Blog

Motion Detector Installation Best Practices

automatic-switch-5111519_640

Along with door and window sensors, motion detectors help make up the “core” of any alarm installation. These detectors can cover large areas of space within a home. Therefore, installing a small number of motion detectors often proves more efficient than installing dozens of window contacts. Additionally, these detectors can help detect activity that most sensors would miss. For example, occasionally burglars find their way into a home without opening a door or window. In these cases, motion detectors provide the security that catches this activity. In this post, we will share some valuable motion detector installation tips to help you make the most of these valuable alarm components!

First, we will discuss the best rooms for motion detector installation. From there, we will look at another important area of your home that makes a great place for these detectors. Then, we will explain why corners represent the best place to install motion detectors within any room. Finally, we will look at a couple tips to help you avoid falsse alarms. Since motion detectors often create these nuisance alarms, we’ll look at a couple different ways to cut down on this risk. Now, let’s get started by sharing where we begin when mapping out motion detector locations within a home.

Find the Most Efficient Rooms for Motion Detection

When desiging an alarm system, many customers try to think of burglars’ most likely points of entry. Of course, we always want to take these areas of a home into account. After all, we want an alarm to catch a burglar as soon as possible. Better yet, we want sirens blaring before anyone has even breached your property. However, when installing motion detectors we also want to consider a home’s most well-used rooms. In doing so, we can catch burglars who use unusual means of entry before they reach their target rooms.

A staircase in a home

Installing motion detectors near staircases is one of the most efficient ways to limit the movement of burglars within your home.

For example, we often install motion detectors in hallways. Burglars breaking into bedrooms or bathrooms with the intention of roaming your home will generally end up in the hall sooner rather than later. Additionally, living rooms, family rooms, and other “central” locations make great landing spots for motion detectors. Finally, we also want to keep an eye on burglars looking to move floor-to-floor inside a home. Let’s see how we secure against this possibility now.

Secure Your Staircases

When inside a house, burglars often have a list of rooms in mind to visit. Living rooms and entertainment rooms often have valuable televisions and gaming systems. Offices often contain computers and sometimes even credit cards and cash. Bedrooms often house jewelry and other records that burglars can use for their own gain, such as information about bank accounts and other personal information.

With this in mind, thieves generally have to travel to different floors of multiple-story homes in order to “hit” all of the rooms on their checklist. Therefore, we highly recommend installing motion detectors that “watch” your staircases. Doing so can help limit where intruders can travel before they get caught. At this point, we’ve seen what types of areas deserve motion detector security. Now, let’s see where we recommend installing motion detectors after we’ve chosen their general locations.

Use Corners to Your Advantage

We like to install motion detectors in areas that cover rooms as efficiently as possible. Specifically, we find that installing a detector in the corner of a room that faces the entrance provides the best coverage. The corner-mounted orientation focuses the detector on the centar of the room. Additionally, corner installation helps eliminate the “blind spots” created by installing a detector on the center of a wall facing outward. Moreover, finding the corner with the most efficient view of the room’s doorway makes it difficult, if not impossible, for someone to enter the room without activating your alarm. For these reasons, we seek out this exact location for motion detector installation. Now, let’s move on by reviewing some ways that you can cut down on motion detector-related false alarms.

Take Steps to Avoid False Alarms

In our post on False Alarm Causes and Solutions, we pointed out that the term “false alarm” often proves misleading. Generally speaking, people use this term to describe any alarm activation created by something other than a true burglary or fire emergency. However, these “false” alarms often indicate a properly-working security system. In these cases, fixing mistakes in the planning or installation of motion detectors can minimize or even eliminate nuisance alarms. In this section, we’ll share some helpful tips to address the possibility of false alarms proactively. Let’s get started with a look at how animals create unwanted alarm events, and what you can do about it!

A Honeywell pet-immune motion detector

Pet-immune motion detectors, such as this model by Honeywell, are less sensitive than their non-pet immune counterparts, which can help cut down on false alarms.

Animal-Related False Alarms

Our customers have animals to thank for many of their nuisance alarms. Of course, many families welcome animals into their home in the form of pets. When installing alarms in these homes, we have to take specific precautions. For example, we can install “pet-immune” motion detectors that require a certain amount of weight to activate an alarm. This can greatly help families with small dogs and cats. Additionally, careful detector placement can also lower the risk of pet-created false alarms. For example, even light animals jumping on stairs and on furniture in front of motion detectors can cause false alarms. Therefore, when we install pet-immune motion detectors, we take the surroundings into account. Avoiding installing these detectors in front of stairs or in rooms without tall furniture can go a long way.

Occasionally, our customers experience false alarms created by animals other than pets. Surprisingly, even bugs can cause alarms if they crawl inside a detector. Most common motion detectors use heat-sensing technology to activate an alarm. Therefore, spiders and insects crawling inside the detector creates just as much heat on the detector’s heat sensor, if not more, than a person walking into a room. For this reason, we recommend cleaning detectors regularly to make sure your detectors do not double as a bug shelter!

Installation-Related False Alarms

As we pointed out in the previous section, motion detectors generally detect motion by sensing shifts in heat. A quick change in a room’s heat index generally comes about when someone walks into a room. Of course, animals can also create this heat index shift, as we’ve pointed out. Furthermore, events that do not involve people or animals can also cause false alarms. For example, a burst of sunlight through a window can replicate the heat caused by a person entering a room. Therefore, we aim to install motion detectors in areas that do not directly face windows. Additionally, curtains or large plants blown by fans can also activate your alarm system. Paying attention to these risk factors when planning out your motion detector installation goes a long way towards eliminating false alarms!

Creating a Plan for Effective Motion Detector Installation

We hope that this post has helped you see how we go about mapping and installing motion detectors. These extremely important security system components can add tremendous security to your home. However, as we pointed out, they can also create frustration if installed without the proper preparation. If you have any questions about the information in this post, we encourage you to contact us. We will happily help you design an alarm system that secures your home as efficiently as possible.

Moreover, we offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers alike. Perhaps you already have an alarm but want to add some motion detectors for additional security. Or, maybe you don’t have security equipment in place yet, and would like some help creating a plan to install an alarm from the ground up. Either way, we are here to help. Together, we can create a complete security plan to keep you and your family as safe and secure as possible!