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What Do I Need to Know About Home Security Systems?

When you hear the words “home security,” the odds are that you’ll start thinking about security systems, but it’s much more than that. Home security is not just about products—it’s a type of mindfulness you fit into everyday life.

Your home is a safe harbour where you weather the storms of life, from exhausting jobs to high gas prices to actual lousy weather. Home security helps you think about how to protect that safety. Sadly, home security is sometimes about getting that safe place back after a break-in and doing your best to make sure it never happens again.

Covering everything means there’s a lot of information, so we’ll focus on the fundamentals of home security. We also added tons of links to SafeWise articles that explore these topics in-depth so that you can use this guide as a reference in the future.

Security Systems provides expert CCTV installation for your residential or commercial infrastructure.

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Why home security matters

Whether you rent or own your home, it’s a refuge from all the scary things outside your door. But it takes a lot of vigilance to protect your home from threats. Threats can come from anywhere, but knowing what they are and how to ward them off is a considerable comfort.

We could trot out statistics about burglaries, but there’s something more important: Once you know the motivations driving burglars and the things they look for, you start to understand home security as an essential mentality to strive for.

The biggest threat to your home’s security is a burglar looking for a quick score. If a burglar can’t get in fast enough or when nobody’s around, then the risks outweigh the rewards. Most burglaries aren’t elaborate heists with weeks of planning—they’re a mad dash with almost no prep.

Freeways to jumpstart your home security

You don’t need to start with a burglar alarm right away (especially if you’re waiting for it to come in the mail). A burglar alarm is a helpful tool, but you don’t need it to build good home security habits.

Here are some ways you can improve your home security without spending money.

  • Leave the house and call 911. 

Always call the police if a burglar strikes your home, even if you think they’re long gone.

  • Don’t touch anything. 

This helps protect crucial evidence the burglar might leave behind.

  • Wait in a safe place. 

Get in your car or go to a neighbour’s house until the police show up.

  • Take inventory.

 Find out what the burglar took so the police can file a report and you can make an insurance claim.

  • Take care of kids and pets.

 A break-in is brutal on everyone, so you may need to find ways to help kids and pets cope with the emotional aftermath.

  • Clean up and get back to “normal.”

Getting back to normal is a physical and mental process—it’s not about forgetting but learning.

  • Prepare for the future. 

Learn more about home security and what you can do (unless you started with this sentence, you’re already on track).

  • Survey your home’s security. 

Scour every inch of your home with a thorough security assessment.

What are Home Security Systems?

The answer to this question might seem obvious. But many people are confused about what a home security system is, what type of equipment it includes, and how they work. And seeing how diverse the options are, it’s natural that this question would arise.

A home security system, at the most basic level, is equipment (sensors) that sound an alarm when an entry point is breached. Of course, the sensors must communicate with a control panel to secure the home. Along with sensors, many other devices can integrate with the control panel or central hub of the system. 

These other devices include some of the following:

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Entryway Sensors

  • Core Function – Also called door & window sensors, they are the backbone of a home security system. They sound the alarm when a door or window is open (and the alarm is set). This deters criminals and alerts the homeowner of a security breach.
  • How it Works – Entry sensors use magnetic field technology. When a door or window opens, the magnetic field is disturbed, and the device signals the base station to sound the siren.
  • Key Features & Tech – DIY systems offer easy-mount (Velcro adhesive) entryway sensors that can be set up in minutes. The best security systems send mobile alerts when the entryway sensor is triggered. This allows the homeowner to spring into action.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Some systems allow users to create custom zones using a combination of sensors and cameras. Also, users can purchase a greater quantity of detectors to protect every door and window in their home.

Motion Sensors

  • Core Function – Motion sensors sound the alarm or trigger mobile alerts when motion is detected inside the home. They are meant to be used as an added layer of protection.
  • How it Works – These devices emit an invisible light/laser, which, when disturbed, sounds the alarm. Some motion detectors use infrared technology that can sense body heat.
  • Key Features & Tech – The best motion detectors can distinguish between people and pets to limit false alarms. Some even have facial recognition technology. Others can shine a floodlight whenever movement is detected.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Certain motion sensors can be integrated into smart home ecosystems and be configured to perform some commands.

