Everything You Need to Know About Glass Break Sensors
Everyone deserves to feel safe at home. Many people rely on the technology of home alarm systems and security monitors to provide that peace of mind.
Thankfully, home security monitoring is improving all the time.
One of the newest features that home security companies offer are glass break sensors. These small but powerful devices can instantly detect if someone has broken a window in your home.
You can use glass break sensors to monitor and protect your property around the clock — whether you’re asleep in bed in the middle of the night or traveling far from home.
Ready to learn more about how glass break sensors can protect you, your home, and your loved ones?
Here’s everything you need to know about glass break sensors, including what they do, how they work, and how to install them as part of your current home security setup.
What Are Glass Break Sensors?
While the number of residential burglaries has declined in recent years, home and business break-ins happen several times a day throughout the country. And when they do, they are often the result of burglars smashing a glass window or door to gain entry.
Glass break sensors can disrupt a burglar before they make it any further.
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, these sensors are also easy to install on your doors and windows. They emit a loud alarm if someone (or something) breaks or tampers with the glass.
The noisy alert is usually enough to scare the thief away. It quickly deters criminals from entering and burglarizing your home, threatening the lives of you and your loved ones.
Unlike window and door motion sensor detectors, which most people disarm when they’re at home to prevent false alarms, glass break sensors can stay on at all times. This offers an extra level of protection if someone breaks into your home while you’re on the premises.
Glass break sensors are an important safety measure that you can add to your current home security system. Many of the top home security companies offer them as an added layer of security.
How Do Glass Break Sensors Work?
There are two main categories of glass break sensors. The difference is in the type of sensor they use to detect shattered glass.
Both will produce an alarm if the glass suddenly breaks, but one is triggered by shock waves (vibrations) and the other is triggered by acoustic waves (sound).
Shock sensors react to vibrations. Each one contains a tiny electrical wire that attaches directly to the glass. As the glass moves, it transmits vibrations to the sensor and sets off the alarm.
Shock sensors are effective at detecting shattering or breaking glass, but they do have a downside. Because they monitor vibrations, they can sometimes prompt a false alarm even when something as innocent as a slamming door, the loud bark of a dog, thunderstorms, or another high-vibration disturbance causes the glass to tremble.
Also called frequency sensors or audio sensors, acoustic sensors have tiny built-in microphones that monitor the acoustic frequencies of sound. Shattering glass has a high-pitched sound, and these sensors alert when they detect that specific frequency.
Like shock sensors, acoustic sensors are also susceptible to false alarms. If you’re standing near the sensor and drop a plate or a wine glass, for example, it may set off the alarm by accident.
Here are seven tips for preventing false alarms in your home security system.
Which Type of Sensor is Better?
Acoustic sensors are considered more reliable and less likely to set off false alarms. They also have sensitivity levels that adjust specifically to detect the sound of shattering glass and prevent sounds at lower frequencies from triggering the alarm.
Keep in mind that glass break sensors are not motion detectors. They will not let you know if a door or window is opened. They only alert when the glass vibrates or shatters.
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Where to Place Glass Break Sensors
Where you place your glass break sensors depends on the type of sensors you buy. Before you decide whether shock sensors or sound sensors are better for your needs, consider how and where you will attach them.
Vibration sensors attach directly to the glass. That means you must place one directly on each door or window that you want to alarm. You can use them on windows of any size, but window contact sensors are best when used on large windows and doors, including sliding glass doors.
Acoustic glass break sensors are typically placed away from the wall that has the window or door, with the sensor’s microphone positioned to face the glass.
All glass break detectors have a limited sensor range. Sometimes one is enough to cover several windows or an entire room. For others, you may need to install one sensor per window.
The number of sensors you need will depend on the size of your windows, the square footage range of the detector, and the type of sensor you choose.
For acoustic sensors in particular, it’s best to measure the exact distances that your sensors will need to cover, such as the range between the glass and the opposite wall. Check the manufacturer’s specs to confirm that the sensor has enough range.
