What are Motion Sensors and Why Should Your System Have Them?

Looking to make your home a little more secure? Motion sensors (also called “motion detectors”) can give you that peace of mind.

Motion sensor is the term used for any device that detects physical movement. Depending on the kind of motion sensor you have, it can also provide you with an instant alert when suspicious activity is happening on your property.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • How motion sensors work
  • Different types of motion sensors
  • Benefits of having motion sensors in your security system

Need a quote to install motion detectors in your home? Give us a call at (804) 745-1117 or request a quote online.

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How motion sensors work

Installed either inside or outside of your home, motion sensors are designed to trigger a security alarm when they detect movement.

And, if you’ve invested in monitoring services, your security company will be notified immediately when a motion detector alarm triggers and will determine whether or not the authorities need to be dispatched. Depending on the level of monitoring you have, you can even get personal notifications via any smart device whenever the motion detector is triggered.

The sensors can also connect to your system’s security cameras, which will allow you or your security company to visually verify if there’s actually an intruder.

Motion detectors work best when installed:

  • In areas that people walk through (i.e. doorways, hallways, stairwells, etc.)
  • Parallel to walking paths (so an intruder will walk past the sensor, not toward it)
  • Away from HVAC supply vents or areas with direct sunlight (a sudden temperature change could trip some types of sensors)

Types of motion sensors

How a motion sensor detects movement depends on which of the 3 types of sensors you choose:

  • Active: These types of motion detectors use radar technology (ultrasonic waves, microwaves, lasers, etc.) to detect movement. The sensor constantly sends and receives signals and, when an object interferes with that signal, the alarm triggers.
  • Passive: These types of detectors use passive infrared (PIR) sensors to pick up body heat. If the sensor detects infrared energy (i.e. a sudden, dramatic temperature change), the detector will trigger the alarm. PIR sensors can be set to ignore moving objects beneath a certain weight, which means you won’t have to worry about pets triggering the alarm.
  • Dual technology: These types of detectors have both an active and passive technology sensor. Because dual technology detectors require both sensors to trip before triggering the alarm, these detectors have fewer false alarms compared to active or passive sensors on their own. However, that also means that if an intruder is able to fool one sensor, the alarm won’t trigger.

Benefits of having motion sensors

Wondering if motion sensors are really worth installing? In our professional opinion, the answer is a resounding “YES”.

Motion sensors are an effective way to:

  • Monitor a large area. While sensors on doors and windows monitor just one point of entry, motion sensors can detect movement anywhere from 15 to 80 feet away, depending on the type and model of detector you choose.
  • Catch intruders before they break into your home. Door/window entry sensors and glass break sensors can detect the moment an intruder enters your home, but an outdoor motion sensor could catch them before they do.
  • Double up on your home’s security. In the unlikely event that an intruder makes it past other sensors in your home (door entry, glass break, etc.), and indoor motion sensor will provide another opportunity to catch them.

Need help finding the right motion sensors for your security system?

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We’ll send one of our specialists to talk with you about your security needs and design a security system to cover every inch of your home.