Security Cameras

  • Core Function – Security cameras are mounted inside and outside the home to keep a constant watch for safety. Many cameras record continuously and notify the homeowner when activity occurs. Just the presence of a camera is sometimes enough to deter a criminal.
  • How it Works – Today’s cameras offer continuous recording or motion-activated recording. Either way, they record video and often send real-time alerts. You’re the first to know when the pizza guy or a porch pirate is on your property.
  • Key Features & Tech – The best cameras deliver HD image quality, mobile access with live-streaming, two-way voice, pan and tilt, and more.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Some cameras work with home automation platforms. This allows users to configure various rules, like pre-set to record at 3 pm to ensure the kids arrive home safe from school.

Video Doorbells

  • Core Function– The first line of defence, video doorbells help protect your home from package thieves and burglars. Many doorbell cams let you see and talk with front-stoop friends and visitors from virtually anywhere.
  • How it Works – The easy DIY video doorbells replace your existing doorbell. The devices sport a tiny camera that records activity and takes still shots to be seen and shared. And, of course, it works like a doorbell, too.
  • Key Features & Tech – Mobile access, monitoring, and control via mobile app is perhaps the best feature to look for in a doorbell camera. Other features include HD image quality, cloud storage, night vision, two-way talk, and more.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Like home security cameras, some doorbell video cameras can be integrated into home automation ecosystems for more convenient (and smart!) controls.

Home Automation Controls

  • Core Function– Home automation streamlines everyday tasks to make our lives easier and more efficient. Smart controls allow users to remotely control and automate everything from lights and thermostats to garage doors, cameras, and even coffee makers.
  • How it Works– Depending on the platform, smart home automation controls work via mobile commands (smartphone or tablet), voice commands, or both. You set the rules, and the house reacts accordingly. Turn down the lights!
  • Key Features & Tech – The features range from simple commands (like turning on a reading light) to powerful AI-driven surveillance technology. It’s up to the user to decide how futuristic they want their home. The sky’s the limit with smart home automation controls.
  • Add-ons and Integrations –Many platforms can support hundreds of smart devices. This means users can customise their systems to their heart’s content. Most hubs work with devices that use Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT, and more.

Floodlights

  • Core Function– Floodlights serve one purpose, to shine a light on suspicious activity. After all, the perimeters of most homes are incredibly vulnerable, and floodlight shores up the defence to ward off intruders.
  • How it Works – These motion-activated devices “flood” a yard or driveway with a bright light. Criminals prefer the cover of darkness, and floodlights eliminate the dark and expose the bad guys.
  • Key Features & Tech – Many floodlights can be mounted in just minutes. Most boast ultra-bright LEDs, and some have a built-in siren that sounds when motion is triggered. Today’s best floodlights double as security cameras.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Depending on your platform, you can set customisable motion zones, custom scheduling, fully integrate into a smart home ecosystem with mobile controls, and the list goes on.

Panic Buttons

  • Core Function– These wall-mounted devices have a built-in help button. The life-saving button is pressed in the event of a medical emergency or home invasion. They summon help immediately.
  • How it Works – Many control panels have a built-in panic button that works via landline, Wi-Fi, or cellular to send a signal to the monitoring center (if the user has professional monitoring). In a time of crisis, press the panic button and rest assured that help is on its way.
  • Key Features & Tech – These devices are relatively simple. And simple is exactly what you want when precious seconds could save a life. Some control panels with panic buttons have a two-way voice so that you can talk directly with responders.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – N/A

Glass-Break Sensors

  • Core Function– As the name suggests, glass-break sensors detect glass breaking. The moment a security breach is detected, the alarm sounds and alerts are sent. These sensors are often sold separately, but they’re highly effective and work well alongside magnetic window sensors.
  • How it Works – Mount them near a window, as the sensors have tiny microphones that detect the high-frequency sound of glass breaking. When glass breaks, the sensor triggers the alarm and alerts, hopefully making the burglar tuck tail and run.
  • Key Features & Tech – N/A
  • Add-ons and Integrations – N/A

Keychain Fobs

  • Core Function– Keychain fobs allow users to arm and disarm their system remotely. Many keychain touchpads also include a panic button, which offers peace of mind when coming and going in the dark.
  • How it Works – Hook the small device to your keychain, or keep it in your pocket or purse. If you forget to arm your system when you leave your home, take out your keychain fob, and you’re back in business. These devices are powered by batteries and are helpful if your system doesn’t offer mobile access.
  • Key Features & Tech – The best keychain fobs have long battery life and are small enough not to be a bother. While most have remote arm/disarm buttons, not all include a panic button.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – N/A

Smart Smoke Detectors

  • Core Function– Fires often happen when the homeowner is away, rendering the traditional smoke detector useless. But a smart smoke detector not only sounds the alarm it also sends real-time alerts to your smartphone.
  • How it Works – The app-based device installs in just minutes with plug-and-play ease. Anytime you need to access, monitor or control the smoke detector, open the app and everything is right there for you.
  • Key Features & Tech – Smart smoke detectors often send low-battery notifications straight to your smartphone, integrate with IFTTT and other smart platforms, offer helpful voice instructions when smoke is detected, and more.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Most smoke detectors offer seamless integration with third-party platforms. Also, consider CO detectors and water leak sensors (mentioned below).

