How Much Do Burglar Alarms Cost?

The cost of installing burglar alarms is one of the biggest concerns most people have when purchasing a home security system. It can be hard to determine how much money you are really going to need to get started. What do burglar alarms cost on average? 

This article hopes to address this question in addition to explaining in more detail about the types of burglar alarms, maintaining them and the relevant considerations before installing them.

burglar alarms cost

What is a burglar alarm?

Also known as an intruder alarm, it is a security device used to protect areas from unauthorized access. An intruder is held at bay, either by an entry delay, an alarm siren or by automatic activation of an audio or visual warning that deters the intruder until the authorities arrive.

Burglar alarm systems work by alerting you when there is an intruder detected inside your home while the system is set and active. These systems are equipped with a number of sensors that can sense motion.

You can get your contractor to work out a customized solution for you too. For example, extra wireless sensors can be placed in every room where you want to keep an eye on. In another instance, if you have pets at your place, you must discuss this with your security company before buying any alarm system or equipment. In most instances, custom sensors can be designed for these animals and thus deactivate the alarms from being set off.

Why install a burglar alarm?

Installing a burglar alarm can deter a break-in before it happens. Burglars do not want to be caught, so they avoid difficult break-ins that are likely to attract attention.

They are also ideal if you want to go for work or go on holiday often. This way, you don’t have to feel vulnerable about leaving your house empty. Most advanced burglar alarm systems can also be connected to your smartphone which is ideal to act upon any intruders in real time.

Additionally, investing in an alarm system provides an easy way to reduce your costs and save on home insurance. The more protected your home is, the less likely it is to be targeted. As a result, you’ll pay less for your insurance.

Given that the house will now be fully secure, it’s a great way to advertise your property when you intend to sell. It can potentially increase the market value of your property too.

Types of burglar alarms

There are various types of burglar alarm systems that you could choose from that serve different purposes. Let’s look at 4 most common ones:

Bells-only alarms

If you’re away when an alarm is triggered, there is no guarantee that someone will be alerted to the situation, but a loud noise will alert people in the surrounding area.

Before deciding to get a bells-only alarm, it’s worth thinking about whether you live in an area that would support a police response if your alarm were triggered.

Advantage

  • Easy to install: It can be fixed by yourself or you could pay a one-off fee to a professional electrician to fix it for you.
  • Cheap and effective: It’s a simple and cost effective solution  to deter any burglars from entering your premises.

Disadvantage

  • No alerts: If you’re away most of the time and live in a remote neighbourhood, this may not be the ideal solution for you.

Dialler burglar alarm

This type of alarm is designed to contact you or nominated friends and family if the alarm is triggered.

If you’re concerned about the way your neighbours will respond to an alarm going off, you could consider a dialler burglar alarm. These alarms contact you or the nominated friend and family when it’s triggered. This means that you or they can then contact the police or ask a neighbour to investigate the issue.

All dialler alarms allow you to program a list of between three and ten phone numbers. The first person it successfully contacts is able to stop the rest of the numbers from being contacted.

Advantage

  • You don’t have to pay for a monitoring contract
  • Prompt action can be taken by you or your nominated friend when the alarm is triggered.
  • Includes an addon that can also detect fire.

Disadvantage

  • For GSM diallers, a weak mobile signal may delay the alerts
  • Speed diallers require a landline which will have extra wiring in your home.

Smart home security

These smart home security systems connect to your smartphone or tablet, or those of family members. This means you’ll be alerted when your alarm is triggered. These systems also allow you to control your smart security from your phone, even when you’re away from home.

There’s also a need for a central hub which will connect to all other compatible devices via wi-fi, in the same way that a standard alarm is connected to sensors around your property. 

Advantage

  • Ability to send alerts directly to your mobile when your not home
  • Can be remotely monitored through your smartphone

Disadvantage

  • They are a costlier option compared to most home security systems
  • The types of components you use need to be chosen carefully to ensure they function correctly. However, this can be easily overcome if you consult a professional electrician.

