It usually takes just one or two heavy-handed burglaries in a neighborhood or apartment building to set off a spate of burglar alarm purchases.

People are frightened by the thought of someone entering their home, especially when they're sleeping and they rush out to buy a burglar alarm.

Burglar alarms installed by a company are not cheap. They range from $750 to $1,500 for a house and from $350 to $750 for an apartment. More exotic alarms that call a security guard or the police through a "silent" wire are more expensive, raging from $30 to $50 a month to lease.

According to Myril Zion, a nationally known security consultant in New York, you can get a "very effective" do-it-yourself Master Lock Company. The kit costs around $100 for the average-sized house and around $75 for the average apartment slightly more for bigger houses and apartments.

You get magnetic switches for windows and doors. They're easy to install with a screwdriver. When the switch is pulled by a window or door opening, the alarm goes off. You get wire to attach the switches to a control panel and alarm horn or siren. A key installed outside your home "arms the alarm when you leave.

The same company makes an alarm called Ultra-Son, with you can also easily install yourself. Just plug it in at a spot in your home where a burglar would have to pass and the breaking of an ultrasonic beam sets it off. The cost is $190 ($25 extra for extra, remote alarms). Ultra-Son remote alarm horns can be placed upstairs or even in a neighbour's home (if the home is on the same electricity grid)

For a brochure on how these do-it-yourself alarms work and the name of the nearest dealer, write. Master Lock Co., 2600 N. 32nd St, Milwaukee, Wis.53210.

You may not want to fuss with installing your own burglar alarm or you may have a home that contains valuable paintings or other items that need more protection. You may live off the beaten trail and need an alarm that sounds at a security company office so the police can be called.

One of the easiest systems for a company to install is one that uses wireless transmitters to connect window and door switches to a central control and horn. Rollins, Westinghouse and several local companies install these systems. They cost from $750 to $1,500 and you can take the equipment with you when you move.

More common is the wired system that requires concealed wires running from door and window switches to your control panel. This requires more installation work and tends to cost more - from $900 to $1,800. But it's a stable system with less to go wrong. Such national companies as Honeywell, American District Telegraph (ADT), Wells Fargo and Burns install these. So do many reputable, local companies. Check names with your police and Better Bussiness Bureau.

If you want an alarm that goes to a security company operator so the police can be called, you pay much more. But people who live in out of-the-way places or have heavy valuables might feel it's worth it. ADT and Homes install and lease these systems as well as some local companies.

There are all sorts of devices that "sense" the movement or presence of burglars in a home, but they tend to cause false alarms in an active family (dogs and kids).

For an excellent book on the subject, "Homeowner's Security Handbook", send $2.95 to American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race ST, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.

You can get a free booklet, "Home Security Alarms," just published by the Department of Commerce, by writing: Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, Colo. 81009. It's not as detailed as the above book but it can answer some initial questions.

BOOKS AND BOOKLETS: Planning a move? Millions of Americans are moving up or away this summer. You can get a free pamplet, "Tips on Moving," by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Tips on Moving, American Movers Conference, P.O. Box 9204, Arlington, Va. 22209. The same outfit (which is an association of moving companies) also has a free brochure on "Moving an Children," which deals with trasferring to a new school, making new friends and other psychological needs.

Q.Would you please give me the name of a non-dairy creamer made from soybean oil? I heard that the creamers made from coconut oil are not good for people who must be on a low cholesterol (low-fat) diet.

A. If you look closely at non-dairy creamer labels, you'll find that most of them are now made from soybean oil. Previously, some were made from coconut oil and were just labeled "vegetable oil".

Q. In a previous column, how to keep moisture and invasion of cold air off ground-level flooring, you correctly noted that insulation with a "vapor barrier" (paper or metal foil) was needed. But a "reverse-flange" type insulation is needed to make the insulation easy to install.

It would cost very little more to have a professional insulation contractor do your insulation work. You'd get the job done right and would save money in the long run.

A. Some insulation jobs are easier than others for "do-it-yourselfs." Insulation costs are at least doubled when a profession does the job.