In today’s world, it’s difficult to be sure of anything, especially the security of your home and everything in it. For that reason, an alarm system is quickly becoming one of the essential fixtures of the modern home along with other 21st-century creature comforts such as high-speed meshed Wi-Fi networks.
However, the effectiveness of any security system is limited by its weakest link, which is often the owner of the house. After all, you can’t reasonably expect your home’s security tools to work if you don’t know how to use them in the first place.
The typical home alarm system can be broken down into three basic categories: deterrents, detectors, and directors. We will be going through each of these categories, their respective components, and how they work in this article.
In the same way that prevention is better than a cure in the case of diseases, it is a lot better to keep burglars away from your house entirely than to wait until after they break in. The following deterrent devices we’ve listed below all work on the principle of intimidation – in other words, these devices actively discourage burglars from even entering your home just by having these installed, as they indicate the presence of a well-secured home.
- Light & Sound Alarms: No alarm system is ever complete without, well, the alarm. These are the ultimate deterrents for any burglar, flashing brightly and blaring loudly when a detector device is set off.
- Motion-Sensing Lights: These devices are typically installed on the porch area or on the front gate of your property, and turns on in response to anything moving past its infrared or radio sensor. Burglars tend to work under the cover of darkness, so having a couple of surprise lights will knock prospecting burglars off guard.
- Video Doorbells: These devices add a “smart device” spin on the classic door peephole fixture. Instead of a hole in the door, a video camera records footage of whoever is at the door and securely broadcasts it to ‘director’ devices, which we will get to later.
- Smart Door Locks: Even the best of us make mistakes. But some of these mistakes can end up costing you quite a lot, such as leaving your front door unlocked. Smart door locks compensate for these little security holes by automatically locking your doors when you are leaving the house or turning in for the night.
Serving as the eyes and ears of your home’s security system, detector devices identify burglars that have broken in and immediately reacts with the activation of the alarm system. Detector devices also serve a secondary function as a deterrent, as the sight of them is often warning enough for all but the most persistent of burglars to not enter your home.
- Cameras: The security camera is probably the most ubiquitous and important part of any robust home security system, and because of that, their functions are by now well documented and understood. More recently, however, security cameras have been carried along on the great “smart home” wave, upgrading them with built-in motion detection, infrared camera capabilities, and even facial recognition.
- Window & Glass Sensors: These devices attached on or near windows and glass doors, feeling for the vibrations or listening for the sounds of glass breaking as is typical of a break-in.
- Motion Sensors: These devices work in tandem with the security cameras in your home, silently watching the house for any unusual movement and immediately sending an alert once these invisible, modern-day booby traps are triggered.
- Emergency Sensors: Thieves are not the only emergency that can come to the house. A properly comprehensive home alarm system is never complete with smoke detectors, environmental sensors, and other devices to look out for and alert you of fires, leaks, or other accidents that break out within the house.
Tying the alarm system together are the director devices. They serve as the brain of the integrated home alarm system, processing all of the data collected by your detector devices and sending out the appropriate responses. Traditionally, director devices were usually specialised set-top boxes that continually gather and store footage from your camera system. Thanks to modern technology, however, a personal computer is now the ‘mother’ device controlling all of your cameras, sensors, and alarms all at the same time. In addition, home alarm systems have also become more versatile with smartphone integration, allowing you to view footage captured from your cameras or video doorbell, as well as receive alerts directly to your smartphone, wherever you may be. This includes the ability to engage with an alarm monitoring service, a third party who will be able to keep 24-hour watch over what you deem important and act accordingly.
Knowledge is power. Having the knowledge to utilise the tools dedicated to ensuring the security of your home can mean all the difference; between coming home with your things intact or gone entirely.