Save on home services in your area. Call now! 1.844.451.2720

Keep your place safe: Types of home security systems and how they work

BY Taylor Gadsden | Thu Aug 22, 2019
Keep your place safe: Types of home security systems and how they work

Your home is your castle, and your castle is your safest refuge. But to keep your castle safe these days – be it from burglars, fires or floods – you can’t simply rely on your own eyes and ears. Instead, smart homeowners have started using a reliable army of sensors, cameras and home security alarm systems to do the heavy lifting. Take a look at some the best ways to keep your loved ones safe and how they work.

What is a home security system?

A home security system is a network of devices designed specifically to secure and surveil basic entry points while you’re inside or away from your home. Home security systems and equipment are often used for both personal and business purposes.

Types of home security systems and their uses

As technology sprints forward, home security systems are becoming more advanced and intuitive to meet the needs of home and business owners everywhere. Take a look at the variety of home security systems available to you and how they work to protect your household.

Home surveillance and intrusion protection devices

According to the FBI, there were an estimated 1,223,806 burglaries in 2018. And, on average, these burglars stole more than $2,000 worth of goods from each household they hit. A combination of the following surveillance and intrusion protection devices may prevent your home from becoming a part of next year’s statistics.

  • High-decibel alarm/sirens – Sends intruders running from the unwanted attention of an alarm that’s loud enough for nearby neighbors to hear
  • Motion detectors – Protects a given space by creating an invisible zone that cannot be breached without sounding an alarm
  • Gate sensors – Works in the same way as motion detectors, but built for your gates and to withstand any harsh, outdoor elements
  • Security cameras – Records security breaches and helps keep an eye on things when you’re away
  • Door and window contact sensors – Creates a security circuit when the two parts of the sensor are joined together (with one part on the door/window itself, and the other on the door frame/window sill.) If that circuit is broken unexpectedly, then the alarm goes off
  • Glass-break sensors – Detects the unique sound pattern of shattering glass and triggers an alarm if it detects that sound
  • Control panels – Allows you to control all your home security devices and arm or disarm the system with your passcode

Environmental protection devices

The National Fire Protection Agency reports that 382,397 residential fires were reported to local fire departments from 2013-2017. These fires caused 2,739 civilian deaths and almost $7.3 billion dollars in property loss. So, even though we may think the elements can’t touch us indoors, they’re still very powerful and more than capable of doing harm to our homes. Here are some devices that can help:

  • Smoke detectors – Finds smoke in homes using a photoelectric or ionization method of detection
  • Fire alarms – Sounds an alarm loud enough to alert nearby neighbors and a sleeping household should a fire start in the middle of the night
  • Heat sensors – Detects high flames and intense heat, which is especially effective where smoke detectors can’t be installed
  • Home fire sprinkler systems – Distributes a water supply to home and commercial fires upon fire detection to cut property loss
  • Carbon monoxide and explosive gas sensors – Tests the air for any particles of airborne carbon monoxide (CO) – a silent, undetectable killer – as well as natural gas (methane) and propane
  • Water leak and water freeze detectors – Alerts the user at the first sign of a leak (measured in drops) or when the temperature goes below a set threshold

In combination, these types of devices can help you keep the elements outside, as well as notify you immediately should they ever come in.

Smart home automation devices

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American spent $111.67 on their monthly electricity bill in 2017. And as smart home automation becomes more commonplace in American households, that monthly total is likely to rise even higher.

Add some devices to your smart home that are worth every bit of the investment. Check out some smart home automation devices that can upgrade your home security system.

  • Smart locks – Act as a keyless lock to common entry points in the home. Access codes can be assigned to all residents and visitors
  • Smart doorbells – Uses home Wi-Fi to send doorbell alerts and videos to the homeowners when inside or away from the residence
  • Smart lights – Allows homeowners to control and manage light systems from any centralized location via smartphone or tablet

These devices sync with a home automation smart hub – such as the Apple HomeKit, Amazon Echo, WeMo, Logitech Harmony, LG HomeChat, etc. – which you can configure to send alerts to your smartphone via Wi-Fi when an alarm is tripped. Some smart devices even employ wireless-interconnect technology, so that if one alarm sounds, all interconnected units (such as multiple fire alarms throughout the house) will sound as well.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a burglary, house fire or any other sort of residential misfortune, don’t wait to prevent the next. Find out more information on the best ways to protect your castle when you follow our resource center and our home security experts on Facebook or Twitter.

Originally published 10/23/2016. Last updated 08/16/2019.
Find home security providers

What to read next

Why home security is important, even if you live in a "safe" neighborhood

We all want to make sure our homes are safe, so there are a few things we can do, even within secure locations.

Read more
home garage security

6 tips to protect your residential garage

The modern household garage has many uses; in fact, it is becoming increasingly rare for this area of a home...

Read more

5 ways cloud-based security systems and devices can help keep your home safe

Merging smart home technology with home security means you can use cloud-based devices, like a cloud camera, to help keep you safe wherever you are.

Read more

Stay in touch.

Subscribe to the Allconnect Resource Center for industry news, expert shopping tips, home technology guides, reports and more.