Burglar Alarm Cost
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How much do burglar alarms cost? When people think of burglar alarms, ADT often spring to mind. They are the market leader in burglar alarms for houses and have been for years. But are they the right company offering the right system for you?
Burglar alarms have evolved a lot since they first became really popular additions to people's homes in the 1980s and 1990s. At that time, sensors were sometimes a little too sensitive and your burglar alarm might go off in the middle of the night for no reason at all. Wireless systems had a limited range so if you had any outhouses, sheds, or other outside buildings that needed protecting, it was difficult to find a sensor that was powerful enough. Nowadays, burglar alarms are far more technologically advanced and we'll cover that in this article.
The reason for getting a burglar alarm installed has not changed. It's the fear that someone will break into your home – the place where you and your family sleep – and no-one will be any the wiser. And because your neighbours and the Police won't know you've been broken into, it's just you against a burglar.
It doesn't really matter to most homeowners that the number of burglaries has been dropping. The fact is that it's still happening and you don't know on any given day or night whether it's your household that's drawn the short straw this time around.
The sad fact is that most people don't think about having an alarm fitted to their home until after they have been the victim of a burglary. If you don't have an alarm on your home just yet or you want to replace your old system with a modern system, please read on.
Burglar alarm systems for home installation fitted by a professional range in cost dependent on a number of factors. We'll explain what everything we've listed here means through the article:
|Type of alarm||Number of sensors/contacts||Number of keyfobs||Supply only cost||Supply and install cost||Monthly fees|
|Bell-only wired||2/1||1||Not available||£400||none|
|Monitored wireless||2/1||1||Not available||£100-£200||£15-45|
|Smart alarm||1||0 (your smartphone acts as keyfob)||£159||£259||none|
The prices shown above are for basic supply only and supply plus install work.
Each of the types of systems listed above is customisable meaning you can add extra sensors, extra contacts, and extra keyfobs. You can specify to a monitored alarm installer about whether you want to the police to be contacted on the event of a triggered alarm but this will normally cost you extra at time of installation.
Most homeowners have wireless burglar alarms fitted than any other type of alarm. The main control panel is hooked up to the mains but the sensors are battery powered. Because they use so little electricity, the batteries used in sensors tend to last for a long time – many, many years. If the battery in a sensor is beginning to run low, it will either send a message back to the control panel so that you know or it will continuously flash until you replace the battery.
With a wired burglar alarm system, everything, including the sensors, is hardwired into the mains. It means that you never have to worry about a battery running low however the installation costs are a lot higher because of the amount of wiring that needs to be run.
There are four main parts to your burglar alarm:
The burglar alarm control panel is the box on the wall (normally positioned by the front door) which switches the system off and on. Burglar alarm control panels receive signals from all the sensors in your home. Because the sensors use slightly different frequencies, you can switch the alarm on in certain parts of your home (whilst leaving it off in others) because your alarm system will only be looking out for alerts from the sensors it's monitoring.
Sensors are placed around your home looking for movement in a room. They do this using Passive Infrared Detectors (PIRs). PIRs look for objects moving around the area it is monitoring which give off body heat. When it detects them and the burglar alarm is switched on, it will then go into emergency mode – in emergency mode, it will ring the bellbox, contact the police, send a text message, or do whatever it is you've requested to your installer.
You can also attach contacts to your doors and windows. If your alarm is switched on and someone tries to open a door or a window, the contact will detect this and it will then trigger the alarm.
Keyfobs look like the type of car keys you press to open and shut the doors. You can use them to switch your alarm on or off.
The bell boxes are attached to the outside of your home, normally at the front and the back. They show a burglar that your home is protected by an alarm. If your alarm system is triggered, it's the bell box that makes the loud noise alerting people that something may be wrong. Although still called a bell box by many in the trade, it's more usual now to have a siren sound than a clanging bell.
You can choose to have your burglar alarm monitored. What that means is that, should something happen and the alarm is set off, your control panel will tell you or someone else.
A system with no monitoring attached to it is called a "bell-only" alarm. It's given that name because the only way it communicates the fact to others that there has been a break-in or that something has triggered the alarm is the sound of the bell or siren from the box attached to the outside of your home.
For many years, British Telecom have run a system called BT RedCare. What BT RedCare does is inform either the police and/or people who you indicated you want to know that an alarm has been triggered. Police will generally respond however, if there are too many false alarms, they have been known to refuse to attend.
