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Replace existing alarm

  • 14-07-2017 6:52pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    Hi, I moved into a house a while back which has an Aritech panel already installed and the house is wired. The house was empty for a while so I assume the alarm is defunct and the system needs to be replaced.

    I was reading on a particular website that if your alarm is over 15 years old it would be best opt for a wireless system. This house was build in 1996. My first question is - is it correct that I should limit myself to wireless systems?

    My second question is - we have a rectangular 1-story extension on the back of the house with 4 velux windows. Is the best option here a motion sensor in the room?

    Any advice appreciated.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    Markx wrote: »
    Hi, I moved into a house a while back which has an Aritech panel already installed and the house is wired. The house was empty for a while so I assume the alarm is defunct and the system needs to be replaced.

    I was reading on a particular website that if your alarm is over 15 years old it would be best opt for a wireless system. This house was build in 1996. My first question is - is it correct that I should limit myself to wireless systems?

    My second question is - we have a rectangular 1-story extension on the back of the house with 4 velux windows. Is the best option here a motion sensor in the room?

    Any advice appreciated.

    An alarm system is made up of many components, namely the control system being the panel and keypad.
    From that you have sounders and detectors, just because a panel is over 15 years old does not mean that the entire thing has to be ripped out and a wireless one installed.
    As your panel is 15 years old then it will not comply with En 50131, a standard which came in about 11 years ago, the issue here is with insurers as your system, which the panel is the major component of, cannot comply with that standard.
    So the advice I would give you would be to replace the panel, but as you already have a wired system in your home get a licensed installer to give all the existing detectors and wiring the once over.
    I think it would be crazy to rip it all out and go wireless, you are bringing unnecessary costs on yourself.

    With regard to your velux windows, if possible and if there is already, have these fitted with contacts, but by all means have a beam in that room as well. Fitting shock sensors to velux windows can cause false activations during hail stone showers etc.

    Also most new control panels now are hybrid meaning they can accommodate all of your wired devices and allow the connection of wireless ones.


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    kub wrote: »
    An alarm system is made up of many components, namely the control system being the panel and keypad.
    From that you have sounders and detectors, just because a panel is over 15 years old does not mean that the entire thing has to be ripped out and a wireless one installed.
    As your panel is 15 years old then it will not comply with En 50131, a standard which came in about 11 years ago, the issue here is with insurers as your system, which the panel is the major component of, cannot comply with that standard.
    So the advice I would give you would be to replace the panel, but as you already have a wired system in your home get a licensed installer to give all the existing detectors and wiring the once over.
    I think it would be crazy to rip it all out and go wireless, you are bringing unnecessary costs on yourself.

    With regard to your velux windows, if possible and if there is already, have these fitted with contacts, but by all means have a beam in that room as well. Fitting shock sensors to velux windows can cause false activations during hail stone showers etc.

    Also most new control panels now are hybrid meaning they can accommodate all of your wired devices and allow the connection of wireless ones.

    Yeah this is what made sense to me until I read the spiel on the Securigard website. My initial plan was to get a HKC panel installed using the existing wiring.

    Would an installer come out just to check the wiring or would they only do that once I've agreed to get an alarm installed by them? It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. I want to know if the wiring is good without committing to use that installer beforehand (I would intend to pay them for checking it as an independent job obviously).


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 24,719 Mod ✭✭✭✭ KoolKid


    My advice is to get around 3 independent surveys from licenced installers to see what your best options are.
    If the existing wiring is prewired it should be fine to reuse.
    Most good systems now are hybrid so you would have the options to mix with wireless if need be.
    Unless you have poor surface wiring there is no need to consider a fully wireless system.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    Markx wrote:
    Yeah this is what made sense to me until I read the spiel on the Securigard website. My initial plan was to get a HKC panel installed using the existing wiring.


    That is an issue with all web sites, they only promote themselves and are full of bull mostly.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 24,719 Mod ✭✭✭✭ KoolKid


    And next you will be told PIR motion sensors are all you need..
    As I said, shop around and get proper site survey first.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3 annmariee


    I use this guy for my house alarm (snip)

    But might be worth ringing someone like him to see if he can do anything with the pre-existing wires. My house was wired, but one window was missing the wires so he ended up putting in a wireless sensor on that window.
    When I got my attic converted, I did enquire with him if he thought I should get sensors on the Velux windows, but he didn't think there was any need.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,930 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Stoner


    Mod note please don't post company names on the public forum please read the charter and see the suppliers sticky


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    Well, the HKC wireless alarm is installed following what has proved to be a slightly unsavoury experience.

    I got several quotes as suggested and went for what initially appeared to be the best one. Having had a very long discussion with the company owner and sent pictures of the property to be secured it wasn't clear that the extension to the back of the house in the pictures wasn't to be secured. Once the installation had been completed he was looking for an extra 300 euros for 5 contacts. Anyway - bill paid and alarm works so I move on from that issue - I've learned my lesson, was a bit naive.

