Why install a security system at the cabin? Because you'll want to protect your place while you're away
Concerned about securing your cabin retreat? Security systems for seasonal or occasional residences frequently face some different challenges than systems designed for a full-time residence. While the latter may be concerned mostly with protection from two-legged intruders and fire, cabin owners may also be concerned with uninvited four-legged or winged visitors, unattended mechanical systems, storm impacts and other issues associated with long periods without occupants.
Fortunately, technology is bringing a lot of good, inexpensive, even do-it-yourself options to traditional monitored residential systems. In a cabin setting, a type of DIY security system is gaining popularity that relies on a cellular or broadband connection usually based on motion-activated video surveillance. When activated, the system notifies the cabin owner, who can then review the video and contact authorities when necessary. They may also allow the owner to remotely trigger an alarm to scare off intruders. Such systems may be wired or wireless and often include a smartphone app.
These new systems are good news for cabin owners. Plug and play wireless installation makes them suitable for cabins with older wiring and windows and door construction that may not be “friendly” to hard-wired sensors. All that’s needed are a power source and either a cellular, telephone or broadband connection.
3 Security Systems for the Cabin
The Canary All-in-One
, looks like a bookshelf stereo speaker. It includes a motion-activated wide angle HD camera, microphone and alarm that can be set to activate automatically or by remote control. Installation is simple: connect to your cabin network via ethernet or log on wirelessly. Once connected, download an app that allows you to configure the device, alert you of activity and even view remotely, making it usable as a pet or baby monitor. The app reports temp and humidity, and you can trigger an alarm or dial local fire or police. The Canary All-in-One costs less than $200.
is another player in the new home security market. SimpliSafe devices operate wireless and include a wide-angle HD camera and a microphone to pick up sound. SimpliSafe also offers monitoring subscription plans that provide round-the-clock monitoring like traditional systems. SimpliSafe systems include several monitoring devices for complete cabin coverage and start at $250. Monitoring subscriptions are $15-25 per month.
Hyperfire security cameras are designed to operate where power or communication lines aren’t available. Their infrared illumination allows them to remain unnoticed while capturing high-resolution video. Batteries can last up to six months, depending on amount of use, and the camera also can be connected to an outside power source. If the camera is connected to the Internet, it can be configured to email an image whenever it is triggered. Even if your cabin lacks a network, you aren’t completely shut out. If your cabin has cellphone coverage, you can consider a mobile hotspot. Mobile hotspots connect to the Internet via the cellular network. Hotspot devices typically cost $25-200, have rechargeable batteries and can be purchased as part of a cellular phone package from most of the major providers. Since they use the device and data plan of your cellular provider, it’s important to understand usage terms and device charges. If you already have a plan with several cell phones and shared data, the cost of adding a hotspot device may be minimal. Regardless of the system you choose, remember to secure your security system. These systems rely on wired or wireless connection. Be sure your network is password protected using advanced security settings. You probably don’t want to share your monitoring capabilities with anyone who has an Internet connection.
Jim Cooper, a retired home builder and General Contractor, is author of “Log Homes Made Easy” and “The Log Home Project Planner.” He has been a LEED Accredited Professional and Certified Passive House Consultant.