Knowing that approximately 2.5 million residential burglaries occur each year, it’s only natural that you may become more concerned about your home security [1]. Accounting for the fact that that around 66% of burglars enter through windows, your thoughts may turn to window alarm systems. Naturally, this leads to questions about the operation and installation of these systems. To help guide you through the process, here are some key questions to consider about window alarm systems.

How do window alarm systems function?

Older alarm systems required drilling holes in your walls and hours of running wires through your house. Today’s modern systems rely on wireless sensors that affixed with adhesive tape. Typically, window alarms consist of a two-piece magnetic contact sensor. If the system is armed and then the window is opened, the magnetic sensors will be separated. This trips the alarm and notifies the alarm company. If you want to open your windows, you will simply need to disarm the system.

Where do the window sensors need to be placed?

Your alarm company should send out a professional to install your window alarms, so this shouldn’t be an issue. The sensors are generally placed in a discreet location. The last thing you want is a burglar to easily identify where the sensor is at. Aesthetically, you don’t want the sensor interfering with your view. However, so you know, the sensor should be placed within a ¼ inch of its corresponding magnet when the window is closed.

What if a thief breaks the glass?

Keep in mind that window alarms usually alert when the sensors are separated. This may or may not occur if the window glass is broken. You do have the option of purchasing glass break detectors, which will send an alarm if the glass is shattered while the system is armed. Naturally, those sensors cost more your typically widow sensor.

What could cause false alarms?

If your windows are relatively new, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about false alarms. However, older wood windows may swell or contract due to the changing weather. If this happens, the sensors may lose contact with each other and the chances of a false alarm are much higher.

I already have window alarms, but I am planning to purchase new windows. What should I do?

You will need to have the alarms re-installed by a professional after getting your replacement windows. You should be able to easily do this by calling your alarm company. Let them know in advance what your scheduled window installation date is. This way your sensors can be reinstalled quickly, and you won’t go days or weeks without your alarm system being operational. You will also need to know if the alarm company is going to re-use the current sensors or install new ones. If they are planning on re-using the current sensors, inform the window installers so they don’t accidentally damage or throw them away.

How does alarm monitoring work?

Your home’s sensors are connected to a remote central monitoring station that receives a notification any time the device is breached, such as when the window is opened. Depending on the terms of your contract, the company will notify you and possibly emergency services. Notification generally occurs through the control panel or a phone call. You will be asked to give a password, letting the company know if this is a real or false alarm. If there is a problem, the alarm company will dispatch the appropriate service. If they cannot reach you, then they will assume it’s an emergency and alert the police.

Will having an alarm system affect my homeowner’s insurance?

Typically, insurance companies do offer a slight discount on your homeowner’s insurance if your home is equipped with an alarm system. If you’re lucky, the amount you save will be more than monthly monitoring fees. You will be asked to supply proof of your system.

The biggest benefit is a window alarm system allows you to enjoy the beautiful view from your windows while having peace of mind that your family is protected.

[1] https://www.alarms.org/burglary-statistics/