Choosing Motion Detectors For Your Home Security System

July 19, 2010 in Home Security System

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when selecting a home security system is what type of motion detectors to install.  Let’s face it: relying on your barking dog to alert the neighbors to a break-in, or hoping that the neighborhood watch walks by just as a burglar smashes your window, all leave too much to chance to be any type of reliable home security system.  With a choice of motion detectors nowadays ranging from DIY motion detectors at $20, to high-tech solutions costing $150 or more, adding one or more motion detectors to your home security system can be a simple and cost-effective option.

The standard and most affordable type of motion detector for your home security system is a simple motion detector that can be hooked up to a light over the front door.  When there is movement in the range of detection, the light will automatically switch on, alerting you or a watching neighbor that there is movement in front of your door.  You can install a standard motion detector at any spot in or around your home that is break-in sensitive.  The drawback to this type of motion detector is that it doesn’t differentiate between a falling tree branch and a human, and so the possibility of a false alarm is larger that with other types of motion detectors.

A good choice for your home security system is the use of a passive infrared motion detector, or PIR.  These PIR motion detectors are becoming increasingly more popular, especially among homeowners who need a pet-friendly home security system.  Passive infrared motion detectors detect sudden rises in temperature that occur too rapidly to be caused by a rise in room temperature, and therefore have to be caused by a living creature.  For pet owners who need motion detectors for their home security system, it is good to know that most of these PIR motion detectors can set a baseline detection trigger that allows for a pet’s body heat to pass undetected.  As an addition to your home security system, these motion detectors also detect a sudden change in temperature due to fire.

Ultrasonic motion detectors for your home security system use sound waves to detect motion.  Because movement displaces sound waves and air, ultrasonic motion detectors are designed to sound intrusions.  You have a choice of two types of ultrasonic motion detectors for your home security system: active and passive.  Active ultrasonic motion detectors send out sounds at high or low pitch that humans cannot hear, while passive ultrasonic motion detectors have receivers that pick up sounds.  This last type is one of the most sensitive types of motion detectors you can use for your home security system, and is also one of the most expensive.

Some of the most advanced motion detectors you can add to your home security system are microwave motion detectors, which use microwave energy to detect movement.  Microwave motion detectors emit microwave energy throughout a designated area and activate the alarm system if anything disrupts the waves.  These motion detectors have the drawback of not being able to detect through metal, but offer a significant addition to your home security system because they are able to detect movement through walls.

Finally, one of the most advanced options for your home security system is the use of dual technology motion detectors.  Dual technology motion detectors use microwave detection combined with PIR technology to fully cover designated areas with the lowest possible chance of false alarms.

Whether you choose for DIY motion detectors over your front and back doors, passive infrared motion detectors programmed for your pets to play without sounding a false alarm, or a high-tech set of the latest in dual technology motion detectors, getting the right fit for your home security system as well as your lifestyle gives you an added sense of security no human or animal eye can supply.

Photo via Brian.Kelly47

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