08 March 2016

A guide to alarms and locks

Our homes are our castles and we want to make them as secure as possible. Fitting the correct locks and alarms to your property can ensure you are safer in your home and, as an added bonus, may even reduce your home insurance premiums.

We take a closer look at the best locks and alarms on offer.

Locks to keep doors and windows secure

One of the doors is the obvious place for a burglar to try and gain entry to your home and the right lock can make a real difference to your security levels. Some of the most commonly found locks include:

  • 5-lever mortice deadlock: this is a standard deadlock and is commonly found on the main doors of a property. For a higher level of security, opt for one which conforms to BS 3621, as these are typically considered to be the most secure lock option available.
  • Multi-point locking system: works by ‘bolting’ the door into the frame, offering an increased level of security. They are mostly found on UPVC doors.
  • Nightlatches: these can only be locked from the inside – offering extra security at night. A deadlocking latch is the most secure option. They shouldn’t be the only lock on a door.
  • Cylinder locks: commonly found on both UPVC and composite doors. This type of lock can be vulnerable to ‘lock snapping’, so it’s worth checking with your home insurance provider whether they are acceptable.

If you are unsure, it's worth checking whether the type of lock you have meets your insurer's minimum requirements.

And it’s not just door locks you need to think about. Ideally, all accessible windows and patio doors should have key operated locks.

Alarms to deter intruders or alert the police

Fitting a burglar alarm is one of the best steps you can take to protect your home. In fact, Which? reveals that having a well-fitted and well-maintained burglar alarm system makes you less likely to become a victim of burglary.

When it comes to choosing an alarm, there are plenty of options available depending on your needs and budget:

  • Bells-only alarms: these simply make a loud noise when triggered, hopefully deterring intruders and alerting your neighbours. However, there is no guarantee anyone will respond. They are typically cheaper than other alarms.
  • Monitored alarms: you usually pay a monthly fee for these alarms and the monitoring company either takes action or calls the police if the alarm goes off.
  • Speech dialler alarm: if the alarm is triggered, a device automatically contacts you or a nominated person and plays a pre-recorded message.

You also need to decide if you want a wired or wireless alarm. Wireless alarms are easier to install and are typically cheaper, plus you don’t have the faff of hiding wires. However, you do need to remember to change or recharge the batteries regularly. Wireless alarms also have a reputation for false alarms, although this is less likely with newer models.

Whichever type of alarm you opt for, it is worth having them professionally maintained and checked every year. Some home insurance companies will only provide a discount on policies if alarms are maintained.

Make sure that the company you choose to fit your alarm is a reputable one and that you have seen proof of identity from the fitter.

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