How Home Alarm Systems Work How Home Alarm Systems Work

Home alarm systems are becoming one of the more common selling points that realtors use when trying to entice a potential home buyer. Why? Because the security they provide and the peace of mind they allow are in many ways priceless to the homeowner. Home security systems can be as elaborate as the types that notify a central security agency or they can simply ring alarms at the site. Either way, a home protected by an alarm system is less likely to be burglarized.

If you have an alarm system installed in your home, or if you are considering purchasing one, some information on how they work will be important to you. We're going to go over the components and how the system works so you can better understand it.

Some of the main components of a home alarm system include:
  • Control Keypad
  • Phone Jack
  • Transformer
  • Battery
  • Bells or Alarm
  • Window and Door Sensors

Home alarm systems originate in a metal box usually located in the basement or in a closet. The metal box is where the terminals are housed that send the wires to all of the other parts of the system, such as the bells and sensors. Within the box is a battery that supplies power to the system in case of a power outage. Most modern alarm systems are low voltage and require a transformer to step the voltage down. There will sometimes be a rather large box-shaped transformer plugged into an outlet near the metal housing box.

The control keypad is the brain of the system. When the alarm is active, you must input a password into the keypad to deactivate it. For example, when arriving home, you usually have a designated number of seconds to input the code to deactivate the alarm before it sounds. If you happen to forget to type in the code, the alarms will ring and notify the monitoring company of a breach.

In home alarm systems, there are magnetic sensors on each window and door leading to the outside. The magnet keeps the circuit closed (meaning that voltage continues to flow through the circuit) when the doors and windows are shut. When a door or window opens, the circuit is opened (meaning a break or stoppage in the flow of voltage), which causes the alarm to ring, and the system notifies the monitoring agency of the breach if you have coverage.

With modern security systems, a monitoring agency has the ability to know exactly which window or door has been opened. They can relay that information to the police, or some even have their own security force to investigate the breach.

Wireless security monitoring systems are an innovative way to protect your home without having to worry about wires. Many have the ability to work with home monitoring agencies, or they can simply auto-call a designated phone or pager number to notify the homeowner.

Working parents with older children can be notified by pager or phone exactly when their child gets home from school, making home security systems an ideal method of keeping tabs on their children's comings and goings.

Whether you decide to have an experienced technician install your system, or if you plan on doing it yourself, you'll find that you’ll sleep easier at night knowing that you have a system in place that's constantly protecting you and your loved ones.

For more information on home security, read our article on Securing Doors and Windows.
Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.

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