Monitored alarm systems and contracts

You can get monitoring contracts for wired or wireless burglar alarms, but both the alarm itself and the installation must conform to certain standards. You won’t be able to install it yourself.

Some people find it comforting to have a nominated keyholder, so that if the alarm does go off, someone they know will be called. This is called a keyholder monitoring contract.

There are two kinds of monitoring contracts: keyholder and police (or emergency services) response. In either case, you pay a monthly or annual fee, and then the monitoring company will alert a nominated keyholder or the police when the alarm goes off.

Keyholder burglar alarm monitoring

This is where a monitoring contract is maintained between you and the “receiving company” who will respond when the alarm is triggered. Alternatively, keyholders can also be assigned for those to be contacted in case of a trigger.

Advantage

  • It’s the more popular option as it provides homeowners a peace of mind. 
  • The receiving company is liable if no action is taken

Disadvantage

  • There’s a periodic recurring cost
  • Cannot be installed by yourself. You can request your local electrician with the right qualifications to get the monitoring system fixed.
  • Nominated keyholders need to live within 20 minutes of your house

Police burglar alarm monitoring

This is a similar system as to the one above, but with the option of contacting the local police when the alarm is triggered. 

During a potential break-in, there are two indicators within the house that the burglar must cross to get in: a door contact and a motion sensor. In order for the police to be called, these two indicators must both be triggered.

This could also be set up in addition to the keyholder burglar alarm system.

Advantage

  • Very convenient as the local police will be automatically contacted.
  • Extra safe as police will be immediately prompted.

Disadvantage

  • There’s a periodic recurring cost
  • Cannot be installed by yourself. You can request your local electrician with the right qualifications to get the monitoring system fixed.
  • No guarantee that the police will respond.
  • Need to be mindful of any false alarms.

Do burglar alarms require maintenance?

Burglar alarm maintenance contracts should provide peace of mind. To give you more redress if something goes wrong with a standard burglar alarm, once a year it will be checked either remotely or by an installer coming to your home. 

These contracts will be a valuable addition to your contract if you want a thorough system that does not fail on you when you need it the most. Professional alarm system maintenance is required by some insurance companies, and it’s also required to avoid false alarm fines. If you don’t have a monitoring contract, professional maintenance can help extend your equipment’s lifespan.

Burglar alarms cost

Because every installation is different, it makes sense that we can only give approximate figures. Suppose you want accurate quotations from professional burglar alarm installation companies, you can get in touch with our team at Complete Electricians.

Burglar alarms cost can be categorized based on the components of a house alarm system. These estimates exclude VAT.

ComponentsEstimated Cost 
Motion Sensor (PIR) £5 to £10 
Vibration Sensor £5 to £35 
Door/window contacts £2 to £30 
Personal attack button £5 to £20 
Control Panel & Key Pad £22 to £80 
Glass Break Sensor £10 to £20 
Speech Dialler  £60 to £180 
Internal Siren £30 to £120 
Alarm Sounder £80 to £120 
Video Doorbell £30 to £90 
Smoke Alarm£15 to £200 
Source: TradesmenCosts

Let’s look at each in turn:

  • Motion Sensor (PIR): They are cheap to purchase and, on average, could cost around £7 each. A professional knows the best way to position these in each room.
  • Vibration Sensor: On the lower end, these could cost around £5 each, but more sophisticated smart sensors that link to WiFi and to your smartphone, could cost around £35.
  • Door contacts: Most magnetic sensors cost around £2 to £4 each. However, you could buy more expensive models ranging from £7 to £30 for use with different style doors such as roller shutters. 
  • Personal attack buttons: The basic versions of the siren type could range at around £5, while the ones that connect wirelessly to the main control box and a monitoring company could cost around £20.
  • Control Panel: These can vary based on the type of alarm systems that you choose. If you want to connect to a mobile phone, they can cost around £30 whereas satellite phones could be in the range of £50 – £60.
  • Key Pad: These come in a standard push–button or touch screen version and can typically cost between £15 and £25. 
  • Glass Break Sensor: These sensors are designed to alert if a pane of glass is shattered or broken. You can buy stand-alone models with a siren from online retailers for around £10. Wireless connection to a control box or monitoring company costs more. 
  • Internal Siren: These are generally wireless and mostly used indoors. Typically they cost around £75 and are also included within basic DIY domestic alarm kits. 
  • Alarm Sounder: These are more powerful versions of the Internal Siren and can be used indoors or outside. They typically cost around £110.
  • Video Doorbell: The prices vary based on the quality of the video and additional features such as microphone, recording capabilities and more. Typical prices are around £80 each, although cheaper versions are available.
  • Smoke Alarm: This detects the presence of smoke within a property and is useful to detect any signs of fire. Stand alone battery operated ones cost around £15 while the wireless ones around £40.

