House Alarms

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  • House Alarms
  • Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Subscriber

    We have had a lot of break ins on our estate recently. It is a new build estate or pretty nice houses so seems to have become a target for thieves. A lot of our neighbours are getting alarms installed and inevitably I don’t want to leave our house unprotected as that will make it a target in itself. I have already swapped out the shoddy door locks for better ones. Do alarms actually help?

    if so Yale do a wireless set up for £100 (20% off at the moment) that looks easy to install and I am guessing would be just a good deterrent as the others.

    I accept if it goes off people aren’t going to respond but if helps to deter for £100 seems like a small price to pay. Opinions welcome!

    globalti
    Member

    Isn’t an alarm a condition of your insurance anyway?  Or can you get a reduction in the premium for having an alarm?

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Ours has a mobile SIM inside and will call / text when the alarm goes off or if sensors need batteries. I’m less bothered about having a visible box and noisy alarm outside or any “deterrent” factor, just to know right away that someone is trying to break in.

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Subscriber

    @globalti – no it isn’t. Whenever you do an insurance quote you answer lots of questions on security and they give you a price based on the answers i.e. how many doors, what locks are on the doors etc. A text alert isn’t much use to me if someone broke in. I have to leave my phone in my car during the day at work so I couldn’t react to it immediately and I am likely to far away in any case to be able to do anything about it.

    I want the alarm as a deterrent. Once someone has broken in there isn’t anything I can do about it unfortunately.

    Premier Icon scaled
    Subscriber

    I want the alarm as a deterrent. Once someone has broken in there isn’t anything I can do about it unfortunately.

    Save yourself £70 then!

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yale-Dummy-Siren-Bell-DUMMY/dp/B00Y3PDWSU

    Should add, i have the Yale alarm, the app is a bit shonky but other than that, it does what it says on the tin.

    It’s only gone off once and that was when I opened the garage without thinking.  The wireless range is pretty good so you can add a reed switch arrangement on the shed or outbuildings as well.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    Isn’t an alarm a condition of your insurance anyway?  Or can you get a reduction in the premium for having an alarm?

    I was told by a broker at Pedalcover that I shouldn’t declare I had an alarm fitted. If I did I’d have to make sure it was under an annual maintenance contract and was set whenever we were out of the house or at night. Not complying with those might affect a claim if there was a break in.

    footflaps
    Member

    Isn’t an alarm a condition of your insurance anyway?

    Given that most people don’t have them and still get insured, I’d say No!

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Subscriber

    @scaled – I have considered that as well but I thought alarms had lights with intermittent flashes in them to show it is active? Happy to be corrected though.

    This is the alarm I was looking at.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yale-HSA6200-Wireless-Alarm-Kit/dp/B00XEU717I/ref=sr_1_8?s=diy&ie=UTF8&qid=1539085962&sr=1-8&keywords=yale+alarm

    We have a cat as well so would need to be pet friendly.

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    We got an alarm after having our garage done.

    We’ve just moved house and will be getting a new alarm fitted asap.  Very obvious bell boxes front and back.

    Realistically you just need to make yourself a harder target than some other poor sod.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    +1 for the Yale kit.  I bought one a few years ago – sensors on the door / bike shed and IR’s in the corner of each room.   When alerted you just change the batteries from time to time and that’s all the maintenance it needs.

    We “test” ours twice a year to make sure everyone knows its real.

    daern
    Member

    We have an alarm (self-installed) and I wouldn’t be without it. I would share a few things to think about when you are planning yours:

    – Wired vs wireless. Anecdotally, wireless alarms are still too vulnerable to jamming and other wireless attacks. Personally, I wouldn’t consider one, but I can understand why some favour the convenience of them

    – Put sensors on outbuildings – garages, sheds, the lot!

    – More sensors is good – for a wired alarm, you can always run multiple sensors in series on a single channel (e.g. 3 PIRs, or a couple of door sensors) so you can have more sensors than you have available channels

    – Dial-out – having an alarm is one thing, knowing that it’s gone off is another. It’s great to know that the alarm is sounding so you can do something about it. And that brings up…

    – Neighbours – Get good relationships with your neighbours. Exchange keys and agree that you’re happy to be called in the middle of the night if their alarm goes off while they are away, if they will reciprocate. People who break into houses really hate attentive neighbourhoods.

    – Set the alarm at night – This should be obvious, but my house was burgled while we slept less than a month after I installed the alarm and I’m confident that had the thing gone off, they’d have legged it

    – Customise the programs – We have a night program that changes how the alarm goes off. Certain zones become entry/exit, while others (e.g. doors) set the alarm off immediately.

    Personally, I think they are worth the effort, especially if you have outbuildings as you should never succumb to having your bikes pilfered from the garage while you sleep.

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Subscriber

    Cheers chaps have ordered one. Wait for the how do I install an alarm thread!

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    Security lights are also a good deterrent. But not ones that can be easily covered / broken / redirected etc. So that means a solid anti-vandal bulkhead light and maybe a hidden microwave sensor (they work through certain materials so can be hidden e.g. inside your roof soffit). All very cheap and easy to do.

    daern
    Member

    Security lights are also a good deterrent.

