Home Security Basics | How To Home Podcast #005

Home Security: Everything You Need to Know to Keep You and Your Property Safe | HTH 005

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My name is Aaron Massey, and welcome back to the How to Home Podcast. On today’s episode, we are talking about Home Security. We’re talking about how to set up a basic system, what components you might need, how much money you can expect to spend, some burglary and prevention tips and why you need a dog.
Welcome to the How to Home Podcast presented by FilterBuy. I’m your host Aaron Massey, a DIY home improvement enthusiasts and full-time content creator running mrfixitdiy.com. Alongside me is my co-host, Tracy Pendergast, a home and lifestyle blogger operating her website, heytracy.com. Each week we’ll cover the real world ups and downs of owning a home, answer your questions, and if we don’t have the answers, we’ll talk to some experts to help you get the most out of your remodel, repair, and home improvement project. Without further ado, let’s start the show.
Joining me as always is Tracy Pendergast, and our guest today is Ryan [inaudible 00:00:49] We are talking about home security which is a subject near and dear to my heart, and I think probably everybody’s heart. But Ryan has over 15 years of commercial and residential security experience. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background?
Thank you for having me. Yes. So, 15 years straight out of college, this was the first choice for me. I wanted to always work in technology, and security always stood out because cameras are getting so advanced these days. I just really wanted to be sure that I could be a part of that, and not have a job where I would get replaced by a robot. Wanting to make sure that I was in an industry that worked really well for me.
That’s true there will always be burglars. That’s job security, right?
Yeah, that’s certainly job security. I know that I have had some experiences
everywhere that I’ve lived from the time I was a kid, my house got broken into
twice, even though I was in a super small farm town. I was in college, my truck
got broken into, I moved out here, my car got broken into. I am a little bit
paranoid. So, I’m really excited to pick your brain about some stuff because I
want to make sure that I have the most secure home possible.
Now, all Aaron has is the shirt on his back that he is wearing today and that mug.
I have nothing left. I hope I can definitely help with that.
Awesome. You did some research on some staggering statistics about-
I did. Would you like me to share?
Okay. Some facts that I was surprised about. According to the FBI, a burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds. So, boom, someone’s window just got broken.
Just in the 30 since we started talking.
 Exactly. About 60% of convicted burglars stated that the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home. So, we’ll talk about that how
you can advertise that your house is taken care of. Most burglaries take place
between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. That surprised me. So, during the day when people
are at work. Most criminals can burglarize a home in less than 10 minutes.
That’s actually interesting to me to with the camera stuff, is 10 minutes
enough time to respond if you’re doing DIY monitoring? Someone is home nearly
three out of every 10 burglaries. So, that is kind of scary.
Yeah, that’s crazy scary.
And then the other thing that surprised me is the place that burglars usually go to first is the master bedroom. That’s where all the jewelry and-
Yeah, I’m guessing that must be a jewelry thing. Because I’m thinking I’m going for the
TV or something-
                     I guess
nowadays TVs are so cheap . It’s all the devices that you have. You keep your
cell phones and your iPads and all the high tech devices, you want to keep them
nearby you inside your room. So, that’s the obvious choice. Before we get into
all this I just want to remind the audience that we do have a voicemail box set
up that you can call 24/7, anytime you want. Leave us a question and we will do
our best to feature it on the show, it’s on point. We have some home security
questions lined up that hopefully you can help us answer, or help the audience
get some information on.
                     But if you
do want to call us make sure you give us a call at 978-709-1040. Again, you can
call us at any time. Leave a message and we’ll try to include it on the show.
Also, before we dive too far in, I want to take a second to thank our founding
partner of the How to Home Podcast, and that is FilterBuy they are a direct to
consumer filter company. They’re made right here in the United States and their
family owned business.
                     You can
save 5% when you subscribe. So, you set it and forget it and never think about
filters again. They just auto mail.
                     Yeah, it’s
super easy. I just signed up for it myself. All you have to do is you go on,
you input your filter sizes. You can select how often you want them delivered.
For me, I selected that I want them delivered every three months. I have two
different units, and you just input the sizes, they send it direct to your
door. You don’t ever have to remember to go to the store and buy a new filter
or anything like that. It shows up, you change it, your system runs good.
                     Because if
you leave your house to get a filter you can be burglarized.
true, that is true. You can be burglarized while you’re at Home Depot.
                     They all ship
within 24 hours. So, that’s another awesome thing.
                     Thank you
to FilterBuy for being involved in the show. Let’s dive in. I have a bunch of
questions for you, and I’m hoping you can give us some information. First and
foremost, I want to just talk about in general, what are some of the things
that a homeowner can do to minimize the risk of getting broken into?
up, my dad always said that a lock only dissuades an honest person. To me, it’s
like yeah, you can put a lock on your door, you can do all this stuff. But what
else can you do that is really going to dissuade burglars from targeting your
question. You really want to be observant of your neighborhood. You want to
know your neighbors. You want to know who’s walking around, what cars they’re
driving, stuff like that. I’m not saying sign up for the neighborhood watch and
be that annoying person that’s the nosy neighbor. But you just want to be aware
of your surroundings. Maybe something stands out that you’re not particularly
used to, just something that helps you keep you aware of something like that.
That’s always a great thing to do.
                     You really
want to act more on prevention as opposed to something like reactionary, like a
system, because a camera will capture something after the fact. You want to
hope to prevent as much as possible.
                     There’s a
lot of things now, like, for example, I’m part of Nextdoor, which is kind of
almost a Facebook for your neighborhood. You input your address and all that. I
get a lot of things on there about suspicious people and things. Some of my
neighbors can be a little paranoid and sometimes borderline racist. But you do
get a lot of stuff. There’s a suspicious car parked around the corner or
whatever, but it’s also good for, oh, my dog got out. Has anybody seen it kind
of stuff.
                     So, being