Keep in mind that if you place an acoustic glassbreak sensor near a television set or speaker system, watching a loud movie or television show with shattering glass scenes could set off the security alarm by accident. To minimize false alarms near televisions and stereos, consider adjusting the contact sensor’s sensitivity level so that it’s less likely to respond to everyday noises.
How to Install Glass Break Sensors
Most sensors are small and wireless. Wireless glass break detectors work by connecting to your wifi, and are easy to install.
Many have sticky adhesive backings, so that all you need to do is remove the adhesive cover from the back and press it against your wall, door, or window. Others have small screw-in mounts where you attach the base of the sensor directly to a ceiling or wall.
Depending on the type of home security system and detectors you use, you can install them yourself or have a security professional install them for you.
The Added Security Benefits of Glass Break Sensors
Glass break sensors have built-in features and offer added benefits to create an even safer environment for your home or business. Here are some of the additional ways that they can improve the safety and security of your property:
You can set your glass break sensors to send alerts or notifications to your phone every time they sound an alarm. Whether you’re at work, running errands, or away on vacation, real-time phone notifications allow you to quickly respond to threats.
Trigger Security Cameras
Some glass break sensors can also trigger your security cameras to start recording. If you have interior or exterior cameras focused on the door or window, the glass break alert will trigger the cameras to record, making it easier to see the person or persons attempting to break in.
Alert Emergency Services
You can also configure your glass break sensors to alert your security monitoring service as soon as they sound an alarm. Your professional monitoring center can then contact emergency services or ask law enforcement to respond, ensuring that help is on the way whether or not you are on the premises.
Tips for Buying Glass Break Sensors
Ready to protect your home or business with glass break sensors?
Here are some tips on what to look for before adding this new technology to your security system.
Look For Compatibility
If you already have a home security system, buy compatible sensors that will readily integrate with your current alarm system. Homeowners and business owners who use a system with a professional monitoring center, such as ADT or Brinks, will need to purchase compatible window sensors. Otherwise, the sensors may not work with your current alarm system.
Look For Availability
Don’t have a home security system yet?
When comparing plans and systems, narrow your options to alarm companies that offer glass break sensors. Many of the top companies offer them, but some do not.
Pay attention to the type of sensors the company offers as well. Be sure to ask if the sensors are shock sensors or acoustic sensors.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
The bigger your home, the more windows and doors you have — and the more important it is to install glass break sensors.
Not only will they play a pivotal role in protecting your home, but they’ll also protect you if you’re upstairs or in another room when someone tries to break in on the ground floor.
Most people install glass break sensors on the ground floor, as well as on upper floors that can be easily accessed from the outside. For example, upstairs windows or balconies that are close to trees or other climbable objects.
Unless there is easy outside access to second, third, and upper stories, you don’t need to install one on every window in your home.
And if you rent a small home or apartment, you might not need them at all.
As a tenant, you might not have a say in what security system (if any) is used to monitor your space. Your landlord will typically make that decision. But there is an alternative way to use glass break alarms to protect your home:
Smart home devices.
For example, the Alexa Guard feature on Amazon Echo includes built-in detectors for certain sounds, including the sound of glass shattering.
While Alexa has a limited range, one device is usually enough to cover one floor up to about 1,000 square feet of space.
Place yours in the room that has the most vulnerable windows. You can enjoy the protection of glass break sensors without obtaining your landlord’s permission or attaching anything to your windows or walls.
Residential security is a growing concern for many homeowners, and glass break sensors offer an additional layer of protection that motion detectors and security cameras do not. They’re perfect for anyone who lives alone, occupies a large space, travels often, or wants to take all possible measures to protect their family.
No matter your living situation or location, glass break sensors are an easy and effective security measure that safeguards against break-ins and offers invaluable peace of mind.
If this added measure of security isn’t enough, consider hiring a residential security guard. Contact Security Explorer to find professional, residential security guards in your area now.