Smart Lifestyle, curated for you by BGE and Empower Maryland

Issue 2: 2023

You’ve Got This

You can install your own security system in no time

No power tools or extensive shop class required.

No one knows the age, maybe because it’s a different age for each person, but one day you wake up and—poof. You’re an adult. You are now expected, if not required, to do adult things. Boring things. Beige things. We don’t mean specifically the color but the feeling that color evokes. Day in and day out, things just become more and more … meh.

Fear not. Adulting isn’t all bad.

One great thing is cake. As an adult, you can have cake anytime you’d like. Once you reach a certain age, they just let you. Feel free to test that out anytime. The second great thing you can do as an adult is buy cool gadgets. Again, there is no one to stop you. Today’s cool gadget example is a web-based security system you can install yourself.

Step 01.

Put. The toolbelt. Down.

You don’t need to wield a 12-volt drill, own a workbench or have taken shop class to install your new security system. The latest web-based security systems are made for relatively quick and easy installation. For example, one popular package requires you to use one screw. A single screw for the entire system. See? Adulting isn’t so hard.

Step 02.

Forget inserting “Tab AA” into slot “S22.”

Following the directions is easy. That’s because they’re written for the average human—not electricians—so you can actually understand them. Are you more of a visual learner? Great. Most brands have online videos that guide you through every step. You won’t have flashbacks to assembling furniture. We promise.

Step 03.

Set up your security epicenter.

It’s called a hub, but “epicenter” just sounds cooler. Place and plug in this guy near your main entry door. Most have a keypad on top so you can arm and disarm the system by pressing the right code. You can also have different codes for different people. The kids. The babysitter. The dog walker.

A single screw for the entire system. See? Adulting isn’t so hard.

Another cool trick is a key fob you can actually wave over the top of it to arm or disarm the system. While doing this may make you feel like a wizard, it will not, we repeat not, make you a wizard. We wanted to make that painfully clear. None of these will be used as much as your smartphone. Here’s why: Your smartphone is always with you and charged. Your new security system also has GPS connectivity—a big plus for security systems in that it can detect when you’re home or away and respond to threats accordingly.

Step 04.

Get in touch with your sensitive side.

After setting up your hub, it’s time to install your sensors. Basic packages include multiple motion sensors and contact sensors for your doors and windows. You may see this as the perfect opportunity to break out the power tools. It’s not. Many past systems would instruct you to find studs and drill pilot holes. Oh, how times have changed. Now your sensors come with an adhesive back. Mounting is super easy and won’t involve permanently scarring your walls or woodwork.

Step 05.

Install your doorbell camera. Great for security and viral videos.

Alright, alright, this one may require a tool—a screwdriver. Famously the least intimidating of all tools. Often, you can use the wiring from your traditional doorbell to power your new doorbell camera. Simply pull the cover plate off and use the existing screw holes and wiring.

Step 06.

Install bonus cameras for Fort Knox-level security.

You can add cameras that are so much more than cameras. They’re also motion detectors and include facial recognition software. In time, the system will learn your face and the faces of your household members and frequent visitors to avoid setting off any alerts when you or they move.

Step 07.

Wi-Fi enabled but not Wi-Fi required.

The lack of wires and the smartphone capability means you’re leaning heavily on Wi-Fi. And if the power goes out, the Wi-Fi goes out. But these systems have you covered. At the bare minimum, if the Wi-Fi goes out, the devices are all battery operated, so the authorities will get an alert if something sets off an alarm. You can also get upgrades that include cellular monitoring and alerts, as well as central station monitoring upgrades to ensure someone is always watching your home.

Step 08.

Lastly, make your security part of your integrated smart home strategy.

While security is an obvious priority in any home, taking steps to improve your overall energy efficiency can help offset the energy use required for your new security system.

So, a DIY security system installation is not only within reach, it also doesn’t require you to buy a tool belt or spend any additional cash at the hardware store. That being said, hardware stores are quite useful. Yes, you can find an online video for nearly any DIY project, but a video can’t answer follow-up questions and give advice. That’s what the local mom-and-pop stores can deliver in droves. Build a relationship with the most experienced employee at your local hardware store. It pays to have handy friends.