part of that type of community, being neighborly. I think nowadays we’re so
plugged into our phones all the time that people don’t really talk to each
other. But being knowing your neighbors is a great first step.
                     Goes a
long way. We’re so ingrained into our phones, we don’t really observe what’s
going around us. Someone could be watching your house all the time, and you’re
so busy looking at your phone, you don’t even know that that’s what’s taking
                     If someone
is watching your house, what are the types of things that if you’re thinking
like a criminal, what kind of things do you think they’re looking for? What
kind of weaknesses?
                     You really
want to search beforehand what … You’re not just parked out in front of
someone’s house, and just being that creepy guy looking at seeing when someone
leaves or something like that. As a criminal, you really want to maybe go into
looking at something like Facebook or Instagram, seeing how someone can post
where they’re going. Sometimes they post, did they check in at the gym every
day? What restaurants or pictures of their food. They’re taking pictures of
their food going, I can’t want to eat this. That tells me you’re out of the
                     There’s a
lot of preventative things that you can do, and just be mindful of stuff like
that while you’re posting to … You don’t necessarily have to post that
picture of your food while you’re there at the restaurant. Maybe wait for
another day. I’m not saying don’t post that kind of stuff. We’re all proud of
our kids. We’re all proud of the accomplishments that we do, and it’s great to
share that. But don’t necessarily be the one posting at that minute, letting
people know they can gain a pattern of where you’re going to be.
                     That’s a
good point. I would never even think about that.
                     Yeah, the
social media acknowledgement about what you’re putting out there, you’re
checking in on all the various geo tagging things, and I don’t know Foursquare
still a thing or not. But you’re checking in at all these different locations
and you’re establishing patterns, you’re telling people where you are, when
you’re there, when you’re on vacation. You’re posting pictures of what your
kids got for Christmas and the interior of your home and you’re putting all
this information out there publicly. People can use it in a negative way.
you’re sharing it with your family, but the more information you put out there,
the more information a potential burglar or criminal has to target you. You got
to be mindful of what you post.
Since we’re talking about technology a bit and apps, I’ve been curious, what do
you think is more effective? A system where a company monitors your home for
you, or something that’s more DIY where the updates and alerts come to your
phone, a little bit of both?
                     It depends
on budget and personality. I can’t recommend something for everyone, because
everyone has what they really want. I like to monitor and I like to know what’s
going on rather than just hitting the easy button and have someone installing
and then telling you after the fact that hey, somebody broke into your house or
a window got broken. There’s no simple answer to that but for myself, I prefer
the DIY route.
years ago I wanted to buy a system or come up with something that I could
monitor. I bought on Amazon, I think it was like a six camera kit, something
like that, a defender kit, I think was the name of it. It comes with the
cameras, it comes with a DVR to record. I have it hooked up so that … It’s on
a single TV and you can do multi-camera monitoring.
                     I liked
it, but it had its drawbacks too. The one thing I didn’t like about it is that,
or that I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t alert me on my phone if
anything suspicious is going on. If I’m not home, I would have to get home in
order for it to know that something was off, it’s wired. It is such a pain to
run the wiring for it through my attic. I’ve had a lot of problems trying to
run the wiring. And then I’ve also had some pest problems, which I did put one
in my driveway and I buried the wire. A squirrel or something chewed through
the wire.
                     Now, I
have to re-run the wiring for that camera. My latest craze is the smart home
technology, the stuff that’s out there. I have a couple of cameras now that I
really enjoy. They’re made by a company called Kuna in partnership with Maximus
Lighting, I think. They’re really minimalist. I have a motion light camera. You
can hardly tell it’s a camera. It looks like a traditional motion light. It’s
LED and it alerts me right on my phone.
                     I also
have, which is kind of like a sconce light. It has a camera built into it. But
I really liked the minimalist look of that particular brand as opposed to maybe
some of the rings or the nests, they have bulkier cameras, which I don’t really
like. Do you have an opinion on those as far as which ones you like, and why?
I like what you describe there, the kind of style things, the small battery
operated cameras for myself is the easier way to go. Like you said, running a
wire through the attic is always very difficult. Even when there’s cameras out
there that say that they are wireless, they may be wireless in the fact that
you don’t have to run a data cable to the internet but you still require power.
                     If you’re
trying to position a camera somewhere where you think you don’t have to run a
cable, how are you going to get power to it? It’s not a truly wireless camera.
In my mind and what I prefer is those battery operated style cameras like
[inaudible 00:11:45] My preference is something called Blink. Those are battery
operated cameras. But again, those also have their own drawbacks; you have to
replace the battery, so you have to remember when that goes out or you have to
be mindful of that. But personally, for myself, I like to go the smaller, less
conspicuous route.
                     When my
husband and I were looking for security for our home, something that’s
important to me with two little kids, I want something where if a window opens
and alarm is going to go off. When you have young kids in another room, I just
need to know that if a door or a window is opened, there will be a loud noise.
That just makes me feel secure. We started with ADT for that. Then we have the
ring for our front porch. And then we have Arlo for our back and side yards.
essentially three different subscription services that we’re paying. What we’re
looking for is something that encompasses all those things. Is there a system
where you can have the cameras but also have sensors and all of those other
things that you get from ADT?
                     Yes, there
is. There’s quite a few things that it doesn’t necessarily have to be product
specific, you can still purchase different items, and still get it all to just
do the one thing that you’re looking for. You don’t necessarily have to buy all
Ring, or all Nest or all one type of system or one ADT, you can buy individual
things that work on the same frequency. There’s a lot of things called Z-wave
or Zigbee or something like that. It’s a different form of Wi Fi, or different
frequency of Wi Fi.
                     You can
use those and integrate that with a Smart Hub that can essentially just give
you that one notification on your phone itself. If a door or window sensor
