Ultimate Guide to Burglar Alarms for Your Home

In this part of the ultimate guide to home security, we look at Burglar Alarms. This guide will help you keep intruders away and find out more information about the different kinds of alarms, the benefits, and the best alarms on the market.

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Nobody wants to wake up to someone in their house rummaging about their personal belongings and with 61% of burglaries happening between 6 pm and 6 am, you need to make sure your home stays safe not only when you’re away but also whilst you’re at home.

Knowing that 60% of thieves said they wouldn’t burgle a property if it had an alarm, it’s worth seeing how they can keep your home, valuables and family safe.

burglar breaking into house using the window

 

What Is a Burglar Alarm?

A burglar alarm works by sounding an alarm system when its sensors detect movement inside your home or when someone tries to break into your home.  When someone moves inside your home or tries to open your door or window, a loud noise will be created to alert neighbours and deter the burglar from entering any further.

Some smart burglar alarms can also send an alert to your phone, so it doesn’t matter where you are, you can be alerted of a burglary attempt, so you can call the police straight away and get help for your home.

 

How Do Burglar Alarms Work?

Different parts to a burglar alarm make it work effectively for any home. Here are the parts that you’ll need to make sure your home is secure with your burglar alarm.

Control Panel

The first part of a burglar alarm is a control panel, whether it goes on the wall of your home or a control centre on your home. The control panel is where you can turn your burglar alarm on and off and gives the controller complete access to that system.

Bell or Siren Sound

The final part of a burglar alarm system is the bell or siren sound. This is what makes the noise for the alarm when it’s set off. It can be a bell, a siren or another sound that plays loudly when an intruder enters the building.

Door and Window Sensors

Door and window sensors are a crucial part of a burglar alarm system. When a burglar enters your home through a door or a window, whether through forced entry or an open door or window, a sensor will detect this movement and set off the alarms. Hopefully stopping the intruder in their tracks and sends them running away from your home.

Motion Sensors

Motion sensors can be placed around the home, including hallways, bedrooms, lounges, and any other rooms with valuables. If someone passes through these motion sensors when the alarm is activated, they will set off the burglar alarm deterring the intruders from entering any further into your home, at risk of getting caught.

motion sensor in corner of the room on the ceiling

 

What are the Benefits of Home Alarm Systems?

There are many benefits of a home burglar alarm system. Not only do they increase security and protection for your home, deterring burglars from breaking in but they can also help to reduce premiums for your home insurance, and potentially increase your property’s value.

Having a burglar alarm system can make it more likely that the intruder will be caught, as the loud noise will attract attention from neighbours, making it more likely that someone will see something. It also helps bring peace of mind that your home is secure and less likely to be burgled.

 

Wired or Wireless Burglar Alarms

Wired Burglar Alarms

Wired burglar alarms are hardwired into the building and communicate to each other using the connected wires. Each sensor is wired into the control panel and then the control panel talks to the external monitoring company via a landline.

Pros Of Wired Burglar Alarms

  • No DIY or spending hours figuring out the electricals of the house, you can set your feet up and relax as a professional who does all the work for you.
  • You won’t need to worry about batteries running out of charge or Wi-Fi being disconnected, as they use a landline connection.
  • They are usually connected to a landline connection, so even in rural areas, the alarm system should work with good connections.

Cons Of Wired Burglar Alarms

  • Often companies offering wired burglar alarms require a professional to install them, so although this takes away any DIY pressure, it can mean more faff in terms of taking longer to set up and being more costly to install and maintain.
  • During a power outage your home may be more vulnerable to attacks because all your alarms will be off.
  • Landline systems are more vulnerable to tampering or being cut, so it could mean your home is at higher risk of being burgled.

 

Wireless Burglar Alarms

Wireless burglar alarms won’t need to be physically wired into the walls as it simply communicates through your home’s internet connection. Your control panel will then communicate through the internet to your monitoring company any sensors that have been activated.

Pros Of Wireless Burglar Alarms

  • They are neater and normally more cost-effective, as you don’t need to pay as much for installation or maintenance.
  • They normally work through a power outage, as they have a backup battery option.
  • They can be difficult to tamper with, making it harder for a burglar to disable or damage.
  • They advertise as easy to install anywhere in the home.
  • You can also take it down without a problem if you need to redecorate or move house.

Cons Of Wireless Burglar Alarms

  • You will need to install these yourself or hire a separate professional to install them, although this comes at an extra cost
  • The monitoring company may not be alerted if a sensor gets activated when there is a power outage, as it’ll need to connect to the internet to let them know.

burglar alarm being disabled with a fob

 

The Different Types of Burglar Alarms

Bell Only Alarms

These kinds of alarms are very simple to have in the home. They usually come with a sensor which can be placed around your home and an alarm sounder. When the sensor is triggered, a loud sound alert will begin. This won’t send you a direct alert to a smart device, but hopefully would attract some neighbours’ attention and deter the burglar from going in any further.

Monitoring Alarms

Monitoring alarms are monitored by an external company 24/7 and often have a control team which offers a range of different services if the alarm is triggered. These are becoming extremely common these days and normally include a mandatory subscription service to pay for the continuous monitoring of your alarms. If your burglar alarm is triggered, then you could receive a call or a text from your monitoring company alerting you of this or some companies can automatically send out the police or a private security team to investigate and secure your home.

Dialler Burglar Alarms

These are not as common these days, but certain alarm systems can automatically dial your phone or a nominated friend or family member when the alarm has been triggered.

Smart Burglar Alarms

These kinds of burglar alarms can connect to a whole security system including cameras, doorbells, locks, and lighting. These can connect to an app on your phone and be monitored even when you’re away from home, and better protects your home. Have you thought about getting indoor security cameras or outdoor security cameras?

