DIY Home Security Equipment: Build Your Own System!

Ready to setup and install your own security system? We bring you some top-of-the-line, affordable home security equipment options you can use to set up your own security system at home.  You'll learn about everything from a wireless motion detection camera to sirens and flood water sensors.

You're welcome to read this article from top to bottom to learn about each piece of security equipment you can add to your home or use the navigation menu below to jump to the piece of security equipment you are most interested in.

Wireless Motion Detector Camera with a Base Station 

A wireless motion detector camera with a base station is an affordable option for easy installation and minimal coverage of your home. When embarking on do it yourself home security project it is always easier to go with a wireless system since you will avoid having to run wiring behind any walls. Many new wireless systems are coming on to the market since they are the newest trend and they allow for fast and easy self installation. For an hour or two of work you can set up a wireless motion detector and its corresponding base station so that you can track movement within your home when you are absent. Most of the newer systems can be set up to automatically e-mail you with updates from the motion detector, so that you are aware when something has been captured on your motion detector. Other newer systems can also send alerts to your cell phone to let you know that something is changing within your home; however, unless you have an unlimited data plan on your phone setting up this method in inadvisable since alerts often come with attached still images from your motion detector.

Setting up a simple motion detector camera and base station is an affordable option; however, it does not allow for immediate contact with a dispatch agent to ensure full security.

External Video Cameras

External home cameras were one of the first types of security features to come about in the do it yourself home security market. Installation for these types of cameras is relatively easy since it only involves mounting the camera outside of the home in the desired area. It is imperative to purchase a camera intended for outdoor use, and again a wireless camera is going to be an easier installation; however, wired cameras are an option as well since they are generally more affordable. When picking the right camera for your home it is easier to work with cameras that allow for movement such as panning and zooming so that you can control how much detail you can see from the security of your home. External home cameras can be sold with a software to transmit a live signal through your computer or they can also be hooked up to a television to stream live so that when the doorbell rings you only have to turn on the television to see who is there. In today's age the PC controlled software is generally the preferred option. 

Smoke and Heat Detectors

Smoke and heat detectors may seem like a simple addition to any home, in fact most homes these days are built with them already installed, but for those homes that aren't these simple additions can be a matter of life or death. Smoke and heat detectors are becoming increasingly affordable and are extremely simple to install without the help of a professional. Many of the new models of home security systems come with smoke and heat detectors built in to them; however, if you are unable to afford these upscale systems installing an affordable smoke and heat detector will serve to give you warning in case of the presence of smoke or the detection of heat. Certainly installing your own detectors will not dispatch the emergency services directly to your door like they may in some of the more sophisticated alarm systems; however, they will still provide warning of a fire breaking out in the home. It is recommended to change smoke detectors every ten years and to change the rechargeable battery every three to five years for your safety.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors are not as common as smoke and heat alarms in homes; however, they are becoming more prominent in homes around the world. Carbon monoxide is otherwise known as a silent killer because as it slowly poisons individuals in your home no one has any idea that they are being killed by this poisonous gas. Installation of a carbon monoxide detector is much like the installation of a smoke and heat alarm, it is easy, affordable and there is no reason why you should not add this life saving device to your list of home security elements. These devices can actually be purchased anywhere that offers smoke and heat alarms such as hardware stores, mega stores and online retailers. When purchasing any type of safety detector such as a carbon monoxide detector make sure to purchase an item that has received good reviews and is made by a reputable company.

Flood (Water) Sensors

Flood sensors are an optional feature on many alarm systems and while they are useful in any home, they are particularly useful in homes that have basements (they can detect a failing sump pump for example), homes that are in close proximity to water or homes that are not occupied year round. Flood sensors are a relatively inexpensive addition to your do it yourself home security system that can save a lot of money in the long run. Certainly flood insurance can help you to recover items lost during flooding but if you had the option to be made aware of flooding before everything was damaged by the water, wouldn't you want to know? With alarm systems that can be monitored remotely (through cell phone or PC access) flood water sensors can tip you off to a leak in your second home perhaps weeks before you would otherwise find out.

