In these days of cost–cutting, you‘ll receive a substantial discount on your home contents insurance premiums if you install a home burglar alarm. Not only will the security system protect your valuables, but an alarm deters anyone thinking of breaking into your home.
In the UK, typical burglar alarm installation costs range between £125 and £800 depending on whether you want a simple or sophisticated system. And, if you want a monitoring system, you would pay around £50/month more. You can even do a DIY job as individual component costs range from £20 to £100, not including cameras.
But, although DIY is feasible, the police and your insurance company often worry that a DIY installation won‘t be as comprehensive as a professionally installed system.
So, if you go away with work or go on holiday often, you don‘t need to feel vulnerable when leaving your house empty. This is especially true if you choose to monitor the domestic alarm‘s status from your smartphone. Additionally, if you have a pet that might set off the alarms by jumping on furniture while you‘re at work, consult the alarm specialists for methods that get over this problem.
This article shows it‘s often worth spending money on a new alarm system and other associated burglar alarm costs that are professionally fitted. An alarm gives you increased peace of mind and reduced home insurance premiums.
House Alarm System Costs
We‘ve compiled this article on domestic burglar alarms from a few online resources, which gives you a composite view of some of the best house alarm systems available.
Every installation is different because of the layout of your rooms, doors and windows. Therefore, it makes sense that we can only give approximate figures. Suppose you want accurate quotations from professional burglar alarm installation companies. In that case, you can fill out the form on this page for a system to suit your individual circumstances.
The table below outlines all the different components of a house alarm system. You can use this to calculate your burglar alarm costs. Remember that the prices exclude VAT.
|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|
|Carbon Monoxide Detector||£15 to £50|
|Smoke Alarm||£15 to £200|
On top of component prices, you‘ll also have the cost of labour. For a professional installation, burglar alarm fitting costs between £400 and £1000 depending on its size and sophistication.
Motion Sensor (PIR)
A burglar alarm sensor, it doesn‘t matter which type, works by detecting unexpected changes. A PIR motion sensor (Passive Infra–Red) measures localised changes in room temperature. When no-one is in the room, and you‘ve set the detectors, any localised hotspot that wasn‘t there before (a human body, for example) activates the alarm. Unfortunately, this also works with your dog and cat. But, you can buy pet-friendly motion sensors, so they shouldn‘t be a problem.
PIRs are cheap to buy, on average around £7 each, and if everyone is out of the house, you can protect every room with these. A professional knows the best way to position these in each room. Located correctly, usually in a corner at ceiling height, they can scan doorways and windows to prevent unauthorised entry. You can also combine these sensors with other types we‘ll mention later.
When PIRs are ‘armed‘, they constantly sense the background temperature of the room they‘re scanning and send this signal to the control box. When they detect a hotspot that wasn‘t there a second ago, the control box computer sets off the alarm.
If you fit a vibration sensor to a door or window, it activates when someone tries to meddle with a window or door. Although common in homes, you probably have already heard these in action when a gust of wind nudges a car, setting off the alarm.
The cheaper ones cost around £5 each, but more sophisticated smart sensors costing around £35, link to WiFi and then to your smartphone or tablet.
An advantage of these is that they only activate when someone tries to enter by force. They won‘t usually set off when you open them gently, so members of your household can still open doors and windows. A different version only activates when glass breaks (see Glass Break Sensor).
These are designed specifically for closed doors and windows. They consist of two magnets side by side. If it‘s a door, you have one fixed to the door and the other next to it in the frame. When the door is closed, the sensor sends back a smooth signal to the control box. If the door opens, then the signal is disrupted, and the control box knows there has been a change. Usually, there is a time lag between setting these off and the alarm sounding to allow an authorised person to open the door, walk into the room and enter a PIN onto the keypad. If no-one enters a PIN within 30 seconds (for example), the alarm sounds.
Although the majority of these magnetic sensors cost around £2 to £4 each, you can buy more expensive models ranging from £7 to £30 for use with different style doors such as roller shutters.
The main benefit of this type is that they are only affected when the door or window opens. That means that you can go about your normal indoor business, as can your dog and cat, without setting off an alarm.
Personal attack button
A personal attack button is useful if you live or work on your own. They often consist of a small lanyard worn usually around the neck, but some form the basis of a key ring. There is a large red button to press in case of an emergency. They then emit a high pitched 140dB noise and usually incorporate a torch. The siren is audible up to half a mile away to alert passers-by that something is wrong. Alternatively, it connects the wearer to a monitoring company that can pass on any message or call the emergency services. Some people wear this if they are disabled or elderly and are at risk of an accident.
Simple versions of the siren type cost around £5, whereas versions that connect wirelessly to the main control box and a monitoring company cost around £20.
