Ongoing developments in technology are giving homeowners more options when it comes to choosing a residential security system. Many are becoming more affordable and easier to install, with solar or battery-powered units that often eliminate the need for complicated hard-wired electrical installations. But before choosing a new system, you need to determine the level of security you expect from it. For example, in addition to forced-entry alarms and programmed lighting, you might want to include web-connected cameras for 24/7 monitoring from anywhere. You could also add a two-way audio connection that allows you to communicate with someone outside your front door or provide entry for scheduled visitors without having to give them a key.

Additional features might include motion sensors; fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detection; and/or sophisticated connections to a home hub – giving you complete control of your HVAC thermostat, lighting, plumbing and electrical systems. Many of these options include professional installation. There are also a variety of online monthly subscription services that offer a range of monitoring options. Of course, if your needs are less demanding, you might consider a basic do-it-yourself installation and avoid any additional costs.