Alarm system: contacts (door and window switches)

Alarm contacts Contact switches are magnetic switches that are used to protect doors and windows for the most part. There are three main styles that are used by most alarm companies. They are recessed contacts, surface mount contacts, and rolling ball contacts.

Recessed contacts they are hidden in window rails and door jams so that they cannot be seen when the window or door is closed. The switch is on the fixed or non-movable side of the opening and a magnet is placed on the movable side. When the magnet meets the switch, the circuit is complete and the control knows it is closed. Recessed contacts are more difficult to install unless they are placed during the construction phase of your home or business. A good installation technician can install recessed contacts in your home after construction, as long as they have an unfinished basement, accessible attic, or closet to run cables.

Surface mount contacts They work the same as the built-in ones, however, they are visible when the doors or windows are closed. They come in three main sizes: large, small, and micro. They come in the colors white, gray and brown so that they can blend in with the edge of the door or the windowsill that they are mounted on.

Rolling Ball Contacts They are on the hinge side of the door lock and the spring loaded ball is pushed in when the door is closed completing the circuit. They are more likely to need to be replaced in a few years as they are considered a moving part.

All types of recessed and surface mount contacts can be connected directly to your control panel or you can get them in a wireless version. Wireless contacts have an attached or built-in transmitter that sends a radio signal to a receiver on the control. The transmitter is surface mounted and comes in two colors, white and brown. If white and brown are not the colors you want, you can paint the switches and transmitters to match your d├ęcor.

Doors are the most common entry point and your system should protect them. I always recommend contacting all the perimeter doors of your home or business.

Window contacts can build up quickly, as most homes have many windows. I have always felt that window contacts give the owner a false sense of security due to the fact that a window must be opened for them to work. If your window is locked (and it should be) when you are outside or sleeping, a thief has to break the glass or remove it to unlock it. If they break the glass and the alarm doesn’t go off, why would they open the window? Instead, they will most likely clean up the broken glass and climb in. That is why it is best to spend your money on motion detectors and / or glass break sound detectors.

If you have children, window contacts can be a valuable tool. They will prevent their children from opening the window to a stranger. And they will also make your teen regret that they read this. (If they tell you all they want for the holidays is a magnet, the templates are on the top!) Window contact lenses are often better at keeping people inside than stopping thieves. If you choose to use window contacts, you may like the fact that the surface mount versions can be configured so that you can keep the window open a few inches for ventilation and still be armed.