breaks, you can get a notification on that. If your camera goes off. It has a
motion detection, that also can be brought to your phone, or your tablets or
whatever device you want to monitor.
                     You don’t
necessarily have to have just one specific product. So, ADT, that’s it, you’re
stuck, you’re done with whatever that is. You don’t have to do that. You have
more options.
getting your stuff to talk to each other, basically and all coming to one hub.
There’s hubs, and then there’s individual things that are tied together through
apps. It’s just more of a personal preference of what you want, and how you
want to see it.
                     That’s, I
think what I’m most interested in is, I don’t want to have 20 different apps
for all the different security systems or different products that I have.
Because I like this one from this company, and this one from this company or
something like that. I really want it to be an all-encompassing, single
notification that comes from whatever it is and says, your window’s open or you
left your garage door open, or suspicious activity in your backyard or
                     I really
want to figure out how I can lump all my stuff together and make it
communicate. Is there something that you can recommend for that? Is there-
mentioned Z-Wave, that’s a frequency of Wi Fi where all these devices
communicate together?
exactly. There’s a couple of different hubs out there that you can get that you
tie into your router. One that I particularly use and a fan of is Samsung’s
SmartThings. It’s a hub that you plug into your router. But then there’s
additional peripherals that you can attach. Whether it’s a camera, or a light
switch, or a window or door sensor, locks, garage door openers, it can all tie
into that hub. And then with that hub, it communicates between those devices
and then you’re looking at one platform, you’re looking at your phone itself,
and then you can open up a menu and you can toggle them on and off, set them
for different notifications, stuff like that. So, you can do that. SmartThings
isn’t the only option out there. There’s several different options out there
that you can choose.
question along those lines is you have all these smart things; smart locks,
smart cameras, all this stuff, how secure are those things themselves? Can a
hacker drive into my driveway and go, do to to to to, and unlock all my stuff
and just walk right in?
that’s always an option. Nothing is completely full proof. It is technology,
and technology has faults. Personally myself, I’ve steered away from the lock
themselves because of that reason. If a lock fails, it is technology, it’s
going to fail. I don’t want my house to not be secure. The initial stage of
these days I’ve heard plenty of options where people have the security behind
it built into it itself hasn’t been secure. It is easy for hackers to get in
there and unlock something like that, or give your cameras. That’s always a
risk and something you want to be aware of. I wouldn’t go all out and go
completely locks and cameras and depend 100% on technology and eliminate that keylock.
I’d still keep that in there especially on some point as a sliding door. You
want to make sure that that’s covered with a window sensor. You still want to
have those locks in place.
                     I know
with ADT, you were saying and some of the other security companies that are out
there, they do the window sensors and stuff. But is there a … I hate wires.
For me, if I can avoid running wires, I’m all for it. Are there good wireless
window sensors out there that communication-
definitely. A simple search on Amazon can bring you tons of options. They come
in two packs, four packs, whatever you like, and they’re completely wireless.
It’s like a magnetic contact. They put together like this, and then the minute
the door separates, or it opens, either way that contact breaks. And then it
can send a signal via a battery, or it’s powered up by a battery to your phone
or to whatever device that you like.
because I would love to install that. I have a pretty old home. My homes from
the ’30s, and I definitely don’t want to have to open up walls to run wires or
try and hide wires for all these windows. I have a lot of windows and a lot of
big windows in this home. I think back when they were building things back then
they maybe didn’t worry so much about all these huge entry and exit points into
your house. That’s one thing I really want to focus on. Because sometimes, my
wife will tell me in the morning like, oh, because I have a whole house fan. At
night, I like to open up the windows and pull in some of the cooler air from
outside. And then the next morning my wife will be like, “Oh, you left the
window open in the thing.” I just left the whole window open that somebody
could just climb right through in the middle of the night. It’s crazy sometimes
when I think about some of the mistakes that I leave and getting complacent.
You just don’t think about.
It’s a home that you live in every single day and you’re busy, you’ve got your
job to get to, you have the kids to pick up, you got the sports activities to
take them to. You’re not always thinking , id I lock that door? Did I lock that
window? Stuff with the window sensors helps you quite a bit. Even the garage
door, I one time had a garage door opener that that you can control with the
SmartThings app or with an app of some sorts, and then you build a geo fence
with your Wi Fi network. When your phone is within that Wi Fi network, the
minute you drive away and forget to shut your door, disconnect from your Wi Fi.
Oh, that’s a signal for the garage door to close. So, it closes on its own. And
then when you come home, you get into your Wi Fi, and the text that your
phone’s now within range, garage door opens.
                     In theory,
it’s a great thing to have, it’s a convenience item in case you forget
something. But it is technology and can also be a fail point as well. So, you
just really want to be mindful of that, but try to balance your technology with
just smart thinking about how you want to use the device.
                     But this
is my thing with cameras. They capture a lot, and you can capture people doing
crazy things. But how often can you take that security footage you get of
someone taking a package of your porch or doing something to your home and
actually be able to get a result?
                     But that’s
not the job of the homeowner, right? That’s the job of the police to try and
figure out who this person is. But it’s certainly never been easier to have
high quality footage. Back in the day, even some of the cameras that … Even
the ones that I have now that I just bought a few years ago, they’re obsolete.
But HD is HD right? It’s high quality stuff. If you’re going to get somebody’s
face that you can actually get a hit on, a positive ID, there’s never been a
better time as far as technology goes. Because the cameras in the old day were
like 360P and it’s just one single pixel is that person’s face and you’re like,
that could literally be anybody.
                     Yeah, the
Ring is great. You can tell plain as day because if someone’s going to steal
your package they have to basically put their face right in front of the Ring.
I just wonder with car theft and stuff, when your cameras are further distance,
how often police are actually able to follow through and make an arrest?
