These days, I frequently stumbled on questions asked by new homeowners whether they can use or upgrade the existing security system or wired alarm system kits when they move into a house with home security or alarm systems in place.

The questions are always like these: Should I upgrade either the panel and/or system? How can I monitor these systems myself on my phone? What should I be looking for if I decide to replace the existing security system like ADT?

Move into a House with Existing/Wired Security Systems/Kits, Keep or Upgrade

Many of us, quite often, bought or moved into a house that has an existing security or alarm system kits such as ADT or Honeywell wired security system or a place that comes with an unmonitored home security system.

Some are still configurable and you might accidentally arm it and set it off every now and then, toying with ideas that you might reconfigure or reprogram it to put it into good use or upgrade the alarm system by integrating with new systems.

While some of these old security systems might have been in idle for years but the cables remain in a good shape.

In many scenarios, the existing security system could be used to power new home security cameras or security systems, for example, connecting Cat5 Ethernet cable to CCTV security cameras.

So the options look like:

  • Use existing home security/alarm system or unmonitored home security system;
  • Upgrade the system to something that can be monitored via phone apps or self-monitored;
  • Abandon the existing system and replace it with a brand new system;

It’s crucial knowing what you can do with existing or pre-wired home security system when moving into a house with existing alarm or security system, especially potential benefits and risks.

Option 1: Use Existing Home Security/Alarm system or Unmonitored Home Security System

If the existing alarm security system is still in good shape, whether it’s hardwired alarm system or wireless alarm systems.

For example, a new ADT security system with cellular monitoring or landline monitoring or Honeywell security systems, signing up for the monitoring service with the monitoring service providers or companies seems like a reasonably nice way to shore up your home security.


Using or customizing the existing infrastructure, such as PIR motion detectors, smoke detectors, heat sensors, glass break detectors, external sirens not only cut the cost of installation and equipment, minimizes troubles of running wires or installation but also help reduce monitoring burden if you are not interested in self-monitoring and prefer professional monitoring.


The downside is that you might find yourself committed to a long-term contract, 2 or 3 years of monitoring service plus monthly monitoring fees, which varies, for example, SimpliSafe charges $14.99/month for standard monthly monitoring.

However, before going down this road, it’s wise to give some thoughts to these questions, does the company has a good track record of satisfactory service and support? Do they provide all the services that you are looking for?

Option 2: Upgrade & Self-Monitor Existing Home Security/Alarm System


Upgrading the existing security system to something that can be monitored via phone apps seems like a feasible solution if you don’t want to be locked into a contract, paying monthly monitoring fees or having your house monitored by someone else.

Here is a step by step guide on how to switch your DSC system to be Wi-Fi enabled with notifications and monitoring from a phone.

If you are looking for a control panel to integrate to your existing wireless system that uses Z-Wave, Zigbee, Insteon, X10, UPB, or A10 technology and turn it for self-monitoring, we suggest reaching out to the manufacturers first to see what options do you have.

Or you can DIY the existing wired home security system and use existing equipment and turn it into an unmonitored security system and integrate into your home automation by using SmartThings Smart Home Hub or HomeSeer.

Besides, users could choose a good security camera system for a pre-wired house, for example, a Cat 5 camera system Reolink RLK8-410B4.


While programming or reconfiguring the existing alarm systems either wired home security systems or wireless security systems to a self-monitored home security system, for example, unmonitored ADT security system, window/door sensors, control panels or other components, might require a lot more researching, customization, technical support, networking or engineering.

Here is an enthusiastic entrepreneur dedicating himself to converting the wired alarm system into a SmartThing smart home monitoring system.

Here is also a helpful guide to activate, monitor, and upgrade existing alarm security systems.

And there are many discussion on upgrading existing security or alarm systems on many forums, such as Reddit.

Meanwhile, if the home security cameras are in a good working order but you might just want to remotely access the security cameras, you could upgrade the analog system into an IP security system.

Here is one example of upgrading existing home security system to IP camera system.

Option 3: Abandon the Existing Security System & Replace It with Brand New Systems


If the existing security system, unfortunately, is very outdated.

It neither can be re-activated to continuously monitor your entrances nor does it have features like Smartphone-based control, home automation potentials, phasing it out and replacing it with new and modern security cameras or systems goes a long way in protecting your property.


Modern smart home security systems beef up home security like this DIY solid 4-camera setup RLK8-410B4 security system for your pre-wired house.

Especially those are packed with advanced mobile app controls, wireless sensors, or high-resolution HD smart security cameras capable of motion detection like Reolink Argus 2 wire-free camera, face recognition, motion tracking, or smart home integration like IFTTT, Alexa voice control or command.

And here is a list of self-monitored home alarm systems that homeowners could explore.


It surely adds up cost and increases spending on new monitoring equipment.

Sometimes, you might have to undo all the wiring and hire professionals to install new equipment or monitor your home.


No matter what option you choose, there are various factors that you might need to weigh on when moving into a house with pre-wired or existing security systems.

Moving into a house installed with alarm or security systems could help cut down installation and equipment cost up front and beef up home security. Read more on safety tips when moving into a new house.

Contemplating those possible options to deal with existing and wired alarm system kits carefully and conducting thorough research before taking any further steps are always a safe call.

  • Phattius

    A factor that should be mentioned is that most of the NEW alarm systems are WIRELESS, and almost ALL of the wireless systems can be HACKED by a smart intruder, wirelessly. Some of them even broadcast the disarming code in the clear, easily captured with modern equipment. The burglar then just waltzes in and turns your whole system off.

    Despite the inconvenience, for the most part, you want a fully wired system. When an old system already has the wires in place, that’s a big advantage in cost.

    • Hi Phattius, good point! An old security system with wires in place surely help cut down the cost.