Buying a burglar alarm is one of the most important tasks you will undertake in terms of stepping up your home security. Research carried out by criminologists has revealed that burglars are definitely deterred by the presence of an alarm.
Aside from this, the police and your home insurer will advise you to have an acceptable level of home security as well. Make sure you have appropriate locks on your doors and windows - and then have an alarm installed and keep it in full working order.
Some insurance companies make it a stipulation of your policy to have a suitable burglar alarm and in the event of someone trying to break in, your policy may be declared void if it's discovered that your alarm isn't in full working order.
It's important that you feel secure and safe in your own home, so all things considered, it's in your best interests to invest in a burglar alarm.
Householders seem to be getting the message, as a survey by Which magazine revealed that 89% of the respondents had a burglar alarm. The most common reason why was because it made the family feel secure and also because when they were away on holiday, it provided a deterrent against burglars.
Don't be confused by the wide choice of alarms on the market - here are five things to consider when buying an alarm for your home...
- What type of burglar alarm would you prefer?
There are four main types of alarm and you can choose from wired or wireless options. The most basic is the bells-only alarm, which makes a noise but doesn't automatically contact anyone when it has been activated. These systems can be connected to smart phones, so you receive notifications when the alarm is activated or when the system is set or un-set.
When you have the second option, a dialler burglar alarm, it will automatically call a nominated telephone number if it's triggered.
Monitored alarms will contact a monitoring company, who in turn can then call keyholders or if required the police, in return for a contracted annual or monthly fee. The most modern type of burglar alarm is the smart home-security system, which contacts you through an app if it goes off. You can also control it from afar, and in some cases, it can be monitored by a separate company.
- How safe is your home?
An alarm is an effective way of protecting your home, but before you decide on the best system for your needs, consider the overall safety of your property. As well as having suitable locks on your doors and windows, you may wish to consider having reinforced windows installed.
Outdoor security lighting can also be a good deterrent for would-be intruders, as can CCTV. Consider having higher walls, secure gates and strong fences around your home. A gravel drive means a burglar would be heard approaching.
Also consider investing in timers for your lights indoors, so that they will turn on and off at the appropriate times and give the impression there's someone at home when you're on holiday.
- Do you want a wireless alarm?
A wired alarm comprises several electronic sensors connected to a control panel by low-voltage wiring. A wireless alarm uses battery-powered sensors connected to the control panel by RF radio signals.
Wireless systems are now very reliable, and they are quick and easy to install, although they are more expensive to maintain.
The equipment for wired systems is less expensive. However, they can be more expensive to install, as they will normally require a professional installer, who will have to route the wires around your home. They are powered by the control panel.
- Is it worth having an alarm monitoring contract?
A lot of homeowners say it's worth investing in an alarm monitoring contract for extra peace of mind. It means that if your alarm is triggered, the private company monitoring your system will alert you or the police, depending on the terms of your contract.
In a survey by Which magazine, 72% of people with an alarm monitoring contract said it was very worthwhile, as it gave them "complete peace of mind". Although it added to the cost, they felt it was worth it overall.
- What features do you need?
At an extra cost, numerous optional features are often available with the alarm system. Some householders like to take advantage of the extra features, while others prefer to stick to the basics as they think they just make the system more complicated.
First, if you have pets, the last thing you want is for them to trigger your alarm, so you may prefer a system with pet-friendly sensors, or a model that enables you to adjust its sensitivity manually.
Consider a panic button if you have older relatives or a family member with mobility issues. Some alarms can be set in zones - for example, when you go upstairs to bed, you can set the alarm downstairs, but leave the upstairs zone off.
You can also have a remote maintenance system, so that if an issue crops up with the alarm, it can be diagnosed and possibly fixed remotely. There is normally an ongoing fee for this service.
Some burglar alarms can be turned on or turned off remotely using a key fob, without needing a pin code. You need to be nearby to use this method and it's not something you could do from a holiday home.
When you're considering investing in an alarm for your property, achieve safety and protection with Trelawney's top-of-the-range burglar alarms. With more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, we can help to keep your home and business safe.
Call us free on 0800 999 2443 for further information about our products and services.