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Core Function- These life-saving devices send real-time alerts and notifications to your mobile device. That way, you’ll never walk into a home with a CO leak and risk a potentially fatal outcome.
  • How it Works – Similar to the smart smoke detectors, these devices come pre-configured and ready to go. Just plug it in and follow the easy setup instructions in the companion app. Anytime it senses CO, the alarm will sound, and you will get an instant alert(s).
  • Key Features & Tech – Users should look for long battery life and a sleek companion app with convenient mobile access and controls.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Connect a smart CO detector into a home automation system to access everything on one user-friendly dashboard.

Water Leak Detectors

  • Core Function – This device is worth its weight in gold, as water damage can be devastating. If your home springs a leak while you’re away, don’t worry, a water leak detector will notify you, allowing you to call the plumber asap.
  • How it Works – Put the sensor near faucets and other appliances/fixtures that have the potential to leak. If (or when!) a leak occurs, the sensor will sound an alarm and send you a mobile alert.
  • Key Features & Tech – Some water leak detectors communicate with smart water valves to shut off your water at the source (if needed), thereby limiting or eliminating water damage. Smart! Some water leak sensors also have built-in freese, flood, and humidity sensors.
  • Add-ons and Integrations – Same as smoke and CO detectors listed above.

In other words, a home security system is a network of electronic devices that protect and secure your home or apartment from criminal activity such as burglars, thieves, and home intruders.

How Do Home Security Systems Work?

First, you will have each entry point (doors and windows) secured with a security sensor. When the alarm system is set and activated, and a door or window is opened, the sensors instantly signal or notify the control panel of the breach, and the control panel sounds the siren or alarm. Indoor motion detectors send the same “zone breach” signal to the control panel if it detects activity while the alarm is set.

If the security system is set up with professional monitoring, the control panel will immediately notify the monitoring station. Once the monitoring station personnel are notified of the security breach, they will take necessary action, usually with a call to the homeowner. However, in some cases, they can communicate with the homeowner directly through the system’s control panel. 

If you’re looking for a reliable home alarm system, then look no further! Security Systems has you covered.

Benefits of Owning a Security System for Your Home

The benefits of owning a home security system cannot be overstated. Did you know that homes secured with an alarm system see much fewer break-ins than homes without a plan in place? Studies show that upwards of 60% of would-be home intruders choose another target when they realise the house is outfitted with a security system. This makes sense, as most criminals are opportunistic and are after the easiest target — the path of least resistance.

While there are countless benefits, here are the top 5 that you should consider:

  • Benefit #1 – Protect your family. You and your family can remain safe and secure. The peace of mind families get from home protection is profound.
  • Benefit #2 – Protect your home and valuables. Remember, most criminals won’t even bother if they see you have an alarm system in place. Others might try, but they are often scared off at the sound of the alarm. This means your home and valuables are protected from damage and theft.
  • Benefit #3 – Detect potentially fatal dangers. This goes beyond burglary — security systems can detect in-home hazards such as smoke, fires, carbon monoxide, etc. Many security systems will automatically detect these dangers and immediately notify the monitoring station. Early detection keeps everyone (and everything!) much safer.
  • Benefit #4 – Control your home remotely. Many advanced systems allow the homeowner to remotely control everything from door locks to security cameras, lights, heating, air, entertainment, and of course, the alarm itself. This allows the system owner to enjoy a more convenient and novel lifestyle and at the push of a button.
  • Benefit #5 – Get home insurance discounts. This is a great benefit that helps where it matters… right in the pocketbook. Insurance companies view homes equipped with home security systems as less of a risk or liability. Therefore, they will often discount your home insurance premium (sometimes up to 20%) if you prove you have a system in place.

Home security isn’t only about spending money to ease your troubles—it’s a mindset you build through patience and practicing good security habits. It’s also about learning where you fall short and striving to be better in the future.

Check out Security Systems’ range of high-end security access control systems installation for your home or office protection needs

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