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Home Security System Basics

Home Security System Basics

Government statistics reveal that 60% of burglaries on homes fitted with burglar alarms are unsuccessful, which proves that they can act as a useful deterrent in most cases. Burglars tend to search for less challenging targets than houses equipped with an alarm.

Choosing the right home security system can be overwhelming task, especially if you not acquainted with the basics. However, you’ll need to first check that the general security of your home is taken care of, and then consider the situation of your house and the crime statistics in your local area. A burglar alarm can either be a necessity or provide an additional safeguard and peace of mind, knowing that you have done your best to ensure the protection of your home and family.

How Much Security do I Need?
Security systems should be designed to give you a combination of parameter and interior protection which can include door and window sensors, glass break coverage, motion detectors, and fire protection. Based on the features of the property being protected, add-on protection can be installed to meet specific property needs.

If you are an inexperienced security system user, it may be valuable to consider your need for a security camera system.

Types of Systems

Hard Wire – Nowadays, security systems have become more important than ever before. Protecting assets and ensuring privacy has become of paramount importance for homeowners. Today’s technology offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to alarm systems, allowing everyone access to this basic form of protection.

Wireless – Wireless home security systems are gaining popularity, as people want to do away with complicated and confusing wiring operations. In these wireless systems, battery operated control panels use existing radio wave frequencies to allow for easier operation and maintenance of the alarm system. Moreover, these days, intruder alarms are being adapted to accommodate apartments as well as private homes.


Most alarm systems have at least two types of detection devices. The most commonly used ones are:-

Magnetic Contacts – Magnetic contacts consist of a magnet fitted to the opening part of a door or window and a switch fitted to the frame. When the two parts are separated (the door or window is opened), the alarm is activated.

Passive Infra-red Receivers – Commonly referred to as PIRs, Passive Infra-red Receivers are generally fitted into the corner of a room and look for changes in temperature, such as an intruder’s body heat.

Monitored Home Security Systems

Actual components and services usually vary in different companies, but here is an overview of the components and services you can expect to get from a home security system.

Command Stations: Various service providers refer to the command station by different names, e.g. Great Alarms calls it a “command station”, ADT refers to it as a “touchpad”, and Brinks calls it a “keypad”. From this command point, the system can be armed or disarmed, help can be summoned, and warnings can be given to others in the house by means of a device such as a whistle, horn, chime or similar item. You can also get more than one station or keypad installed, such as one in the living area and one in the bedroom.

Door & Window Sensors: In terms of functionality and ease of use, door and window sensors are simple devices, but when you purchase them one at a time, their cost can add up to a significant amount. Home security companies and other vendors earn their money by providing monthly monitoring services; these companies purchase items like these in bulk, and at wholesale prices that are much lower than the price offered to the general population. As such, it is often more sensible to purchase a package installation, as opposed to buying individual components, one at a time.

Motion Detectors: Motion detectors can be used to sense an intruder’s presence and activate alarms or summon help.

Remote Controls: In addition to the command station, keypad, or touchpad, many systems include a remote device which you may carry with you. These range from small units suitable to be carried on a keychain to larger units intended to be carried within your house.

Sensors: There are sensors available to detect fire, heat, moisture, carbon monoxide, breaking glass and flex.

Alarms & Other Warning Devices: The old familiar “alarm” has almost become a passé. You can get chimes, sirens, and even strobe lights to warn you of break-ins or other emergencies.

Security Cameras: Security cameras are not a standard inclusion in domestic security systems that belong to the average-price segment. They are, however, available as an add-on security option.

Alarm Company Vetting and Alarms Administration

There are some unscrupulous alarm companies, which may tell you they are police approved or that the police will respond automatically when the alarm is activated. Beware of such stories, and always check with your local police station and obtain at least three competitive quotations before investing in a home security system. If contacted by telephone, never disclose details of your security arrangements. Ensure that the installed alarm is fitted and maintained to British Standard specifications. The standards you should look for are: BS4737 for wired alarms and BS6799 for wireless alarms. Companies should offer a 24-hour service along with a guaranteed 4 hour response to emergency call-outs.

The most common of security systems is the traditional “bells only” system. When professionally fitted, these cost around £500 plus another £65 per year for a maintenance contract.

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) suggests that householders use a professional alarm installation company registered with a police recognised “alarm inspectorate.” Ask for your security company’s registration documents, and look for the following accreditation:

NSI (National Security Inspectorate)

NACOSS (National Approval Council for Security Systems)

ICON (an approval scheme run by NSI)

SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board)

The association also suggests that householders only speak to installers that offer a free survey and written quotation without obligation, and turn away companies that try to shock them with stories or statistics about burglary. Burglaries are less common than most people think and violent attacks on people in their houses are extremely rare. You should consider reporting any companies that use shock tactics to your local police or trading standards.

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