21 Nov 2017
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Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home and your loved ones. A reliable alarm system deters criminals and gives homeowners peace of mind. An investigative report covering convicted burglars found that security cameras were an effective deterrent and that most intruders would leave once an alarm goes off. A report by the University of North Carolina also found that about 60% of convicted burglars stated the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home.
From basic alarms, home security systems have evolved into technological wonders. It is now an important component of having a smart home. With all the recent enhancements to the basic alarm, modern security systems have become a flexible and faithful layer of defense against burglars and other emergencies.
Each home security system part and component serve a specific purpose and they play a special role in the overall protection of your home. Hardwired and wireless systems may have a few differences in design and composition, but the basic parts should be more or less the same. Note also that accessories need to be compatible with your system before you purchase them.
To appreciate your security system even more and better understand how it works, let’s look into the different home alarm system components that make the system what it is.
Photo courtesy of Alarm System Store
Every security system has this. This is like the soul of the system because all of alarm operations go through it. It is usually a touchpad that communicates to the other parts of an alarm system such as sensors or cameras. In short, it makes sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. If you compare it to a human body, the control panel is like the brain or the nervous system that tells the body what to do or how to feel.
The control panel decides what to do based on the information it gets from other components. It decides whether to sound the alarm or set off the siren.
If your system is directly connected to the company’s central monitor system, it is also the control panel’s job to communicate with it.
This is like your system’s remote control. It is usually a touchpad where you check the status of your system, turn it on or off, or enter program user codes. So if the control panel is the brains, the keypad is the command center. It is the main interface between you and the system. Just remember that keypads are specific to an alarm brand or panel so make sure the two are compatible.
Motion sensors and detectors
This home security system component detects home break-ins. This device uses vibration, infrared heat, microwave pulses or a combination of these to detect when an intruder enters a home. The most common are infrared sensors that detect body heat and changes in temperature. They are like that barking dog that notifies you when there are unusual movements within your property.
Another common component of a home security system are security or surveillance cameras. These cameras are also connected to the control panel and come in wired or wireless versions. Some can be installed indoors or outdoors. Depending on your needs, there are cameras that pan and tilt, while there are those that are static. There are also some that are equipped with night-vision capabilities.
These cameras capture real-time activity in your home and can be connected to your smartphone through an app so that you can monitor your home and loved ones wherever you are. In case of a break-in, some cameras even record the incident and send it you or the central monitoring company to alert them of an emergency.
Door and window sensors
The main point of entry of most burglars are doors and windows. Yes, burglars like it easy. A study found that 34% of burglars enter a home through the front door, which is sometimes unlocked, while 23% enter through a first-floor window. A kick or simple knob work would usher intruders in, and this is why it is important to make sure your doors are always locked, doors are sturdy, and locks and knobs have a heavy-duty deadbolt.
But other than these, strengthen your layers of defense by installing an alarm system with door and window sensors. These sensors notify you and alerts your control panel when your door or window is opened or breached. They usually come in two pieces — one that fits to the door or window itself, while the counterpart is attached to the frame. A simple adhesive or screw keeps them in place.
Door sensors are usually programmed with an automatic alarm delay so you can open it without setting off the alarm, reducing risks of false alarms. There are also glass detectors for when the window glass is broken.
Power transformers and back-up
No alarm system will function without a power transformer. This transforms the power from your outlet to a voltage for your security system. Modern alarms also have an option for power supply add-on for when you need additional power for accessories such as sirens, speakers or strobes. Some also have a power backup system that supplies temporary power to your alarm system in the event of an electrical outage.
Given the advancements in security technology, there are modern alarms with more components and features. It is important that you know how they work so that you can maximize them. Most home security systems today are also upgradable with different alarm accessories. Check their compatibility with your system and whether they fit your needs and lifestyle.