Features of a Home Alarm System
Every home alarm system works on the same fundamental principle, which is securing every entry point such as windows and doors as well as the interior spaces that contain valuable items such as guns, coin collections, computers, and art. Regardless of the number of rooms, doors, and windows you decide to protect or the size of your home, the total number of security components installed throughout your home and monitored via the control panel makes the only real difference.
What is a security system?
A security system is a technique with which you ensure your home’s security through integrating a system of interworking devices and components. Home alarm systems involve a central control panel and a network of integrated electronic devices functioning together to provide protection against any potential home intrusion. Getting a reliable unit is important, which is why you need to know how to determine the most suitable alarm system for your home. Effective home alarms usually have the following features:
• A control panel, which is the central controlling unit of alarm systems
• Door and window sensors
• Interior and exterior motion sensors
• Wireless or wired security cameras
• A high-decibel alarm or siren
• Window stickers and a yard sign
How a home alarm system works
As we mentioned above, home alarm systems function on the simple concept of securing every entry point into your house. Home alarm systems use sensors that communicate with an installed control panel conveniently located inside the house. The sensors are usually installed in easy to access windows such as those located at ground level as well as every door leading to and from your house. You can also use motion sensors to secure the open spaces inside your home.
Control panel: Comprises of a computer that is responsible for communicating with the alarm monitoring company, arming and disarming the entire alarm system, communicating with every other installed component, and sounding the alarm whenever a security zone is breached. For easy programming and interaction, high-quality control panels usually feature a touchpad, which is where you enter the passcode to either arm and disarm the system. In addition to working on voice commands, you can program advanced control panels to work with wireless remote controls known as key fobs.
Door and window sensors: These sensors comprise of two components that are installed adjacent to each other. Installation of the first part is in the window or door while the second element is fitted to the window sill or door frame. The two components join whenever you close the window or door, creating a security circuit. These sensors communicate with the control panel once the security system is armed, reporting that particular point of entry as secure. Any sudden opening of a monitored door or window breaks the security circuit, which the control panel interprets as a breach of the secured zone. The control panel then sounds a high-decibel alarm and automatically notifies the alarm monitoring company.
Motion sensors: Once armed, interior and exterior motion sensors protect a given area by creating a zone that is invisible to the naked eye and impossible to breach without triggering the control panel to sound the alarm and notifying the alarm monitoring company. Motion sensors are usually installed to protect against intrusion of rooms containing valuables and less frequented areas in larger homes.
Surveillance cameras: Although these cameras are currently available in wired and wireless configurations, high-quality home alarm systems usually feature the wireless type since their installation is often more discrete. As part of an overall home security system, you can use surveillance cameras in several different ways such as monitoring:
• Interior and exterior entry points such as front doors and garage doors.
• Distant or hard to see areas of your property.
• Remotely located buildings such as workshops, barns, and garages.
Advanced high-quality alarm systems allow homeowners to remotely access their surveillance cameras using smartphones, tablets, or computers. This ease of access comes in handy when you are out of town. Apart from being able to monitor the arrival of your children after school, you can watch delivery persons, caregivers, and landscapers. Because it is possible to record everything viewed through these surveillance cameras, identification of the perpetrators in the case of an intrusion, invasion, or burglary attempt is a lot easier and almost assured. The footage could include a good view of the perpetrators’ faces or even the registration of whatever vehicle they drove.
High-decibel alarm: Being loud enough to be heard by your neighbors, home security sirens serve a few different purposes. For starters, the siren alerts you and whoever else is inside your home that a problem has occurred. Secondly, the shrill sound is loud enough to not only notify your neighbors about the situation but also send any potential intruder running.
Window stickers and a yard sign: Although they may seem like marketing tools, these items play a major role in home security. Planting a security company’s sign in your front yard and placing their sticker in your front window warns potential burglars that your home is professionally protected and not a wise choice for an attempted burglary. The message alone is usually enough to keep off potential intruders.
In case of an intrusion
What your home alarm system does in the event of an invasion depends on the type of system installed. The different kinds available are designed to perform certain tasks once a breach occurs.
Professionally monitored alarm systems: Along with the high-decibel siren, the monitoring alarm company is alerted immediately a security issue arises in your home if you have this type of alarm system installed. A trained security expert usually attempts to communicate with you through the control panel if it is configured for 2-way voice communication. The expert might also call the emergency contact number provided. These alarm systems communicate with monitoring companies through one of several ways.
• Over the existing phone lines.
• Wirelessly via cellular radio frequencies.
• Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
• Through the Internet.
In the event of an emergency, monitoring companies notify appropriate emergency response personnel in the affected area including police, paramedics, and firefighters, while trying to maintain contact with you. Monitored systems also allow text message and email notification whenever a security breach occurs.
Non-monitored security systems: Today, many do-it-yourself home alarm systems that do not feature professionally monitored services are available. As long as a high-decibel alarm is installed alongside non-monitored security systems, the siren will sound in the event of an intrusion. Unfortunately, a homeowner has to initiate contact with the relevant response personnel such as police, paramedics, or firefighters by dialing the appropriate number. Depending on the system you opt for, and your provider, this type of alarm systems may or may not allow text message or email notifications in the event of a breach.