    I went for a HKC alarm and specified that I wanted this as we didn't want any ongoing costs - just the monthly GSM service cost. This was made very clear - no room for misunderstanding as there was above. I've now received a request for a monthly standing order of 24.78 per month broken down as 10.89 for the HKC service and 13.89 for the Monthly Alarm Service Maintenance (MASM). I've told him that i don't want the MASM (he responded with various scare tactics on that one but agreed I wouldn't strictly have to pay it).

    My queries are: (1) Not wanting an ongoing relationship with the installation company, must I pay the HKC fee through them as they says, or do HKC deal directly with customers? (2) Is 10.89 the correct fee - some quotations said 7 euros? (3) What do I need to do to be allowed maintain the alarm system myself. He won't give me the engineer codes. As a software developer I hope to have enough technical savvy to manage it myself.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    So the guy never actually set foot on your property before they installed the system?

    I note you mentioned wireless contacts, is this the only coverage you Have?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,840 ✭✭✭ fred funk }{


    Markx wrote: »
    Well, the HKC wireless alarm is installed following what has proved to be a slightly unsavoury experience.

    I got several quotes as suggested and went for what initially appeared to be the best one. Having had a very long discussion with the company owner and sent pictures of the property to be secured it wasn't clear that the extension to the back of the house in the pictures wasn't to be secured. Once the installation had been completed he was looking for an extra 300 euros for 5 contacts. Anyway - bill paid and alarm works so I move on from that issue - I've learned my lesson, was a bit naive.

    I went for a HKC alarm and specified that I wanted this as we didn't want any ongoing costs - just the monthly GSM service cost. This was made very clear - no room for misunderstanding as there was above. I've now received a request for a monthly standing order of 24.78 per month broken down as 10.89 for the HKC service and 13.89 for the Monthly Alarm Service Maintenance (MASM). I've told him that i don't want the MASM (he responded with various scare tactics on that one but agreed I wouldn't strictly have to pay it).

    My queries are: (1) Not wanting an ongoing relationship with the installation company, must I pay the HKC fee through them as they says, or do HKC deal directly with customers? (2) Is 10.89 the correct fee - some quotations said 7 euros? (3) What do I need to do to be allowed maintain the alarm system myself. He won't give me the engineer codes. As a software developer I hope to have enough technical savvy to manage it myself.

    Everything should have been black & white and in writing so there's no misunderstandings.

    The installer is running a business so is perfectly entitled to add a margin onto a service if they're managing that service for the end user. Again, this should have been laid out clear in the initial specification.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,877 ✭✭✭ alan partridge aha


    I have a HKC wired alarm installed in a 2500sq feet house in August 2017. The installer charged €975 for the whole installation.

    There was a one off fee for the HKC app of €7.99 plus €4.99 a month for the alarm monitoring paid to security and risk communication on my bank online. This means if the alarm goes off it texts me and x amount of others.

    It was dearer if I wanted it monitored by the guards plus I would get I service per year free. I think that would have been €150 per annum.


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    kub wrote: »
    So the guy never actually set foot on your property before they installed the system?

    I note you mentioned wireless contacts, is this the only coverage you Have?

    Yeah we had a long discussion and I send photos of the property from several angles. It's a standard 3 bed semi so no great mysteries about it.

    Wireless contacts and PIR.


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    Everything should have been black & white and in writing so there's no misunderstandings.

    The installer is running a business so is perfectly entitled to add a margin onto a service if they're managing that service for the end user. Again, this should have been laid out clear in the initial specification.

    Yes, as I said I was naive. The quote was not itemised. With respect to adding a margin - that's my question - is he entitled to add a margin to the monthly HKC charge? Do I have to pay through him as he suggests. I don't want him to provide any management service as I stated all throughout the process.


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    I have a HKC wired alarm installed in a 2500sq feet house in August 2017. The installer charged €975 for the whole installation.

    There was a one off fee for the HKC app of €7.99 plus €4.99 a month for the alarm monitoring paid to security and risk communication on my bank online. This means if the alarm goes off it texts me and x amount of others.

    It was dearer if I wanted it monitored by the guards plus I would get I service per year free. I think that would have been €150 per annum.

    Yes I'm wondering why that's 4.99 for you per month and 10.89 for me......


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    If someone is only paying €4.99 a month then their polling to the server is only once every 8 hours.

    The next step up is a polling time of 90 mins.

    Onwards and upwards, the more polling then the more expensive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    Markx wrote:
    Yeah we had a long discussion and I send photos of the property from several angles. It's a standard 3 bed semi so no great mysteries about it.


