CenturyLink Home Security ReviewBy - 12/20/2016
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
CenturyLink Equipment & Protection
You probably know CenturyLink as a telecommunications company, but they’ve recently ventured into home security via a solution called Smart Home. Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear: CenturyLink only offers Smart Home to their High-Speed Internet subscribers. If you don’t have an internet subscription through them, Smart Home is not for you.
Smart Home is offered in three subscription plans: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each plan comes with 24/7 professional monitoring, smartphone and web access, text and email alerts, and free equipment. Each also locks you into a 3-year monitoring agreement.
The Silver plan includes a control panel, motion sensor, key fob, and smartplugs. According to CenturyLink, the equipment’s retail value totals to $641.
The Gold plan includes the same equipment, but with the addition of an indoor camera. If purchased separately, the camera costs $160.
The Platinum plan adds one more camera and your choice of an electronic door lock or yet another camera. This is an excellent deal, considering that most companies only offer one camera or no camera at all.
|Email and Text Alerts|
|Smartphone and Web Access|
|Automation of Temperature & Locks|
|Additional Equipment||Choice of Smart Lock or Third Camera|
|Contract Length||3 Years||3 Years||3 Years|
On paper, they all look like good deals, but we were unable to determine if pricing is locked in for the term of your contract or not. Several customers have complained that their bills were signifigantly higher than the promissed rate. And the Offer Details on CenturyLink’s site state:
CenturyLink may change, cancel, or substitute offers and services, or vary them by service area at its sole discretion without notice.
While they may simply mean that they reserve the right to change pricing for new customers, it could certainly be taken as they also reserve the right to change pricing for exisiting customers.
Centurylink Home Security Equipment Pricing
You can further expand your system by purchasing additional equipment. Here’s a list of all the devices offered by CenturyLink:
- Thin Wireless Door/Window Sensor ($55)
- Recessed Door/Window Sensor ($55)
- Pet-Immune Motion Sensor ($115)
- Glass Break Sensor ($120)
- Tilt Sensor ($45)
- Flood Sensor ($60)
- Smoke/Heat/Freeze Sensor ($120)
- CO Detector ($100)
- Wireless Keypad ($120)
- Wireless Touchscreen Keypad ($200)
- Panic Button ($55)
- 4-Button Keypad ($50)
- Appliance/Lamp Module ($95)
- Outdoor Module ($95)
- Remote Module ($95)
- Smart Thermostat ($150)
- Smart Lock ($250)
- Garage Door Controller* ($160)
- Indoor Camera ($160)
- Outdoor Camera* ($200)
*Only available in select markets.
After choosing your equipment, the next step is installation. This is done by a professional technician sent by CenturyLink. Most of their devices are wireless, so installation only requires minimal drilling and wiring. Make sure the technician activates your system after installation, as there are reports of techs leaving without activating systems. Also, there is a one-time installation and activation fee. The fee will vary depending on the package and equipment you choose.
Once your system is activated, it will be monitored by a professional monitoring center 24/7 for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, and other threats. CenturyLink uses broadband monitoring, a monitoring method that relies on your internet connection to send signals to the monitoring center. There are pros and cons to this kind of monitoring. One of its benefits is speed. But one of its biggest downsides is instability. Internet connections are prone to disruptions, and if your internet goes out, so will your alarm system.
Things to Know About CenturyLink Equipment & Protection:
- CenturyLink High-Speed Internet (up to 1.5 Mbps or higher) Required
- Free Basic Equipment Included
- Professional Installation Required
- 3-Year Contract
CenturyLink Home Automation
CenturyLink also offers home automation services. You can control some services through the touchscreen panel, through the web portal, or through the mobile app.
The CenturyLink Mobile app (available on Android and iOS devices) not only brings security to your phone but also automation. You can use it to control your CenturyLink home automation devices even if you’re not home. However, it only lets you control the core features of your system, and it lacks features such as geofencing.
Unfortunately, CenturyLink has decided to manage their own mobile app. The app currently holds a 2.5 star rating on Google Play and 2 stars on iTunes, making it one of the lowest rated apps in the home security industry.
Smart Home Equipment
CenturyLink offers four types of smart home devices: thermostats, door locks, smart plugs, and garage door controllers. To use these devices, you need a subscription to the right plan. Smart plugs work with any of the plans. The thermostat, door lock, and garage door controller are only available with the Platinum plan.
The thermostat lets you adjust your home’s cooling and heating, swap the Fan Mode, as well as set the mode to Home or Away. It also shows a history of your home’s temperature. Finally, it can follow a pre-programmed schedule.
With the garage door controller and smart locks, you can lock and unlock your doors, give access to other people, and see the status of your locks.
The smart plugs let you turn your appliances or lights on and off.
Aside from automation devices, CenturyLink also offers indoor and outdoor home security cameras. You can monitor your cameras using the smartphone or web app. The app allows you to watch live feed coming from your cameras. You can use this to check on your house or to verify an alert. The cameras also record videos of events, although it’s unknown how much cloud storage you’ll have access to. There is also a Video Timeline feature that can help you look back on missed events.
What you need to know about CenturyLink’s Smart Home Offer:
- Smart Outlets for Lamps and Small Appliances
- Smart Thermostat Offers Remote Control and Follows a Schedule
- Smart Locks
- Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
- Smartphone Access, Poorly Rated Mobile App
CenturyLink Customer Service and Support
We don’t have hands-on experience with CenturyLink, and in cases like this, we rely on customer reviews. We read through reviews and complaints about CenturyLink. Even doing that is hard because they are a triple-play company—they have cable, internet, and home security offerings. How can we separate the service they provide to home security customers from the service they provide to internet customers?
What we found is that CenturyLink’s home security customers have access to customer support through the phone, email, or chat. Current customers claim there isn’t a dedicated line for home security customers. This means that when you call in, you are likely to be referred from one department to another resulting in increased wait times and possible miscommunication. Also, a lot of Smart Home customers claim that most representatives have far more knowledge about their internet and cable service than their home security service. It’s clear that training of CenturyLink’s employees is focused on their primary forms of service, not home security.
Another complaint about CenturyLink’s Smart Home is their short warranty period. Most companies warrant your equipment for as long as you have a contract with them or for at least three years. CenturyLink’s warranty only lasts for one year.
And what happens if you don’t like the service? You better decide quickly as there is no return period, though you are covered by a 3-Day right of rescission.
On the bright side, CenturyLink offers an online user guide. It contains information on how to setup and use their system and more. If this guide isn’t enough, you can hit up chat support from their website.
What you need to know about customer support:
- B Rating With the BBB
- Short Three Day Return Period
- 1-Year Equipment Warranty
- Live Chat, Email, or Call
- Online User Guide