What a monitored alarm can do has progressed a lot in recent years. You can now wire microphones up in your home so that, when the alarm is activated, a monitoring station can listen to what's happening in your home. Some companies will install speakers too which will challenge any intruder who's broken into your property.
You could select an "auto-dialler"; system. When your alarm is triggered, the control panel uses either a fixed line or a mobile phone card to call someone you nominate to let them know that there has been an incident. For this to work, you need a landline phone connection or you need to live in an area with good mobile phone reception.
There is also a new type of monitoring linked to your mobile phone. These "smart alarms" contact you or someone you've nominated by smart phone is your burglar alarm goes off – they'll normally show you live video from your home from the rooms where a break-in was detected. As with the "auto-dialler" system, you will need to make sure that your home gets a strong mobile phone signal before you invest in a system.
Many people looking to install their own burglar alarm system will go down to one of the major DIY chains to pick out a system. B&Q burglar alarms are a particular best seller although a wide range of alarm systems are now available online.
If you feel confident in installing either a wired or wireless burglar alarm, you can do this for yourself. It will probably take about 6-8 hours and please make sure that you are certain of what you're doing when connecting the burglar alarm panel (or the sensors) to your mains electricity.
If you later decide that you want your alarm to be monitored, you'll need to pre-plan. You'll need to buy an alarm panel that allows a monitoring function to be added. If it does not allow this, you will have to scrap your old alarm and replace it with a new one.
Investing in a burglar alarm system comes with a price tag but more than that, it's about protecting your family, your home, and your possessions. Because every alarm system can be tailored to suit your exact needs, there are some questions installers get more than others and we've covered them in this section for you.
If you store items in your shed or any other outbuilding that are valuable and personal to you, it would be terrible if you went to all of the trouble and expense of fitting a burglar alarm to your main home only to find that, if you were burgled, the thieves went for the shed or another outbuilding instead.
It is possible to connect PIRs to your home system from a distance however the further the building or shed you're trying to protect is from your home, the more difficult it gets. It would be wise to ask a professional installer for advice in these situations.
If you have small pets in your home, ask your installer about pet-friendly PIRs. This is a clever system which monitors your room except for the first metre or so of height in the room from the floor. So if your cat is just wandering around your front room in the dead of night, the PIR sensor frequencies won't see them because they're too low down.
If you have a large pet or your small pet likes to jump on furniture, tables, breakfast bars, and so on, a pet-friendly PIR may not actually provide the solution you're hoping for. In those cases, it would be better to go for a door or window contact instead of a PIR.
Burglar alarm installations (including the box on the outside of your home) are considered as minor installations and they are therefore not covered by planning regulations.
However, if you live in a listed building, in a conservation area, or your home is subject to Directive 4, then it's always advisable to contact someone from the planning department of your local council prior to committing any money to your burglar alarm.
Before you commit to a system and to a company, it's better to check with a potential installer that the system they propose to install really will do the job you want it to do.
You might want to ask for "lead time" – in other words, if I place an order for a system, how long will it be before you can install it. If you've signed up to a monitoring package, find out how long they take to respond to alarm activations – most companies should be able to produce statistics from the last twelve months for you.
If you're installing pet-friendly PIRs and, after installation, your cat keeps waking up the whole household by jumping on a sideboard at 3 in the morning, what remedial action will the company take if they tell you that your pet will never set off the alarm? On the subject of coverage, go through with an installer why they think that the layout of the sensors they propose is going to protect you.
On a business front, you might want to ask for testimonials from existing customers who live near you (top tip – online reviews are great for finding reliable companies so look them up before you commit). Despite the best of intentions, even really good businesses cease trading so you should ask if the company provides an insurance-backed guarantee that your system will still be serviced and repaired by a professional if the company goes into liquidation.
There are three main trade bodies in the UK which burglar alarm companies can join. Membership of these bodies provides homeowners with peace of mind that, in the event of a dispute, there is an independent arbiter which can force the installer to put things that went wrong right otherwise the installer may be ejected from the membership. If they are thrown out, most business-to-business and insurance work will be denied to them so continued membership is really important.
You can get connected with three or four burglar alarm companies in your area which have great reputations, keen prices, and superb customer care. How do we know? Because we checked them out ourselves.
We'll put you in touch with these companies who'll be happy to provide you with a quote on the system you want. The quote you receive is free and you're under no obligation to accept any offer from any of the companies we put you in touch with.