Home Security 101

By Crystal Newton on Jan 14th, 2016 01:07 PM

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Many people avoid having a security system installed because they are unfamiliar with how they work. If you have questions about home security, this overview should be able to help you.

What is a Security System?

Put simply, a home security system is something that is designed to alert the authorities and/or household members in the event of an emergency. It provides you with a line of defense against a number of hazards, including burglary, fire, water damage, and carbon monoxide poisoning by sounding an alarm and simultaneously notifying first responders. A security system is an effective deterrent against crime, and can even provide you with life-saving medical care in the event you are unresponsive.

Key Components

There are numerous types of home security systems; however, all will contain some key components:

  • Keypad or control panel, which will allow you to enter a PIN in order to arm or disarm your system
  • Door contact/window glass break detector, a component that will sound an alarm if doors are forced open or window glass is broken
  • Monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which sound alerts when high levels are present so that occupants can quickly evacuate
  • Motion sensor to detect individuals walking around inside a home whenever the system has not been properly disarmed.

Home security systems may contain additional features such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) or Internet Protocol (IP) cameras. Most also contain a battery backup feature that will allow them to continue functioning whenever there is a power outage.  Modern systems allow for remote arming/disarming and various features via a smart phone or internet capable device.


The various components of a home security system were once wired into your existing phone lines. However, as technology advances, home security systems now function via radio frequency technology.  This allows for remote monitoring, and also makes it possible for the overseeing security company to notify emergency personnel if unusual conditions are discovered. The result is that help can be dispatched much sooner, even if you are away from home or incapacitated due to a medical emergency.

How to Operate

Home security systems can be armed and disarmed by using the control panel or keypad. To arm your system, type in your four-digit PIN and then "arm” just prior to leaving your home or going to bed for the evening. Modern systems include "stay" and "away" modes that allow for some or all of the devices to be active, depending on whether you are home or not.

As mentioned earlier, some security systems  can also be operated from a smart phone, making it possible to arm and disarm your system while you are away. This is a very convenient feature if you happen to forget to set your alarm or need to disarm it to allow someone else to enter.

Role in Home Safety

Numerous studies have shown that homes with security systems experience fewer break-ins than ones without them. Having an alarm sound attracts attention, and also makes it more likely that an individual will get caught. As such, burglars are likely to bypass homes with security systems. Security systems also provide better protection against fire and other natural disasters, which is why many insurance companies offer discounts to their customers who have them.

Although security systems provide a wide variety of services, they are actually quite simple to install and use. If you have been putting off getting a security system because you were intimidated by the idea, now may be the time to reconsider. To find out more, contact us.



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