Blake Fire and Security Systems

Explained: The 6 Most Common Types of Home Alarm System

Date: 1 October 2022

There are a variety of different home alarms available today. From the cheap DIY alarms to fully programmable smart alarms you can operate from your phone.

To help choose the best installation for you, here's a simple but comprehensive overview of how the different types stack up.


Exploring the most common home alarm systems

1.) DIY Alarm System

This system might be cheaper than a custom installation by professionals, but you get what you pay for.

If you want guaranteed protection, the DIY option has two HUGE pitfalls...

  • Unlike a professional installation, DIY alarms installed by unqualified persons are prone to faults, including excessive tripping, sensor mismatch and false alarms.
  • The equipment is not industry approved and is therefore deemed unreliable by the Police and insurers. How can a cheap, unapproved alarm protect your home properly? This unreliability means that automatic police response is not an option for your DIY alarm.

2.) Traditional Wired Alarm System

A wired alarm requires small wire cables between the control panel and the sensors in each room. If you have fittings which hide the wires, this type of system can work.

It is the next step up in cost and complexity from a DIY system. However, if you can't hide the wires, these systems can be unattractive, making them less popular in comparison to the....

3.) Wireless Alarm System

The brilliance of a wireless alarm system is that you need only install and program the controller. Sensors can be easily mounted in any position without unsightly wires running around your house.

The cost of wireless systems is slightly higher than wired systems, however with current technology, these are becoming very affordable. The sensors do need batteries, but with low power output, battery life is typically very long. Wireless alarms will normally have a warning signal which indicates when a battery is getting flat.

Sensor Types

Home alarm sensors can be

  • passive infra-red (PIR) heat sensing,
  • active infra-red (beam) motion sensing
  • activated by the breaking of magnetic contact.

Magnetic contact sensors are installed on windows and doors and activate when the contact is broken - when the door or window is opened.

Beam motion sensors activate when the beam of infrared light emitted is obstructed. These suit outside areas since they are directional sensors.

PIR sensors detect changes in infrared radiation in a room, from the heat emitted by live moving targets.

4.) Pet-Friendly Alarms

Pets will easily set off a motion or infrared sensor. In these cases, a pet-friendly home alarm is necessary. The alarms operate using highly sensitive PIR sensors. The size of your pet's heat signature is considered when installing the sensors. These will then only activate if an unusual heat signature is detected i.e. something much bigger than Harry the cat coming through the cat flap!


5.) Zonal Alarm Systems

These alarm systems give you control over which rooms are safeguarded by the alarm, and which rooms are left unactivated so you are free to roam around.

Need to do the housework upstairs? Activate the alarm in the baby's nursery downstairs while you move around upstairs. Zonal alarms are particularly beneficial at night since you can switch on the alarm in entrance areas, but leave it off in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

6.) Smart Alarms

A smart alarm gives you complete control of your wireless alarm system wherever you are. Additionally, if you have CCTV installed, you can monitor the footage live from your phone or tablet! Set and disable your alarm on the move and receive live notifications from your smart alarm app from any location with wifi or mobile data access.


Which home alarm is right for me?

Only a professional can definitively answer this question, after they have personally evaluated the layout of your home.

Each home is different, just like every home alarm system. That's why we NEVER give quotes over the phone.

Book your FREE Site Survey to get a tailored, customised home alarm system by clicking the Get Your Quote button below

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This blog post is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. Call Blake's on 01702 447800 to speak to one of our professionals for specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information on our site, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up to date.

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