The 7 Major Elements of a Security System

Control Panel

The control panel is the centerpiece of your security alarm system. The control panel receives messages or signals from contact points and sensors around the home or property. The control panel sends an alarm through a connection to local law enforcement agencies, or through siren and or voice-activated alerts.


The keypad of a security alarm system is used to tap in your personal code to arm or disarm the security alarm system. The keypad instructs your control panel as to what you want it to do. Keypads are placed just inside the entrances of the home for easy accessibility so you can turn the system on and off as needed. Create a unique code to arm the system, one that you can remember easily but is not too easy. This protects you and your system against breaches.


Sensors detect movement, disruption or vibration of contact points at windows or doors. Sensors may be installed separately or come as part of the security alarm installation package. Standalone sensors have a radio frequency range of several hundred feet. When activated, they trigger signals that reach the control panel to activate the alarm or siren.

Contact Points

Small switches or contact points placed on windows or doorways offer additional security. Contact points are installed in windowsills and doorjambs to alert you if one is opened. Contact points come in different versions, including recessed switches, tamper-proof switches and mechanical or magnetic plunger-type switches.

Motion Detectors

Motion detectors let your system know when movement is detected outside the perimeter of the home, or in the event glass is broken.  Some detectors flash a bright spotlight in a predetermined location when motion is detected. Others offer infrared capabilities. For those who have pets on the property, pet-immune motion detectors prevent activation of the motion detection lights every time a dog or cat strolls by.

Speakers or Sirens

Sirens are typical in office locations or larger properties but also work well for residential environments. Most models offer a two-tone alarm. Other models offer an inside siren. Sirens and speakers that announce breaches in security can be wireless or hard-wired, depending on the type of installation you decide on.

Backup Battery

Install a battery backup system to maintain your continued security in the event of a loss in electricity due to a natural power outage or an attempt to breach your security system.

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