How to Buy an Alarm System

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How to Buy an Alarm System

The world we live in today is a much different place than that which our parents and grandparents lived in. Gone are the days of leaving the house with doors and windows unlocked. In these times of economic uncertainty, crime rates are rising, and the home security industry is booming. Installing a home alarm system is a good investment, and is a great way to protect the family, the house, and personal valuable property. Alarm systems are designed to provide a warning the instant a break-in is attempted. Studies show that homes protected by security systems are only a third as likely as unprotected homes to be burglarised, and those broken into have much smaller losses.

Various home security systems provide a multitude of features and options. This variety can make the decision process quite overwhelming for consumers. Buyers should take the time to research the types of security systems available and figure out whether it meet one’s budget and security needs. Planning and research can make the decision process much easier.

The two primary types of home security system are hard-wired or wireless. Each of these systems can be either monitored or unmonitored. By installing a home alarm system and taking simple precautionary measures, homeowners can rest assured their family and home are well-protected.

Precautionary Measures

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume that because they live in a nice neighbourhood they are immune to crime. Crime occurs in every neighbourhood, and the best way to prevent a burglary is to take precautions ahead of time. The best alarm systems are based on deterrence. Home security is much more effective if the homeowner takes the following precautions.

Keys should never be left under the doormat or in any other obvious outdoor location. Instead, they should be hidden in a discreet place, or a set should be given to a trusted neighbour. All exterior doors should have secure locks, with deadbolts installed for added security. Garage doors should remain closed at all times, even when someone is home. This prohibits intruders from gaining access to a door that leads directly from the garage into the house. Homeowners should also keep trees and bushes near the house trimmed, so an intruder has nowhere to take cover.

Windows and doors that are screened from view are an invitation to burglars. Outdoor lighting should be increased wherever possible. A house surrounded in darkness, both inside and out, helps to make an intruder's entry and exit much less noticeable. Another good deterrent is to display a sign that says "Beware of Dog", even if the home has no pets. The sign alone can be a great hindrance for would-be burglars. Once the necessary precautions to minimise the home’s appeal to burglars have been taken, it is time to choose an effective alarm system.

Understanding What an Alarm System Is

Alarm systems, sometimes called burglar alarms,, are designed to alert property owners to the presence of intruders. The systems are made up of a series of sensors connected to a central unit, which raises an alarm if any sensor is triggered. The type of sensors and alarms vary, depending on how advanced the system is. Most burglar alarms come with glassbreak detection, door and garage door opening detection, siren and alarm notification, interior motion detection, window opening detection, carbon monoxide detection, and smoke and fire detection.

More sophisticated systems include everything from 24-hour indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, to sensors that detect body heat. Typically, an alarm system is connected to a phone line and automatically dials a pre-programmed number to report a security infraction. There are four types of home security systems. The sections below describe the benefits and disadvantages of each.

Hard-Wired Unmonitored Alarm Systems

Hard-wired unmonitored alarm systems were the most common and cost effective when home security systems were first introduced. In this type of setup, three or more wired sensors are attached to the windows or doors that are potentially most vulnerable to intruder access. These sensors are then wired to a central unit. A hard-wired, unmonitored system also includes smaller units near the wired sensors that can only be turned off by entering a code. When the system is violated, an ear-piercing alarm sounds, alerting neighbours, and hopefully driving away the intruders.

The major disadvantage to this system is that local law enforcement is not immediately contacted, which means the homeowner has to trust that neighbours are home and know to contact the police should a disturbance arise. The major advantage of this system is cost. If the home is located in a safe area with many other homes nearby, this is the way to go.

Hard-Wired Monitored Alarm Systems

These types of systems are very similar to unmonitored systems, except for one key factor. When the alarm is triggered, a call is placed to the local police department. The homeowner can opt for a silent alarm, in which case the intruders are not aware that they have been detected. This increasing the chances of their capture and arrest. Some home security providers also offer a fee-based service wherein they security company is contacted first, and they in turn call the police.

The main advantage of a monitored system is that a security provider or local law enforcement is contacted immediately. The disadvantage is cost. A monitored system is more expensive than an unmonitored system. Another disadvantage is that a hardwired system takes more effort to install, and involves drilling several holes in the walls to insert and hide wiring.

Wireless Unmonitored Alarm Systems

Wireless systems operate by sending signals from sensors placed on doors and windows to the alarm’s main control panel via wireless transmitter. Each detector has its own replaceable battery that must be replaced on a regular basis. A wireless unmonitored system is basically the same as a hard-wired unmonitored system, except that it’s operation relies on radio waves rather than hard wires.

One of the main advantages of a wireless unmonitored system is the ease of installation. Do-it-yourselfers could complete the project in a day, saving a lot of money in installation costs. Moreover, wireless systems eliminate the need for wires, thus ensuring a much neater installation process. Another advantage is portability. Homeowners can take the system with them should they have to relocate. The main disadvantage to a wireless unmonitored system is that it can pick up interference from other nearby wireless devices and consequently trigger false alarms.

Wireless Monitored Alarm Systems

Wireless monitored systems are exactly the same as wireless unmonitored systems except that when triggered, the proper authorities are alerted. The main advantages to this type of system are that it operates without the need for electric or telephone lines, and that a security service or law enforcement is alerted. Often, these systems are outfitted with cameras for additional security, as well as to show proof of a crime. The major disadvantage of a wireless monitored system is cost. They are the most expensive home security system on the market.

The following table explains the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home alarm system.




Wired Unmonitored


No police notification; installation can be messy

Wired Monitored

Notifies police

More expensive; drilling required

Wireless Unmonitored

Easy to install; no unsightly wires

Radio interference; false alarms

Wireless Monitored

Easy to install; notifies police

Cost; most expensive system

The above table is just a starting place. Before buying, readers should investigate each type of system in considerable depth to make sure they are getting a system that meets their needs.

How to Buy an Alarm System on eBay

When looking for information on alarm systems, the best place to start is on eBay.. Here, buyers can find everything they need to know about the different available systems. Having completed this guide, readers should now understand the precautionary measures to take in order to avoid a break-in, and should have an idea about the alarm systems available for purchase. Thus, it is time to start browsing eBay. eBay offers hundreds of options, allowing buyers to browse through a variety of products of every style and price range to find exactly what they are looking for.

Performing a Keyword Search

An effective way to search through eBay is to perform a keyword search, which can be done through the search box located at the top of every eBay page. To view a wide variety of alarm systems,, simply type "alarm systems" into the search box and hit Enter. eBay will then produce a number of listings, allowing you to browse through many different options until you find one that meets your budget and your needs.

If you already know what type of alarm system you want, then enter more specific keywords for a narrower search. For example, enter "wireless monitored alarm system&" into the search box to see a list of relevant results. Only this type of alarm system will populate in the search results, making the search process quick, easy, and efficient.


Burglary is one of the most common crimes in the United Kingdom. Many homeowners never consider purchasing an alarm system until their home has been vandalised or broken into. Burglars do not discriminate. Lower, middle, and upper class areas are all susceptible to crime. Seeing a security sign on a lawn or window, however, may be enough to discourage the would-be burglar and send him looking for an easier target.

Investing in a good home alarm system is an important step to keeping the home safe and secure at all times, whether the family is at home or away. When considering which type of home security system to buy, it is imperative that the homeowner research the costs and benefits of each. There are many different types of alarm systems to choose from. Buyers should consider how much they can afford to spend, as well as what type of security system will best protect their home and family. Monitored, unmonitored, hardwired, or wireless are all options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Whether the budget is large or small, or the security needs are minimal or extensive, there is an option available for everyone.

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