How to install a home security system

How to install a home security system

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

Guide written by:

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

Installing a home security system involves finding the perfect spot for your sensors, setting the siren out of reach of intruders and securing the main panel. Want to make sure your home is properly protected against intrusions? You'll need to correctly position, program and test the system before putting it to work.

Important features

  • Draw up a plan to position your sensors
  • Prepare alarm components for installation
  • Install sensors, siren and keypad
  • Install the main panel and program the alarm
  • Test the system
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Protect your home with a home security system

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Home security systems are designed to protect properties against intrusions. Shockingly, there are over a million burglaries and attempted burglaries in the UK per year with a break-in occurring every 106 seconds on average.

Installing a home security system requires a lot of planning with regards to deciding where to put sensors and other components. You also need to follow the instructions to the letter when it comes to setting up and to respect the order in which to install components. Remember: a missing sensor, a poorly installed siren or incorrect programming can render your alarm system completely ineffective. Alarms do offer an extra layer of protection, but you still need to ensure you have a good locking system on all windows and doors (i.e. bolts, locks, multi-point locks, etc.) especially when it comes to front doors and any other entrance points. You should also fit any unused windows with security devices such as security grilles. Schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch can also help to enhance home security with everyone in the neighbourhood chipping in to keep an eye on each other's homes.

Steps

  1. Draw up a plan and position your sensors

  2. Prepare alarm components for installation

  3. Install sensors, siren and keypad

  4. Install the main panel and program the alarm

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Security grilles

1. Draw up a plan and position your sensors

To ensure your system functions as expected it's important to position each component in the best possible spot. Draw up a plan of your home and include the location of the following:

  • main entrance;

  • internet and phone lines;

  • windows and additional entrances;

  • interior doors.

Main panel

3. Auto diallers

Most alarm systems on the market these days are designed to be controlled via phone and to send alerts remotely. You will therefore need to connect your alarm to a landline or a modem. The main panel needs to be no more than a cable length away from these sockets.

Siren

1. Indoor sirens

The high-pitched alert of the siren will probably be enough to send burglars on their way – that is unless they have time to pull the siren off the wall and place it in your fridge (which can serve as an excellent acoustic insulator)! To avoid this all-too-common scenario, you need to place your siren in a central room of the house and as high up as possible to make it trickier to access. The ceiling of a two-storey living room or even a stairway can work really well.

Keypad

Keypad

The keypad is used to control the alarm. More specifically, this is where the alarm is activated and deactivated. It must be set up as close as possible to the front door. Make sure to bear in mind which way your door opens.

Motion sensors

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Motion sensors are designed to set off the alarm when an intruder passes through their field of detection. They should be positioned in such a way as to cover as large a surface as possible while avoiding windows.

Window and door sensors

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In this case, the sensor sits on the door or window frame while a magnet is fitted to the window or door itself. If the contact between the two is broken, the alarm will be set off. Your priority will be to protect any less secure windows or windows that are accessible from the outside.

Outdoor siren

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Fitted on the outside of your home and within earshot of anyone passing by, an outdoor siren is a surefire way to sound the alert in the event of a break-in. There's no better way to send burglars fleeing!

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2. Prepare alarm components for installation

Before installation, you need to ensure that all components have batteries and are paired.

Removing component covers

Remove the covers using a screwdriver or by squeezing the tabs designed for this purpose. Store the screws safely as you will need them for reassembly.

Installing batteries

The components won't usually come supplied with batteries to prevent battery deterioration. Identify where the batteries go and insert them carefully.

Pairing devices

Smart alarm systems

This step allows the main control panel to communicate with the other components and vice-versa. Devices bought as part of a kit are usually already paired. However, if you have bought parts separately, you will need to pair them. Place the control panel next to the component to be paired and press the sync buttons on the main panel and the sensor. A beep or light should indicate if the operation has been successful.

Do not replace the covers immediately as you will need to access the screw holes shortly.

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Multipurpose screws

3. Install sensors, sirens and keypad

Installing window or door sensors

Place the sensor and the magnet at a height on the opposite side of the frame from the hinges. Mark out your drill holes, drill the window or door frame and screw the sensor into position! Use shims if the frame is too thick.

Fitting motion sensors

Place the sensors around 2.3 metres from the ground. Mark out your holes. Drill and fit your plugs. Screw on the base of the sensor then fit the cover.

Testing

If your sensors come with a test button now is the time to use it. Make a movement in order to deliberately set off the alarm. A sound or pilot light should go off if the sensor has successfully detected an intrusion.

Installing the sirens and keypad

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Mark out your drill holes. Drill, fit your plugs and screw in the base of the components to the wall. The cover can then be assembled and secured.

4. Install the main panel and program the alarm

The main panel is designed to communicate with the sensors and warn you in the event of a break-in. Once the cover is fitted, secure the panel to the wall after connecting it to the power, RJ11 phone cable and RJ45 cable. Connect the RJ11 cable to a telephone socket, connect the panel to the power and connect the ethernet cable to your modem. You can now fit the cover and screw it in place.

Programming the alarm

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Your alarm can be programmed via the keypad or via a phone, tablet or laptop by logging in to the administrator page. Find and enter the installation code. Set a new code as well as the date and time. Save the number(s) to be called in the event of an incident.

5. Test the system

Activate the alarm then leave the house. After a couple of minutes, move into one of the protected zones. If everything has been installed correctly, the siren should go off and you should get a call or text on the phone saved by the system.

Installing a home security alarm

Required skills

Required skills

To install a home security alarm, you must be able to:

  • be aware of basic DIY rules;

  • use a drill and pick the right drill bits;

  • take accurate measurements;

  • pick the right fixings for your surface;

  • use hand tools such as a screwdriver and spanners.

Time required

Required time

  • 2 hours approx.

Number of people required

Number of people required

  • 1 person

Tools and equipment

Tools and equipment

  • Drill and drill bits

  • Screws and wall plugs

  • Screwdriver

  • Tape measure and pencil

  • String

Safety wear

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Please note: this is a non-exhaustive list; be sure to match your personal protective equipment to the job at hand.

More information

 
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Guide written by:

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

Since I was a child, I was always interested in manual and technical work. Always fascinated by woodworking, I took advantage of my first flat as a playground. On the cards: electricity (of course, safety first!) and some partition walls; but also decorating with the help of the missus, made-to-measure furniture and little tricks to optimise the space, all the while remaining as original as possible. When the little one arrived, I started building bits and pieces for him! Lacking space, I have not got a permanent workshop and certain tools I dream about are not part of my collection. Not to worry, I already know a lot about DIY and I have a high-tech profile that I hope will guide you in your decisions!

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