                     That’s a
tricky thing. Cameras are reactionary. It records it after the fact that you’ve
already lost whatever item, or your car got broken into. Hopefully, you might
catch that person on the face as cameras improve. Like you said, the HD quality
is great, but people do also get smarter, and know how to get around that as
well. What I think my goal is, is to really educate people about being
realistic with your cameras and your system. I’ve had so many ridiculous requests
where I want a camera in that tree, when it’s I can’t put one there. How do you
expect the data to get from the camera and record to your house or to your
phone. There’s no wires, there’s no power. Or there’s someone wants lower
camera so he can’t put his head down in a planter somewhere where someone can
just easily kick it or step on it. That’s not a good place there.
                     You really
want to steer the person in the right direction and set realistic expectations.
Because people just think you put up a camera, you get an image of someone, and
like the movies, enhance and you just open up and you do some magic gestures on
your iPad and all of a sudden you’ve got this crystal clear picture which you
don’t necessarily get.
                     Let’s talk
about an actual system. What are maybe the five things or a list of things that
every homeowner should have in their system and where can they find them?
                     I love
Amazon. Amazon for me is, you have the most variety of being able to choose
what type of products that you can. You go into BestBuy, they have their
certain products that they’d like to sell. Amazon and eBay stuff like that,
that you pretty wide variety of what you’re looking for.
cameras, window sensors.
and window sensors. There’s doorbells, doorbells work. I also like floodlights.
Lights are really helpful.
                     That’s a
good one.
themselves because now it’s not just a motion floodlight that you would
normally have. You can now get motion floodlights with cameras, motion
floodlights with cameras and speakers built in so that you can also monitor and
watch and speak through the floodlight as well.
                     A friend
of mine actually said this the other day, she said that her neighborhood was
broken into, three homes right around hers, and her house did not get broken
into. She thinks it’s because she had signage in the yard that the home was
monitored. I think that can certainly play a factor.
definitely. Signage, having big cameras up on or even a fake camera sometimes
may be enough just to deter a would be burglar.
                     For a
budget, I think if you’ve only got 30 bucks to spend, that might be 30 bucks
well spent to buy a fake camera and put it up there. They’re hard to tell the
difference. You don’t really know if they’re real or not.
Even now that 30 bucks can buy you a cheaper camera that you can monitor
remotely. You don’t have to have any fancy storage server or DVR like you said,
where you have to go home and take a look at it. You can monitor from your
phone, from where you’re at, and it’s $30, so it is affordable. It’s nothing that’s
going to break the bank.
                     For a
system like, for example like an ADT or one of those home monitoring systems,
you’re paying 30 to 60 bucks probably a month depending on your system for them
to monitor it. What are you really getting from that other than it alerts them
when something happens and then what, they just call the cops? They’re just
like the middleman?
                     They call
the cops, they notify you. It’s more about an easy button-
                     Peace of
peace of mind but an easy button thing. Someone who doesn’t necessarily have
the time or want to monitor their own stuff, but do they always have time to
pull out their phone and look at every single notification that comes across.
Someone else can do that for you. It’s good to have if you can afford it, but
it is a monthly cost. If you’re paying that monthly whether it’s paid off or
                     I think
it’s great when you travel a lot too. When you’re not always in a situation
where you can be checking your phone. You just know that if there’s an issue,
people will be sent out to the house. That’s why I like it.
                     If you’re
looking at it from a budgetary perspective, there’s a lot of DIY options,
right? You can just go on Amazon, and it’s never been easier as far as picking
a thing that you like, there’s all these different options, there’s aesthetics.
If you’re going the DIY route, 50 bucks really can start you on a basic system.
Stuff like SmartThings, like I said, they have a basic package that you can get
that comes with its hub and some door sensors to start off, to get you eased
into the DIY solution. You don’t necessarily have to go full out and buy all
the cameras all at once. And then by all of your door sensors, you can start
small and then work your way up as your budget affords.
                     They can
get expensive. If you’re trying to cover your whole home in camera floodlights
or whatever around each corner, you’re talking, each of each one of those can
be 200, 250 bucks. So, you’re talking 1000 bucks. Piece milling things
together, my concern is that two years from now, this stuff’s going to be
obsolete. I guess there’s no real way to know what’s going to come down the
pipeline and phase itself out, but it’s a lot of money to spend $250 on a
camera, and then be like, two years from now, it’s junk.
exactly. That’s hard, because technology improves so fast. Even five years ago,
do we ever think that we’re going to say, “Hey, Alexa, tell me what time
it is, or what’s the weather for today?” You really never know what
direction technology is going to go. You don’t want to necessarily go all out.
You can if you’ve got the budget for it, but before you do anything with home
security, you really want to plan out and ask yourself some certain questions.
What can you afford and what do you want?
                     I think
you touched on some really great preventative measures that aren’t necessarily
a security system. We talked about lighting your yard well. We talked about
cameras out and visible signage. We talked about becoming a part of a neighbor
watch group, locks specifically. Is there anything else you can think of that
you can do to that outside of your home to say, hey, don’t mess with me.
exactly what I was going to say next. My best security product is my dog, it
doesn’t have to be a Doberman Pinscher, or some crazy massive dog. The little
one that doesn’t shut up is the best one that you’ve got. My little dog, well,
the minute somebody walks through that door, he goes nuts and he’s barking at
that guy until that person walks away. That is the best thing. Now, of course,
not everyone can have one. But a dog is probably my favorite security product.
                     We touched
on it briefly, but what I really want to know is okay, I’m considering a home
security system or whatever, what are the three things or the four things I
need to know as far as picking my things? It’s one, I need to determine my
budget, right? What’s number two?
                     Two, it’s
in the functions and the features you’re looking forward for. Do you want to go
wireless? Do you not want to go wireless. Does your house have electrical
outlets everywhere? Do you have data jacks built in your walls nowadays? You
