Saturday, February 28, 2009


With the house looking so good we thought it was a good idea to protect it. After watching HBO's, The Wire, some of you understand Baltimore. While you may think having a rottweiler is a big enough deterrent, with a face like this and his love for coach leather collars (Thanks mom!) we're not sure he'd scare an intruder.


In order to supplement our furry security system we ordered the Simplisafe system. The total cost of the sysytem was $320, $15 monthly monitoring fee, and it took about an hour to install. I am very impressed.

I first heard about Simplisafe from unplgged, and it seemed promising. I was skeptical, but after doing some research we decided on this system for the following reasons.

  • Easy installation - After all the work we've done on the house I was not about to rip open the walls to run more wire. Hell no. This meant we isolated our choices to wireless solutions. I read reviews on some wireless system there were many comments of how difficult they were to install. The review I read for this system said it was easy, and after installing it I couldn't agree more. The key fob is actually a thumb drive too, so all you do is plug it into the computer and the software contained on the drive walks you through the install. The folks who made this install software must have been trained by apple, because the process was idiot proof.

    Details like batteries and the double sided tape were included. Simplisafe even has little pull tabs that activate the sensor batteries, so no need to open the units to activate the sensors. Most other systems I found online were BYO-Batteries and even charged extra for the double sided mounting tape. This attention to detail really helped to install this system quickly and easily.

  • Doesn't require a landline - We don't have a landline and even most of the wireless systems require a landline. Not quite wireless, eh? With land lines running $25 a month, and then ~$15 a monthly monitoring fee this didn't seem like a great deal. The other option was an extra $250 up front equipment cost for a GSM chip and the monitoring would then be $26 a month. Again, hell no. This system uses the REFLEX wireless network - the same network the "I've fallen and I can't get up lady" uses. If it's good enough for g-ma, it's good enough for me.

  • Inexpensive base system - The base system with a main keypad, siren, key fob, motion sensor, two door/window sensors and a panic button runs $225. Very nice!!!

  • Inexpensive components - After paying only $225 a month and it only having 2 door/window sensors, I figured additional sensors would cost a small fortune. Not so. Each extra door/window was $10 and $15 for an extra key fob. Me likey.

  • Competitive monthly monitoring costs - Cruising around the intarweb we found deals as low as $9 a month, but this required a landline. Without a landline, things were looking more like $25 a month (plus the up front cost). Simplisafe monitoring runs $15 a month. Not the cheapest, but totally reasonable.

  • Looks cute - We spent time making the house look nice and modern and we didn't want some clunky system. You can barely see this system at all, as all the sensors are small and sleek.

This system isn't for everybody, as does not have fire monitoring. This wasn't an issue for us. My concerns going forward are that this is a relatively new system, so we'll see how easy parts are to get in the future and and if their customer serivice is any good. In another few month's I'll post a follow up review on my thoughts on the system, but so far I am very impressed. Another bonus of the system is that we can even take the system to our next house - all we'd need are a few new pieces of double sided tape.


modernemama said...

Did you also get a home insurance deduction? We save about 20% by having an alarm.

momnipotent said...

Any excuse to post a picture of Wally (me love). Yes, most homeowner's insurance gives a discount with a monitored security system. Also, is your current homeowner's coverage still sufficient?

Corey said...

I had remnants of an alarm system in the house, so my insurance rates were set up like there was a functioning alarm.

momnipotent - I talked to my insurance guy and we have the place well covered.

Jenny said...

Love the picture of Wally! Can I pet sit? :-)

Thanks for the helpful alarm information. I had thought about getting one but didn't because of the landline issue.

the 'rents said...

Looks like a great system and exactly what you need, plus Wally of course! Make sure you have up-to-date insurance riders for electronics, camera equipment, and jewelery. Keeping everything and everyone safe is always a good plan.

Sarah said...


Our rottie and the cheagle are pretty big deterents. *knock on wood* Neighbors tell us that they go ballistic if anyone walks by. We're surprised, since getting our rottie, people cross the street to avoid us...etc. Too bad she's the biggest softie in the world.

Good idea on the alarm sytem. We have a wired one---but the options I want to add on are getting expensive---like 100+ for glass shatter alarms....and I need like 6...I think not. so we're looking at other options. Keep us informed! said...

My best guess is that the alarm system will only shorten the time to a heart attack for any potential intruder.

Softy or no, a rot is NOT what a home intruder EVER wants to see. :) The alarm system might just wake him up more quickly.

I'm glad you posted this. We don't have an alarm system and we've got three doors and some potential vulnerability (I'm not sure if a fence keeps intruders out or gives thieves cover...). I'm thinking that the wireless system might be a good investment.


Summer said...

I wish they'd had wireless systems available when we moved in. I painted over some of our wires, but the spackle on the windowsills KILLS me.

Erin said...

Now that you've had the system for a few weeks have you had any issues with Wally setting off the alarm? I know they say a dog under 50 lbs is fine, but I'd imagine your dog is quite close to that?? I have a 48 lb pitbull mix who is also a total softie and am getting ready to buy a house in Baltimore, I would love a system like this. I just want to make sure my pup won't set off the alarm! Either way, thanks for posting this great info about this system.

Corey said...

Hi Erin - We currently do not have the motion detector activated. I am too afraid of false positives (alarm going off for no reason). I figure that in order to get anything of value in or out of the house the bandits will need to eventually open a door or window, which would activate the alarm.

Jon said...

Hey Corey - can you speak more to the battery situation? Change them when you change the smoke detectors? And do you think just getting a bunch of rechargables would be a good idea?


Corey said...

Jon - I honestly hadn't thought about it. Reading simplisafe's site they say the unit will monitor battery life and let you knew when they need to be replaced - every two years for the key pad and 5 years for the other sensors.

Erica said...

Thanks for this post Corey - its super informative! I think we may go with this system also. Just an FYI about city alarm systems though - you actually have to register it with the police department for them to even respond to the call. We have a (crappy) system in our rental right now and have had a couple of false alarms and the cops have never shown up but our landlord did get a letter informing him that they will not respond until it is registered. Interesting huh?

Anonymous said...

It's a great system for the money, and even twice the money: easy to install, quality components, excellent monitoring. Can't beat it for the price. I'm anonymous here 'cause I'm lazy, but the name is Charles.

carrie said...


We have a 3 story rowhome in Newark NJ & are looking into this system. Now that's been a few months, any updates? Is it working well for you? How far away is the farthest sensor from your base station? Thanks so much!!

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