22 Mar 2018
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Criminals do not discriminate, and in these times, no one is really safe. Even our own homes are vulnerable. That is why home security is increasingly becoming non-negotiable if you want to ensure your family’s safety.
The weakest points of the home are entry and exit points such as the front, back, patio, and garage doors. An estimated 70% of burglars enter through a door. That statistic is alarming especially because doors are the first line of defense against burglars and intruders. Windows are also vulnerable as most are usually open and don’t have locks.
Photo courtesy of fbhk via Pixabay
Apart from ensuring that doors are made of durable and sturdy material that burglars cannot easily tear down, it is also important to put another layer of security. This is where sensors come in. Magnetic door contacts are ideal for protecting openings around the house, from doors to drawers or cupboards. They basically monitor which doors or windows are open or closed. Magnetic door contacts are added in security alarm systems that are already existing. If a door is breached, the sensor sends a signal to the main control panel that in turn triggers an alarm.
An entry point that is unsecured is like an invitation for burglars, so it is best to find out what door contacts are, how they work, and why you need them.
How they work
Photo courtesy of neshom via Pixabay
Most door and window sensors or contacts have a reed switch and a magnet. The reed switch, which is commonly used in countless devices such as doorbells and laptops, is responsible in determining whether a protected area has been compromised. It consists of a set of electrical connectors. These connectors are placed slightly apart, but when they are placed parallel to a magnetic field, they are pulled together resulting in a closed circuit.
Magnetic door contacts normally open when someone opens a door or window and the magnet is pulled away from the switch. This breaks the circuit and triggers an alarm. On the other hand, magnetic door contacts are normally closed when the switch and magnet are not pulled away.
Do not worry about the alarm because depending on your setup and your security system, this could be a discreet text, a chime alert or a full-blown alarm siren. Some prefer the alarm to trigger silently while the home owner and security company are alerted and notified of a possible breach.
Hardwired door contacts
Hardwired systems such as Honeywell and DSC offer some of the most commonly used door and window contacts.
The recessed type of hardwired door contacts is one wherein you have drill a hole into the door jamb or window sill for the reed switch and then into the door and window for the magnet. There’s also a recessed door contact specifically for metal doors wherein the reed switch and magnet both have a protective shielding to keep them from coming in contact with the metal. The recessed door contact, as the name suggests, is invisible when the door or window is closed.
Surface mount contacts, on the other hand, are installed on door and window surfaces using screws or adhesives instead of drilling. The hassle-free installation makes surface mount sensors popular among security system users. They are usually mounted on the top and side of a door, or bottom or side of a window. Not to worry about their visibility because there are surface mount contacts that are the size of a gel cap pill.
It is important to check the technical specifications of your door, window or wherever you want to put it before you decide on which type of sensor to buy.
Other ways to use them
Wired magnetic door contacts for your home security system have so many more benefits than what they are originally intended for.
This is especially useful for families with little kids who are fond of opening entry points around the house. Some door sensors enable you to get alerts via your phone to know when your kid is in potential trouble. It can also double as a doorbell for when your system is off; it will still sound a chime when the sensor is triggered. It can also be used for other openings around the house such as your cabinets.
Magnetic door contacts are essential to home security, because unlike locks and jambs, they are very difficult to disable. Apart from locating where the entry sensor is inside the door, the burglar would need a very powerful magnet because reed switches are very sensitive. When the burglar attempts to use a secondary magnet from the outside, the magnetic field is usually disturbed and triggers an alarm.
Homes need this extra layer of security because it safeguards the weakest and most vulnerable parts of the house. Burglars, when faced with great amount of difficulty, usually abort their ill mission or look for another target. No one wants to be a target, and securing your home’s entry and exit points is always a good start.