How Home Alarm Systems Work

by Greg on February 1, 2013

House security system

Any alarm system will contain at least the control panel and a keypad that will arm and disarm the system. Other components of a typical security system include sensors and warning signals or strobe lights. Anything inside an alarm system will automatically fall under either of the above stated categories.

The Master Control and Keypad

You can think of the master control panel as a CPU of the computer or the brains that drives the system forward. Depending on the information relayed to it from all other components, it decides whether there is a breach in the house, fire or flood situation and accordingly instructs the sound or siren system to fire an alarm through the house. In case, the control unit is connected directly with a central monitoring system then it sends a signal there too to alert concerned authorities.

The Keypad on the other hand is sort of the command center for the alarm system. This is where you enter numbers into to arm and disarm the entire alarm system. Majority of these keypads come with a panic button that you can press to sound the alarm and notify monitoring stations about an emergency that happened when the system was disarmed. Try to locate this component close to a door that you often use such as a garage door. You can also include two or more keypads throughout the house for more convenience but at an additional cost.

Sensors Are the Eyes of the System

Majority of security sensors are magnetic in nature that triggers an alarm when one opens the windows or doors while the system is armed. One part of this magnetic sensor is installed on the frame and the other part goes on the sashes or a latch. Separation of both touching parts sounds the alarm. There are many types of sensors and the most common are explained below.

  • Door Sensors – They come with an automatic alarm delay that provides you sufficient time to only enter the premises and enter a key code into the system to deactivate the alarms. A buzzer on the keypad should sound a buzzer alerting you to do this should you forget to do so.
  • Window Sensors – These sensors are simple magnetic types that use a frame and the window to maintain a connection and keeping intruders out. An additional component that you can include here are security screens that go on the window and send a distress signal to the control panel if someone tries to cut through the glass or the screen plastered on it. Latest technology even senses when a window was shattered by searching for glass shattering frequencies.
  • Passive infrared motion sensors – These sensors detect body heat signatures and can be mounted on the ceiling or to a corner of a room. They are not all that great with rooms that have furnace vents, wood stoves and sun heated windows. However, most modern heat sensors can differentiate between body signature of pets and humans.
  • Motion Sensors – As the name suggest, these sensors simply trip the alarm if they sense movement. Unfortunately, they are not great with pets and are not always reliable as pests too can trigger the alarm.


Carlita Morandi

Carlita has experience as a manager in a big local company providing home improvement goods and alarm systems in Denmark (as she says in Danish alarmsystem i Danmark). Up to her opinion it is very essential to share and exchange knowledge and experience with people because this way the “self-growth” is guaranteed.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

apartment alarm system do yourself June 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

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