    Anecdotal only, I’m afraid, but I’m sure I read a quote from a convicted burglar saying that he didn’t mind them at all as it was always easier to break in when you could actually see what you were doing…

    Cheers chaps have ordered one. Wait for the how do I install an alarm thread!

    Cool! OOI, which one did you go for?

    jamesoz
    Member

    I used to fit and service intruder alarms for a living.

    Wired was always best, we wouldn’t touch wireless systems.

    Do not be tempted to fit more than one PIR (movement sensor) on one zone, massive pain in the arse. Also fill any cable entries to stop insects and spiders getting in the detector.

    Vibration and break glass detectors can have multiple devices per zone if the led is set to latch on in alarm.

    Door contacts, yeah go nuts but don’t mix them with other types of sensor on a single zone.

    Try not to join any cables, if you do soldered is always best.

    I don’t have an alarm on my house, make of that what you will.

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Subscriber

    Just went with a basic Yale wireless.

    Have two downstairs rooms – a lounge/dining room (modern family living as they call it in the brochure!) and a kitchen. There is also a hallway and a downstairs toilet.

    I was going to put a door sensor on the front door and the back patio doors and a pir in the lounge and hallway. Does that sound about right? The sensor range should allow me to put a pir in the shed as well.

    windyg
    Member

    Yale wireless here too, easy to install and add to, covers all our house plus 2 outside buildings.

    DT78
    Member

    yale wireless here.  app is a bit crap but works.  I would like to be able to have more than 2 arm modes.  I currently have “part” which does the outbuildings and full which does everything.

    If you have flaky Wi-Fi and can’t get into the app you can’t arm or disarm it.  bloody annoying in the morning.  key fob thing sorts that out.

    only had one false alarm.  big spider in the garage.  freaked me out as I was at work, luckily could tell the door alarms hadn’t been tripped, nothing on cctv or the little hidden ip cam in there so could tell it wasn’t a breakin

    worth it for peace of mind.  when I wake at night thinking we are being robbed (we were burgled 2 years ago) I can go back to sleep relatively quickly as the alarm isn’t sounding.

    lots of theft about at the moment.  my neighbour had 2 bikes nicked and I reckon they had a crack at the garage door despite security lighting and cctv….

    andybanks
    Member

    Word of warning on the Yale ones. Yale have full central access to your alarm when you have one.

    They can arm, disarm, change your config and take photos/videos through your camera PIRs without your permission .

    We had numerous issues with the control panel and had a break in where the alarm didn’t even trigger despite the burglar walking straight through a PIR covered area.

    The alarm now seems to work OK after Yale replaced most of the system at their cost, but if I was putting a new alarm in I’d not chose this system .

    Take a look at ERA alarms instead for self install wireless or for proper peace of mind get a pro in .

    jamesoz
    Member

    I’ve seen people able to walk past PIRs without triggering them, usually elderly though.

    Always site PIRs so they look across points of entry if possible, they’re less sensitive as you walk straight towards them. Also I do remember the few wireless systems I looked at, the PIRs were slow.

    DT78
    Member

    I think there are settings for how quick an alarm triggers based on whether it is an entry point or not.  no idea if this means if you exit before the 10 seconds or so are up then it doesn’t go off at all.

    had our system about 18 months now.  it is regallat tested by the wife forgetting to disarm it so no issues with our Pirs.

    oh and I wouldn’t bother with their camera PIR the picture quality is terrible.  better off with a standard pir and a cheap ip camera

    daern
    Member

    Do not be tempted to fit more than one PIR (movement sensor) on one zone, massive pain in the arse. Also fill any cable entries to stop insects and spiders getting in the detector.

    I agree with the last bit (I just shove a load of silicone into the gaps when it’s all wired up, although I’ve also used thick axle grease when I didn’t have any to hand 🙂 It’s amazing where the little buggers will find their way into.

    I’ve got a couple of zones with > 1 PIR, simply because one won’t cover the entire area (e.g. a large, L-shaped room) and I don’t have enough zones to allow me to have them separate. I accept that, if I have a false alarm I’ll have to work a bit harder to narrow it down, but beyond that I can’t think of any real disadvantage to it. Interested in your thoughts here.

    (Note: definitely not a professional installer, so it’s not like I need to worry about supporting paying customers – these are installs done for myself and some family members)

    only had one false alarm.  big spider in the garage.

    Woah! How big was that then? Most PIRs shouldn’t get set off by small dogs or cats let alone a spider.

    I put a second alarm box in the garage which in an enclosed space is bloody loud so hopefully should freak them out before they get to the bikes.

    DT78
    Member

    big hairy thing it was directly on the sensor.  zapped it with raid before it jumped me

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    As most people ignore alarms, you want the sound box inside!

    jamesoz
    Member

    Daern, as you say makes fault finding harder and Goes against the standards. Always considered bad practice.

    In reality, i’d Just replace both pirs if that zone gives false alarms,  for no reason you can find esp given how cheap they are.

