Motion Sensor Alarm

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A motion sensor alarm is a great addition to any home security system. These devices are like first responders in that they alert homeowners of movement in and around their home. The variety of devices available can make it difficult to make a choice. Some homeowners include a variety of systems for peace of mind.

For example, in locations where there is limited exterior lighting, it makes sense to have a sensor that switches on a light after detecting movement. These types are energy and cost saving since it is not necessary to keep exterior lights on all night. The most common types on the market today are:

  • Infrared: These are some of the best systems available and are among the most affordable. 
  • Pet immune: the most common types use PIR technology to differentiate between human and animal movement. 
  • Outdoors: These are generally weather proof and are set up to work with light sensors as well. 
  • Microwave: These use microwave signals that bounce off a moving object and based on the reading the alarms will go off indicating movement.
  • Dual technology: This combines both microwave and infrared technology for the most accurate reading of movement. A system that uses this technology also reduces false alarms. 

Many homeowners include motion sensor alarm devices even if they have other types of security systems in place. The cost varies greatly, ranging from the very affordable $20 or less for basic types, to expensive high tech gadgets costing upwards of $200.00.

How to Choose

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Finding and installing the best motion sensor alarm for your home or business is easy if you know what you want to achieve. The selection factors to consider include:

  • The size of your home
  • Your home’s location
  • Whether or not you have pets and the types of pets
  • Where you want to place sensors
  • Your budget

Homeowners usually install these devices at points of entry, but they can also be in hallways and by interior doors. If you have a long driveway, these devices can alert you to visitors before they reach your door. You can also include a CCTV system so that you can get video footage. This can be set up to turn on if the system detects movement. The technology is such that you can even get an alert over the phone wherever you are. 

Many homeowners, especially those in crime prone areas, contract a security company to monitor their system. When installing on windows, also consider those that do not open as intruders can gain access by cutting or breaking the glass. In these areas, installing glass break sensors is important, as these will alert you to any breach. 

While these devices are great for enhancing your home security, bear in mind the level of activity in your home when making your selection. Turn the system off in high activity areas during the daytime if people are home. Finally, if adding to an existing security system, you need to determine if the system is wireless or hard-wired. Some systems require additions that are from the same brand, so you need to talk to your provider before buying these detectors.

How to Prevent False Alarms

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In general, a motion sensor alarm is very sensitive so placement is important to prevent false alarms. This is especially important if the system emits a loud sound as frequent false alarms will annoy neighbors & defeat the purpose. Some steps to take to minimize this occurrence are:

  • Do not place them facing stairways: Since these are high activity zones, they are not ideal locations 
  • Get a system that will not pickup pet movements: many brands on the market today are ‘pet immune’ so that pets up to a certain size will not trigger the alarm
  • Place them facing doors and windows in such a way that they will detect bodies of  a certain height and size

The value of including a motion sensor alarm system to your overall home security system cannot be overstated. In fact, many people now place these devices on their motor vehicles as well to alert them to any unauthorized attempts to gain access.


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