want to know what options that you want, what features and then on the camera
side, what kind of storage are you looking for? Are you looking for Cloud
Storage? Are you looking for a DVR, are you looking for something that you can
build yourself like just a home computer with hard drives? You can do that as
well or get something as a little small, NAS server or [inaudible 00:27:28]
that they can see all the video.
                     You want
to know what … How do you want to get notified? Do you want to be notified
via an email? Do you want someone else to do it for you with ADT? Or do a
monitoring service? Do you want to get text messages? Honestly, we can sit here
all day and I can ask you a question after question after question to dial that
                     My best
suggestion is really just research what you want. What is it that you’re hoping
to capture? If you’re hoping to capture a high def video of every single person
walking up to your door, be ready that you need to spend some money and get a
high quality camera.
                     But again,
those have never been more affordable.
                     You still
have to spend a lot of money, but they’re never been more affordable than they
are now. Is there any difference between apartment living versus home living?
Once they’re in the building, they can go anywhere. A criminal if they want to
get to your house … There’s a lot of factors, I guess, that are coming to
play a little bit that you wouldn’t necessarily have in a home because somebody
comes on to your yard. But if I go up to an apartment complex, and I go pound
seven, and somebody just buzzes me in, well I’m in. I have access to your home.
you bring that up, my company actually does do a lot of work with apartment
complexes, and it’s the property managers themselves were really investing
inside the security. What they’re doing is, at those gates they’re putting
cameras, or they’re putting of key [inaudible 00:28:48] so you can’t really
buzz someone in or something like that. You have to have a certain key file
that you swipe to get into the door. We’re doing lots and lots of camera
installs and lots of covert camera installs.
there’s public pedestrian gates where people can just walk in or jump over the
fence, people don’t even see that. We’ll drill a little tiny pinhole inside one
of the gates and then I hide a camera inside there. If you’re looking at that
game, you can’t even actually see that there’s a camera there. It’s got its
tradeoffs and whatnot. But there’s a lot of things that the property management
themselves are doing, whether it’s beefing up their access control on their
gates, as well as cameras themselves that the property managers are doing to
help yourself. Lots of property managers are installing cameras, and they’re
managing their own systems. So you don’t have to necessarily invest in your own
camera system because the property itself is doing that. There’s some good
things that the property managers are now doing.
                     If you had
to list maybe some of your favorite DIY products that are out there. If I
wanted to put together a DIY system, are there some products that you
absolutely love?
                     I love the
smart doorbell. Whether it’s a Ring or a Nest or even some of the cheaper, no
name brand doorbells, those are extremely helpful. Because it’s not just about
when someone pushes that door you get that notification. It also captures the
motion. Even if someone isn’t pushing the button, you get that motion
notification. So you know when that Amazon package has dropped off. Or you know
when someone’s coming up to take a look at it. I love the doorbells themselves.
                     Cameras Of
course, are an obvious choice. You always get to look at and see what’s going
on. A lot of installs I’ve done myself have also been paired with a speaker, a
horn. We put a camera and a horn right next to it so we can blast … I think
you brought it up, some [inaudible 00:30:34] Hey don’t walk up to my property.
There’s dogs barking and there’s even gunshots that go off on –
scare the peacocks away.
                     I like to
play the message from home alone. Whatever, the filthy animal thing.
                     You can
definitely do. You can record any response you want. When the camera detects
motion, you get a notification, hit play on the sound-
                     I would
just say, “Hey, are you here to babysit? Come on in.”
                     Come on
in, I’ve got five kids under two. They’re ready for you. I hope you brought a
change of clothes, are ready to change some diapers.
                     That would
send me running.
exactly. If something does happen if you do get robbed, what sort of things can
you do to maximize your chances of recovery, or is there anything that you can
recommend in terms of that route?
insurance helps. Obviously, homeowners insurance for me, I guess was described
as you really want to care about your structure more than your stuff, your
stuff can be replaced. But if you take pictures of your items, and you list
that on your homeowners insurance, those items can be replaced. Lots of
material items that you think is more important, you don’t really really need.
There’s obviously some invaluable stuff that can get replaced. But just even
simple making sure that your homeowners insurances is where you want it can go
a long ways.
Keeping your homeowners insurance updated. You get stuff … Yeah, you might
have moved into your house five, six years ago, but you’ve acquired any number
of things, or you’ve upgraded all this stuff over that amount of time. I know
that’s something that I had to do unrelated to that, because last year as a
result of fires, we evacuated. I went through the house, and we went [inaudible
00:32:19] and just took pictures of every room just because in that situation,
it’s like, well, you may come back and your house may not be there and then you
have no record of anything that you had.
keeping your homeowners insurance, making sure that you had a great Christmas
or something like that and you got a lot of new products. Well, you should make
sure that you add those coverages or whatever to your-
exactly. Tell your child they don’t have to post every single Christmas gift
that they got. I think one of my favorite videos that one of my daughter
watches is this girl who does nothing but open up her entire Christmas present
collection that she got on her birthday. Why are you watching someone else open
                     So big
right now.
huge. But now I just found out every single gift that that person got. I think
if there’s anything that I recommend is really watch what you’re recording and
watch what you’re posting. I can’t stress that enough.
                     Yeah, and
if Black Friday has taught us anything, it’s that people will tackle you and
stomp you to get-
                     Hold on to
your ponytail.
                     For sure.
things you can do is engrave identification numbers onto your electronics or
your valuables that can help identify should somebody actually steal them. Cops
may recover some stuff, but how do they know it’s yours? You can tell them
that, “Oh, yeah, I had a 55 inch LCD TV.” What brand was it? What was
the serial number? What was … Putting some kind of identifying characteristics
on your products can help you recover it I guess.
                     Yeah, also
being mindful of what you put in the trash, and what’s sitting in your mailbox
