Monday, February 27, 2006

Choosing the Perfect Sensor for Your Home Security System

Home security systems are incredibly important to a feeling of safety and well being, but the security system is only as good as the sensors that come with it. The typical security system will contain a number of different sensors, including motion sensors, sensors that detect breaking glass or forced doors, carbon monoxide detectors, heat detectors and smoke detectors. It is important to focus on those sensors that are most important to you, and to look for the home security system that provides the greatest value for the money.

Do Your Homework
It is important to put a lot of planning and research into buying a home security system. Buying such a system is a big investment, and it is important to choose a system that meets your needs. During the planning, you should:

1. Look around the interior and exterior of the home. Pay attention to how close your home is to the street and the neighbors. Do those passing by have a clear view into the windows? Which windows can they see and not see?
2. Determine which windows and doors need to be monitored by sensors. This should include those windows that cannot be seen from the street, those in the rear of the house, and those in dark corners or behind bushes.
3. Think about how you life. Do you have people coming and going at all hours? Do you have a large dog who could inadvertently trigger a sensitive motion sensor? Do you have a cat who comes in and out of the house via a pet door?

The process of selecting the sensors involves the following steps:

1. Get enough door switches for all the entry doors in the home. These door switches are most often magnet switches. When the door is opened, it breaks the circuit, tripping the alarm.
2. Count the number of window switches you will need. Windows that can be observed by neighbors may not need a window switch. Be sure to put switches on all windows in the rear of the home, any windows which are hidden by bushes and any windows that are in dark corners.
3. Determine how many zones you will have with your security system. Every sensor is a zone, so make sure you can use all the window switches you need without going beyond the capabilities of the system.
4. For some rooms, you may want to use glass breaking sensors instead of window switches. This will help to limit the number of window switches you need while at the same time increasing the effectiveness of the alarm system.
5. Use motion sensors for the stairway leading to the second floor of the home, or for the hallway leading to the bedrooms. If you have a pet, make sure the sensor is installed above the level of the pet. Some motion sensors are able to distinguish between an animal and a person, so be sure to ask if you have pets.
6. Put a keypad upstairs, or down the hall close to the bedrooms. This way a family member can easily turn off the motion sensor if need be.
7. Also place a keypad near the front door so that late returning family members can disable the alarm and motion sensors.


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