 

Where To Place Burglar Alarms

Each part that creates the burglar alarm needs to be placed carefully around the home for maximum efficiency.

Motion Sensors

The door and window sensors need to be placed on any door that enters/exits your home, and on any windows big enough for someone to fit through that you want to protect.

Room motion sensors should ideally be placed in the corner of the room, so they can detect motion in all parts of the room. This means that a larger portion of your home is protected, and intruders are more likely to be detected.

Conservatories can also be a key place to put a motion sensor, as this can be a weak point of the home if left unsecure. Find out more about conservatory security in our home hub guide.

Bell / Siren

The bell or siren sound is best to be outside the property, up as high as possible. This is so if your burglar alarm is set off, then any neighbours and passers-by are more likely to hear the loud noise and notice the intruder. This will either deter the intruder from going any further or more people are likely to see them so they may be found easier. Having your bell/siren outside also shows the burglar that you have a security system in place, which is more likely to deter them from breaking in, to begin with.

Your siren may also be a light siren, or connected to your security lighting so that when its activated bright lights will shine around your home, some lights also flash, to deter the intruder from entering your home.

Control Panel

The control panel is best placed inside the home, not too far from the front door. This is so the burglar alarm can easily be turned on/off when exiting/entering the home. Having it further away from the front door means it’s more likely to be activated by your movement when walking through.

 

floor plan with details of where to place burglar alarm parts

 

How Much Does It Cost to Install Burglar Alarms?

This is very dependent on what burglar alarm system you’ve bought. If you’ve bought a wireless burglar alarm system then you will most likely be able to install it yourself, making the installation free and only costing your time. We would recommend only doing this if you have experience in home security and electrics, to reduce the likelihood of damage to your property or incorrect installation.

If you are hiring a burglar alarm technician, their prices range from , depending on their experience and where you are based in the country. Depending on the size of your home and the security you want, a burglar alarm can take about one to two days to be installed.

If you choose to have a monitored burglar alarm, then the running costs range between £15-£45 a month. Something else to consider is the maintenance of the alarms, as this can cost between £75 to £125 for an annual service and repairs could cost between £80 to £120 depending on the type of alarm and the issue with the system.

 

Things to Consider Before You Buy a Burglar Alarm

There are a few different things to consider when you’re buying a burglar alarm for your property. When thinking about what’s important for you in a burglar alarm system, you need to think about where you live and what’s compatible with your home and lifestyle.

Simple or Technical Burglar Alarm System

Do you want a simple burglar alarm that makes a siren sound or a smart burglar alarm system that connects to your mobile and other electronic devices such as or indoor security cameras or outdoor security cameras? It’s important to find a system that is compatible with your wants and needs.

Internet Speed

If you’re looking at getting wireless burglar alarms, then you’ll need to make sure your Wi-Fi speed is good enough to handle extra devices on it. You can look on your internet provider’s website to see if they can offer you a bigger package with better speed if you need it.

The Size of Your Home

Another thing to consider when buying a burglar alarm is the size of your home, as this will determine how big of an alarm system you’ll need. Depending on if you want one simple alarm for the front door or a whole alarm system for every door and every window, this will change the price of the alarm system and installation. So, it’s important to know what you want to cover in your home before you purchase your burglar alarm system.

burglar breaking into house using a scrowbar on the door

 

Best Three Burglar Alarms

Simplisafe

Simplisafe has six different package options with various home security products inside, including burglar alarms. Simplisafe is an excellent option, it has an easy installation process that you can do yourself without having to pay for the help of a professional. Although is more expensive up-front, in the long run, it is more affordable.

Simplisafe is pet safe, which means it will only be triggered when it spots a human heat pattern, so there are no false alerts.

They also offer a monitoring service. This monitoring cost has no contract, allowing you to opt out at any time and costs £0.53p or £0.83p a day depending on the service you want.

Yale Alarms

Yale Home has many different burglar alarms and full security system options. You can choose to just have a burglar alarm, but they are also compatible with their Yale cameras or additional home security as well.

The sensors are quick to trigger and have loud internal and external sirens to deter the intruder, whilst also having an app for you to check your home security even when you aren’t home, also sending you real-time alerts if your alarm has been triggered.

It connects to your home smart devices such as your Google or Alexa device and is British Standard Kitemarked, so you know that it’s a good quality product to use. It will need to be professionally installed, but it is easy to arrange and get done.

ADT Burglar Alarm Package

With 148 years of experience and home protection, ADT is a safe and great choice when considering what burglar alarm systems are on the market.

ATD have an easy-to-use system that comes with touch screen control, sensors and a deterrent siren with sound and light. It will need to be professionally installed, but it’s perfect for all home sizes and is monitored 24/7/365 by their dedicated alarm centre. This is a contracted subscription service costing £40 per month.

ADT also offer other security services such as CCTV or smoke detectors that you can add on to make sure your home is extra secure.

Are The Burglar Alarms Always Active?

Your burglar alarm should always be turned on when you are out of the house or at night to keep your home as safe as possible. Sometimes in a power outage or Wi-Fi outage, your burglar alarm may be disabled until power is restored, but some have backup power options to keep your home protected.

 

Can My Burglar Alarms Be Hacked?

Unfortunately, any piece of technology can be hacked, but some systems are harder to hack into than others. If this is something you are concerned about, then investigate the security of the system you want to choose and see if it fits your needs.

 

How Long Do Batteries Last in a Wireless Security Alarm?

The typical life span of batteries for a burglar alarm is three to four years. This is dependent on the type of alarm system and the quality of batteries you’ve purchased.