Every person in the world wants to feel safe at home, and this applies twice as much for your family. The psychological effects of a break-in can range from anxiety and insomnia to depression, and may persist for up to a year after the event. For this reason, as well as saving on insurance and protecting your belongings, an alarm system can be an excellent investment. A home equipped with an alarm system is about 75% less likely to be broken into compared to its un-alarmed neighbors.

Specifying Your Requirements

Unfortunately, implementing an alarm system often fails due to inadequate forethought. It’s not tnough to scatter a couple of sensors randomly around the interior and hope for the best; you should take careful stock of which items and valuables you want to protect, and what the best way is to go about this.

While companies specializing in installing alarms may have some useful advice, especially where the hardware’s technical capabilities are concerned, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the quick once-over they give your property is an adequate audit of your security vulnerabilities. This is something you’ll have to do yourself, and there are some good resources out there to make this job easier.

What You Pay for Is What You Get

As with everything in life, there are cheaper and more expensive options. If you spend the absolute minimum, you shouldn’t expect world-class performance, while spending extra on features and functionality you don't need is just a waste of money.

You can install an extremely basic alarm system, but this won’t give you the greatest level of protection. At the other end of the scale, you can spend a lotĀ for a system that includes CCTV cameras with footage stored offsite, integration with fire alarms and electronic access controls, but this is probably overkill for the average suburban household. Talk to an expert, figure out what your real needs are, and budget accordingly.

Remote Monitoring

The last time you heard a car alarm, did you even look out of the window? Probably not; whether installed in a car, a residence or business premises, the vast majority of alarms are caused by system errors, weather conditions or something else completely unrelated to crime. If the only effect your alarm system has is to trigger a siren, this may cause intruders to hit the road, but you shouldn’t count on your neighbours to come running or even phone the police.

An alarm system that communicates with a remote control panel is as much as ten times more valuable than one that can only make a loud noise. Burglars are generally not stupid, and will tend to steer well clear of any residence marked as having such a system: police or private security will arrive that much quicker, offering the best chance of apprehending the criminal. This service costs only a few dollars a month, and the monitoring company will often install their brand of alarm system at a huge discount.

Types of Alarm Systems

In addition to the important aspect of monitoring, the next most important difference between different alarm system is how the sensors and control box connect to each other: with cables or wirelessly. Wireless systems are more expensive and require battery changes, but don't need unsightly wires, allow you to relocate sensors at need, and reduce installation costs by being that much faster to put up.

Which company manufactured the various components also plays a huge role. Well over 90% of alarms are false, and these are often caused by poor quality hardware or careless installation. If this happens frequently enough to your system, any alarm will receive a lower priority than normal, so paying extra for brand name products is a good idea.


If you have some electrical knowledge and can follow instructions, there's nothing stopping you from buying your alarm system as a kit and installing it yourself. However, this may be more difficult than you think, particularly for wired systems and very much so when it comes to programming your control panel properly.

Alarm monitoring companies may also refuse to handle an amateur installation, due to the problems with false alarms already mentioned. Finally, not understanding the little tricks of various types of sensors and control panels can cause the ball to be dropped at the worst possible moment: when an intruder actually gains access to your home.

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