Control panels house the computer that makes sense of the sensors‘ and keypad‘s signals and command the siren to sound or send a message to the monitoring company. You can‘t have a burglar alarm system without a control panel, so this is the most important component. The price of these depends on the sophistication of its operation. You normally need an active phone line for external connections, but more expensive ones connect to a mobile phone network or a satellite if there is poor mobile reception. Generally, they cost around £50 each, but a satellite phone connection costs much more.
The keypad is a standard push–button or touchscreen version. Authorised visitors enter a codeword or number to activate or deactivate the alarms. You usually have one next to every external door. Additionally, they connect to the control panel wirelessly or by wires. Typically the keypad costs between £15 and £25.
Glass Break Sensor
These sensors detect if a pane of glass is shattered or broken. Typically, People mainly use them in glass doors or glass–fronted shop windows. An advantage is that they can fit non-opening windows, glass display cases and sliding patio doors that aren‘t compatible with other entry sensors. The glass break sensor doesn‘t have to be in contact with the glass to be effective. Instead, they usually fix to the ceiling and listen out for the sound of breaking glass anywhere in the room. Some of these sensors trigger using vibration (see vibration sensors). Still, these can be prone to false alarms.
Glass break sensors are easy to install as a DIY project. 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.
This component automatically dials and sends a prerecorded message to preprogrammed phone numbers when the alarm activates. But are not for dialling 999 emergency services. Typically, these have one main message and three warning messages. The cheaper ones use your existing phone line, whereas the more expensive ones use mobile phone networks and recognise fire, flood and gas leaks. Most of the available speech diallers cost around £60 to £70, with some costing up to £200 depending on sophistication.
These are usually wireless and are designed for use indoors. When any of the sensors are triggered, the indoor alarm activates to scare off intruders. They usually fit in a central location within the building but hidden from intruders to be heard from any of the entry points. Typically they cost around £75 and are also included within basic DIY domestic alarm kits.
These alarm sounders are more powerful sirens than the Internal Siren and can be used indoors or outside. The 127dB sound deters intruders from venturing indoors once the siren sounds. Many homes have these attached to an outside wall for maximum audibility. Also, they‘re fully visible as a deterrent to prospective burglars. Typically, these cost around £110.
There are many versions of this component available. They attach to the door frame in place of a traditional doorbell. A tiny video camera allows the occupier to see who is at the door. At the same time, a microphone and speaker system allow communication. So you can connect the video to your smartphone via your home‘s WiFi, and monitor who is at the door when you are away from home.
Furthermore, you can deter any attempted burglaries by pretending to be at home. Typical prices are around £80 each, although cheaper versions are available. They are also easily fitted by DIY.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector isn‘t part of a burglar alarm. Still, it can be linked to a control panel and thus to a monitoring service. It detects carbon monoxide gas from indoor heating appliances burning fossil fuel. When the gas reaches a set level, considered toxic to humans, the alarm activates a sounder. Simple battery operated ones cost £15 to £25, whereas mains electricity–powered models go for around £50.
A smoke alarm detects the presence of smoke (some also detect heat). You can buy stand–alone battery–operated models for around £15. The wireless linked models connect to other detectors around the house for around £40 or multizone control panels costing around £200.
3 Bedroom House Example
But how much would the installation costs of burglar alarms in a typical 3 bedroom terrace house be?
A typical monitored basic house alarm costs between £100 and £200, with around £20 to £50 per month for monitoring. This alarm system consists of:
- Two sensors.
- A burglar alarm panel.
- One or two window & door contacts.
- A keyfob to activate and deactivate the alarm.
- You could add extra sensors for a budget of around £40 to £100 per item.
Burglar Alarm Installation Costs
Burglar alarm prices vary significantly depending on some factors.
Firstly, we need to know the extent of the sensors. How many we need and how they connect to the control panel. This is where a professional‘s knowledge is worth every penny. A layman like you or I might decide to fit a sensor to every door and every window and install motion sensors within the house. But, these might not be necessary depending on the type you choose. By skilful positioning of motion sensors, we can cover all windows within a room using the minimum number, leaving just a magnetic sensor on external doors.
Do the sensors connect to the control panel wirelessly or using wires? Wireless is easier to install, but the cost of components is expensive.
Do you need a monitoring system? That depends on what you‘re protecting and whether you live in the middle of nowhere. Although neighbours can be nosey nuisances, they can also be good monitoring systems. If you agree between yourselves to listen out for each other‘s alarms and phone the police, you can save much money.
However, many monitoring companies pay the alarm installation company a commission for an introduction so that you might receive a discount on the equipment prices. Otherwise, a typical professional installation costs at least £400 to £1000.
Overall, a control panel is essential to sort out the various sensor signals. But, the number and type of sensors depend on your home‘s layout.
Remember that labour prices in London and the South East, on average, 20% are more than elsewhere in the country, so expect to pay premium rates. Also, various installers charge different amounts, so shop around for quotes first.
Should You Install a Burglar Alarm?
No-one likes the thought of someone breaking into their home, especially if you have valuables or often leave your home empty.
