What Are Contact Sensors?

A contact sensor fitted to a window frame
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Feb 01, 2023
4 minutes read

When it comes to home security, it pays to be clued up on the modern technology available. Contact sensors can be included in your home to make it more secure, either alerting you to an intruder or setting off the burglar alarm. They can be easily added to any smart security system but some manufacturers make their own which will link to their devices. These can then alert your mobile phone to any entrances that have had their points broken. You can purchase them as they are or as part of a wider kit.

Contact sensors are made up of two parts: a body and a magnet. They typically sit on an entrance to your home, be it a window or door, and sit flush when the opening is closed. If the contact point is broken, i.e., the magnet is removed from the body, it will sound the alarm, protecting your home from any would-be intruders. Instead of waiting for internal sensors to detect movement within a home, contact sensors can sound the alarm even before anyone breaks in.

The science behind contact sensors is simple. The magnet and sensor are usually less than two inches from each other. If the entrance is opened, their bond is pulled further than this and the alarm is raised. Some models will send notifications to your smartphone, while others can be calibrated to work with your burglar alarm. It's usually best to purchase ones that are from the same manufacturer as your other system so you know that they will easily integrate.

They are simple to install and can either be fitted with the magnet on the window/door frame and the sensor on the window/door or the other way around. When fixing these devices, it’s always best to check them first to make sure they are working properly and doing their job as intended. If you don’t have room to fit it one way, try it the other way around. Each system can be different, so it can take a bit of trial and error. They should also only be installed internally as they are not designed for outdoor use. External contact sensors are available, but these are waterproof and are meant to be installed on external entry points, like gates and garage doors. Using internal contact sensors outside is a sure fire way to break them as they are not intended to weather the elements.

The best place to install contact sensors is on common entry points. The front and back doors should be on your list, as well as ground floor windows that can easily be climbed through. If you have valuables in a certain room, you could also consider placing one on the internal door. While you can go overboard and place them on every conceivable entry point, they often work best in conjunction with other security measures. A motion sensor, for example, will be as effective as several contact sensors in one room. If the main entry points are covered, other security features can work better on internal surfaces.

If you’re looking to add an impressive level of security to your home, you might consider investing in a smart home security system. These come with a main hub, motion sensors, contact points and sometimes internal cameras. They are all interconnected and work together via Wi-Fi so you can control and monitor your system from your smartphone. The main benefit of contact points is that they very rarely give off false alarms, providing they are installed properly. This way, you can maximise your home security with additional technology to go alongside your contact sensors.

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