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We all used to have chains on our front doors for this purpose, as the chain can easily be enforced it’s much better if you don’t even have to open the door to see who was there.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five things we need to know about video intercoms:

A video intercom is not the same as a front door phone.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, an entry door system has the ability to unlock the door. When “buzzed” into a building, a device called a door opener is used to electrically (or by releasing an electromagnetic lock) open the door. Most video intercom manufacturers offer an optional door opener or door plate.

Choose a manufacturer that allows your system to grow with your requirements.

Before committing to a system, make sure you’re not locked into a manufacturer with a limited product line. You might start with a camera at the front door and a monitor to see and speak to someone, but video intercoms are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to securing and automating your home. If in a few years you decide to install CCTV cameras, get a remote monitor or add an extra doorbell, then you want to make sure you don’t have to throw away your existing investment in new equipment.

Make sure the door station has night vision if you want to see callers at night.

Sounds obvious, but at night you really need to see the caller, and unless you have bright outside light you need a door panel with infrared capabilities. Incidentally, many of the models on the market today have tiny camera holes, so the caller might not even realize they can be seen.

Buy locally for the best advice and to avoid installation headaches

If you’re not familiar with DIY, you probably need help installing an intercom. The door camera and the monitor in the house must be supplied with power and  Türklingel cables must be routed between the two devices. These do not have to be visible so some work may be required under the house or above the ceilings. Installation help may be needed, especially if you want to replace the lock on your door with a door opener so you can open the door from the surveillance unit.

You can get started for as little as $400

While this may sound expensive, it’s not much to put your mind at ease. Older people and those who may be more prone to unsavory characters visiting people’s front doors looking for people to try their tricks on can greatly benefit from not having to open the door to see who’s there is. Any caller can list their business and even present their IDs to the camera for inspection before the resident has to open the door.

Video intercoms are a great addition to your home security setup.

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