Everything You Need to Know

By: Ivan Dimitrijevic - Published: • References: siliconaustralia.au
A good home alarm system is probably the first thing you should consider when thinking about protecting your home. People don’t realize how easy it is to brake into a house, and even with all your valuables in a strong safe the risk is high – the amount of property damage a burglar can cause while rummaging through your house can sometimes exceed the value of the stolen property. We also have to consider that robbery is not always the motive behind home invasions, a lot of time you have well armed thugs looking for a place to hide, drug addicts and insane people how might not even be sure what they want themselves, but violence is the only way they think they can get it. This is why an early warning system is so important – having strong gates, doors and windows with good locks will slow down and annoy the criminal, but if he has a lot of free time on his hands and is persistent he will eventually get through the barricades. An alarm sounding off will make a burglar nervous, he’ll panic and make mistakes, further slowing himself down, and if he doesn’t run away the police will have enough time to respond, and you will have enough time to arm yourself and prepare to defend from a fortified position.



Most home alarms are made up of these basic components: 

Premises control unit (PCU) – think of it as the general in charge of your defences, it receives data from the sensors, activates/deactivates the system and sounds the alarm when there is an intrusion.
Interface – it is a means of interaction between you and the machine, it usually consists of wall-mounted keypads with indicator lights and a small display.
Sensors – devices that detect intrusions in a myriad of different ways including monitoring: windows and doors for opening, motion, sound, vibrations etc.
Alerting devices – they notify us of a break-in using bells, sirens and/or flashing lights. They can both alert the owners and their neighbors of the intrusion and potentially scare the burglars.
Connections – the various components may be connected to the control unit by wires or wireless links.

Depending on your current needs you can consider different specialized protection systems or their various combinations. To make it easier for you to judge what type of home alarm system will best suit you, here is a list of some of the many different sensor types with short descriptions:

Passive infra-red detectors (PIR) – they are the most common sensors as they are quite affordable, reliable and highly functional. PIR sensors detect shifts in temperature - as a person walks by the temperature goes from room temperature to body temperature and back to room temperature in a short span of time, and this is detected by the sensor. They are designed for being mounted on the ceiling and come in a range of fields of view – from narrow to 360o. 

Microwave detectors – they detect motion using a transmitter to emit microwaves, and any reflected microwaves or reduction in beam intensity is then picked up by the receiver. The receiver and transmitter are combined in a single housing for interior protection or separate housings for exterior, and these alarms are often paired with PIR alarms to reduce false alarms.

Photo-electric beams – they transmit visible or invisible infra-red beams that can be stacked to form a chicken-fence pattern to cover larger areas – when the beams are obstructed the alarm goes off, just like in the movies. They can be easily avoided if the burglar is aware of them.

Glass break detectors – they are used in interior building protection and they will detect either the specific frequencies of the sound of breaking glass or will be mounted on the glass itself an pick up shock frequencies that travel through the glass and window frame when the window is broken.

Smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors – self explanatory, they usually accompany other alarm systems and stay on at all times warning of fire and a rise in carbon monoxide levels.

Passive magnetic field detection - they are installed on top of the wall or just beneath the ground and detect the changes in the magnetic field, they provide a low false alarm rate but don’t work near high voltage lines or radar transmitters.

Taut wire fence systems -  they are an independent screen of tensioned tripwires usually mounted on a fence or wall and detect physical attempts at penetrating the barrier.

As you can see there are quite a few options out on the market, so smart planing is advised. Think about what areas of your home are most viable entrance points for a burglar - are there many windows on the ground floor, can your gate be easily jumped over, will your dog or child trip the alarm a lot? Just take your time, go through the list several times, and decide carefully on what is best for you.