How do Alarm Systems Work?

Alarm systems are an essential part of any home security arsenal. Homes with security systems are 3 times less likely to be broken into than those without any such protection ( These systems work in a threefold manner: They identify, establish and prevent.


The first step is the identification of an invasion/intrusion, fire, gas leak or an environmental change. Components used in this step are sensors and detectors. Here are some of the different types:

  • Door & Window Sensors: These are designed to inform in case of an unauthorized entry through doors and windows. Read more about: Door Sensors and Window Sensors.

  • Motion Sensors: These sensors are designed to detect movement and are installed both inside and outside. Especially in areas considered to be pressure points (where valuable items are kept)

  • Glass Break Detectors: These detectors could be used on glass doors or windows. They are designed to detect the sound of breaking glass,

  • Shock Sensors: These sensors are designed to sound the alarm when an impact is detected. These sensors may be used in case of earthquakes or when moving goods of a sensitive nature.

  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: These detectors are designed to pick up on the presence of Carbon Monoxide and sound the alarm to alert anyone within the premises. Read more

  • Environmental Sensors: These are designed to identify sudden changes in temperature, humidity levels and the presence of water.

  • Smoke Detectors: Required by law in many states, smoke detectors are designed to detect smoke particles.

  • Safe Alarms: These alarms are attached to a safe deposit box. They are designed to go off in case of an unauthorized attempt to access the safe. Read more


The control panel comes into play at this point. This is the second step. The control panel processes information from various sensors and detectors installed all over the house and responds accordingly. Gathering data from the sensors, the control panel is designed to inform by sounding the alarm.  

Alarm system panels sometimes also come with built in communicators. These communicators are designed to transmit signals via phone line to contact the authorities directly in the event of an emergency.


The third step is scaring away the intruders. When the alarm panel establishes an intrusion or emergency, it sends signals to physical alarms outputs such as sirens or strobe lights. Both act as deterrents for intruders. These also come in very handy when there is a life threatening situation such as a fire or a gas leak. They are designed to alert you of the potentially dangerous situation, in time for evacuation.

The various parts of an alarm system network work together to identify, establish and prevent intrusions and occurrences. To ensure that this procedure follows through, make sure you check your equipment regularly.

How do Alarm Systems Work

Although, many innovations have taken place in the alarm system industry but you can understand the technology of modern alarm systems by first understanding a basic alarm system. Following are some important points that show how alarm systems work.

  • The basic burglar alarm is actually an electrical circuit which is placed in the entrance of a building. The circuit contains electricity and enables it to flow between two points of opposite charge.


    When you open the door, a part of the circuit is opened.  Its pathway is disrupted and current stops flowing.

  • When the door is shut, the current can easily flow through the circuit. When someone opens the door, circuit is opened, electrical current stops flowing, and this triggers the alarm.



Q:How do I avoid alarm systems monitoring scams?

A:If you want to avoid alarm system scams, you will need to be wary of companies offering an exceptionally good offer for security. Plus, watch out for those company representatives who say their company is merging with another company. Also check if the companies offer the installation of their system without proper assessment of your home. You may also thoroughly read the contract before signing in to avoid such scams.

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