How Do Burglar Alarms Work?

September 10, 2010 in Burglar alarms

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Many people are well aware of the purpose of burglar alarms and how they protect our families, homes, and personal property.  They also know that the noise that the alarms make will deter a burglar from breaking into a home.  Ironically, many people don’t really understand how burglar alarms actually work.  Here is a breakdown on how they work depending on the type of system you install.

Circuit alarms

The circuit principle is the most basic and common types of burglar alarms on the market today despite the growing popularity of wireless models.  There are two types of circuits – open or closed.

Open circuit – these alarms are triggered when a burglar opens a door or window which completes the electrical circuit.  The downside to open circuit burglar alarms is that if the perpetrator realizes it is this type of system, all they need to do is cut the right wires to deactivate it and enter your home without anyone noticing.

Closed circuit – these burglar alarms work in opposite fashion to open circuit systems.  If the door or window is open by the burglar, it breaks the electrical current and then triggers the alarms.

Additionally, you can use closed circuit burglar alarms to protect the perimeter of your home by surrounding your home with this type of system.  When the intruder breaks the circuit this triggers these alarms and with any luck it will cause the burglar to run away and leave your home alone.

Burglar alarms and zones

Burglar alarms are typically set up to protect “zones” within the home, the zone being a specific area that the system is protecting.  Normally, your front door is labeled zone one and your back door or other doors entering the home will be labeled as different zones.  Sliding glass doors and whatever windows you choose will be protected and labeled as additional zones.

Remember that the basic burglar alarms on the market will protect up to 8 zones in the home.  The more sophisticated systems can protect up to 32 zones, depending on your budget and what you are willing to spend to protect your family and home.  You can set up your system to exclude certain zones as well.  With wireless systems, each zone is protected with its own sensor.

When a burglar breaks in, you can usually see on your control panel’s keypad where the entry occurred.  Many individuals install the keypad in their master bedrooms so if the alarms are triggered at night when they are sleeping, they know where the break-in has happened.

Photo via quapan

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