An Englishman (and woman’s) home is their castle as the saying goes and when it comes to protecting it, thankfully we no longer have the hassle of maintaining a moat, hauling up a drawbridge or housing a chainmail-clad knight to parade the ramparts.
No, nowadays we have electronic means of making sure no-one breaks through our home defences. But, then again, we don’t want a system that’s so sensitive the flashing lights dazzle the whole street whenever a cat walks past our front door. So, which home security system do we get? And how do we know it’s the best one for our home? To help, here’s a quick run-down of some of the latest alarm systems on the market to at least give you an intelligent start:
Just about everything in our homes uses smart technology these days – so why shouldn’t our security systems get in on the act? Today you’ll find you can now monitor and interact with your traditional burglar alarm via an app on your Smartphone. It means you can turn on the lights in your home when you’ve gone for a quick drink after work, or monitor what the cat’s doing (when it’s not busy triggering the alarm system!).
You’ll pay around £200 for a basic system, with the average integrated and comprehensive system for a two bedroom home coming in at around £500.
A complete smart phone security system works by getting all your internet-connected security appliances to ‘speak to each other.’ It works via a wireless hub which controls monitors, video recorders, sensors, locks, sirens etc so that when a window or door is opened the system is triggered into action.
Some security systems double as baby monitors with pre-recorded lullabies. Others can alert you if there’s a fire or the bath’s running over. You could even programme them so that whenever a particular walk-in cupboard’s door is opened the light switch automatically goes on.
Another good use for a smart home security system is if you have a vulnerable elderly person living with you. The alarm can alert you when he or she leaves the house at an odd hour, for instance. It can also tell you if they haven’t moved for some time, meaning there may be a problem which requires medical help or at least assistance.
For a monthly fee you could have your alarm system connected to a company who will send an employee to turn up at your front door when the alarm contacts their system directly (this type of alarm system is commonly used by commercial firms). Once there the firm’s employee will then call the house to see if whoever is inside knows the password. If there is no response they’ll then call you or the local police station. Depending on officer availability the latter should then send someone to check on your home.
One big downside of this system is that if the burglar is a professional then he or she will be aware that the alarm is connected to your outside phone line. All they have to do to disenable it then, is to snip through the phone wires. There are mobile versions available today and those which work with radio signals to get round this difficulty.
The idea behind this type of old-fashioned – yet still incredibly popular - system is that the alarm, when triggered, makes so much noise that the burglar gets nervous and makes a run for it. And, if your house is in a street then, of course, the other neighbours will be alerted too. Hopefully one of them will be friendly enough with you to give you a ring and let you know your alarm’s just gone off.
When triggered this type of alarm self-dials through a set of pre-programmed phone numbers and rings them (the idea being that the first is your mobile) until it gets an answer. This type of system relies on a good internet connection as well as credit on the SIM card (if you’re using a mobile-friendly version).