A driveway alarm, which is sometimes called a driveway monitor or sensor, is used to alert homeowners that visitors have arrived. It is often the first line of defense in a home security system.
How Driveway Alarms Work
Most driveway alarms today use wireless technology that employs a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter, which is weatherproof, is placed somewhere in the vicinity of the driveway and the receiver is placed in a convenient location inside the home, usually the kitchen or entrance hall. Many transmitters resemble a low-level driveway light and are dark green in color and are placed along the driveway. Some transmitters attach to the mailbox. The motion detection range for transmitters is generally from 800 to 1200 feet away from the transmitter. Some driveway alarms operate by sensors, while others operate via magnetic probes or the old fashioned way (but still using wireless technology) by alerting you when someone drives over a wire encased in a tube. Sensors typically detect motion, or sometimes light while magnetic probes detect the movement of large metal objects such as cars. Wild animals, pets, people, and wind do not trigger most driveway alarms. Alerts through the receiver mechanism are in the form of beeps, alarms, or lights that turn on along the driveway or in the house. Many models alert you to the fact that someone was in your driveway while you were not at home.
Why Driveway Alarms Are Appealing
Driveway alarms are often part of "smart home" technology, which uses cell phones, Internet, and other wireless technologies to fully automate home security. Not only do driveway alarms let you know visitors are approaching, but when you the homeowner arrive home at night after a long day at the office, tripping the driveway alarm with your own vehicle may trigger the lights being turned on in the house-a nice welcome home.
What to Look For in Driveway Alarms
Features to look for when buying a driveway alarm include the following:
- A back-up battery option with low battery detector
- Sensors that detect cars, not animals or people (unless you are using it for multipurpose security purposes)
- A receiver with sound control and lights if you don't want to turn the sound on
- The ability to hook up to your home alarm system if desired
- One receiver that covers multiple transmitters OR one transmitter that can report to several receivers
- An adequate range of motion detection
- Easy installation
- Easy use.