Having a home security system installed in your home can provide you with more peace of mind and help to prevent your home, valuables and family being targeted by criminals. These systems come in different price ranges and levels of complexity but do work in similar ways in protecting, detecting and notifying of an unauthorized intrusion.

There are some variations to the process and the components depending on whether your system is monitored or unmonitored and/or whether it is hardwired or wireless but the basic concepts are similar.

Security System Process

The job of a home alarm system is to detect and send out a notification when there is a security or environmental incident. This is done by sounding the siren and/or auto-dialing to send a message that notifies a third party monitoring company or someone programmed into the system (the home owner) that there has been an incident.

A security incident is when there is an unauthorized intrusion and an environmental one is when the system detects CO2 or smoke or water etc. Not all security systems have the components necessary to detect an environmental incident but they are very useful for preventing loss of life or damage to the home.

The steps of a home security alarm system to detecting and sounding the alarm:

Step 1: Arm the system – A bit obvious this but without it being armed there will be no detection and forgetting to do this is something that can and does happen especially when it’s newly installed. The arming can be done by a key pad, a remote control or a smartphone. When you arm using a keypad it is normal for there to be delay in the system becoming active to give you enough time to leave to prevent a false alarm being given.

Step 2: Detection – The system has a number of different sensors that detect when an entry point is breached, there is movement in a room or change in environmental factors. When they detect this has happened a signal is sent to a device (control panel) which determines the action to take dependent on how the system has been set up. (See step 3)

The other type of detection can occur when a panic button is pushed by someone in the house. The resulting action is the same as with a sensor but there won’t be the alarm delay discussed in step 3.

Step 3: Notification – There are 2 types of notifications that are made. There may be a delay before these happen as an alarm delay may be programmed in to the system to allow you to disarm the system using the keypad when you arrive home. Most systems give you the choice to set this to instant.

The first notification is a high decibel siren is sounded this warns the occupants of the house that there is a problem and also lets the criminal know they’ve been detected and this will scare them off or at least reduce the time they spend in your home. However, the siren can be set to silent so that the intruder does not know they have been detected,

At the same time as the siren is sounded the second notification happens. The system dials out to the phone numbers set in the system to notify them of the incident. Depending on the system this can be done using a landline, cellular network, internet or a combination of the three. If it is a monitored system it will be sent to a professional third party monitoring center or if it’s a self-monitored (also known as unmonitored) system it calls the owner and other numbers programmed into the system.  The notification can be a phone call with a pre-recorded message, a text message, a push notification or an email.

Step 4: Dispatch Emergency Services – After the person receiving the notification assesses the situation and a breach, intrusion or incident is determined the emergency services are dispatched.

Set Up And Components

A security system is set up to have sensors to secure entry points and cover areas within the house by detecting movement or a change in the environment and then they y communicate that fact to a central device that is known as a control panel. There may also be cameras included so you can see what is happening. This communication can either be done over wires or wirelessly.

The most common components that make up the system are:


Sorry to see the example of the system without a keyboard click here. A home security system secures your house by detecting when entry points to the house have been opened or when there is movement in an area, it then determines if these events are unauthorized and dependent on the outcome it will sound the alarm by setting off the siren and autodial out to get the message to the person(s) monitoring the system.  In this way it gives added peace of mind and can deter criminals from targeting your house, valuables and family.

Filed under: Buying Advice

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