Every security system is made up of a precise network of different home security devices, from alarms to sensors to cameras. Each of these devices makes an important contribution to the overall security of every home, and each device has unique capabilities. If you are a newer homeowner or you simply haven’t ever given much thought to home security before, you may have searched for home security devices online and found yourself inundated with various information and options. How are you supposed to know where to start? Hopefully here we can give you a quick guide as to what options are out there so that you can determine just what it is you want.
Motion detectors are incredible pieces of technology that can detect movement in different ways. There is a wide variety of them out there, so here is a quick overview of some of the main ones and how they compare to each other.
Ultrasound detectors are very classic motion detectors. They use ultrasound waves to determine the placement of objects around them, and if anything moves, the reflected waves that they receive back indicate the movement, automatically triggering an alarm. These are great for indoor areas without pets.
PIR detectors, or passive infrared, don’t emit anything, but rather detect and monitor the infrared heat energy of the environment around them. Today’s advancements in technology have made it harder for these to give off false alarms, as they will only be affected by the presence of human body heat, which is certainly a sudden, very hot energy source. These are the best options for outdoor motion detectors, as they won’t be set off by movement such as rustling trees or even scurrying critters. Only human presence will set them off.
Photoelectric sensors rarely have a wide range, but rather work well for small, specific areas that you want to detect motion in. They have two parts: a sender and a receiver. The sender emits a tiny light beam, which is received and detected by the receiver, which placed directly opposite. This can work in a small space or across a room on opposite walls. If the light beam is ever interrupted, say, by an intruder, the receiver will detect it and trigger the alarm.
Never underestimate the importance of having environmental alarms as part of your security system. Smoke detectors and CO alarms can save your life if an emergency occurs, and you never want to have to worry about not being alerted to potential threats like that.
Smoke detectors come in two main different types. One kind is photoelectric, and it acts much like what was explained above. It tends to be a little larger, and it alerts you to fires when the light bounces off smoke particles in the air, reflecting some of the light back at the detector. This works best for smoldering fires with a lot of smoke. Other detectors simply detect the products of combustion in the air from fires, making this kind best for hot, flaming fires.
CO sensors detect the carbon monoxide content in the air. Most of these function in the same way, simply monitoring those particles in the environment. Some of these can come as dual fire and CO alarms, but dual alarms can tend to malfunction easier than separate ones.
Door and Window Alarms
Some of your most basic home security can come in the form of window and door alarms. There are a few different kinds, which we’ll briefly go over here.
Door and window magnetic contacts are classic alarms that utilize circuitry to alert anyone in the house to the fact that the door or window has opened. A magnetic circuit is formed between the door and the frame, and the circuit can either be opened or closed. Closed contacts have closed circuits when the door is shut, so it is broken when the door opens, sounding the alarm. Open contacts have open circuits when the door or window is shut, so it is closed when the door or window opens, thus sounding the alarm. Closed circuit contacts are typically the most reliable, considering the fact that open circuit contacts are easier to disable.
Glass break sensors are great for when burglars fail at your door and end up at your window. While a magnetic contact may help alert you to an opened window, it can’t do much good to alert you to a broken window. There are three main types of glass break sensors. One is topically applied foil strips that form a circuit much like the magnetic contacts. When the glass is broken, so is the circuit, and the alarm is triggered. The second type is a small, easily concealed device that is placed on the glass which registers the vibrations of the window panes. When the pane is broken, the device registers the high vibrations and sets of the alarm. The last type is more common today, and it is acoustic. It is a device made specifically to recognize the sound and frequency of breaking glass, and it tends to be more accurate than the other types of sensors.
Hopefully this short guide has given you a better idea of the options out there for your home security. Don’t let the amount of products and information out there overwhelm you. Once you decide what you are looking for, you can start narrowing down your list and get well on your way to better defenses for your home and family.