How Does a Burglar Alarm Work? A Homeowner’s Guide

Using a burglar alarm in your home will be a good decision for protecting your family and property from intruders. But before you install one, you may have a question about how they work.

This blog post will provide an overview of how a burglar alarm works and the different components that make up the system.

I’ll also discuss the various alarm types available and the benefits of having an alarm installed in your home.

So by the end of this post, you’ll have a good idea of how a burglar alarm can help secure your home and provide smart security to you and your family.

What Is A Burglar Alarm System?

Burglar alarms are security systems that you can install on your properties. These alarms work with a series of interconnected electrical components.

This alarm system can notify the homeowner about any unwanted break-ins. Some burglar systems can detect the opening of the door window.

These security systems are truly effective for security and peace of mind.

burglar alarm sounder
Take a look at the Burglar alarm sounder hanging on the wall outside your room!

Types Of Burglar Alarms

If you want to know how a burglar alarm works, first you should know the types of burglar alarms.

The main tasks of burglar alarms are to detect unwanted interventions but according to their operating procedure, there are different types of burglar alarms. Here they are:

SL No.Burglar alarm types according to operating procedureBurglar alarm types according to the working principle
1Wired burglar alarmsDoor and window sensors
2Wireless burglar alarmsMotion detectors
3Audible burglar alarmsBreak glass detectors
4Remotely monitored burglar alarmsShock sensors
5 Safe alarms

I’ve elaborated only on the type of burglar according to their working principle.

Door And Window Sensors

Door window sensors are kind of burglar alarms. Most people use these kinds of alarm security systems for small houses or apartments.

When someone tries to enter your house from the doors or windows, these door and window sensors can identify this and triggers the alarm.

There are two parts to this kind of burglar alarm. You can install one of them either on the door or window and the second part is on the door frame or on the window still.

Motion Detectors

This kind of burglar alarm system is suitable when the intruder has already entered your house. This system sends radio energy and then observes the pattern of the reflection.

When the intruder walks around the house, the radio energy pattern breaks and thus the motion sensors detect the intruder.

The alarm gets activated instantly and sends the signal to the alarm receiving center.

Break Glass Detectors

The break glass burglar alarm is triggered when it hears the sound of breaking glasses. In this alarm, the circuit has an audio microphone that can detect and differentiate the sound of breaking glasses.

So to get the maximum detect result, you can put the alarm in the middle of the house so that it can easily detect the sound with a radius of about several feet.

Shock Sensors

Shock sensors can identify any vibration or shock caused by breaking any door or window. As soon as the system senses the shock, it triggers the alarm instantly.

Safe Alarms

Some burglar alarms can be set on the safe deposit boxes also. The alarm triggers when any unauthorized person attempts to open the safe.

Some of these alarms trigger when anyone tries to move or shift the safe while others trigger when someone tempers it or opens the door of the safe deposit box.

Different Types of Components in a Burglar Alarm System

To understand how it works, you should know the components of a burglar alarm.

All the components of these security systems are integrated together to make it impossible for intruders to invade.

Here are the core components:

Control Panel

A control panel of the burglar alarm controls the whole system from beginning to end. The control panel has connections with all the sensors and alarms of the system.

burglar alarm system control panel
Burglar alarm system control panel

So it can gather information from the detectors and responds as it should.

The touchpad on the control panel helps its users to operate the system. Most burglars include a built-in communication system that can inform local law enforcement about the interventions.

Remote Monitoring

If you have a smartphone, you can operate and monitor your burglar alarm remotely. No matter how far you are from your home, you will be notified about any break-in attempt.

You can activate and deactivate the whole system from distance with your smartphone or tablet.

See the below infographic to know more about how a Burglar alarm works

how dose burglar alarm work infographic
How Does a Burglar Alarm Work: Infographic

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4 Basic Steps To Prevent Your Home From Being Burglarized

Earlier in this blog, I have shown you the types of burglar alarms according to the operating procedure.

Whatever the type is, each burglar alarm has a similar working procedure.

Let’s see the series of procedures in a few steps:

Step #1: Detecting The Motion Or Presence

When someone tries to enter your house and open and close the doors or window, the sensors present on the doors and windows detect that.

The same thing happens when someone passes through the invisible laser beam.

So you should place an alarm laser pointer and detector in a place that is most important around your house.

So that they can detect motions and trigger the alarm unit easily. The motion detector is a part of the control panel or central monitoring station.

Step #2: Alerting The Control Panel

As I described earlier, all detectors are connected to the control panel. When any detector detects an interference, the circuit connection breaks.

When the circuit breaks, it triggers the alarm countdown.

Step #3: The alarm Is on

After the circuit is broken, if the system does not receive any abort or cancellation code, the alarm will start to ring.

The alarm unit includes a large and loud bell or siren which you can locate on a wall. This unit starts to make a loud alarming sound to make people know about the intrusion and the threat.

Step #4: Sending SOS Message

After ringing the alarm, the control panel starts sending trespassing alerts to several contacts.

Users can input several emergency contacts in the control panel. So that, the system can send SOS messages to local police and the agency that installed the alarm.

If the user has a confirmation of a false alarm or wrong information, he/she can deactivate the alarm remotely from his smartphone.

How Burglar Alarms Detect Smoke?

You can link your smoke detector with your burglar alarm system for complete home security! When integrated, if the smoke detector detects anything, you’ll get an immediate alert from your house alarm or burglar alarm control panel.

smoke detector
Smoke detector

Plus, your security system can make loud, pulsing sounds to wake you up if the smoke detector goes off.

It will help you to increase your property protection by connecting your smoke detector and burglar alarm together!

How Burglar Alarms Work For Parents?

A burglar alarm can be very useful for working parents in the USA as a house alarm. Having an alarm system in your home can help make sure they’re safe when they get home.

Teenagers often forget or ignore to give them a call and confirm their safe return.

When the system is connected to your door and your children return home from school, you will receive a text and stay relaxed alarm.

This is a really good way to know the information without leaving it to your children.


Modern technology has invented so many burglar alarms with so many updated features. They have different setups and facilities. The basic working principle is always the same.

Maybe you do not feel interested to know the technical things like the electric circuits and their diagrams of burglar alarms, but it is good to know at least the basics.

This will help you understand the security systems in a better way.

Now, I am sure you know how and where you want to set the security at your home. Share your ideas with the expert installation team and make sure your house or business is well protected from intruders or trespassers.

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