Maintaining an advanced home security system can help protect your family and your possessions from criminals. A good security system includes multiple parts, starting with a control panel to manage all the components. Together, these parts work as a complete system to monitor your home and alert you of any trouble.
Control Panel – The control panel of your home security system operates as the brain of your system and communicates with each component. Motion detectors and other sensors will not give you any protection if you don’t have a control panel to manage them. Alarm control panels generally feature a keypad that you can use to program the system. In addition, the keypad lets you arm and disarm the system.
Many homeowners install their control panels near an exit so that they can easily arm the system each time they leave the house. Other homeowners may install the control panel in a protected location to prevent young children from playing with it.
The control panel monitors each sensor and activates the alarm when someone or something trips a sensor. On most basic models, the control panel will emit a loud siren, alerting the residents of a possible intrusion. This loud siren often scares away the intruder. Advanced home security systems can communicate directly with a home security monitoring company, alerting the company to a potential emergency. The monitoring team can then call your local police department and direct aid to your home.
Motion Detectors – Motion detectors are an essential component of every security system. A motion detector senses movement in your house and immediately alerts your control panel to a possible intruder. Most systems allow you to install multiple motion detectors throughout your home. For best results, consider placing your motion detectors near each point of entry in your home. If you have pets, you may need to place your detectors in rooms that your pets can’t access to avoid false alarms. If you don’t want to set off your alarm each time you come home, you will need to program your control panel to give you a few seconds to disable the alarm before sounding the siren.
Door and Window Sensors – Door and window sensors use magnetic contact sensors to detect unauthorized entry. For a door sensor to work properly, you must place one magnet on the door and another magnet on the door frame. A window sensor operates in a similar way; the magnetic strip on the window must stay in contact with its partner on the window frame. If a burglar forces a sensor-equipped window or door open, the system will detect the broken contact between the magnets and sound the alarm. These sensors play a critical role in your alarm system; many intruders attempt to enter your home through these obvious entry points.
Glass Break Detectors – Connecting a glass break detector to your alarm system gives you another way to monitor a common entry point for intruders. Most glass break detectors use a microphone to monitor vibrations and noise from the window. If the noise reaches a certain threshold, such as the noise caused by breaking glass, your alarm system will trip. These detectors pair well with your other sensors; some burglars may choose to break a window to get into your home, rendering your magnetic window sensors useless.
Cameras – Security cameras give you a way to watch the inside and outside of your home, even if you’re on vacation or at work. With the right setup and a working Internet connection at home, you can observe your cameras on any Internet-enabled device. Advanced models can even detect motion and immediately notify you of the event. You can even use your security cameras for different applications, such as making sure your children arrive home from school on schedule.
Apps for your Mobile Devices – If you want more control over your alarm system while you’re away from the house, you can control it with an app on your mobile device. When you have a working Internet connection, you can arm or disarm your alarm system from anywhere in the world. Some apps offer advanced features, such as the ability to see the current temperature of your home. If you have cameras stationed in your home, you can use an app to view your video feeds. Advanced apps allow you to rotate your cameras, giving you a better view of the activity in your home.
Panic Button – A panic button is a small remote that allows you to trip your alarm system by pressing a button. If you place a few of these remotes around your home, your family will have a way to protect themselves from a variety of emergencies. For example, if an elderly relative lives with you, she can use the panic button to summon help if she suffers a painful fall while you’re away. Panic buttons are especially useful if your alarm control panel is in a remote section of your home. Keeping a panic button at your bedside will help you sleep more peacefully.
Remote Controls – A remote control allows you to arm and disarm your system remotely. If you often come home with your arms full of groceries, you’ll soon appreciate your remote control. Each time you arrive at home, simply press the button on the remote before opening the door. A remote control also makes it easy to enable your alarm when you’re heading out the door in a rush. Some remote controls also include a panic button as an extra feature.
Cellular Backup Monitoring – If your phone line stops working during an emergency, your alarm system can’t notify your security monitoring company. With cellular backup monitoring, however, the system can send the notification through a cellular network instead. If you don’t have a dedicated phone line in your home, you can use cellular backup monitoring to keep your system in contact with your security monitoring company.