How to Set Up a DIY Home Alarm System
- How to install all components of a DIY home alarm system
- Advice on placing a wireless alarm system
- What the best home security system for you could cost
These days, it’s easier than ever to install your own DIY home alarm system. Instead of having a technician come round to wire in your state-of-the-art alarm, you can take matters into your own hands with various wireless alarm systems on the market. If you’re not particularly handy around the home, even the best home security system can be fitted yourself. Some alarms on the market simply work straight out of the box.
If you’ve purchased a wireless alarm system, this article will guide you through how you can install it yourself. Some manufacturers will charge a premium for a home installation, so taking the time to get it up and running yourself will save you plenty of money. Whether you’re in a home you own or you’re renting, there are plenty of ways in which you can install your own DIY home alarm system, which will be covered in this article.
Basic Components of a DIY Home Alarm System
Depending on the wireless alarm system you choose, they can comprise of the following parts: control panel, window/door sensors and motion sensors. Other DIY home alarm systems feature internal cameras as well.
The main hub of the wireless alarm system is where you can control it. It sometimes features a keypad, which you can use to arm and disarm the system. Some DIY home alarm systems are completely integrated, minimising the amount of separate parts you need.
Also called contact points or entry sensors, these sit on windows or doors and set off the alarm whenever these entries are open and the alarm is set. Plenty of DIY home alarm systems have an app that also sends you notifications if any sensor is triggered.
Designed to trigger whenever motion is detected, motion sensors are another line of defence. With a DIY home alarm system, motion sensors can be programmed to activate other features, such as the alarm, a light or an internal camera.
Modern technology allows you to view your home from your smartphone. Sometimes storage is provided in the cloud, while other systems will only store it locally. Not every DIY home alarm system will feature a camera, but it helps to know that you can customise them to suit your needs.
How to Install a Wireless Alarm System Yourself
Depending on which wireless alarm system you’ve opted for, you may have a few different parts to install. If your DIY home alarm system simply plugs in straight out of the box, you might have to connect it to the Wi-Fi first before you can make use of it. It’s important to follow the instructions to make sure this is done properly. If you have any features that need to be attached to the wall, there are ways in which you can do this if you’re renting or own your home. Renters can simply use a removable double sided adhesive, while any homeowner can simply put a nail or screw into the wall.
To start off with your DIY home alarm system, it’s easiest to install the hub first. It’s best to make sure the hub is in a central location that’s comfortably connected to a power source. If the keypad has a battery, it needs to be easily removable, so any adhesives should be considerate of this.
If your DIY home alarm system comes with sensors, these can be placed next. Whether entry sensors or motion detectors, these should be strategically placed where needed. Not every entry point will need a sensor, just as not every room will need a motion detector. Ground floor windows and doors that are easily accessible can be fitted with entry sensors, and so can first floor windows above a flat surface.
To fit entry sensors, the main element should be secured to the wall or window/door frame, while the thinner part should attach to the window or door. They work using magnetism and proximity. Usually set closer than two inches apart, they raise the alarm if this gap is any wider, i.e., if a window or door is open. Entry sensors tend to come with a self-secure strip for easy attachment. They are usually easy to move in case you get the first placement wrong, which is handy when it comes to a DIY home alarm system.
Motion detectors work best when they’re six to eight feet up and in areas of high traffic. A high view allows the detector to see the area properly and capture movement without delay. Most of these work with passive infrared technology, which detects heat signatures. These work well in the hallway and in rooms with valuables. With entry sensors as well, you shouldn’t need too many motion detectors. You can save money with a DIY home alarm system by not having as many sensors. Fortunately, if you need more, you can usually buy these separately.
The size of cameras can differ, but they’re usually a similar size across manufacturers. Wireless ones typically feature rechargeable batteries or plug into the mains and work within a certain range of the main hub. Make sure you understand the limitations of your DIY home alarm system’s camera or you could risk it not capturing anything at all.
Similar to motion detectors, cameras work when they have a clear vantage point in a room. Not every room will need a camera, so the areas you spend the most time should be prioritised. Even the main walkway could be the sole home for a camera, which could help track anyone coming in and out. Some cameras can be activated when a motion sensor is triggered, but this will need to be programmed first.
Test the System
Once everything is in place, you will need to make sure your DIY home alarm system is working properly by testing it. If it comes with an app, you can look through the eyes of any cameras or manage the system from there. This is also a good opportunity to customise any procedures to work how you’d like them to, such as turning on any lights when a specific motion sensor is activated.
Home Alarm System Costs
A DIY home alarm system can be as cheap or as expensive as you like. If you live in a bigger property, it’s worth spending a little bit more to get extra features and benefits to help cover the whole area of your home. An apartment, on the other hand, won’t need all the bells and whistles.
For averages, contact sensors are the cheapest option, being around £20 to buy. As an add-on, this can quickly amount to a lot, which is another reason why not every entry point needs a sensor. A simple DIY home alarm system with a hub, keypad and sensors can be around £150. This will be a suitable starting point for most households. On the higher end of the scale, you can easily spend over £300 to include a camera and fobs, all without needing to be wired in by an expert.