Q: How does an alarm system work?
A: The alarm may be armed in the "Away/On" or "Stay/Off" mode. When you activate the system, each monitored sensor has the ability to recognize a violation. Once a home security sensor has been triggered, your alarm system then dials your home security monitoring center and transmits a signal. If your home security system is not monitored through a security company, then an auditory alarm sound will signal to notify you of a violation. Once the signal is received, the alarm system will wait to send another message to your home security company to see if another zone is tripped. If the security alarm has been tripped in error, entering your code and turning off the system should end this process.
Q: Do alarm systems really work?
A: Homes without alarm systems are three times more likely to be burglarized and the property loss is 10 times greater without an alarm.
Q: Can I still let my pets roam the house with motion detectors?
A: Most alarm companies now offer systems with pet immune motion detectors, which can overlook animals up to a certain weight. These devices often use PIR (or passive infrared) technology because it senses rapid changes in temperature. Therefore, a PIR sensor can differentiate between the movement of a small pet, which alters the temperature less, versus the movement of an adult or an intruder. The weight limit on a pet immune sensor typically ranges from 40 to 60 pounds, and some of these devices can also adjust their motion placement, pulse counts, and beam patterns to avoid detecting animals. You can purchase these specialized sensors individually if your alarm company doesn’t offer them, but make sure they are compatible with your system beforehand.
Q: Will my alarm system still work if I lose electrical power?
A: In most cases, alarm systems are now equipped with backup batteries that activate immediately after your electrical power is lost. A backup battery usually lasts for several hours, during which time the alarm system continues to protect your home or your office until power is restored. In order to combat the effects of prolonged power outages and frequent activation, installation specialists recommend that you check the batteries in your system regularly. Some systems actually send a low-battery signal to the call center monitoring your property so that they can notify you of the problem directly. Backup batteries come standard with many alarm systems now, but you may be responsible for the cost of replacing them.
Q: What is a DVR?
A: DVR refers to a digital video recorder. It is basically a computer that takes an incoming analog signal from a camera and converts it to a digital image. The DVR then compresses the digital image and stores it.
Q: What is motion detection?
A: Motion detection is a feature in some digital video recorders (DVRs) that causes the unit to record video only if something in the camera’s view moves or changes. You don’t have to look through hours of recorded video to find something that happened. Using motion detection also means you need less file space to record the action.
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