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What are the Different Types of Alarm Systems?

By Kasey James
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are several types of alarm systems for a home or business. Some alarms just provide equipment that will signal if the alarm is triggered. Others come with equipment and a security monitoring service. Each one may have different installation requirements and different costs.

Some people may want an alarm system that just monitors their entryways. These are usually separate alarms that are installed on each door and window and will sound very loudly if that entry way is opened when the alarm is on. There are even alarms that can be attached to garage doors or pet doors.

There are also alarm systems that come with motion detectors. These detectors are usually placed on the outside of the home or building. Sometimes a motion detector that can be set at night is installed on the inside. Anytime a person walks within a certain distance of the motion detector, it sounds an alert. Motion detectors around the property can be an added protection.

Security cameras are parts of some systems. Cameras are often set up on the outside of the building. Some cameras will turn on anytime they catch motion. Cameras can show any activity on a display screen or record any motion they find for later viewing.

Alarm system kits can be purchased with as much security equipment as needed. Some people want more than just the equipment; they want their home or business monitored by a security company. These alarm systems can be very helpful in an emergency. If an alarm is sounded, the security company is alerted immediately and will try to contact the owner and emergency services. These services are usually provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Many alarm systems can be purchased and installed as a do-it-yourself kit. It may take some extra installation time, but each alarm can be set up without having to pay extra money for help. Other alarm systems are set up by an alarm company. Many times, equipment that will be used by a monitoring service is installed by that company.

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Discussion Comments
By pleonasm — On Oct 31, 2013

@irontoenail - People should be very careful about shopping around for the right system though. Once you've started with one security company it can be very expensive to switch to another one.

My mother works at a school where the alarm goes off all the time, probably because it's way too sensitive, and a teacher always has to go in on their day off and make sure there are no intruders there and turn off the alarm.

It's happened up to five times on a single weekend, when my mother was in charge of it, but the school can't afford to change companies so they are stuck with the one they've got.

By irontoenail — On Oct 30, 2013

@croydon - There is always going to be some inconvenience, but I think it's worth it if it means that you aren't going to get robbed. It's a truly terrible feeling to some home and find that someone has been through all your stuff and has taken things that can never be replaced.

If an intruder alarm system can prevent that from happening, I think it's worth occasionally being woken up in the middle of the night.

By croydon — On Oct 29, 2013

It can get quite complicated if you're trying to figure out the best alarm system for your family. You've got to take into account any family pets and even the ages of your kids. If your young children have a habit of getting up in the middle of the night for a drink of water, you're going to have to either figure out a way to stop them, or give them the passcode for the alarm system.

You've also got to take into account anyone who might have to come home late at night. Several times we were woken up (along with the whole neighborhood) when a friend or family member tried to get into the house with the intention of sleeping on the couch without waking anyone (in one case she had flown in early and had no where else to go!).

If your home alarm system is going to be more trouble than it's worth, you might as well not bother with one.

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