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Smart Home 101: 6 Ways to Get Started

Smart Home 101

How to set up a basic home monitoring solution.

DIY home monitoring solutions are all about choices. Kickstarter campaigns started a surge of wild and crazy monitoring systems jam-packed with features. It might seem overwhelming to have hundreds of unique options with completely different peripherals. Still, strip down all the fancy doodads and you're left with a common system that's there to keep you safe. Here are a few basic steps to help you set up the core of your monitoring system.

Security cameras.

If your system comes with a security camera, you'll want to find a spot with a wide field of view. Mount it high in a corner where it has a good view of your door. Second cameras should be at the next most likely spot for a break-in, while additional cameras could overlook rooms housing electronics, jewelry or other valuables.

Test out your system.

Make sure to test every part of your system. Taking the time to find weak spots upfront may save you from a major incident. There is usually a test mode for your system that allows you to check out the sensors, cameras and other features before fully activating them. If something seems broken, call your system's customer service center for troubleshooting support.

Connect with your phone or computer.

If your system allows you to connect or control features through an app on your smartphone or tablet, make sure to connect your system and try out all the customization and tools. Sometimes, remote features and remote monitoring come at an extra cost. Research your system to find out if you need to pay a premium before connecting with your smartphone.

Extra peripherals.

Now that you have the essentials up and running, go ahead and set up any additional peripherals. Go as crazy as you want, but just remember to test everything before relying on it to keep you safe and secure.

Motion, door and window sensors.

The first step is to find all of your entry points. The front and back door are obvious places to start, with first floor windows being second. Depending on your system, there may be motion sensors or door and window alarms to place on all of these areas, or only a few. Make sure to follow instructions and place your peripherals on likely trouble spots.
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