Not that I have much faith in burglar alarms (having a dog is apparently more of a deterrent for thieves) but we were fast becoming the only house in our small estate that didn’t have one. I got a quote to have one installed but thought it was a bit on the high side (to put it politely), given that the alarm units themselves don’t cost all that much (and there’s also not really *that* much to them . So I went down the DIY route.
If you’re thinking of doing the same (or getting one put installed for you for that matter), first figure out what your requirements are, i.e. broadly speaking, do you want:
– wired or wireless alarm (probably depends on if your house is already wired for an alarm)
– with or without auto-dialer (i.e. do you want it to contact you or not)
– how many door contacts and IR detectors you need
Like securing anything, the more secure you make it the greater the costs involved, and this is particularly true when it comes to figuring how many sensors you need to secure your house to a level that you (and your pocket) are happy with. E.g. for our house, I went with a wireless alarm with an auto-dialer, contacts for all the external doors and enough IR detectors to protect the main downstairs areas and the upstairs landing.
So product wise, I eventually went with a Friedland Response alarm. I got the base SA5 package with the few additional sensors I wanted and an additional remote control. The main reason I went with Response is because they have their instruction manuals all online here, so you know in advance how it all fits together and whats involved in installing it. (When also get a really handy DVD when you buy the kit; its a pity they don’t have this online too as its a better illustration of what’s involved in installing each component).
After a bit of shopping around, I found that Amazon is cheapest for an SK5 kit, however (and rather annoyingly) they don’t deliver to Ireland (apparently they don’t/can’t fly batteries across the pond for security issues – don’t know if this is actually true or not). I also found the the local B&Q are selling an SA5 kit for €380, that’s quite a paddy tax guys! There also wasn’t much available on ebay at the time (although there are quite a few generic looking wireless alarms for sale if you want to chance a cheaper kit). So in the end I bought it from the Response website themselves, they do deliver to Ireland if you ring them up and ask them to courier it (costs an extra £11.50).
Installation wise it all went quite smooth (I’ve had much harder self assembly jobs!), but I did take my time at it and it’s always fun to get the drill out. You definitely don’t need to be an electrician to put in a wireless alarm. Configuring everything from the control panel (i.e. the zones, numbers to dial, etc) is just a case of following the steps in the manual. The one thing I was a bit worried about before hand was how to drill the door contacts in to the patio door, but thankfully they optionally come with sticky bits so installing them only takes a minute, result!
So in all it’s worked out very well all told. If you are considering the DIY route and have any questions, leave a comment below or drop me a twitter“>tweet.