How to Make a DIY Smart Home Security System (No Monthly Fees!)
We no longer live in a time wherein order to have a security system at home, you have to call the likes of ADT, Brinks, or some other giant security conglomerate to come and install expensive cameras, alarms, etc. and then charge you a ridiculous monthly fee to “monitor” your home for you.
Instead, there are a ton of smart home devices that can easily be used to create a smart home security system that will not only do the same thing for less money and no monthly fee, but also have a ton of other benefits that you can use on a daily basis (and not just when there’s an incident).
So, in this video, I want to go over how to make your own DIY smart home security system that can do all of that (and more) without any monthly fees.
This video was sponsored by Verizon, but all the info and opinions are my own. Hope you enjoy it regardless!
Internet & Mobile Phone Service
First, for all of this to work, I’m sorry but there is at least one monthly fee you need to pay, but there’s a really good chance that if you’re watching this, you already pay for it: internet and mobile phone service.
Now, full disclosure, this video is sponsored by Verizon, but if you’ve seen my videos before, you know, I’m actually a huge fan of my Verizon FiOS Gigabit Internet service. It’s less expensive than all the other options for me here in NYC and yet is also the fastest upload and download speeds I’ve ever had in an apartment.
Now, in order for any security system to work nowadays, you need an internet connection (and one that is fast and reliable is best, of course) and you’ll also need the same for your mobile phone so you can make sure you get all of the notifications, camera feeds, etc. and that’s where Verizon Fios and Verizon Wireless can help and they even have some awesome deals going on right now.
For example, new and existing Verizon Wireless customers who add new Verizon Fios service get $200 off a flagship phone. Head here for all of the deals happening right now and to see if you can get their service in your area.
Now, if you want a system that can monitor your house, send you alerts, and even contact first responders if needed, a smart home security system like Canary is probably a good option.
You can get a Canary View like this one for about $80 or so and you just plug it in, connect it to wifi, point the camera at your front door, living room, child’s crib, whatever and it’s good to go.
It can be set up to notify you if it detects motion (or even a human figure), show you a live feed plus record a clip of the event, allow you to call the police/fire department, have the system arm and disarm automatically based on if you are home, sleeping, or away, etc.
There’s no monthly fee for the free service which does all the things I just mentioned, but there is also a premium service for $99/year that adds some extra functionality like storing videos for 30 days, allow for two-way audio, access to an incident report team to help after a break-in, etc. if you need it.
Besides the all-in-one smart security systems like Canary, you can also either create your own in a way or supplement the security system by adding your own smart cameras to the house.
Nest makes some great indoor and outdoor cameras for around $150 each that you can plug in, connect to the internet and setup via the Nest app (the same that is used for the Nest smart thermostats if you are familiar with those).
Once set up, they can detect motion or loud sounds (like a window breaking) and send you alerts (the free account sends you snapshots of the event or you can pay for the yearly Nest Aware access to get a 30-day history of all videos stored in the cloud, similar to Canary).
Besides these smart cameras, a great idea for home security is using a smart doorbell. Ring makes a good one that works by replacing your current doorbell and, thanks to a similar camera on them, they can notify you of any motion at the door. It can even show you a live video feed when someone rings it so you can check to see who it is on any smart home device or your phone before going to answer.
Smart Sensors & Locks
Now besides cameras, there are a plethora of smart sensors that, as I showed in How to Make Your Home a Smart Home video I did not too long ago, that are also perfect for home security.
SmartThings makes sensors for doors and windows that you can set up to alert you if one of those is opened, ones to detect water leaks to make sure you don’t have a flood while you’re gone, and motion detectors, too (that you can use not only inside the house but outside to automatically turn on smart light bulbs, etc.). All of them are under $20 apiece which isn’t bad at all.
What about actually locking your door? Well, there are smart door locks that you can install that have sturdy deadbolts like their non-smart varieties but also provide added benefits like keyless entry (that you revoke easier than trying to get a key back from someone who might have it), notifications, etc.
Another thing that’s a good idea is to replace your smoke detectors with smart ones so they can actually notify you if it’s smoke or carbon monoxide, etc. instead of just buzzing like crazy. Nest makes a popular one called Nest Protect that can do all of that and can also be silenced from the phone when you inevitably set it off while cooking instead of having to jump on a chair and frantically try and rip it from the ceiling.
Lastly, if you have things you want to keep track of when they leave the house, you can get a tracker like this one from Verizon. It uses the normal cell networks and GPS to show you a live location of whatever you attach it to. Now, because of the nature of it working outside the house, there is a small fee for it working on the cell network (like you have to do when paying for your phone, for example).
If you don’t need to track whatever the item is outside, you can use Bluetooth trackers like this Tile Sport to find items that are within 90 feet of your phone instead.
Now, if the thing you want to track is, say, your child, and they already have a mobile phone, you can just use a service for family tracking that Verizon offers called Verizon Smart Family for $9.99/month to have an app give you location data on everyone on the plan or if you have a Just Kids plan for your kid, the service is included with that for free.
And there you go. With a much lower upfront cost than old school security systems and no monthly fees necessary, you can secure your own home using smart home tech instead. Let me know if you guys have any other tech to add to this list that would be good for security.
As always, thanks for watching and don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter to stay up to date on all the videos and articles I do.