Installation and extra optional costs

The installation of burglar alarms cost can vary based on the number and type of sensors you purchase. It will also be influenced by how you choose to connect the control panel with your sensors. You could expect to invest around £400 to £800 if you hire a professional.

Generally the costs are related to the types of components you choose to install for your burglar alarm system. For instance, if the control panel is to be configured wirelessly, the installation costs are comparatively cheaper.

Additionally, the monthly cost of maintaining monitoring contracts can vary between £15 and £45. 

If you want a police monitoring system, these can cost around £300 to £700 extra in installation fees.If you want to add extra sensors and keyfobs, budget between £40 and £110 per item.

At Complete Electricians, we try our best to be upfront with our costs and quotations. So please do get in touch with us if you require any more information about our installation costs.

Can I install a burglar alarm myself? 

Most alarms can be fixed by yourself except for monitoring systems and can be a good way to bring down the burglar alarms cost. You will however need to be confident that you could do a good job in fixing it by yourself. Failing to do so can result in a security system that is not functioning as expected.

Depending on your experience, it can take up to a day’s work for an average sized home.

You would however need to be extra careful when hand wiring the control panel for the burglar alarm.

In most instances, the police worry that DIY alarm systems are not very reliable as they may not be installed correctly. As such, it’s always a good idea to get a professional to sign off or examine the final installation should you still decide to take the DIY route.

Do burglar alarms prevent intruders?

Many studies claim that fixing a burglar alarm does in fact prevent intruders to a larger extent. A study of convicted burglars found that 60% of them would choose a different target if they saw signs of a burglar alarm.

Interestingly, the government’s crime study of surveyed households that had not been burgled found that two thirds of houses that were burgled had no security measures, whereas three quarters of the houses that weren’t burgled had some sort of security measure.

So it can be concluded that burglar alarms are in fact effective.

Common causes of a false alarm

There are many reasons there might be false alarms. Some of the most common causes of false alarms are:

  • Not following the correct process of connecting and disconnecting the security systems;
  • Malfunctioning batteries and power cuts;
  • Sensors picking up moving animals or pets;
  • Unsecured windows or doors.

Do I need planning permission to install a burglar alarm?

If you live in a listed building or conservation area, you should check with your local planning authority whether you need planning permission for installing a security alarm. This would be additional component to the total burglar alarms cost.

However, should you decide to go for a monitoring contract, there are simple regulations that you’d need to adhere to. If you’re not sure what these are, you can always contact your local electrician.

Questions to ask your burglar alarm installer? 

Before engaging with an electrician to have your burglar alarms fixed, here are some questions you could ask them:

  • How fast does the monitoring company that you use respond to an alarm? Do they have a good track record?
  • Is there a recommended sensor layout that can protect my home?
  • How long would it take for the installation and work to be completed?
  • Do you provide guarantee for the systems and components that you install?
  • How long have you been working with burglar alarms?
  • I have pets. What happens if they trigger the alarms? 
  • If the system stops working, how soon can you fix it, and how much does it cost?

Final thoughts

Burglar alarms have become more popular especially in the urban areas. This article covered its different types and various burglar alarms cost in more detail. Hopefully, this provides you with a better understanding of what to look out for in terms of the investment.

Remember, this is going to be an investment that can largely increase the value of the property. If you’re still unsure about what type of systems work best for you, do get in touch with our professional team for a free burglar alarm installation quote today.

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