HOME security is something that touches a nerve with all of us.
The prospect of arriving home to a ransacked house, or worse still, to experience a home invasion when you and your loved ones are present, is nothing short of chilling. Security measures beyond a locked front door and a fake bell-box are not just the province of the wealthy.
Classic protection steps, plus the latest innovations and technology, have brought the price of greater peace of mind well within reach of the ordinary householder. Burglars want a soft, easy target, so let’s ensure that’s not your address.
PEEP HOLES: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
A peep or spy hole is easy to install in a timber, composite or PVC door. They come in two sizes, generally for 35-60mm doors and a deeper hole for 60-85mm doors and start at as little as €5 for a 180° angle of view. You bore the door to the instructions (12mm is standard) and screw the unit together from either side. Simple.
A digital version of the spy hole delivers the image to a small LCD screen. Ideal for anyone with visual impairment, expect to pay €100-€150 for a better, brighter look with no fisheye style distortion. Another step up, but well under the price of a fully wired-in alarm, a wireless door viewer offers a remote intercom system to see exactly who is there and if you have any concerns, takes a picture for future reference, including a time and date that you can email directly to your local gardaí.
With sound and picture to a 5cm LCD screen, these systems fully fitted will set you back in the area of €400, or €300 plus supplied.
A door chain allows you to get a better look without having an entry door completely unsecured and costs about €8 for a Yale model for a timber door. If you have a PVC or composite door and are worried about voiding the warranty by drilling into the housing to attach a chain, a Secure Ring, is a great alternative. A chain is fixed to the wall by the door frame and features a large ring that slips over the door handle when needed. For stockists go online to www.stoptheburglar.ie. €39.99.
If a caller says they represent a company, keep your chain on and ask for ID with the company details, close the door again, and call their head office on a landline number. If you’re still uncertain, don’t let them in and if they persist, call the gardaí.
Deterrence comes in no better form than a security light, and many of us use these lights for our own safety coming and going. A typical light is wired in by your electrician, but if you want to get one up quickly that won’t draw any power or be vulnerable to electricity outages, an LCD solar-powered unit can be installed by anyone with a head for heights. The solar collector can be placed several metres away if the light position is right out of the sun. Electric Ireland offer an Evo56 , which operates up to 12m from the sensor and only becomes active after dusk,€92. Wired-in lights start from €15, Budget for installation by a RECI registered electrician who can offer advice on positioning and maintenance. www.electricireland.ie.
Security systems are a paranoid technophile’s dream — with HD varifocal dome and bullet camera systems along with night vision and ‘covert motion detection’— James Bond wouldn’t tango past.
Cameras come wired and with Wi-Fi, but even if the picture is transmitted without a cable to your digital viewing system or PC, both require wired-in 12V power for each position.
If you don’t want to get into CCTV recorders, a GuardCam is a complete all-in-one PIR floodlight, (A Passive Infrared Sensor is an electronic sensor that measures infrared light from objects in its field of view), camera, speaker and CCTV recorder. Connect to the mains power, fix to a wall and the built-in DVR will record video images or pictures straight to the supplied SD card. €158. www.cctvireland.ie.
More elaborate CCTV technology featuring an all encompassing family of cameras inside and out, allows you to remotely access your cameras while at work or even abroad, (see illustration).
The system will email or text photos of what’s happening as events occur, via a Smartphone, iPad or other android. Starter camera kits for good branded products such as Sony, (supply only). with four cameras and a digital recorder with 250Gb hard drive start around €350.
Eircom offers CCTV packages together with their Phonewatch Alarm services. www.eircom.net.
FULL HOUSE ALARMS
The cabling that made classic burglar alarms so expensive has been joined by a new generation of Wi-Fi sensors, alarms and cameras that can form an intelligent circuit without being cabled together. Not only easier to install and a fraction of the cost, these alarms can integrate smoke, gas and water alarms, and be extended to the grounds to alert you to uninvited guests using PIR sensors placed around the house and garden. Bridging the gap between a fully monitored service and a simple bell box bleating to an empty theatre, you become your own guardian, receiving an instant SMS message as your alarms goes off.
Packages for self installation Wi-Fi with two door contacts and key pad with telephonic capabilities, start around €250 and you can build on your system according to the number of accessible points via windows and doors,www.securitywatch.ie.
For a monitored alarm system, including ambulance, fire services and Garda panic buttons, and more — wired or wire free, Phonewatch from Eircom, offers deals from €699.
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