Maybe you just bought a new home, or are expecting your first baby, or are concerned about increasing crime in your neighborhood. Whatever the case, the human need for safety and a desire for peace of mind are universal – you want to feel safe in your home. Perhaps you are considering installing a home security system for the first time, but aren’t sure how a security system actually works. In this blog we attempt to answer that question.

The Components

The most common type of security system is an alarm system, and the primary component of an alarm system is the panel. This is the brain of the system and it communicates with the system sensors, and with the monitoring station in the case of a monitored system.

The most common type of alarm sensor is a door/window sensor. This device has 2 small pieces, the sensor and a magnet. One piece attaches to the door or window frame and the other piece attaches to the door or window, so that when the system is armed and the door or window is opened the alarm is triggered. When this happens an audible alarm sounds and the monitoring station will contact you and dispatch the police if needed.

The other most common types of sensors are motion detectors (pictured here) and glass break detectors. Motion detectors are mounted to the wall, often in the corner of a room, and detect motion in a given area (usually around 20-30 feet). Glass break detectors are typically mounted on the ceiling and monitor for the sound of breaking glass. Most glass break detectors have a range of about 15 feet.

More advanced systems may also incorporate some combination of smoke/heat, carbon monoxide, and flood sensors. As their names suggest, these devices are used to let you know if smoke/heat, carbon monoxide or a water leak is detected in your home.

With a local (non-monitored) alarm system the devices communicate with your panel and will cause an audible alarm when a sensor is triggered, alerting you if you are home. With a monitored alarm system your monitoring station is notified when a sensor is tripped, and they will attempt to notify you and dispatch the appropriate authorities if needed.

Security Cameras

Cameras systems are very popular these days as well, and for good reason. Most camera systems can be connected to your internet and viewed remotely from your smart phone.

Many camera systems can even notify you when motion is detected on your property, allowing you to pull up your video feed from your smart phone and see what caused the motion. Some camera systems are capable of being monitored by your monitoring company (we will most likely see more of this in the future), but at this time those systems are still very rare.

Hopefully this blog was a helpful introduction to home security systems. If you have further questions or would like help designing a security system for your home please let us know – we would be happy to help!