One of our Salt Lake City customers asked me recently, what’s the ‘best way’ to design your home Security System? This is a question we hear often, especially from our DIY Home Security customers. Here’s my three tips on designing the best Home Security System.
- Protect your Doors – Cover all your exterior doors with a sensor. This includes man doors that you might find opening from the Garage to the outside of the home.
- Protect Windows That Open – Cover all windows that open and close with a Window Sensor. Windows that Crank are harder to cover. Don’t worry, step three will help with windows that Crank.
- Cover all Windows – Use glass breaks to cover every window in the home. This includes windows that open and fixed windows.
Lets back up a minute and talk about the ‘modes’ of your security system. Most Security Systems have two modes; a ‘Stay’ mode, and an ‘Away’ mode. When you’re in the home and want the system armed, you arm it to ‘Stay.’ Stay mode turns off any motions in the home, but leaves all door sensors and window sensors armed. This allows you to move about in your home without setting off the alarm. When you leave the home, you arm it to ‘Away’ mode. This turns the motions back on, and gives you an extra layer of protection while you’re away from home.
For as long as I’ve been in the business, motion sensors have been promoted as the best solution for securing windows. In reality, relying solely on motions to cover your windows leaves you vulnerable. Think about it. The sales pitch with motions is that they cover both the opening of the window, and the break of the glass. This is true, but only in rooms visible by the motion, and only when the system is armed in ‘Away’ mode. It’s very possible for an intruder to come through one of the windows in the home and exit without ever triggering the motion, and there’s no protection at all if the intruder enters through a window during ‘stay’ mode. Lets look at window sensors and glass breaks for a minute.
Window Sensors – are like door sensors. When someone opens the window, the system ‘chimes’ to let you know the window is open, or that one of your teenagers is sneaking out. The window sensor works in both ‘Stay’ and ‘Away’ mode.
Glass Breaks –are just what you might think. They detect the break of glass, and they work in both ‘Stay’ and ‘Away’ modes. They’re able to cover all visible windows within 15-20.’
In my 3 tips, I recommend protecting all windows that open and close with a window sensor, and then protecting all windows with a glass break. To be clear on glass breaks, this includes protecting windows already protected with a window sensor. Here’s the beauty of the setup, you can leave the system armed any time you’re in the home, and you never have to worry about setting off the alarm. With the windows covered in this manner, it’s impossible for an intruder to enter the home without sounding the alarm.
I’ve had a few people argue that someone could suction cup the glass, cut a circle out of the glass, and bypass the Glass Breaks. That’s true, and if that’s a legitimate concern, you might consider a motion as an added layer of protection. Honestly though, if someone wants in your home that bad, I think they’re going to find away in regardless.
Of course the drawback to this approach is the cost. Covering every window with both a window sensor and a glass break doesn’t fit in every budget. Here’s the great thing though, it’s easy to add to your system over time. So start where the budget allows today, and build your system out over time.
If you’re still trying to figure out the best way to design your home security system, give us a call, or send us an email. We’re more than happy to visit with you about your project and Security needs. For those who might be interested, I’ve left a brief summary about Smoke Detectors and Surveillance below.
When you connect a smoke detector to your alarm system, it allows the alarm system to notify the fire station in the event of a fire. Recently 2GIG released the Fire Fighter, which allows you to integrate the existing hardwired smoke detectors into your 2GIG security. So rather than buying a dozen new smoke detectors, you buy one Fire Fighter and it’s able to tie in all the existing smokes. It’s a great value add for you’re Security System.
Cameras and Surveillance
We’ll have another blog coming soon about Cameras and Surveillance. Here’s what you need to know for the moment. There are two types of cameras. Web Cameras and Surveillance. Simplifying things, a web camera allows you to view live footage, but offers little to no recording storage. Surveillance cameras allow you to view live footage and record the footage 24/7. As a general rule, Web Cams are better at pushing text/email notifications of live footage, and are usually cheaper.
— Kwikset (@KwiksetCorp) February 9, 2015