if it’s not a locked box, just a lot of identity type-
You see a bunch of Amazon packages get delivered your house every day. That’s a
flag. Or if they’re walking by your window and see the nice big TV, you want
them to be as preventative as you possibly can.
                     Yeah, mail
theft has been an issue in our neighborhood apparently, which I never really
even thought of. But I ended up buying a secure locking mailbox because of-
                     It’s so
easy to pull up with a bunch of empty Amazon boxes in your hand and pretend
that you’re an Amazon deliverer. They used to go UPS or whatever, but now it’s
                     People in
just cars.
regular people nowadays, and that’s a lot of businesses you’re doing so that
your food is getting dropped off by a regular guys so you can just have a cup
or a baseball out of a food and walk up to your door. There’s a lot of things
that you want to be prepared for.
                     In terms
of getting the best coverage, what areas of the home do you recommend that, we
for sure, put a camera or a sensor or something like that?
                     I always
recommend of course, entry and exit points. Your front door, or your back door,
accessible windows side doors, especially. Anywhere where someone can easily
get to. But even … You got to be mindful if you have a balcony, can someone
access it with a ladder and jump over that? You don’t think necessarily that
because you’re on that second level that no one can get to that. A 10 foot
ladder can easily get you to that location.
                     You want
to make sure that those main entry points, the big entry points where someone
can actually take out exit really easily is something that you want to cover.
                     I have a
lot of tools and I have a lot of stuff. I always have like ladders leaning up
in places, I have all these tools laying around outside, yard tools, all sorts
of stuff that you could easily use.
                     Well, you
could easily use to break in somewhere if you needed to. It’s like oh, I walk
up. Look at this. There’s everything I need right there. I actually just bought
a big shed that hopefully I can secure so that I can put all that stuff away,
because that’s one of the things that’s on my mind is when people walk up, and
they see it, they can easily use that stuff against you. It’s your products,
it’s your items.
                     You got
your extension ladder laying on the side of your house. That’s almost an
invitation sometimes.
neighbors may walk by and just be like, oh he’s always having work done. I just
assumed that was some guy doing work on his house.
going to jump into some voicemails right now. Our audience has called in with
some home security questions and we’ve compiled some for you. Hopefully, you
can help us dive in and answer some of them and just feel free to chime in if
you guys have any insights or any answers, and we’ll jump into those right now.
                     Yes, I
have a question regarding wired versus wireless video cameras for security. I’m
wondering if you can discuss the advantages, disadvantages between the two.
versus wireless. Again, the advantages of a wired camera is that you don’t have
to worry about losing Wi Fi signal or it crashing and it’s always connected. Of
course, if the power goes out you’re in the same boat. On the disadvantage
side, wiring itself can be tricky. Can be tricky running that cable through
your attic as you mentioned before, or just getting it to the spot that you’re
looking at. As well as you also have to be mindful of the power wire. You may
need to have an electrical outlet nearby as well.
                     But it’s a
more stable connection. Generally, I recommend if you can, install wired where
possible. Wireless is great, especially the battery operated type ones, but it
is a battery that you do have to replace, and that you have to maintain
wireless also as well. It’s a much easier place cameras. If you do want it up
on a tree, somewhere out that’s inconspicuous, as long as it’s within your Wi
Fi range, you can definitely go that route and be able to use that camera.
                     One thing
that I really like about like the Kuna lights that I have, for example, is they
mount directly to the floodlight as an example. Mounts right to the floodlight
box. You can mount it up there just any normal floodlight that you would put
there. For me, if I can go the wireless route, I love the wireless route. But I
totally see the advantage of having wired maybe into specific areas because
they’re working on the network in your area and your Wi Fi goes out for half a
day. Well, you have no coverage during that half a day for sure.
Exactly. There’s no right solution unfortunately, when it comes to whether you
choose wired or wireless, Again, it’s more about knowing your home and what
areas you want covered. And then choosing is wireless or wired right for me?
cameras are low. We purchase them at Costco and they are solar as well. They
charge up during the day, which is great. We still have to change our batteries
and everything, but they can stay charged for a significant amount of time.
                     Hey Aaron,
I’m thinking about buying a home security system, but my budget is tight.
What’s a reasonable amount spent on something like that?
                     I think we
touched on this a little bit. That’s the awareness I want to help bring to that
is that you can’t just say, give me a system. There’s so many components to it.
What system are you looking for? You’re looking for just cameras? Are you
looking for door and window contacts or motion sensors? Are you looking for an
alarm that goes off? Like you said you were able to find some cheap Home Depot
contacts, just make a noise, that works as well. But do you want to actually
monitor by yourself and you receive a text message.
                     You really
have to define what it is you’re looking for, and what you want. A typical
system, you can get a starter pack, you can go to BestBuy and go get a
SmartThing starter pack to get anywhere, it ranges anywhere from $99 to $250 or
$300 based on the things that you get. But usually it comes with the hub itself
and a couple of door contacts to get you started.
                     I think a
doorbell, a video doorbell is a natural jumping off point for a lot of people
or maybe don’t have the doorbell setup or you don’t want the doorbell setup,
but something over your front door is a good place to start. Whether you’ve got
50 bucks or 300 bucks to spend on that, it just depends on what your budget is
and you get what you can get for whatever you have.
                     Even like
we mentioned before, if you maybe don’t have a lot of money and you don’t have
the ability to spend, maybe put a fake camera there. Get a fake camera and put
it up there. Yeah, it doesn’t give you all the features of recording and doing
that stuff, but you don’t have the cost associated with it either. It can
largely had the same effect if it is visible. If it’s going to deter somebody,
it’s working.
average consumer’s probably talking between $99 to $200, you would say.
                     I think
that my wife and I’ve been interested in is one of those automated locks for
the house. We have a baby and so coming up to the door with groceries and
having the baby and all the rest of it. We want something that could
