Can You Use An Existing Home Security System With New Features?

Can You Use An Existing Home Security System With New Features?

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Many householders are realizing that their existing home security systems might be a little outdated. Installing a completely new system can be costly, though. Can you integrate your wired system with wireless modern features, and get all the functionality you want?

Upgrading an existing home security system generally happens for one of two basic reasons:

  • You have an existing home security system, but you want more security and/or home automation features.
  • You move into a home with a wired security system, and want to add more modern equipment.

If you have a system that’s less than ten years old, you can probably update it easily with newer features. If it’s older, you should consider replacing it. Most sensors have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, and that’s assuming they have been well-maintained.

Unfortunately, if the pre-installed system is over 20 years old, it will be almost possible to update, and you’re better off replacing it.

With a “younger” hardwired system in place, you can make a few key changes to improve its functioning - such as converting to a hybrid system.

What is a Hybrid Home Security System?

A hybrid security system is a hardwired security system that can be integrated with various wireless sensors and devices. This type of system is essentially a combination of a wired system and a wireless system.

A hybrid system has a control panel that supports both wired and wireless sensors and devices. It can be set up to communicate with home automation platforms like Samsung’s SmartThings system, through a cellular or WiFi connection. Alerts are sent to the end user or monitoring station.

If you want to add monitoring to your existing home security equipment, it's generally the best option to approach the company who originally installed the equipment. 

4 Upgrades for Your Existing Home Security System

If you’re thinking of switching to a hybrid system, here are a few things you can do to upgrade.

1. Switch to wireless monitoring: This is a common way to continue to use existing home security systems. Many hardwired systems can be set up quite easily for wireless monitoring. A hardwired system is connected to a landline, with alarm signals being sent to the monitoring company through this line. The wireless systems send signals via cell phone signals. 

Besides the obvious advantage of not needing a landline (50.8% of US households are now wireless), you can choose a monitoring company that won’t tie you into a lengthy and complicated contract.

SimpliSafe offers a monitoring service on a month-by-month basis – no contract required, and their equipment is easy to set up.

Each of their systems consists of 3 base elements. A wireless keypad, master keychain remote, and a base station. By the time you receive your system, it has already been pre-programmed and tested.

2. Update your panel board: Changing out your control panel board for a newer model will give your system far greater capabilities. You can connect your alarm system with a home automation hub, and get all the futuristic remote-controlled functioning you crave!

Remember that devices older than 10 years might not work with a new, upgraded board. Speak to the provider who installed your original security system – hopefully, they’ll be able to tell you how compatible your devices will be.

Smart home security features

3. Install a brand-new keypad: Not only are older keypads clunky and unappealing by modern standards, but they also don’t have modern functions.

Your existing home security system can benefit from a modern touchscreen keypad with additional display features like time, date, weather forecasts, and more.

4. Add smart home features: Once you’ve moved to wireless monitoring, replaced your control panel and keypad – you’re ready to add high-tech gadgets like door locks and thermostats. These can be operated remotely through your smartphone. No more worrying about whether you locked your front door when you left in the morning!

What If You Just Keep Your Hardwired System As Is?

Not everyone wants or needs a system upgrade. It’s possible to use existing home security system components without changing anything, if you don’t want to spend money on new equipment, or you’re simply perfectly satisfied with your wired system.

Salespeople and promoters of wireless systems might tell prospective customers that wired systems are less safe than wireless, if they’re trying to make a sale. If you’re unsure whether you want to make any changes to your existing home security, here are the pros and cons of wired security systems:

 

Pros of Wired Security Systems

  • Reliable monitoring: They don’t rely on sensors that communicate through radio frequency.
  • Great for large spaces: Wired equipment allows for more sensors than wireless  
  • Less vulnerable to hackers: Wired equipment harder to hack than wireless. Criminals will have to physically connect to a wired system to gain access.
  • Great choice of features: Wired systems allow you to have control panels in many rooms, as well as top quality high-definition video surveillance.

Cons of Wired Security Systems

  • More expensive to install: You’ll probably need a professional to install wired security equipment, as it involves drilling holes in the wall to connect the wires.
  • Vulnerable to disconnection: Burglars can cut the phone lines outside the house to disable alerts to the monitoring company.
  • Hard to move: Wired security system equipment can be a real pain to uninstall. Also, you might struggle to find a professional willing to move your equipment to a new property.