Home Improvement Real Estate Technology

How Does A Burglar Alarm Work?

burglar alarm

We are all wary of housebreakers and intruders hitting our property. Whether it is your home or business, the loss of belongings can be very costly. They tend to raid your property at any time, and you cannot be nearby always to protect your property. Hiring security guards can also be costly. Thus, it impedes you to seek an alternative approach to monitor your property around the clock.

Burglar alarms have been an ideal measure to protecting businesses and homesteads. In most circumstances, a properly running burglar alarm system reduces the chances of robbers hitting your property. Their presence alone acts as a determent while at the same time alerting you and nearby people of a break-in. Below we discuss what burglar alarm systems are and how they work.

What is a Burglar Alarm System?

A Burglar alarm system is a combination of electrical parts connected to a property to signal individuals nearby of an unauthorised entry. Any moment movement or opening of doors and windows is noticed, the alarm goes off. The sound produced is often loud to ensure people at a distance hear it.

How Do Burglar Alarms Work?

We need to understand the types of burglar alarm systems available before diving into what happens for the alarm to be triggered. Here are the more renowned types depending on what happens before the alarm goes off;

  • Bells-only Burglar Alarms- They are also known as audible alarms. Whenever motion or illegal entry is detected, this type of alarm creates a loud continuous sound. The aim is to get the attention of individuals within the vicinity. At the same time discouraging the burglar from progressing with the burglary. The downside with this type of alarm is that you are uncertain if anyone will respond to the noise.
  • Dialler Burglar Alarm- Also known as an autodialer, this alarm serves best someone who cannot rely on neighbours to act upon an alarm going off. Whenever a robber is detected, the dialer will call you or other designated friends and family. It allows you to signal the authorities or your neighbours who can check out what is happening.
  • Monitored Alarm Systems- This type of alarm contacts third persons in case of illegal entry. Normally it will be a security company that will call your landline number to ask for verification. If the verification fails or no answer, they call the police or a nominated keyholder. It varies depending on the agreement.

All the above alarms operate the same way. Here is how they work:

Circuit Break/Motion Detection

Some alarms are best around the perimeter and some best for recognising motion inside the house. To monitor the perimeter, the alarms utilise electric circuits. The two types of electric circuit systems are;

  • Closed-circuit system- This system operates in that whenever the door, window or point of entry is closed, current flows within the circuit. On opening the point of entry, the circuit is broken, and no currency flows. It triggers the alarm.
  • Open-circuit system- For this system, opening the door completes the circuit, current flows and the alarm is triggered.

The circuit systems use magnets and buttons as switches. They are both installed at the points of e

ntry. While both work well, closed circuits are ideal as a burglar could easily cut the wires in an open circuit. It will deactivate the alarm. The best way to avoid such is by using a control box that will need verification to deactivate.

house burglary

As circuit alarms are ideal for the perimeter, motion detector alarms are perfect for indoors. Since you have no idea what the burglar’s target is, using a precise trigger won’t be sufficient. The whole room needs monitoring. Motion detector alarms vary with the technology used. They include;

  • Radar-Based Motion Detectors – These detectors use microwave radio energy or ultrasonic sound waves to identify any new body in a room. They are placed on one side of the room and send out waves. The sensor knows the pattern with which the waves will bounce back. If the pattern changes due to another new object, the pattern is interrupted. The control box receives a signal about the change.
  • Photo-Sensor Motion Detector –These sensors use laser beams to detect entry. The source and sensor are placed on opposite sides of a room. Whenever the light from the source is blocked, the sensor detects the interruption. The control box receives a signal about the interruption.

Alarm Goes Off

The control box, connected to all components of a burglar alarm system, is connected to a loud noise machine, flashing outdoor lights or a telephone autodialer. Whenever the control box receives a signal, it initiates a countdown for the alarm to go off. A password is put into the control box to deactivate the countdown.

If no verification happens, the control box triggers the alarm. Depending on your system, the loud noise machine goes off, the flashing lights are switched on, and the autodialer contacts you or the nominated phone numbers.

Depending on your needs, burglar alarm systems can be the cheaper way to protecting your property. Evaluate your premises and belongings, choose the perfect system for you and go for it. Also, look out for newer burglar alarm systems.


About the author

David Evans

David is Editor-in-chief.

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