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This unit receives the signals from the sensors placed around your home, and triggers the alarms or contacts the home security center to notify them of any trouble whenever appropriate. The control unit may be powered by electricity that runs in your home, or by battery power. Some systems are set up so that if the power in your house goes out, a battery backup will kick in and run the control unit until power is restored. Once the power flips back on, the backup battery system will automatically recharge. The sensors, or switches, are the second part of the security system. The most basic alarm systems have these sensors fitted in the frames of windows and doors so that if they are opened, the circuit is broken and the alarm is triggered. Some are installed in a way that allows them to detect if someone tries to break in through a window by shattering the glass or removing one of the panes. Others may detect motion inside or outside of the home. The third essential part of a home security system is the alarm. There are many different options as far as which type of alarm you can have installed. Some alarms are set to trigger a loud siren in order to deter potential burglars after they attempt to get in to your home.

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The smart key fob and its three buttons — away, standby/disarm, and home — allow you to disarm as you walk towards the front door. We found that a lot more convenient than racing inside to beat the alarm’s 30 second window, particularly if you have an armful of groceries or a baby on your hip. The SimpliSafe system requires a professional monitoring subscription to receive alerts. That’s because it relies on a cellular connection rather than internet, so someone needs to send you an SMS text. There’s no option to receive automatic in app alerts. This also means your DIY security system is essentially a local alarm — meaning if a burglar breaks in, your alarm will activate, but the police won’t be alerted. You’ll have to pay for one of the professional monitoring plans to save yourself the task of keeping a constant eye on the video feed. That said, SimpliSafe’s plans are still some of the most cost effective in the industry its most expensive plan is still $10 cheaper than Frontpoint’s least expensive. Whether you choose to monitor yourself or have professionals do it for you, you’ll still be charged. Scout charges $10 per month just for DIY monitoring — there is no free monitoring plan. DIY monitoring is only $10 less than the professional plan.