Intruder Alarms: Your Questions Answered

As one of Ireland’s most established security companies, we get questions from businesses and homeowners on the best way to protect their homes.

Our answer is always the same: the ideal security system combines various technologies, including CCTV, monitoring solutions and emergency lighting. However, the centrepiece of any security system should be a robust intruder alarm.

When installing an intruder alarm, most people don’t know where to start. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most common questions about these alarms. 


How do intruder alarms work?

Intruder alarms, commonly known as security alarms or burglar alarms, are electronic devices designed to detect unauthorised entry or intrusion into a building or area. These alarms are crucial in protecting homes, businesses, and other properties. The specific mechanisms can vary, but the essential components and principles of how intruder alarms work are as follows:

  1. Sensors: Intruder alarms rely on various sensors to detect unauthorised access. The choice of sensor depends on the type of intrusion the alarm system is designed to detect. Some common types of sensors include:
  • Motion Sensors: These sensors detect movement within a defined area. They use passive infrared (PIR), microwave, or ultrasonic sensors to detect changes in heat, motion, or sound.
  • Door and Window Contacts: These sensors consist of a magnet and a switch. When a door or window is opened, the interest moves away from the switch, triggering the alarm.
  • Glass Break Detectors: These sensors are designed to detect the sound or vibrations of breaking glass.
  • Pressure Mats: Placed under carpets or rugs, pressure mats trigger the alarm when pressure is applied, such as when someone steps on them.
  • Photoelectric Beams: These devices emit a beam of light, and if the beam is interrupted, it triggers the alarm.
  1. Control Panel: The control panel is the central hub of the intruder alarm system. It receives signals from the sensors and processes the information. It also controls the alarm's arming and disarming and communicates with monitoring stations or alerts the property owner.
  2. Sirens and Alarms: When the control panel receives a signal from a sensor indicating an intrusion, it activates the alarms. This can include sirens, flashing lights, and other audible or visual indicators. The loud noise and visible signals serve to alert occupants and deter intruders.
  3. Communication: Many modern intruder alarms can communicate with external entities, such as a central monitoring station or the property owner. Communication methods can include landline phones, mobile networks, the internet, or a combination. When an alarm is triggered, it can send alerts to the appropriate parties.
  4. Arming and Disarming: Intruder alarms are typically armed and disarmed using a keypad, key fob, or smartphone app. Only authorised individuals should have access to the means of disarming the system.
  5. Monitoring: Some intruder alarm systems are connected to monitoring services. When an alarm is triggered, the monitoring service is alerted, and they can contact the property owner or the appropriate authorities (police, fire department, etc.) if necessary.
  6. Backup Power: To ensure continued operation during power outages, many intruder alarm systems are equipped with backup power sources, such as batteries.


The effectiveness of an intruder alarm system depends on proper installation, maintenance, and the quality of the components used. Additionally, user education is essential to ensure the system is armed and correctly disarmed. Modern intruder alarms often incorporate advanced features like remote smartphone monitoring and integration with other security systems like video surveillance and access control.


 Will A House Alarm Stop on Its Own?


The alarm's audible signal can be quite intrusive as it alerts you to an emergency or system malfunction, and it's designed to persist until the issue is addressed. However, many alarms come equipped with an automatic shutoff mechanism that deactivates the alarm after approximately 20 minutes. Events like a power outage or low battery may trigger this alarm sound.

Resolving a beeping smoke or alarm detector typically involves a straightforward process:

  1. Use your home alarm's specific deactivation code to silence the alarm temporarily.
  2. If you can't recall the deactivation code, consult the user manual, which provides step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting the issue.
  3. Keep in mind that muting the alarm doesn't resolve the underlying problem. Here are some factors to investigate:
  • Check the condition of the alarm's batteries, as they might be running low.
  • Verify whether there's been a loss of AC power, which could be causing the alarm to activate.
  • Inspect the alarm system's wiring to ensure it isn't corroded or damaged.
  • Examine the alarm panel for any signs of malfunctioning or irregularities.


How to Reset an Intruder Alarm?


It's essential to recognise that each intruder alarm system is unique, and the reset procedure can vary significantly depending on your brand and model. The information provided here should be considered a rough guide, and it's crucial to refer to your system's specific user manual for precise instructions.

A reset may be required if your intruder alarm encounters issues like power outages, battery failures, or incorrect entry codes. However, the exact steps for resetting your alarm system can differ from one system to another.

Your system's reset procedure may involve

  • pressing the DISARM button and entering your user code,
  • using a RESET option, or
  • combining other methods.

For best results and to avoid unintended consequences, it is highly recommended to consult your system's user manual or contact the manufacturer's support for guidance on the correct reset procedure tailored to your specific intruder alarm.

It's important to understand that an unattended or improperly functioning intruder alarm may compromise your security. To bolster your protection, consider engaging a professional alarm monitoring service. These services offer expert oversight, ensuring unauthorised entry or emergencies are promptly detected and appropriately addressed. The Power Right team can provide specialist advice on the best intruder alarm systems and monitoring services tailored to your security needs.


Do you still have questions regarding intruder alarms? Then please get in touch with our expert team today. We’ll be more than happy to recommend the right security system for the unique needs of your property.


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