    No great mystery indeed that your installer did not do a site survey so.
    He should have looked at your home before he proposed a system to you in writing as per EN 50131


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    kub wrote: »
    If someone is only paying €4.99 a month then their polling to the server is only once every 8 hours.

    The next step up is a polling time of 90 mins.

    Onwards and upwards, the more polling then the more expensive.

    So given I've the HKC app, downloaded from Google Play, does what you say indicate that the app is configured to poll at a certain rate by the Security company? So different security company's will be able to configure their service levels with HKC, which would determine the rate of polling?

    This seems unlikely because a person subscribing for less regular polling could give HKC alarms in general a bad name.


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    kub wrote: »
    No great mystery indeed that your installer did not do a site survey so.
    He should have looked at your home before he proposed a system to you in writing as per EN 50131

    Hmm thanks - very interesting and useful information. This is not a fly-by-night operation. The company is well established in South Dublin for some time from what I can tell.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    Your app does not poll, sorry i might have caused confusion there.
    Your app is like any other on your phone.

    What I am referring to is a unit in your alarm panel called and I am assuming by the way, a GSM SC.
    When installers are setting this up on the HKC server they have tick which polling option they deem necessary.
    So it is the unit in your system that does the polling not your app.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,335 ✭✭✭ kub


    Markx wrote:
    This seems unlikely because a person subscribing for less regular polling could give HKC alarms in general a bad name.


    That is why proper site surveys need to be carried out and people need to listen to advice as offered.
    Also the cheapest installer is never the best.


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  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 24,719 Mod ✭✭✭✭ KoolKid


    Markx wrote: »
    Well, the HKC wireless alarm is installed following what has proved to be a slightly unsavoury experience.

    I got several quotes as suggested and went for what initially appeared to be the best one. Having had a very long discussion with the company owner and sent pictures of the property to be secured it wasn't clear that the extension to the back of the house in the pictures wasn't to be secured. Once the installation had been completed he was looking for an extra 300 euros for 5 contacts. Anyway - bill paid and alarm works so I move on from that issue - I've learned my lesson, was a bit naive.

    I went for a HKC alarm and specified that I wanted this as we didn't want any ongoing costs - just the monthly GSM service cost. This was made very clear - no room for misunderstanding as there was above. I've now received a request for a monthly standing order of 24.78 per month broken down as 10.89 for the HKC service and 13.89 for the Monthly Alarm Service Maintenance (MASM). I've told him that i don't want the MASM (he responded with various scare tactics on that one but agreed I wouldn't strictly have to pay it).

    My queries are: (1) Not wanting an ongoing relationship with the installation company, must I pay the HKC fee through them as they says, or do HKC deal directly with customers? (2) Is 10.89 the correct fee - some quotations said 7 euros? (3) What do I need to do to be allowed maintain the alarm system myself. He won't give me the engineer codes. As a software developer I hope to have enough technical savvy to manage it myself.

    First off you should have got a site visit & that should have been followed up by a written system design proposal which would detail everything & the cost of any additional devices /services.
    Secondly I would recommend you should have inertia contacts on all accessible windows/doors not just contacts.
    Thirdly , if he wants to mark up the app fee/service fee from HKC he's entitled to. However, you are also entitled to not avail of it and sign up yourself or via another installer.
    All details re pricing etc is available on the portal here. https://securecomm.hkc.ie/
    You could politely request the engineer code or if you are dealing with another installer they could easily reset it for you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    KoolKid wrote: »
    First off you should have got a site visit & that should have been followed up by a written system design proposal which would detail everything & the cost of any additional devices /services.
    Secondly I would recommend you should have inertia contacts on all accessible windows/doors not just contacts.
    Thirdly , if he wants to mark up the app fee/service fee from HKC he's entitled to. However, you are also entitled to not avail of it and sign up yourself or via another installer.
    All details re pricing etc is available on the portal here. https://securecomm.hkc.ie/
    You could politely request the engineer code or if you are dealing with another installer they could easily reset it for you.

    Yeah I've asked for the engineer code a number of times but to no avail. I've even pointed out to him he's obviously reluctant to give me the code. He says no engineers would give their codes. Hopefully when he gets to the end of his shake-down routine he will relent. It's all been very amicable. I will forward on detailed quotations I got from other vendors and suggest that it might be a good idea for them to provide a similarly transparent service.

    I thought I was going with a reputable company based on their profile and was clearly complacent in that respect. It's very possible i got decision-makers fatigue when selecting an alarm here. It's a jungle folks :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭ Markx


    Anyway I've come to the end of my journey on this one, quite a bit wiser to the ins and outs of getting an alarm installed. Thanks to all those who gave advice here. Much appreciated!


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 24,719 Mod ✭✭✭✭ KoolKid


    Your welcome. I hope we were of some help.


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