As the weather gets warmer and many of us turn our minds to getting out of the country for a few weeks, it might be easy to suppress any pressing thoughts about things on a domestic front. But this doesn’t stop break-ins from being an issue, even if the longer, brighter days would leave potential intruders in plain sight for longer. Ultimately, home security is something to be mindful of all year round.
In fact, statistics suggest that you’re more likely than not to need a burglar alarm; a recent LV study showed that 60% of homeowners in Britain don’t have a burglar alarm, while a third of those who do have one don’t even bother to activate it when they leave the house. This shocking neglect of home security, and the slightly depressing notion that autumn isn’t as far away as you think, should leave you ready to reconsider your home’s security needs. Here’s what you need to know before you make the all-important purchase of a home burglar alarm.
Don’t do it yourself
Before you rush online to add the best-rated DIY alarm system on Amazon to your basket, think again. With a range of different types of burglar alarm available, there are plenty of factors to consider beyond simply price or customer satisfaction. Should your alarm be wired or wireless? Monitored or ringer-only? Regardless, one thing is for certain: whichever burglar alarm you plump for should be professionally installed.
This is a given for wired burglar alarms, which necessitate significant structural alterations to a property to conceal the wires which attach the sensors to the main control panel. Security experts at Banham note that, when it comes to the installation of wireless intruder alarms, a number of stages are involved, from positioning the sensors accurately around your home to testing the alarm to make sure everything has been correctly set up. Consequently, having this done by experienced security professionals can only serve to improve the quality of your alarm system. They also point out that those opting for the DIY option when installing a burglar alarm lose the additional benefits of a professionally-installed system. “Those same professionals”, Banham add, “can undertake the maintenance, repair or replacement of your burglar alarm system”.
Whilst a cautious buyer might baulk at the cost of having an alarm system installed, this convenience and expertise makes up a significant proportion of the price, and is well worth the money.
Choose the right alarm system for your needs
As mentioned above, there are plenty of burglar alarms available to serve different purposes when it comes to home security. Saga points out that a bells-only alarm system, for example, will be “most suitable for people with friendly neighbours…who they know will take action on their behalf”. This is due to the fact that these alarms simply sound off to alert those nearby of an intruder’s presence (or count on a burglar being startled enough to flee once they are activated) and do not have any additional link to the authorities or security companies.
By comparison, a monitored alarm system will be linked to a central alarm monitoring station, which receives a signal when an alarm is activated; this is then assessed by security professionals, who will contact emergency services if necessary, and report back to the homeowner. A monitored alarm system is best suited for those who leave their home unoccupied often, as well as for people living in relatively remote areas and larger homes.
It is also worth noting that, provided they meet certain criteria such as quality standards and professional installation, both of these main types of alarm system are covered by most insurance policies. Indeed, in many cases they will lead to a discount to your premium.
Smarter isn’t always better
In recent years, the evolution of smart alarms has led to a surge in their popularity amongst consumers, with most major security companies throwing their hats into the smart security ring alongside the home assistant big hitters like Amazon Echo. Despite the convenience of these systems—particularly in the ability to monitor your property’s safety remotely—they still present a number of pitfalls which could put your home’s security in jeopardy.
For example, the fact that smart security systems run off a property’s wi-fi connection leaves it extremely vulnerable to hacking via other home devices which operate via the Internet of Things. While home assistants have their uses, the security of these devices themselves has a long way to go before we can trust them with the security of our homes.