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Understanding the Key Components of a Home Security System

Jun 20, 2023|

While burglary is one of the most common crimes in the United States, a recent study shows that nearly 47% of homeowners don’t have a home security system.

Installing a home security system is essential for protecting yourself and your property against intruders and deterring these criminals in the first place.

If you’re in the market for a reliable security system, the first step is finding out how it works.

This guide will explain the key components of a security system to know before making a purchase.

Vivint Indoor Camera Pro.

What is a home security system?

A home security system is simply a group of electronic and physical devices that work together to protect a home. A few of the most common home security systems are:

  • DIY home security systems. Homeowners usually assemble these systems, which monitor their home’s surroundings through a mobile app or computer.
  • Professional home security systems. This category can mean two things: a home security system that’s professionally installed or a system designed by a security company or specific providers like Vivint or ADT.
  • Wired security systems. Cord security systems connect to a home’s electrical system.
  • Wireless security systems. Wireless security systems rely on batteries, Wi-Fi, and cellular backup to provide an app-based professional monitoring system.
  • Smart security systems. Like wireless security systems, these products connect to the internet to offer real-time home footage and provide alerts and notifications to the homeowner.
  • Local alarm systems. Unlike smart systems, local alarm systems don’t connect to the internet. You won’t receive any alerts or notifications in the event of a home break-in if you’re too far from home.

Regardless of your home security system, the pros of making a professional installation outweigh the cons.

With a home security system, you can take advantage of the following:

  • A fast police response to a home break-in, burglary, or suspicious activity
  • An invisible layer of protection that will deter would-be intruders through surveillance cameras, yard signs, and window stickers
  • Convenient security alerts and notifications
  • Possible discounts on your homeowners' insurance premiums
  • Live streaming capabilities to check in on your kids and pets

Let’s be neighbors.

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What are the components of a home security system?

A home security system has various parts that all work simultaneously to protect your home and belongings through all entry points, such as doors and windows.

The major components of a home security system are:

  • The master control panel
  • Outdoor and indoor security cameras
  • Doorbell cameras
  • Smart locks
  • Security sensors (like glass break sensors)
  • Safety alarms (like smoke detectors)

Here is a breakdown of each component, what it does, and how it works with other system parts.

Master control panel: The hub of your home security system

The master control panel displays all the information for your home security system. Think of this component as the base station for your home alarm system.

The access control panel’s graphical user interface (GUI) or digital screen tends to vary depending on the product you buy. However, you can expect to see the following on a standard master control panel:

  • Date and time
  • Weather and temperature
  • Home security settings, prompting the homeowner to arm (turn on) or unarm (turn off) the system.
  • Keypad for dialing a security PIN
  • Speaker and intercom
  • Smart home automation features
  • Panic buttons

The base station or access control unit is the most noticeable feature of a master control panel.

They’re usually just inside by the front door. Older access control units have a flippable panel where you can manually press keys to work the system.

Modern master control panels are completely touchscreen and digital.

Unless you purchase individual home security system components separately, almost every product will have some sort of master control panel.

Homeowners don’t need to be home to use the master control panel. Most modern systems allow users to control the master control panel remotely using their smartphone.

Vivint Smart Hub.

Outdoor security cameras

Outdoor security cameras are another noticeable feature of a home security system. The purpose of an outdoor security camera is to capture footage near and around your home.

Depending on the home alarm system you buy, outdoor security cameras may have different functions. For example, you can buy a product with outdoor security cameras that simply record footage of your home’s surroundings.

Another product can record this footage and feed it to your smartphone, computer, or laptop. To be effective, it’s important that a professional strategically places security cameras around a home’s perimeter.

This way, a savvy burglar can’t use a blind spot from the cameras’ view to break into your home.

Indoor security cameras

Indoor security cameras are installed inside your home and are considered the last line of defense against a home break-in. Like outdoor cameras, indoor security cameras can help catch intruders.

There aren’t many differences between indoor and outdoor security cameras. Both security cameras provide a 360-degree panoramic view of your home. Also, both products are durable and not easily damaged by criminals.

However, outdoor security cameras are usually more durable since they are affected more by weather conditions.

Doorbell cameras

A home security system doesn’t just protect your home against burglaries. It’s also useful in protecting homeowners and inhabitants from suspicious people and unwanted visitors.

For example, you can use doorbell cameras to identify anyone that comes near your home.

For a burglar who prefers to hide in plain sight by wearing disguises, doorbell cameras can help you see through their deception before you give them access to your home.

Some of the most common doorbell camera features are:

  • Real-time active alerts and video surveillance
  • A two-way talk system between the homeowner and the person on the other side of the door
  • Live-stream video with your smartphone

A professional can either hardwire a doorbell camera to your home’s existing doorbell or install a battery-operated doorbell.

Smart locks

Smart locks are a modern addition to a standard home burglar alarm. A smart lock is an electromechanical lock that can be powered by a(n):

  • Electronic keypad
  • Mobile device
  • Biometric (usually fingerprint) sensor
  • Access card
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi signal

When the smart lock receives a signal from any of these remote devices, the lock will operate and open the door. Quality smart locks are extremely rigid, just like a normal lock. The best smart locks are also safe from hackers. Many parents love smart locks because they provide outstanding security and convenient keyless entry for children coming home from school.

Security sensors

Home security sensors refer to a broad range of devices, such as:

  • Door and window monitors. These devices are attached to your home’s doors and windows. Door and window sensors operate on a closed circuit, meaning an alarm will sound when the circuit opens (the door or window opens).
  • Motion detectors. A motion detector detects and measures nearby movement, both indoors and outdoors. Motion sensors send ultrasonic sound (passive infrared) signals that bounce off nearby people and objects. A light or alarm will power on when the sensor detects unusual movement.
  • Glass break detectors. These devices simply detect the sound of broken glass from a broken window or door in your home. Glass break detectors listen for unique sound patterns, reporting back to the entire home security system if it sounds like a home break-in is happening. Because of their laser-focused sensors, glass break detectors usually don’t make false alarms.

Safety alarms

Home security systems don’t just include protection against theft. You can use safety alarms to protect you and your family from fire, excess water, and smoke.

Safety alarms, such as carbon monoxide and flood detectors, can provide real-time alerts if your home is unsafe.

Carbon monoxide detectors are especially useful since most hazardous gasses are odorless, tasteless, and dangerous for people and pets.

A smoke detector makes the difference in staying safe from a possible fire if you’re asleep or away from your home. When these alarms sound off, it’s best to contact your local fire department immediately.

Vivint Glass Break Sensor.

Discover the leading home security system options from Vivint

Installing a home security system is a great way to protect your home against intruders, natural disasters, and the unknown. These systems provide peace of mind for millions of people across the country.

No matter which home security system you buy, the product will likely include most of the features above.

If you’re ready to explore the different home security options, contact our Smart Home Pros today.

They can provide a free quote and point you in the right direction for choosing a home security system for your needs and budget. Call us at Call us at 855.822.1220 today.

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