A complete home security monitoring system offers several layers of protection achieved through a combination of several different devices. Once your devices are installed and connected to your home security monitoring station, they can all be controlled through your control panel and keypad. You arm and disarm all your devices simultaneously by entering a code into your keypad.

Standard Devices in a Home Security System

Burglary Devices
For burglary protection, most security systems include a set of devices to secure the perimeter. Door and window sensors consist of two magnets that conduct a current. When the door or window is opened, the magnets slide apart and break the current, thereby sending a trouble signal to your control panel. You can also use glass break sensors, which detect the sound of breaking glass so your system will register unauthorized entry even if the door or window frame is not disturbed.

Finally, most burglary alarm systems utilize motion sensors to detect movement inside the home while the system is armed. Optionally, you may choose to place additional sensors on or near your items of particular value, which detect tilting motion or other movement in close proximity to your valuable possessions when your system is armed.

Fire Devices
Fire protection used to mean simply installing smoke detectors that made a loud beeping noise when triggered. In modern security systems, you may use heat sensors in addition to or instead of smoke detectors. Heat sensors use infrared technology to detect temperature spikes even before the concentration of smoke particles registers. Having your heat or smoke detectors wired into your home security monitoring system adds another layer of protection because they can notify your monitoring station of a fire even when you re not home.

Sometimes, monitored fire detection devices will be wired into your home s electricity to assure that they work even if the batteries die, but with everything going wireless, don't count on it anymore. It is also recommended that you install carbon monoxide detectors, which function similarly to smoke detectors to detect significant levels of odorless but deadly carbon monoxide in the air. It is very important to have these devices connected to your home security monitoring station so the authorities will be notified even if you re not home when they go off.

Asset Protection Devices
A third level of protection for your assets may be included in many modern security systems. These types of devices can include flood sensors (from rain, plumbing malfunctions or sump pump failure), temperature sensors (to notify you if a temperature-controlled area of your house suddenly becomes too hot or cold) and other specialized devices.

Personal Protection
Your security system can also be used for personal protection. Most new systems come with either a key fob controller or a pendant with buttons to arm and disarm your system and a panic button to call for immediate help. You may choose to keep these portable devices next to your bed or on your person. They are optimal for the elderly or anyone with health or mobility problems.

Some companies on our review also offer two-way voice intercom keypads that are activated when your alarm goes off. These intercoms connect you directly to the monitoring station so you can call out for help. Usually you have to be within 30 feet of the device to be heard over the intercom. If your monitoring station can t hear you over the intercom, they will dispatch emergency services.

Surveillance Systems
Though not a part of most standard security systems, surveillance equipment can also be installed as part of a complete home security system. You can set up cameras that record all the time, at specific intervals or when activated by motion sensors. Most companies that sell surveillance cameras also offer online access where you can view your recordings from the internet or your mobile phone, but there is a limit to how much backlogged data your surveillance system will keep. A typical online surveillance system will keep your recordings no more than three days.

With home automation systems you might also be able to configure your system to send you a text message when a certain camera is activated. For example, your system can send you a notification and the video record of when your kids get home from school every day. Surveillance systems are typically not connected to your home security monitoring system; instead, they record activity that you can review yourself.

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