally installed systems for those who prefer to keep their hands clean. Also, keep in mind that as 63 percent of adults in the U.S. live in wireless-only households,2 there are a number of no-landline security systems available.


There you have it, the best information available on all topics regarding home security systems. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out our YouTube channel, where we test the most popular home security systems.3 And if you want to save money on home security systems, check out our pages on the latest security system deals and security system Black Friday deals.

SimpliSafe Base Station
SimpliSafe Base Station

Want to learn more about home security beyond the system? Read our security camera how-to page. For apartment-dwellers, you may not need cameras, but for those with large homes, outdoor cameras are a great way to not only catch but deter crime from happening in the first place. And of course, we’ve tested all of the equipment in our reviews so you can trust it to protect your home and family and give you peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve scoured our home security how-to pages and haven’t found the answer you’re looking for, check out the most frequently asked questions below.

  • Can I install a home security system myself?

    You can install a home security system yourself. Most smart home security systems these days have DIY installation that’s free to the user. Wireless systems often come pre-programmed and don’t require drilling. Some of the best DIY home security systems include SimpliSafe, Cove, abode, Frontpoint, and Deep Sentinel.

  • How much does it cost to have security at my house?

    It can cost anywhere from $30 to thousands of dollars to have security at your house, depending on the size of your home, the equipment you buy, and the type of monitoring you need, among other factors.

  • How do I protect my home from intruders?

    You can protect your home from intruders by installing smart home security systems, cameras, and video doorbells, otherwise known as doorbell cameras. You’ll get alerted whenever your sensors detect motion, and you will be able to view live footage from your mobile app. Most cameras have infrared night vision as well as motion detection.

  • Will Ring security work if Wi-Fi is down?

    If you have the Protect Plus, Ring security will work if the Wi-Fi is down. However, if you have the Protect Basic plan or no plan, Ring Alarm won’t connect to the Ring – Always Home app when Wi-Fi fails due to the lack of cellular backup. Only the Protect Plus plan includes cellular backup, which will keep you connected to the monitoring center as well as your mobile application. This plan costs $10 a month or $100 a year.

  1. IRS. (2021). Publication 529 – Introductory Material.

  2. CDC. (2021). Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the
    National Health Interview Survey, January-June 2020

  3. Youtube. (2021).