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GUIDE TO HOME SECURITY

Part 2

SECURITY SYSTEMS

EXTERIOR LIGHTING

It is a well-known fact that outdoor lighting is one of the most effective ways to protect your property against vandalism and burglary. Intruders obviously do not want to be visible as they attempt to break and enter a house or do damage to property. Therefore approach lighting, back door lighting and certainly lighting along a side alley to your house should be fitted. Remember that the back and sides of your house are often more vulnerable than the front.

There are different types of outdoor security lighting you should consider:

PIR motion sensor lighting 

PIR sensor controlled lighting only turns on if the sensor detects body heat or movement i.e. someone walking by within its detection area. PIR sensors are available with floodlights, more subdued approach lights and porch lights. They are also available separately so you can locate the sensor away from the light.

All PIR sensor controlled lights can be left to operate automatically on detecting body heat or movement or the sensor can be over-ridden and the lights turned on manually.

Dusk to Dawn Lighting

In addition to PIR lighting UK crime prevention officers promote constant all night illumination as an effective deterrent to intrusion. Ask yourself, which of these properties would YOU choose to break in to?

Dusk to Dawn lighting provides all-night illumination. The light will automatically switch on when natural light dims to a certain level. This level is adjustable by you. The benefit is that your house will look occupied at night, even when you are away on holiday, providing a deterrent to intruders. This lighting is often very energy efficient as less power is used and can cost as little as 1p per night to run.

Hi-Lo Lighting

Hi-Lo lighting combines the advantages of both PIR and Dusk to Dawn lighting. It switches on automatically to a low level of brightness when natural light dims at dusk and remains on until dawn. When it senses movement or body heat within its detection range, it switches to full brightness for a period of time you can pre-determine. Many of the features of Security lighting are adjustable. How adjustable will depend on the particular light you chose. See in store for details or our latest range.

BURGLAR ALARMS

Burglar Alarm systems are chiefly based upon the use of (a) magnetic contacts on doors and windows which will activate the alarm if the contacts are separated, and (b) interior Passive Infra Red Detectors which react to body heat and movement in an arc in front of the units. If any unit senses disruptive movement when it is in an ‘armed’ mode, the unit causes alarms to be sounded. With the Passive Infra Red Detectors - PlRs - carefully located it is clear that it would be possible to have units keeping a watchful ‘eye’ on all parts of the house. In reality just two or three strategically placed will provide an excellent level of security.

Wickes supply a range of
alarms to suit most dwellings. In fact the Wire Free alarms can be expanded to include outbuildings and caravans within the radio detection area (see individual kits for details). All Wickes alarms and most accessories are protected by anti tamper devices and Wire Free models incorporate Jamming Detection technology for additional protection. A back up battery, depending upon the alarm kit, is either included or available to keep the alarm system operating in case of power failure.

Each system is complete but additional items are available to extend the number of detection devices. For example, you can purchase extra PIRs, magnetic contacts and transmitters/remote controls for wire free systems and dummy outside alarm boxes.

Each system, Wired or Wire Free, is ‘personalised’ by you selecting your household Personal Identification Number - PIN - and setting your system to only react to that number. When using the control panel to set or deactivate the system you will have to use this number.

As further protection some PIRs and other components are also personalised by the setting of a series of internal switches called dipswitches. The exception to this is the shed/garage alarm that is key operated.

PLANNING THE SECURE ZONES

When choosing an alarm you will need to identify the number of “at risk areas” or protected zones that you will require. Protected means watched over by one or more devices that will, when in an ‘armed’ mode, detect anyone moving in that area and set off the alarm.

In a first floor flat, for example, the one and perhaps only risk area would be the hall adjacent to the entry door. Since access to the flat can reasonably be assumed to come only via the door, the hall would clearly be the place to fit a PIR detector to make it a protected zone.

In a house with front and back doors you immediately have two areas to cover with detectors set to react to anyone entering through the doors. You could have a magnetic contact on each door or a Passive Infra Red Detector (PIR) positioned on a wall opposite the doors covering the area generally and the doors and adjacent windows as well.

In practice the front door is generally classed as the entry/exit door and the control panel is programmed for this. It is normal to fit a magnetic contact to the entry/exit door. When going out you set the system at the control panel or by using your remote control.

With Wire Free systems the remote controls have a panic/P.A. button which is pressed to sound the alarm at any time. Another system circuit should be used for detectors in rooms which, when the house is empty or you are in bed at night, need to be fully protected. When the system is set the alarm will be activated if anyone enters such rooms. 

The lounge and dining room, for example, are best linked to this circuit and, at night, when the system is in ‘Part Set’ or ‘Home’ mode you simply must remember not to enter the protected areas. Don’t allow a dog or cat in either! You will however be able to move around freely upstairs and, depending upon the location of other PIRs, perhaps even be able to go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. When in ‘Full Set’ mode every single detector is armed and nobody can move around anywhere in the home. This is the setting to use only when everybody is out of the house.

To help choose your alarm draw a rough line drawing of the floor plan showing doors, windows and possible means of entry to your house. This will help you decide on how best to protect your property using the available detectors and whether additional items are required. See Diagram A.

Each alarm system sold by Wickes explains how to set it up to suit your requirements.

Each one is different and no attempt is made here to explain each option.

Accessories include:

There is no limit to the number of detectors that can be added to the Wire Free systems provided they are within the radio range of the alarm system. When you come to fit the system you will always find a telephone helpline number to call if you encounter difficulties.

Do’s and Don’ts:


DO remember an alarm is an effective addition to home security but is not a substitute for good security locks on doors and windows 

DO get in the habit of setting your alarm, as a matter of course, an armed alarm is more effective than just a visual deterrent. 

DO regularly check for low battery indicators on Wire Free detectors

DO keep spare batteries for prompt replacement 

DO test system regularly, every 3 months recommended

DON’T leave the house unsecured, even for a short period of time.

DON’T annoy neighbours with nuisance alarms, this lessens their response to your alarm. Review system layout to eliminate false alarms

DON’T give your PIN to strangers such as builders. If you must, change your PIN afterwards.

DON’T let pets into areas protected by Passive Infra Red movement detectors.

Part 1 - Wickes Guide to Home Security

Other home security related pages:-

Home Security

Home security tips - how to beat the burglar.

Home security - basic precautions.

Video tips – DIY & Home Improvement 
including how to lay a real wood floor, how to replace a kitchen worktop and how to tile a wall.


 



Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the product design, descriptions, specifications and techniques of construction are accurate at the date of printing. Wickes products will inevitably change from time to time and the customer is advised to check that the design, descriptions, specifications and techniques of constructing any of the products described in this article are still valid at the time of purchase or placing an order. 

Wickes Building Supplies Limited 2000. 

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