Sometimes home owners ask us to explain simple questions like how do burglar alarms work. Find out more about our burglar alarms.
How do burglar alarms work?
First there is a door contact. This is attached to the edge of your front door and the frame it fits into. When the door is closed, the two pieces fit together. If the door is opened, the contact is broken and the alarm count down is triggered. You can have one of these on all of your external doors. You can also have window contacts which work in the same way.
Then your home will have a series of PIRs – Passive Infrared Sensors. These are motion sensors fitted in important rooms or places that thieves are most likely to visit or pass through – like hallways. If there is movement in one of these areas, the sensor will pick it up and the alarm count down begins.
You can also have a panic button by your bed which lets you set off the alarm manually by pressing it twice.
The door contact, any window contacts and PIRs are connected to a control panel. This is what allows you to set the burglar alarm or deactivate it when you go in and out of your home. These have numbered buttons on the panel itself but many can also be controlled through a key fob which is held against the panel. When you set the alarm, a countdown commences so you have time to leave the house before your burglar alarm is fully activated.
The whole thing is then linked to a bell box or external siren which goes on the wall outside. This is what makes the noise to alert people that there is a problem inside the house. The box has a faint LED light which is on continuously. When the alarm is activated, a strobe flashes constantly as the siren blares out. The siren will last for about 20 minutes. But the strobe continues to flash so, if you come home, you know that the burglar alarm has gone off. This allows you to take precautions before you enter the building.
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Some systems can be set up so that you receive a text if any of the contacts or sensors are activated. We can also offer a 24/7 central monitoring service. This can alert either the keyholder, the police or both. Your designated keyholder will be required to meet the police at your home.
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Wired, Wireless or Hybrid systems
Wired systems transmit the signal using wires. Wireless burglar alarms use radio or infrared signals.
All control panels need to be plugged into the mains power supply but it is possible to have wireless door/window contacts and PIRs with a wired keypad control panel and external sounder. This is called a hybrid system. The wireless components all contain individual batteries to power them.
How do burglar alarms work with smoke detectors?
You can link your smoke detector into your burglar alarm. If the smoke detector is activated, you could set up your system so you receive a text. If you’re in the house asleep, the smoke detector can activate your external siren. It makes a different noise to the regular alarm by pulsing.
How do burglar alarms work with Carbon Monoxide detectors?
You can link your carbon monoxide detector to your burglar alarm. Your system can be set up so that you receive a text if the CO2 detector is activated. Your system can also be set up so that the external siren pulses if your carbon monoxide detector is activated. Particularly useful if you are asleep.
How do burglar alarms work with System Monitoring
The control panel is connected to the nearest telephone socket and it can be programmed to send a text whenever one of the sensors or contacts is activated.
If you have a System Monitoring package, your system is linked to a central station. If there is an activation, it can be managed so that the keyholder gets a call. There is also a police response option. You should note that the keyholder will also be contacted as they are required to meet the police at the property.
How do burglar alarms work for parents of teenagers?
In America, parents can set up their burglar alarm so they receive a text when the front door contact is activated. Teenagers are notoriously unreliable about checking in to tell you they are home safe from school. This is a good way of knowing they’ve arrived without nagging.
For UK parents, we discovered it’s not quite as simple. At weekends, you would be texted every time someone opened and closed the door. It could become annoying and expensive in terms of the cost of text messages.