How do home security systems work

Basically, the uses of home security systems are employed to make homes a safer and more secure place. Whenever the sound goes off, this could imply a number of things. It could mean that there is a fire, a flood, a gas leak or even the fact that an intruder has broken into the house. More often than not, the latter is usually the case and that is one of the main reasons individuals and families use Home Security Systems. There are also cases of false triggers too and this could prove to be a not so pleasant experience.

Having an understanding of the working mechanism of Home Security Systems is highly essential and could help you in the event that the alarm is triggered and it is an actual emergency. Also having a Home Security System reduces the likelihood of invasion by robbers and generally prevents crime. Security systems tend to give you a sense of safety and reassurance due to the fact that you have a guard of sorts watching over all your precious belongings. Then comes the big question; how do Home Security Systems Work exactly?

Home Security Systems basically function on the principle of placing sensors at various points of entry into the home. These sensors send signals and communicate with a device that serves as the control or command center and the command center device is usually installed at a very easy-to-reach location within the house; one that can be accessed conveniently. These sensors are usually found on doors that serve as entry and exit points as well as windows that could provide access to the house; especially ones that are closer to the ground level.

Security systems can also be used in open spaces within the home. In answering the question ‘How do Home Security Systems Work’, we must, first of all, take a look at the components that comprise the Home Security System.

Control panel

The control panel is regarded as the computer that is in charge of controlling and communicating with the other installed components. Aside from communicating and controlling, the control panel is also responsible for arming and disarming security systems as well as sounding the alarm whenever there is any breach of a security zone. Upon sounding the alarm, the control panel then communicates the breach to an agency in charge of monitoring for any irregularities.

The control panel usually has a touchpad that allows for easy usage and programming alongside other settings to the Security System. It is with this touchpad that the user enters the passcodes that arm and disarm the system and also works on and carries out voice commands. It can also be programmed in such a way that key fobs; which are wireless remote controls can work with it.

Motion sensors

When these security components are armed, they are very effective in securing a particular space by creating a particular zone around that area that cannot be accessed without the alarm sounding. The invisible zone that this particular sensor creates makes it perfect for safeguarding rooms that contain highly expensive or valuable properties. In large homes, these sensors can be used to ensure that areas that are not very frequented are safe and secure.

Window stickers and yard signs

These stickers and signs go a long way in ensuring that the home remains secure. Having these signs and stickers prevents burglaries and break-ins because of the message these symbols pass across. Despite the fact that these measures may seem like a tool alarm companies use as a marketing strategy, burglars would easily realize that trying to break into your home would be a wrong decision.

The stickers serve to let these burglars know that your home is professionally protected and trying to burgle your home is not an option they should even consider.

Surveillance cameras

Surveillance cameras come in different forms including the wired and wireless ones. They serve very essential purposes and can also be used as a component of an overall Home Security System. They are very effective in monitoring areas of your house that are very distant; especially when you have a very large house or the property you stay on is a very large one.

Entry and exit points both within and outside the house can easily be monitored using surveillance cameras. Distant buildings like the garage and storage houses can also be monitored this way.

One perk of surveillance cameras is the fact that they can be viewed remotely. This means that even when a homeowner is out of town, they can easily check out what is happening at their house from their smartphones or computer systems. They can easily have a feel of what is going on at home and monitor the entry and exit of individuals and other family members. This particular component usually becomes a great help in the event of burglary; the police can easily check the video footage captured by the surveillance cameras and identify the culprits.


The alarm serves to alert you and people around of potential danger that could be present. Their shrill nature also ensures that the burglar gets scared enough to run and also notify the homeowners of the attempted break-in or break-in so that they call the necessary authorities to come and take over the case. The alarm could also be a silent one which would go directly to the alarm company who would, in turn, notify the police or the alarm could go directly to the police too.

 Whenever there is a particular intrusion or break-in, the next step your security system takes is based on the type of design it is.

Monitored security systems

If your security system is one that is monitored by an alarm company, they immediately receive a notification whenever there is a security breach of your home. Alongside the alarm that would normally go off in your home, the company monitoring the alarm is immediately alerted also to the potential danger. Usually, a trained security expert from the alarm company would call the emergency contact listed for that particular security system. The expert might also attempt to speak with the homeowners provided the system is a two-way system.

Monitoring companies get notified about break-ins in different ways.

  • Via the internet
  • Voice over Internet Protocol(VoIP)
  • Over phone lines present in the home
  • Via cellular radio frequencies (which works even during power outages provided there is a backup battery)

When the company detects that there is an actual presence of danger, the necessary emergency response teams within the area are notified including police officers and paramedics while the monitoring company maintains regular communication with the homeowner until the emergency teams get to the location. This type of system generally allows homeowners to get notifications whenever there is an attempted or successful break-in to their homes.

Non-monitored security systems

In the case of using this type of Home Security Systems, whenever there is a break-in, the high-decibel alarm goes off and shrills loud enough to scare the burglar and wake the home-owner. The difference however between this type and the monitored security systems is that while the call for emergency services is made by the security company in the latter, the homeowner is saddled with the responsibility of alerting security agencies to the danger being faced.

This type of security system may or not make any form of provision for the homeowner to be contacted in the event of break-ins when they are out of town. This feature is largely dependent on the type of security system they actually opt for.

Also, Home Security Systems can be manually triggered in the event of an emergency. This can easily be activated by pushing the panic button on the control panel or the key fob remote.

The ‘How do Home Security Systems Work’ question no longer remains a mystery and knowledge of how Home Security Systems Work actually serves to make users feel a lot safer and more competent at operating the system.

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Jim Powell

Jim is our staff editor and writer. He has a degree in engineering. His hobbies are radio engineering and new technologies about which he has been writing for more than 7 years.

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