Temperature Sensors

Temperature sensors are often confused for heat detectors that are used for fire detection; however, this feature that comes with some alarm systems is actually used most of the time for detecting extremely cold temperatures. Many people are unaware that if a pilot light goes out and the heating cuts off items within the home can become just as damaged from cold as they can from excessive heat. Having a temperature sensor feature on your alarm system is particularly useful if you have a second home or frequently leave town during the winter or summer months. These sensors allow you to input a maximum and minimum temperature at which an alert will be sent to you to warn you of dropping or rising temperatures that could cause damage via frozen pipes, moisture within the home, mold growth, people who leave pets home alone or have expensive heirlooms in the home that can be damaged by excessive heat or cool. If you fall in to any of the categories above it would be worth purchasing a self installation security system that has a temperature sensor.


When installing your own security system there are quite a few options to choose from and most often these systems include sirens that fall between the 15 to 20 watt sound levels. While this level of sound is enough to warn an intruder that your alarm is working and that they have been caught red-handed, it is not always loud enough to be heard outside the home so if you have an option when choosing the siren for your alarm go with a 30 watt siren. Not all alarm systems utilize sirens; however, they are a good option to go with if you will not be purchasing a monthly monitoring service since many times they serve to scare away burglars before any theft takes place.

Motion Sensitive Spotlights

Motion sensitive spotlights can be hooked up to an alarm system or they can be purchased individually to place around the outside of your property. When purchasing a motion sensitive spotlight it is important to make sure that there is an adjustable level of sensitivity to ensure that your motion detector will not set the light off with every fox that crosses your garden. Installation of motion sensitive spotlights is an easy process and simply involves mounting the spotlight in the designated area of your property. When mounting your light it is important to make sure that it does not shine directly in to any neighbors homes, this prevents awkward conversations in the days following your installation.

Glass Break Detectors

Glass break detectors are an optional feature that are now offered with most home alarm systems and are either vibration or sound detectors that are designed to set off the home alarm when glass is broken within the home. A lot of people see this addition as a luxury add-on to their alarm system; however, it can be an invaluable addition to your home especially if you have a basement or area of the home that is secluded from the rest of the house. Many burglars gain entry to a residence through secluded entrances to the home such as basement windows or doors, back doors or even garage side doors and often times they do it by breaking glass to unlock the door or window for entry. Glass break detectors will send a signal to your alarm when the detector senses the vibration or sound of breaking glass in the designated location. This add-on can be placed in as many or as few locations as you wish.

Door and Window Contacts

Door and window contacts are a common part of all modern alarm systems and they are utilized to determine whether a door or a window is currently open within the home. If a door is open a signal is sent from that door sensor to the alarm panel and the alarm will not be able to be set. If; however, that door is opened after the alarm has been set then a signal will activate the alarm system and the alarm will sound. Much like glass break sensors these magnetic contacts can be placed in as few or as many door and window points of your home. Many people choose to utilize this type of system in every possible entry point of the home, meaning every window or door that can be opened, as a way to track when doors and windows are open particularly when there are young children in the home.

More Home Security Equipment

For a full list of home security system equipment options, visit our home security terms and definitions page. If you see something missing from or that you'd like added to this list, please comment below.

All-In-One Do It Yourself Home Security

For those that don't want to take the time to setup and monitor their own system and its components, consider purchasing a home security system that includes some or all of the above features in a package. Our article on the top home security systems should help you find the best home security system for your needs. Our awards articles are written by teams of independent researchers that go in-depth with their research to help find our readers the best alarm systems from the most reliable and honest alarm companies (sometimes hard to find). You'll find reviews of DIY systems, systems with no annual contract, as well as professionally installed options.

Installed Your Own Alarm System?

We're always looking to hear back from our readers on their stories/ successes/ attempts at installing their own home security systems. If you've ever tried installing your own security equipment, please comment below with your experience.