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The Difference Between Monitored & Unmonitored Home Security Systems

On May 23, 2022, In security systems,

When it comes to protecting your home, you have many choices. If you are considering installing a home security system, there are several decisions you’ll have to make about the type of system you want. One of the most important decisions is determining if you need a monitored home security system or and unmonitored one.

Security systems are not one-size-fits-all and you’ll have to evaluate the benefits of monitored alarm systems and unmonitored ones to decide which is best for you. In this guide, we’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of monitored and unmonitored security systems.

What Is a Monitored Alarm System?

In a monitored alarm security system, your alarms connect to a dedicated monitoring station that is linked to fire departments, hospitals and police stations. Trained staff members at the station understand response protocols and will assess the situation, sending out the appropriate authorities as needed. Monitored alarms provide you with remote assistance and can include a network of many different devices, including:

  • Security cameras, which may be motion-activated, with or without sound or record continuously.
  • Smoke or temperature detectors.
  • Motion detectors.
  • Window and door sensors, including glass-break sensors.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Climate and moisture detectors, to detect things like burst pipes.

A monitored system hooks these devices up to a monitoring station and sends an alert when one is triggered. At that point, the monitoring station will attempt to contact you. If they can’t reach you, they will send the authorities to your house right away. A monitored alarm is one that provides a level of hands-off care. If you are away from your home, incapacitated or incapable of responding for any reason, monitored systems ensure your home — and any pets or children inside it — receives appropriate care in emergencies.

Benefits of a Monitored Alarm System for Your Home


Monitored alarm systems take care of your home when you aren’t there. Whether your home is empty or your kids and pets are there, a monitoring service can send help as soon as it’s needed.

When you opt for a monitored alarm system, you get everything that comes with a state-of-the-art monitoring center, including:

  • Highly trained staff: Our staff members are trained in emergency response and can quickly and accurately assess the situation and send out the right team.
  • Immediate dispatch: Across the industry, you can count on response times that average less than a minute. When you choose Wayne Alarm Systems, you can see response times within eight seconds.
  • Situational assessments: Our response team takes precautions to limit falsely dispatching police or fire departments. This approach can prevent unnecessary fees and avoid wasting the authorities’ time.
  • 24/7 Coverage – Whether you are home or out, awake or asleep, our monitoring team is on the job. It is a sense of relief for many customers to know that someone is watching over them at all times. This is especially true for families with seniors or children who need a little extra care.
  • Insurance Discount – As an added benefit of 24/7 monitoring, some insurance companies offer a discount for homes with monitored security systems. Talk to your agent about what percent discount you qualify for.
  • Criminal Deterrent – Criminals who target homes do not want to get caught. They are much less likely to target your home if they know it is being monitored 24/7 by a security company. For the police, a monitoring system and a security system can provide evidence of a break-in and help with the prosecution of the crime down the line.
  • Reducing false alarms: False alarms are a nuisance for the property owner, as well as for law enforcement officers who waste valuable time responding to nonevents. Our monitoring service can cut down on the number of false alarms.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing you’ve protected your home with a central monitoring service will allow you to sleep better at night. You’ll also worry less about what might be happening at your property while you’re away.

While safety is at the forefront of home security services, they can also prevent property damage. Moisture detection can send an alert if your basement starts flooding, or the fire department if flames are detected. In the case of theft, a fast response could prevent a burglar from taking your most prized and valuable possessions. Choosing a monitored system could also qualify you for discounts on your homeowner’s insurance.

Will My Home Alarm Work Without Monitoring?

The short answer is: it depends. Some security equipment only works with proprietary monitoring services. In these instances, the device may give you an error or beep intermittently until you remove or disconnect the power source. Other equipment may still work but can be practically useless if you aren’t home. If a smoke alarm goes off in an empty home, and no one is there to hear it, it doesn’t do much to address the situation.

However, some systems will work without monitoring to a degree. They may send an automatic notification to your phone. But what happens if you miss the alert? Or your phone is dead or doesn’t get service? Or you’re not in a position to respond? The responsibility to reply is on you. Your devices may work, but calling authorities is not a given.

Unmonitored Home Security Systems Explained

In comparison, an unmonitored home security system is not linked up to a monitoring station. You are fully responsible for responding to any situations that arise, whether you are home or not. A security system without monitoring may include alarms that emit noise when triggered, like a traditional smoke alarm or send a notification to your phone. This type of equipment relies on you being available to answer the call when an alarm is triggered.

Unmonitored home security systems typically have one significant pro: a lower cost. Monitored systems usually run on a subscription model, charging a set amount each month for the services.

Another reason someone may choose an unmonitored system is if they experience a high amount of false alerts. In many areas, authorities charge for false alarm responses, and if this is a recurring event, some people would prefer to control these calls themselves. Some services, like ours at Wayne Alarm, take measures to avoid false alarms and ensure the accuracy of calls.

As for the cons, unmonitored systems are:

  • Less secure if you’re away: If you leave your home, you have no way of knowing if something happens. A fire could start, or a person could break in and you wouldn’t know until the damage is done.
  • Dependent on your phone battery and availability: Many unmonitored systems offer notification functions, but if you are away from your phone or your battery dies, you have no way of receiving these notifications and can’t respond to the events.

An unmonitored system may be cheaper in the long term, but you’re also sacrificing vital safety features and depending on your ability to respond to the situation.

How to Choose an Alarm Monitoring Company?

In our industry, many consumers fall victims to third-party monitoring, which means after you sign your monitoring contract, they turn around and sell it to another company to handle the task. This new monitoring company could be anywhere in the country, or even the world. You’re just a number to them, a number as high as possibly millions. In the event of an emergency, some monitoring centers can take over a minute to get in contact with you.

At Wayne Alarm Systems we have our own, privately owned monitoring center staffed by highly trained, professional company employees. We don’t rely on outside call centers or independent contractors of questionable quality and reputation. We pride ourselves on having an average eight-second response time. We care personally about every family or business we monitor — you can’t say the same about an overseas company.

Contact Wayne Alarm for Monitored Security Systems in Massachusetts

If your home is in the New England area, Wayne Alarm Systems offers around-the-clock monitoring services for a variety of alarm providers and types. Whether you want to secure your home with a full array of security equipment or simply install some detectors around the house, we can keep a close eye on things from our central monitoring station, where the staff is fully vetted and background-checked.

We offer inclusive home security packages with protection for fire, burglary, carbon monoxide, environmental hazards and medical problems, all of which can connect to our 24/7 monitoring center. To speak with a representative about connecting your home to a monitored security system, contact us for a free consultation today.