A good home security system is one of the best investments you can make. Not only does it help protect your property and your family, but also it protects your peace of mind.

Many home security devices these days also do more than just keep you safe. They can allow you to monitor your property from somewhere else, check in on family members and pets, and much more, adding not just safety but also convenience to your life.

In this article, you will learn all about how motion sensors can be an excellent addition to any home security setup. The benefits and uses of these sensors will be outlined, followed by a breakdown of the ways motion sensors can be used alone or as part of motion-activated systems. 

Top Benefits of and Uses for Motion Sensors

The basic function of a motion sensor is to detect when there is motion. This simple property can be put to many different uses. As part of a home security setup, motion detectors can alert you whenever there is motion in places that there shouldn’t be, whether that is inside your home when no one is there or on your private property when you aren’t expecting guests.

In addition, motion sensors can be connected to lighting, turning your porch light on if someone approaches in the night. This can deter a potential intruder or light the way for a guest, so they don’t trip on the front step. 

In the same way, motion detectors can be part of a camera system, as well. You can receive alerts on your phone, for example, if motion is detected in your front yard, and then be able to view a video clip of the motion to determine if it is something you should worry about.

Used alone or in conjunction with lighting or cameras, motion detectors have many benefits. 

Among these are:

  • Alert you if there is activity when there shouldn’t be

  • Deter would-be intruders by activating lights or alarms

  • Allow you to monitor what is happening at home when you aren’t there

  • Allow you to determine when your kids get home or if your teenager is sneaking in late at night

How Motion Sensors Work

Understanding how motion sensors work can help you determine how best to use them as part of your home security setup. The two primary ways in which motion sensors work are as follows:

  • Active motion: These often work by sending light or sound waves out, which reflect off surfaces and return to the detector. By detecting changes in the light or sound returned, motion is detected. These are most often used on automatic doors.

  • Passive motion: These detectors are set up to detect infrared radiation (which is essentially heat energy that any warm body gives off). A body standing still won’t necessarily set off such a detector, though. They are usually designed to send an alert when there are energy changes, which occur when something is moving.

The types of motion detectors used in home security are most often passive motion detectors. These detectors can operate independently to detect motion, or they can be integrated with lights, cameras, or other devices to activate them when motion is sensed. 

What to Know About Motion Sensors

Basic motion sensors that are part of ADT home security systems have a wide coverage area and can be programmed to send custom alerts when motion is detected. These sensors can cover areas as large as 35’ by 40’, which is often more than enough to catch everything in any particular high-traffic area.

Some other features you’ll want to consider with your motion sensors we’ll discuss in more detail below include:

  • Automatic alerts

  • Wired versus wireless motion sensors

  • Where to install motion sensors 

These sensors can send you an automatic alert on your phone or via email when motion is detected while the system is armed. With 24/7 monitoring, the professionals at ADT will also be alerted.

Wireless options have an average battery life of seven years and will send an alert when they need to be replaced. 

The professionals at ADT can help determine where best to place motion detectors around your home, but in general, motion detectors work best when placed high up and facing an open area. Inside your home, they are best placed in the corner of a room for maximum coverage. 

While you might be inclined to place them near a door or window, this is not always best because this type of placement can block their range. Placing them too close to a sunny window or a heating element can also lead to interference. 

Motion Sensors and Motion-Activated Lighting

Motion sensors can be integrated with lighting to create motion-activated lighting. This turns a light on whenever motion is detected. Some areas where you’d want to consider motion activated lighting include:

  • Entryways 

  • Near windows and backdoors 

  • Hallways 

Often, the best use of such a setup is near entryways. The benefits of motion sensor porch lighting are twofold: Lighting that turns on suddenly can catch a would-be intruder off guard and send them away, but it can also be a convenience for anyone coming home or visiting late at night.

In addition to front entryways, you might include such lighting near windows and back doors, as well. While you don’t enter your home through the window, an intruder might, and this would not only deter them but also allow you to see them.

You may even consider having motion-activated lighting in hallways inside your house for nighttime trips to the bathroom or kids sneaking down the hall at night. 

Motion Sensors and Motion-Activated Cameras

Another great use of motion sensing is in motion-activated cameras. With a basic motion sensor, you don’t have any real way of knowing what set it off. If it is a passive sensor, you can be pretty certain it is a warm body of some kind, but is it an intruder?

With a motion-activated camera, a short video clip of what occurred when the motion was detected can be sent to your phone or email, allowing you to see just what happened and determine if you should be worried. 

Motion-activated cameras are great for simple convenience, as well. For example, if you are expecting a package, you would get a notification if there was motion at your front door and be able to see that the package was left. You can also get notified of the motion associated with your kids getting home from school so that you can verify they made it home safely. 

ADT outdoor security cameras can allow you to view both continuous live feed or receive such notifications of motion events. These cameras are also equipped with infrared night vision, allowing you to view motion events that happen in the dark, as well.

How to Prevent False Alarms

Motion sensors can be a great benefit to your home security setup, but one thing you want to avoid are false alarms. After all, there’s no need to send in the police just because the neighbor’s dog strolled across your yard. 

Luckily, ADT motion sensors come with programmable sensitivity levels so that they can be adjusted to ignore Fido and alert you only when there’s a real threat. Our professional installers can set the sensitivity levels of your motion detectors based on the size of any pets. 

Since home motion sensors are based on passive sensing technology that makes use of infrared detection, they won’t be triggered by blowing branches or heavy snow either. Only human-sized, warm bodies in motion will set them off. 

For extra assurance, motion-activated cameras are great because they allow you to visually assess what set them off. So, no alert will call for assistance unless you see an intruder trying to trespass or break in and decide to send the recording in.

Add Motion Sensors to Your Home Security System Today

Every ADT security package is designed to help protect your home in a way that works for you and your budget. Whether you want just the basics or all the bells and whistles, ADT can work with you to customize a system to help protect your home.

Most basic home security packages include at least one motion detector, along with door and window sensors and a digital control panel. During professional installation, an expert from ADT can help determine the best placement to protect your home. 

The team at ADT represents the industry’s largest sales, installation, and service field force. The average installer or technician has been with the company for over nine years. All installations come with a free six-month warranty, as well as a theft protection guarantee: If a burglary occurs while your ADT security system is armed, we’ll pay up to $500 of your insurance deductible.

With same-day or next-day service, and calls answered within a few rings by the most experienced operators in the industry, they can get you started right away and help you determine the solution that is right for you.

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