When you have pets they can add complications to your home security set up. They are often left at home alone while you are at work and can be free to move around your home.

It is because of this moving around that they can cause a security system to detect them as being intruders and to sound a false alarm. Fortunately there are ways to get around this so you can keep your home being properly monitored and keep your pets safe while you aren’t around.

The best DIY wireless security systems have 2 levels of sensors – entry sensors for the perimeter of your house and motion sensors for the internal rooms so as to give the best level of coverage for detecting a break-in. When they detect an event the siren is sounded and a notification is sent to those set up in the system to monitor it who can then assess the situation and determine if the police should be dispatched. So, if a pet is causing false alarms it can make it more difficult to determine if there is a real security event or not.

It is the motion sensors that pets can set off when they are moving around the house. For most security systems the motion sensors are passive infra red sensors that detect changes in heat to determine that there is movement. There are more expensive sensors that use microwave as well as infra red but these are not common in DIY installations.

To avoid false alerts there are probably 3 possible solutions, well 4 if you decide to not to arm your system which defeats the purpose and is not recommended. I’ll work through the 3 solutions from the least viable method to the best method.

Method 1. Alarm systems typically have different alarm modes they can be set to. There is home mode and away mode. The away mode is the one you use when you are away from the home and all sensors are armed ready to detect an unauthorized entry and movement in your home.

The home mode is for when you are at home. In this case the entry sensors are armed and the motion sensors stay unarmed so you can move freely around the home. This is great for when you are at home but reduces the effectiveness of security and means you won’t get a secondary notification of an intruder or a notification if they bypass the entry sensors if armed in this mode while you aren’t at home.

It does mean your pets won’t set off the alarm but it reduces your overall protection. If you are considering this as a solution and haven’t got a system yet then the new Korner home security system is worth taking a look at because it just has entry sensors to provide security resulting in an affordable self-monitored security system that your pets won’t trigger an alert (unless you teach them how to unlock and open doors).

Next is the changing the orientation of the motion sensors. Motion sensors have an angle of view that is downwards when correctly installed. They will then detect animals as they walk along the floor. By turning the upside down and installing them lower down they monitor upwards thereby missing the floor and the first few feet and they will then only detect people because they are tall enough to be in the field of view.

The best solution are pet immune sensors. These work by changing the heat sensitivity of the sensor. They look at how big an area the heat occupies horizontally and how high up it is. They can ignore pets between 50 lbs to 80 lbs depending on the model.

To avoid detecting a pet it needs to be installed at the height recommended by the manufacturer – normally between 5 and 6 feet. It also needs to be away from where a pet can climb to get near to it as this can fool the detector to thinking it is bigger than it is.

If it is pointing at the stairs the pet walking up or down them can also trick the sensor into being triggered.

Pet immune sensors can be part of a DIY kit or bought on their own to add to the kit (See Pisector and Fortress Security Store systems compared).

A new system that uses a computer algorithm rather than infra red technology is the Canary Home Security System which has a camera. With this it can learn over time what events to ignore such as a pet moving around the house. It is in the early stages but this looks like an innovation that will overcome some of the limitations of the traditional pet immune sensors as it evolves.

Although pets can cause issues with alarm systems by triggering false alarms there are sensors that do ignore them to make it possible to fully secure your home and keep your pets safe without having to deal with hundreds of notifications to your phone because of false alerts. The best solution being pet immune sensors – although they do need to installed properly and aren’t 100% but the new generation of home motion sensors starting to be released have learning algorithms that will help them improve over time and overcome the current limitations.

Filed under: Buying Advice

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