Setting up a home security system is the best way to give yourself peace of mind when you're at work or traveling to a relaxing vacation. If you've got a few cats or a dog at home, you may think that you can't use an alarm system because the animals will cause too many false alarms. Try these tips for enjoying a safer home without giving up your animal companions or constantly getting calls from the monitoring company.
The fastest and easiest way to stop Fido from creating false alarms is to limit his or her access to the house. Choose a spare bedroom or bathroom and turn it into an animal sanctuary, free from easily damaged objects and motion sensors. Make sure your pet is contained in the nonmonitored area before you arm the system each day as you leave for work or school. Of course, this won't help with nighttime alerts unless you also put the pet to bed in the same room. You'll also need other equipment for securing any windows or doors in the pet-safe area since they won't trigger the alarm system when forced open.
You can also reduce the number of false alarms by adjusting the placement of your motion sensors. Try
- pointing the sensors at waist height instead of at the floor,
- mounting the sensors high on the walls so that pets can't jump up right in front of them, and
- arranging sensors away from furniture that pets can climb.
Let a security professional help you with these adjustments. It's very easy to accidentally leave a clear path for burglars to avoid detection if you try and move the motion detectors around on your own.
Pick Better Sensors
While basic motion detectors may work fine in a home without pets, animal lovers should invest in the newest pet-friendly motion sensors and alarms. These devices ignore objects under a certain weight limit, like 40 lbs for cats and small animals or even 80 lbs for large dogs. Other sensors include infrared technology to determine the size of a passing object by the amount of body heat it puts out. Either type will work to prevent your pet from triggering the alarm, as long as they're installed, adjusted, and tested by a professional.
Keep in mind that some pet-friendly sensors still go off if your animals make certain movements that confuse the device. For example, sensors that track the type of movement can still be tricked by a cat jumping vertically or a dog hopping up and down constantly in front of a window. Letting the pet get right in front of the detector also tends to set off the alarm, so make sure they're still placed in areas that are hard for the animal to access.
Tell the Monitoring Company
On top on adjusting your sensors, you should also notify the company in charge of monitoring and responding to alarms that you have pets in the home. This allows them to mark your account as more likely to set off false warnings. Set up a protocol for how many times they should attempt to reach you before notifying the police when a motion detector sets off an alarm so your cats or dogs don't accidentally slip out the door and go missing after emergency responders show up to deal with a potential burglary.
Skip Noise Sensors
Finally, consider skipping noise sensors that are designed to detect the sound of breaking glass if your dog barks regularly while you're gone. Parrots and other pet birds are also notorious for setting off these detectors. While you may miss out on a little extra security, it'll save you a lot of hassle over dealing with hourly calls because your macaw's screeches are triggering the alarm system.