automatically open or be convenient for us to open. I lock remotely as well.
There’s just so many different ones on the market. I have no idea which one to
go, which one’s easily hackable, which ones most safe and secure. [inaudible
00:40:59] seeing what you might recommend. I appreciate any advice. Thanks.
                     The smart
locks are the one thing that I actually myself I haven’t purchased yet. And
only because of the security reasons, and the hackable-
                     Yeah, he
does ask about that.
because someone can actually hack that lock. You really want the ability to
have someone to be able to do that over convenience. Electric locks are great.
The convenience factor is huge. If I don’t know you, and I’m out of town, but I
trust Tracy to come into my house, I can give her a pass code and she can get
into the house, and it’s a really convenience factor which is huge. If you have
to put that bag of groceries down, for me personally, I would rather put that
bag of groceries down, use a traditional key to make sure that it’s not a
hackable lock or that the battery doesn’t fail and it’s unlocked or something
like that. Or you can’t get in or can’t get out. What if it misfails, or fires
as well? What if you have to exit and it’s completely in a locked position?
installed one actually recently, well, several months back. I really do like
it. I didn’t install it at my own home, I installed it somewhere else, but it’s
a keypad one. You just punch in the code and it works great. The way that this
one actually works is, and I’m blanking on the brand of what it is that I
actually installed right now. But you can type in the code but also you can, if
for some reason the battery does fail or whatever, you still need the code but
you can bypass it with a nine volt. You can plug a nine volt up underneath it
and punch in the code. I don’t know anybody that carries nine volts around in
their pocket, but if you did lock yourself out.
Again, a convenience factor, which is great but again something someone else
with a nine volt battery can try and do. Putting in a password is something
that you want to remember. If they know you and they search Facebook page
something, There’s a good chance that someone can actually get and that you’re
using the same passcode for everything. Pretty good chance someone can break in
and still use that.
                     If you
move or you do something, changing your locks in terms of you don’t even
necessarily have to replace the lock itself. Sometimes you can re key it.
Kwikset, I know has a re key kit that you can get on Amazon pretty cheaply. I
actually have a cylinder reset thing so I can pretty much reset any lock that
you can get. You just take-
                     Kwikset is
awesome. Our entire house is one key, all the-
                     Yeah, and
they have one key technology things. And a lot of different brands, I know
Schlage is a big brand that is really popular as far as the door locks and
stuff. Nothing is foolproof. If it’s a smart device, it can be hacked.
there’s nothing wrong with it at all. I’m not saying don’t do it because
especially, if it’s that convenience factor, and it’s cool, and it helps you,
great. Go for it. Just be mindful of what the repercussions could be.
there’s tradeoffs. As long as someone makes an informed decision about it, the
last thing I want to say hey, you need to get this Schlage lock that does this.
For whatever reason someone still gets into it. Well, who are they blaming now?
Well, you told me to get that lock. That’s something that I always try to avoid
is like I’m going to let you make your own decision, but I’m going to help you
get to that point.
Well, I think you’ve shared a ton of great advice with us today. A lot of cool
things to consider. I guess the steps would be to number one, analyze if you
want consistent home monitoring versus DIY alerts on your phone, whatever. If
you want to monitor or somebody else wants to monitor.
                     That would
be step one. Step two would be to analyze your wants/needs. Do a home
evaluation, what areas do I need to cover entry and exit points? What areas do
I really want to target, and what kind of notifications do I want based on
                     And then
go on to Amazon or Costco-
                     I think
researching your product.
                     And then
also, what your house is capable of in terms of wiring or wireless, which
you’re able to do.
And how much you’re willing to do. That’s one thing, I’m lazy, I do it for a
living so I don’t want to come home and run cable all over my house. So, the
wireless way is the better way to go. It’s your personality. So that’s why I
can never just completely say, here’s your system all wrapped up in a nice big
red bow for you. There’s too many different varying options that you need to
                     For me, a lot
of it, I come down to aesthetic and how it affects the home and how I’d like to
see things. I prefer a more minimalist, I don’t want a big bulky camera kind of
thing looking there. But maybe you want that because maybe you want it to be
more noticeable from a criminal perspective. You want a big bulky camera that
says like, oh, hey, there’s a camera right there. It’s really about what you
want versus what you can afford kind of thing.
that wraps it up right there.
                     And then
we talked a lot about prevention aside from the system. Things that we talked
about would be install strong door and window locks. You prefer an actual lock
and key, which I think is a great point. [inaudible 00:45:50] properties. We
talked about those floodlights. Being a good neighbor. Getting involved in the
neighborhood watch, the Ring has a great community as well. Be mindful of what
you throw away and marking your valuables-
                     And your
mail as far as if you’re going out of town, maybe you get somebody to pick up
your mail for you so you don’t have all this mail piled up so people know
you’re not home.
And then my takeaway … Oh, and keeping your insurance up to date. That was a
great tip. But I think the takeaway for me was just being really mindful of
what you share. Just because of the world we’re living in right now. And get a
                     Get a dog.
                     Get a dog,
yeah. Absolutely.
thank you so much for taking the time to be here today. I learned a ton,
certainly about the social media aspect. I think I wasn’t even really even
thinking about that before we started talking today. So, some great tips. I’m
going to pick your brain some more about some stuff later on because I’m well
into this topic. But thank you so much for taking the time to be here and hope
you had a great time.
                     I did.
Thank you.
                     We want to
say thank you, of course to our founding sponsor FilterBuy for making this
possible and make sure you guys call in and leave us a voicemail. Our number is
978-709-1040 and we’ll do our best to incorporate your questions into the show
whenever possible. Thank you guys so much for watching this episode or
listening to it, however you’re choosing to consume it, and we will see you
next time.
                     The How to
Home Podcast is brought to you by filterbuy.com, your one stop direct to
consumer replacement air filter brand and is produced in collaboration by a
Mass Media Group LLC and intelligent arts and artists. The show is executive
produced by George Ruiz and Aaron Massey.

