Many home security alarm kits come with motion and inertial sensors. If you haven’t used them before, you may wonder what the benefit of having them placed around your house is. On this page, we’ll explore how they work and why their place in home security alarm kits is well-earned. You can check Life Shield for more professional services for home security sensors.
What are Motion and Inertial Sensors?
Motion and inertial sensors are a part of home security alarm kits, though the former is more often included than the latter. They’re used to help detect when someone is either in your house or may be trying to gain access to it.
There are two main types of motion sensors; active and passive, though both may be combined in a single device.
Active Sensors: “Active” or radar-based sensors send out waves of energy, known as microwaves, and then “read” how the waves bounce back. Similar technology is used by police officers when they use a radar gun to check someone’s speed, by air-traffic control when they’re watching the skies, by weathermen keeping an eye on storms, and even by medical professionals when they use sonographic equipment to check on a developing baby. The sensors know when something in the room is moving because the signals returning change.
Passive Sensors: There are a couple types of “passive” sensors commonly used. Passive infrared (PIR) motion detectors, for example, search for infrared energy (aka heat) changes. A PIR detector won’t signal a change if a room warms up from the sun shining through a window, but it will recognize that a person has walked past it.
The concept makes use of pyro-electric sensors which generate energy when exposed to heat. Living beings (humans, pets, and wild animals) naturally give off heat/ infrared radiation.
Photo sensor motion detection units are a second common type of passive sensors. They’re like what you’d see in spy movies. A simple beam of light or laser shines across a space to a receiver. When something breaks that connection, it signals that the area has been breached.
Dual Tech Sensors: No sensor is without fault. For example, common active options sometimes give off false alerts if curtains blow in the wind. PIR detectors sometimes have issues when there are air currents or things that rapidly change temperature in their coverage area, such as a boiler or radiator. Many newer motion sensors make use of both technologies in a single device; requiring both sensors to report an issue before an alarm is sounded.
Inertial sensors, also known as contact or shock sensors, are designed to catch vibrations which may signal movement. For example, they’re commonly found in gaming machines or pinball machines and sound off an alarm when someone tilts the machine to gain an edge. When it comes to those found in home security alarm kits, they’re typically designed to be installed on windows. That way, a would-be intruder will trigger an alarm if they’re shaking the window in an attempt to gain access.
Inertial sensors have their place and most-often get installed on ground-floor windows, but homeowners may get false alerts if they’re in a particularly windy area or have foliage near windows that may bump them even with light breezes. In situations where shock sensors aren’t ideal, glass-break ones are a good alternative. Although they won’t signal at the first rattle, they will pick up the signature sound of glass breaking and sound an alarm.
What Comes in Home Security Alarm Kits?
Every company has different “starter kits,” and you may be able to add components to frame out a custom setup for your house as well. That said, a good startup set should include at least one form of motion detector, and you’ll need to verify yours is pet-friendly if you have furry family members.
Most people place theirs in the main entry area of a home or in a hallway that someone would be likely to travel if they snuck in. Some people also add them to garages, which works well if you use a remote arm/ disarm component or don’t usually enter/exit through the garage. This is purely because most motion detectors are designed to trip the alarm immediately, versus giving you time to disarm the system first, though your particular unit may allow you to customize the response.
Why Use Motion and Inertial Sensors?
In short, it’s an added layer of protection. Although most burglars will be thwarted by the door and window alarms or glass breaking alarms, it’s theoretically possible to slip into a home without setting off one of these. Realistically, it would be more along the lines of a spy movie with someone carefully removing glass, cutting a hole in a wall to gain access, or slipping in through a crawl space or attic, it is “possible.”
With that in mind, these devices are a cost-effective way to ensure all the bases are covered and the house stays protected, no matter how a thief attempts to enter. They’re also beneficial when cross-zoning is applied. This particular alarm feature reduces false alarms by requiring two sensors to trip before signaling there’s a problem.