One of the main advantages of having an alarm system and advertising the fact by using a siren on an outside wall is that it deters potential burglars from attempting a break-in. They take one look at the siren in full view and decide to try somewhere else.
As we‘ve seen, a burglar alarm system can incorporate sensors for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide too. Therefore, your home and the people inside it are also protected.
Finally, most home insurance companies offer substantial discounts if you have a professionally installed burglar alarm system. They need to know what company installed the system, what components you have, and where you buy your monitoring service.
Security System Qualifications, Accreditation & Professional Bodies
If you pay for a professional installation, you need to know that you have a good job done with quality components. Therefore, only deal with companies that belong to the following organisations.
- British Security Industry Association (BSIA).
- Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).
- National Security Inspectorate (NSI).
Should I Install the System Myself?
Many types of alarm systems lend themselves to DIY. For example, you can pay a bit more for wireless components powered by a battery. However, wiring a burglar alarm system (not wireless) can be difficult, and might be out of the skillset of most DIY enthusiasts. Not only that but if your system needs mains electricity, you must be a qualified electrician who has training with installing alarms. And monitored systems must also be installed professionally.
Wired vs Wireless Security Systems
Traditional wired security systems cost far less to buy than wireless but cost more to install. Wired systems often need the wiring hidden above ceilings and behind walls for aesthetic and security reasons. Also, wired systems need a qualified electrician or a security specialist to install.
Wireless systems, on the other hand, make use of your domestic WiFi network. Components don‘t need wires for connection to the control panel. Instead, they need a power source, which might mean batteries, but is usually mains electricity. Wireless components cost more to buy but less to install. In fact, some components such as a video doorbell can be stand–alone and wirelessly connects to your smartphone rather than a control panel.
Monitored Burglar Alarms
Alarm monitoring costs money when a specialist company watches your alarm system. But, paying a monthly fee for this service doesn‘t necessarily mean the police shows up to a break-in. Instead, the monitoring company sends out a text message or phone call to one of a few keyholders, who then take action.
Police monitoring costs more and is dependent on:
- The type of alarm system you have.
- How often your area has false alarms.
- Police manpower allocations.
And many other factors.
What to ask your Burglar Alarm Fitter
Remember, a burglar alarm system is an investment for your home and everyone in it. Before you go ahead and sign on the dotted line, ask the installer a few questions:
- Which monitoring company do you use? How quickly do they respond to an alarm?
- Which is the best sensor layout, and will they protect my home?
- Once I‘ve ordered the installation, how long before you can start work?
- How many alarm systems have you installed in my area, and can I have the customers’ contact details?
- How long have you been installing 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?
Burglar Alarm Cost FAQ
How do burglar alarm systems work?
A burglar alarm system consists of some components connected by wires (or wirelessly) and monitors for any changes within your home. If they recognise a change, the control panel starts a sequence of preprogrammed actions to alert someone.
Is it worth getting a burglar alarm?
If you own plenty of valuables, if you hate the idea of someone breaking into your home or if you live in the middle of nowhere, then it‘s worth investing in a burglar alarm. You‘ll also find that your home insurance company reduces the premiums for homes with a professionally installed burglar alarm.
Do burglars target homes with alarms?
No. Burglars tend to plan their break-ins by looking around a few houses beforehand to see what advantages and disadvantages each house has. Visible burglar alarm sounders on an outside wall immediately tell a potential burglar that you‘ve protected your home. In that case, they try elsewhere.
Can a house alarm go off by itself?
Yes. A house alarm can go off by itself. Unfortunately, there could be many different reasons, from a dead battery or power cut to a faulty sensor. If it happens to you, read the documentation that came with the system first. Then, call out the installer or, as a last resort, contact the manufacturer.
What causes a false alarm?
There are many reasons why this happens. However, the most common causes of false alarms are:
- Not following the correct arming and disarming procedures.
- Power cuts and weak batteries.
- Sensors, picking up your wandering pets.
- Unsecured doors and windows.
Are house alarms effective?
Domestic burglar alarms are one of the most useful deterrents against burglaries you can have. However, to be fully effective, you should have it professionally installed, choose appropriate system components, and consider ongoing maintenance and servicing costs.
What kind of maintenance do burglar alarms require?
Ask the installation engineer about a maintenance call-out insurance contract. This arrangement allows the engineer to monitor your system, if necessary, remotely. Furthermore, It also allows regular checks and servicing, free call outs, and component replacements if necessary.
Find Local Alarm Installers Near You
Installing an alarm system in your home can be one of the most effective ways to prevent burglaries. If nothing else, it also gives you and your family peace of mind, especially if you leave your home empty for long periods.
Burglar alarm costs for installation and maintenance aren‘t very high when you balance them against the benefits you enjoy. Simply complete the form at the top of this page, and you‘ll receive 3 or 4 quotes from local alarm installers.