Show Notes

Ryan Kadoi joins Aaron and Tracy this week to share his top home security tips. We discuss the best cameras, sensors and smart home security systems – as well as simple & affordable DIY methods to keep your property safe from intruders!


You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!



  • Know your neighbors. Be aware of surroundings. NextDoor is a great way to keep an eye on the happenings in your neighborhood.
  • Be aware of your social media presence. Are you checking in at places and posting pics of yourself away from your home? Are you showcasing entry points in your home? Avoid unboxing videos.
  • Watch what you’re throwing in the mail. Shred mail and breakdown boxes.
  • Cameras (fake ones are better than nothing!)
  • Purchase floodlights
  • Install camera doorbells
  • Signage that your house is monitored is great.
  • Dogs are a great deterrent!
  • Get locked mailboxes
  • Place security at all entry points including second level.


  • Smart locks/technology can be hacked, it’s best to have a mix of smart technology and key locks.
  • Amazon has a great variety of security products.
  • Keep your homeowners insurance up to date.
  • Engrave ID numbers onto valuables.


Although this is a wide range depending on your needs, typically you can get something from $99-$300.





  1. Smart DoorBell – Ring is my current doorbell of choice but Nest’s bell is good as well



  1. Blink Cameras – Love these cameras. Battery operated, easy to set up, can purchase both exterior and interior cameras


  1. Aeotec Door/Window Sensors – a bit pricey but integrates well with a smart-hub such as Samsung’s Smartthings which is listed below


  1. Wyze Cam – I wouldn’t normally recommend two different types of cameras, but for those on a budget these $20.00 cams pack a ton of functionality…


  1. Smart Things – Not exactly a home security product, but it integrates well with security products and ties in home automation into one platform such as lights, locks, etc and is my current smarthub of choice




Wiring can be tricky but it’s more stable and recommended by Ryan. Wireless is dependant on charging, but easier to install. Tracy mentioned that her outdoor cameras also offer a solar option.


Ryan isn’t a big fan, because there’s the possibility of it being hacked. He recommends a traditional lock and key, even though it doesn’t have the convenience factor.

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Further Reading