Can I Monitor My Own Alarm System?

Yes, homeowners can choose to “self-monitor” their home security system. A self-monitored system usually refers to a security system that’s set up to send the homeowner notifications via a smartphone whenever a security sensor is tripped.

However, self-monitoring is less effective and less safe than having a security system professionally monitored.

In this article, we’ll explain how self-monitoring works but then explain some of the factors you should consider before opting for a self-monitored system.


Rather have the peace of mind that comes with 24/7 professional monitoring? Just contact us to learn more about Richmond Alarm’s 5 Diamond monitoring services.

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How self monitoring works

Self-monitoring a security system simply means that the homeowner, instead of a professional monitoring center, is 100% responsible for calling the authorities if and when there’s an emergency.

The main reason homeowners choose self-monitoring is that it’s free, as opposed to spending anywhere from $29-$100+ a month to have a security system professionally monitored.

Most homeowners who opt for self-monitoring rely on a home security system that’s specifically designed to send immediate signals to their smartphone once an alarm is triggered. Once the homeowner receives the notification, it’s their responsibility to determine whether or not authorities should be contacted.

Some homeowners also install security cameras in and around their house so that they can check live video feeds when they’re not at the house to investigate a triggered alarm.

However, even with security cameras, self monitoring presents some serious safety concerns. Let’s take a look at some of the factors you should consider before opting for self monitoring.

Thinking about DIY monitoring? 3 factors to consider

You lose precious moments in an emergency

If you have a self-monitored system and an alarm goes off, you’ll need to factor in the additional time it will take for you to:

  1. Identify which alarm tripped and why
  2. Determine whether there’s a true emergency or not
  3. Determine which authorities to call
  4. Wait for authorities to arrive

The process above can easily take 5 to 20 minutes to complete—which isn’t ideal in an emergency.

On the other hand, an alarm system that is professionally monitored streamlines this process. Moments after an alarm is triggered, a monitoring specialist checks in with you. If there is a true emergency, the monitoring professionals will dispatch authorities on your behalf.

Most monitoring companies can dispatch authorities less than a minute after an emergency. In fact, Richmond Alarm’s average emergency response time is less than 30 seconds.

There’s no backup

If you’re asleep, unconscious or if your smartphone dies, you won’t know if there’s an emergency, and you definitely won’t be able to call the authorities to get help.

One of the main reasons homeowners end up choosing professional monitoring is the added security of having a professional monitoring center checking in automatically if an alarm isn’t shut off within a certain period of time. If the monitoring specialists don’t get an answer from you or if they get a distress code, they’ll quickly dispatch the police to come and check on you.

Additional stress, less peace of mind

The point of having a security system is to protect yourself, your family and your home. With self-monitoring, though, your protection and peace of mind is only as strong as you make it.

With professional monitoring, you have peace of mind that trained, professional monitoring experts are watching your home 24/7 for emergencies. So whether you’re home and available or not, you get police-level protection at all times.

Want to learn more about professional monitoring? Ask our Virginia security pros

Richmond Alarm has protected homeowners in the Virginia and North Carolina area for over 70 years. We offer fast response times and a local, 5 Diamond monitoring center.

We can takeover and monitor existing security systems, too.

To learn more about our monitoring services and current deals, just contact us.

Schedule a free estimate!

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