    As you say fine for you but would be hard to explain to an angry customer, why you have no idea which triggered so they’ll have to pay for 2 detectors with mark up.

    daern
    Member

    Thanks – good advice! And yes, I might have replaced both PIRs in the past for this exact reason… 😉

    This is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” things, I think. It’s really annoying that none of the consumer-grade options have lots and lots of zones as even a modest house can run out with just 8.

    OOI, any recommendations for control boxes that do more than 8 zones for a non-daft sum of money? Using 6-wire connection to all sensors (2 x power, 2 x contact, 2 x tamper)

    jamesoz
    Member

    Been out of that trade for a while now, got fed up of being dragged out of bed at 3am to deal with crappy badly installed systems, the company had taken on to increase market share and get boxes on walls.

    I used to rate Texecom and fitted one at our offices few years ago, very reliable and reasonably priced, fully expandable with extra keypads etc. Choice of ‘6wire’ or end of line, it’ll take both. Can’t remember the model but it’s probably changed anyway.

    Texecom Premier, was the one.

    daern
    Member

    Thanks – I see that the standard “Premier” has 8 zones, but supports expansion boxes to take it up to 24. Useful thing to know, thanks.

    Premier Icon scaled
    Subscriber

    Right, cross the yale wireless shite off your list.

    Up until this week it had been faultless, this morning the alarm was going off and I couldn’t disable it at all as their network was down and the ‘smart’ hub was showing offline and not communicating to the app. what a crock of *****

    footflaps
    Member

    Up until this week it had been faultless, this morning the alarm was going off and I couldn’t disable it at all as their network was down and the ‘smart’ hub was showing offline and not communicating to the app. what a crock of *****

    Can’t you turn it off at the control panel?

    DT78
    Member

    yes ours has been playing up last night too, typical!

    the keyfob still works fine to arm and disarm.  We have one as back up in case the app / wifi plays up.

    jamesoz
    Member

    <div class=”bbp-reply-author”>daern
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    Thanks – I see that the standard “Premier” has 8 zones, but supports expansion boxes to take it up to 24. Useful thing to know, thanks.

    </div>

    The keypads have two of the zones in, can be very handy for cable runs.

    I think the Ricochet is the wireless version.

    The Yale thing kind of sums up why I don’t do it for a living anymore or even for family , Intruder alarms can be a proper pain in the arse with intermittent issues and false alarms. The cheaper end of the market is unlikely to cover itself with glory.

    My advice is like most things buy the best you can afford, quality before apps and remote controls

    I can still identify older systems by the tone of internal sounder when I walk past one going off. That depresses me.

    daern
    Member

    The ones I’ve done for myself and F&F have been Honeywell – I’m sure they are not the greatest in the world, but I’ve never had a control box go pop and mine is still going strong after 10 years. I put a fair bit of effort into making sure the wiring was right on the basis that swapping a box after 20 years will be a trivial exercise compared to running all of those bloody wires around the place again! The only problems I’ve ever had have been PIRs that become overly sensitive over time and need to be replaced.

    Mine has nowt fancy, apart from the dial-out module. I wouldn’t mind the ability to query the thing remotely and set / reset it though.

    jamesoz
    Member

    Honeywell used to be rebadged older Scantronic panels IIRC, very long lived things.

    Might as well add smoke alarms and heat detectors if you’re going for a wired alarm and you don’t already have mains detectors, they’re much cheaper than the interlinked 240v equivalents. My next mod is to add smart functionality via a raspberry pi

    cycl1ngjb
    Member

    So after somebody tried to break into my house in September last year I went through a round of security upgrades…

    1. Alarm – I had an old one which didn’t work – desptie the box being on the wall at the front of the house this didn’t appear to deter the would be thieves, so I fitted a wireless Yale one – I added extra sensors and would suggest you get ones for every door which opens to the outdoors. I’ve been happy with it and would buy the same one again

    2. Front door – this was damaged when they tried to break in so I replaced with a more secure composite door

    3. Locks – my other external doors had euro cylinders – these are very weak and easily broken (just google lock snapping) so I changed all my locks to Yale 3* anti snap locks

    4. Lighting – I already had two outdoor security lights, but these were old (one normal bulb, one halogen). I swapped the existing ones for high power LED units, moved the wiring up the wall and added an extra one too

    5. I’ve added a dusk til dawn light by my front door (the police suggested this when they visited)

    6. I swapped one of my exterior door handles for a high security model (more lock snap deterent) – I also wanted to do the same for the patio door, but couldn’t find a handle in the right size

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Subscriber

    New build house so has already got mains heat and smoke detectors. Already replaced the locks for 3 star locks as well.

    Do need to look at adding a security light as well though.

    I was told by a broker at Pedalcover that I shouldn’t declare I had an alarm fitted. If I did I’d have to make sure it was under an annual maintenance contract and was set whenever we were out of the house or at night. Not complying with those might affect a claim if there was a break in.

    This. Missus was insistant we got an alarm fitted when we moved.

    Informed the insurance company who said we’d save whole £10 on our annual house insurance a year. Bearing in mind it’s nearly a ton to ‘maintain’ it every year it’s not a particular bargain.

    Plus I’d have to set the downstairs every night when I went to bed.

    So I unticked the ‘alarm fitted’ option.

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