How do I Install a Burglar Alarm?

T. L. Childree

In order to install a burglar alarm, you will probably need to know how to use a drill and a few simple hand tools, such as a screwdriver and hammer. You will also need a very basic understanding of electricity and electrical circuits before you install a burglar alarm. The basic installation steps are to position and mount the sensors, alarm box, and keypad, and then connect these devices to the electrical supply of your home.

A burglar alarm should be placed where it can be heard by police.
A burglar alarm should be placed where it can be heard by police.

Before you install a burglar alarm, you should make a careful assessment of every possible entry point to your home that might need an alarm sensor installed. This assessment should include all accessible windows as well as any exterior doors. If your home has a garage, you should consider installing a sensor on its door also. It would probably be a good idea to install a sensor near the chimney if your home is equipped with a fireplace as well. If your system includes motion sensors, you should also survey both the interior and exterior of your home for locations where this type of sensor might be needed.

The keypad should be positioned where the homeowner can access it immediately after entering the home.
The keypad should be positioned where the homeowner can access it immediately after entering the home.

After you have determined the locations of your sensors, your next step should be to decide where you intend to mount the alarm box itself. The alarm box will need to be located in place where it can be seen and heard in the event of a burglary. The most likely location for the alarm box would be on an exterior wall, so that a potential burglar can see it before attempting to break-in. This box will need to be mounted high enough on the wall that it cannot be easily tampered with or damaged. You should also place the alarm box in a location where police or neighbors can hear it from a reasonable distance.

Once you have located and mounted the alarm box, you should begin installing the sensors in their proper locations. Most window and door sensors are magnetic, so it is important that you install these correctly. The two components of these magnetic sensors should be carefully installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions in order for the system to function correctly. After you have connected the sensors to the alarm box, it may be necessary for you to test each sensor and make minor adjustments to the components for optimum performance.

After the sensors are in place, you will need to install the keypad control unit. This keypad should be mounted in a location that will allow you quick and easy access to it after you have entered your home. This location should be near the door that you most often use when returning home from somewhere. It might be helpful to read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how many seconds you will have to disarm the system before you decide on the exact location of the keypad.

Your next step to take in order to install a burglar alarm is to connect the sensors to the alarm box. Beginning at the alarm box, you will need to install electrical wires to each sensor, motion detector, and keypad in succession until you have made a complete circuit back to the alarm box. You will probably have to drill several small holes in the walls and ceilings of your home in order to keep the wiring from being visible.

Once you have installed the necessary wires, you will need to connect them to the electrical terminals of each component of the alarm system. The alarm box will also need to be connected to your home’s electrical supply as well as to a back-up emergency battery. After the electricity has been connected to the system, you should conduct a complete and thorough test of each component of the entire burglar alarm system to ensure that it is working properly.

A hammer may be needed to install a burglar alarm.
A hammer may be needed to install a burglar alarm.

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Discussion Comments


To heck with false alarms. I'd be worried about electrocuting myself if I tried to hard wire a burglar alarm into a home's electrical system!

Motion lights with solar cells, or cameras with solar cells are one thing. They don't require any kind of wiring. Just put them up and anchor them securely to the building and you're done. I just wouldn't even attempt something like a burglar alarm. Doing stuff like that is how people end up with their obituaries on the front page of the newspaper with a headline like, "Man electrocutes self while trying to install burglar alarm."


Since my city has a "false alarm" ordinance, I think I'll let the professionals deal with installing a burglar alarm. There is a lot to know, and if you do it wrong, you might trigger the alarm too much. That will trigger a fine in my city.

I'd much rather have a burglar alarm wired to a monitoring service that can alert me no matter where I am, and can call the police. I really don't want to be one of those people whose burglar alarm goes off every time I turn on the coffee pot. It can happen. There were stories in our local newspaper about some disastrous home installations.

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