Security System Basics

At its most basic, a security system has two components, the initiation points and the control aspect. The initiation points are varied – door and window switches, motion detectors, glass break detectors, smoke and heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and many more. In short, anything that can initiate an alarm condition. The control aspect decides what to do when an initiation signal is received; sound the siren, contact the central monitoring station and perhaps send you and email about the activation. The control aspect also includes and an interface device such as a keypad to arm and disarm the system. Since we started installing alarm systems in 1992, both have changed dramatically.

How your alarm system receives those signals makes your alarm wireless or hard wired. In 1992, if at all possible, you would run a wire to a device and install a hard wired system. Back then the devices used alkaline batteries that didn’t last very long. Today lithium batteries are used giving up to 5 years of life expectancy. The wireless capabilities also were not as good and the security encryption was nothing like it is today. Today, most alarm systems installed are at least partially wireless.

If the control panel is the heart of the alarm system, the points of protection are the extremities. Start with protecting the vulnerable openings, the windows and doors. If they are opened while the alarm is armed, you want the system to go off. You should also consider glass break detectors in the event someone smashes glass to break in. Next you should have motion detectors to detect an intruder in case they get in via an unprotected area. Those are the basics of burglar detection but your alarm system can be so much more.

Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors alert you and the authorities if there is a life safety risk. If you already have them you should still consider adding them to the system for the reporting capabilities and as a back up.

Other devices can be added as well. Water sensor detectors can alert you if the washing machine hoses burst, your sump pump stops working, or if your basement floods. Temperature sensors can alert you if the internal temperature of the house drops below a certain point. This is especially useful if you leave your home unattended for prolonged periods of time during the winter.

And now, with new technology, you can easily adjust the temperature on your thermostat using your alarm system and a smart phone or computer.

If your are thinking about having an alarm system installed or adding any devices to your existing system, please contact us.