Basic home security equipment includes a system control panel, remote sensors, smoke detector, keypads, alarm window decals and the monitoring system. Components communicate with one another via hard-wiring or through radio frequencies. A wireless system, which you can install yourself, costs much less than a hard-wired system.
System Control Panel
The system control panel acts as the hub of the security system, whether wired or wireless. This panel communicates with remote sensors around the house, sets the zones, arms the alarm and rings the siren. You can program the panel to call, text or email you or a professional monitoring service if the alarm trips. You can place keypads around the house in key areas–such as on doors or in the garage–to set the alarm as well.
Remote sensors typically detect motion and often sit near doors or windows. The motion sensors use infrared technology to detect body heat. Some sensors differentiate between pets and humans or remotely turn off lights in an empty room. Door and window sensors consist of two parts: a magnet and a transmitter. The two parts remain in contact via the magnet when the doors and windows close. The alarm sounds if the two parts on a window or door lose contact while the alarm is armed.
Monitoring options vary depending on the system, your budget and your security needs. Remote monitoring may simply consist of a phone call made directly from the system control panel to your cell phone if the alarm triggers. Some systems are reactive monitoring systems, meaning they send a text or email and require you to take action when you receive the alert. More advanced systems connect to a professional monitoring service that will receive the alerts and contact the proper authorities for you. This means if your phone is off or if you haven’t checked your email, your home can still remain secure. Other systems connect to the Internet, allowing you to monitor the logged activity via a secure website that the chosen security system provides.
Choosing a System
When choosing a remote home security monitoring system, consider whether your home is already wired for such a service. Some homes have everything already installed and you simply need to activate the service with a professional alarm monitoring company. Consider your budget as well. A wired security system won’t be ideal if money is tight. Also keep in mind what remote monitoring you think is necessary. If you have constant access to your smartphone, you might only need text and email notifications. If you spend long hours at work, an over-the-Internet monitoring solution might be best. If you travel a lot, you might find peace of mind from hiring a professional service to monitor things while you are away.