Presence detectors: which product model is best for your security set-up?

So, what are presence detectors? These sensors are often found in security devices mounted on the walls of a facility. They’re small box-shaped products fitted with a sensor that is able to detect movement in a certain area and then trigger a consequent action: turning on automatic lighting, triggering a security alarm, turning on a tap, etc. As presence detectors most often act based on movement that they detect, they’re often also referred to as motion sensors.

What exact function do you want your presence detector to perform?

This is the first key question to bear in mind if you’re looking to install presence detectors in whatever home security system you’re thinking of putting in.

The presence detector’s specific function will determine the best choice of model. So, will your presence detector form part of a security alarm system, automatic lighting functions, automatic opening functions or hands-free taps or flush systems?

If you’re connecting up your presence detectors to a security alarm system, the devices will most likely come as part of a complete security alarm pack.

These presence detectors – or motion sensors – are designed to detect unwanted intrusions into the area they monitor. Then, the presence detectors raise the appropriate alarm.

You’ll normally know that the presence detectors have been activated due to an LED indicator light that will switch on. Often, and depending on the security system you’ve set up to include the presence detectors or motion sensors, the devices will also trigger automatic lighting, security alarms or security surveillance cameras.

Of course, if you’re installing presence detectors in everyday hands-free automatic flush and tap systems, there won’t be any security lighting, alarms or surveillance cameras involved!

These presence detectors will simply pick up on the motion that users make to activate them, then trigger the functions that these devices are designed to enable.

Hands-free tap and flush functions can effectively increase levels of hygiene in bathroom facilities, so this is a particularly important use of presence detector and motion sensor devices.

These presence detector functions are incredibly varied, but they all have a central characteristic in common. Presence detectors – or motion sensors – operate using infrared sensors, otherwise known as Passive InfraRed (PIR) sensors.

These PIR sensors detect the infrared radiation that is emitted from warm objects – most importantly, in this context, the infrared radiation that emanates from human bodies. So, these PIR sensors are the integral feature of presence detectors that allows them to carry out these security and hands-free functions.

The latest generation of wireless motion detectors can actually tell the difference between normal, everyday movements and suspicious motion that could indicate that there’s an intruder in your home. So, if you install presence detectors as part of your home security, your alarms won’t be set off for no reason.

Choose a presence detector model that blends in with the décor

Whatever function you’re using your presence detectors for, you’ll want to make sure they’re a good fit for your home. So, let’s take a closer look at the points you’ll want to take into consideration here:

How will your presence detectors/motion sensors look when they’re mounted up on the walls or ceilings of your home? Many home owners opt for minimalist, light coloured presence detectors that can be easily mounted on walls or ceilings inside or outside the home.

Plus, you’ll need to keep your presence detectors well within the range of the area you want them to monitor. So, your presence detectors should be placed in the areas of your home that are likely to have their security compromised.

That means you don’t want your presence detectors to be obvious: if they are, then potential intruders will easily spot them, and potentially attempt to disable them. So, in terms of aesthetic and security, you’ll want your presence detectors/motion sensors to blend in well with your home’s decoration.

Why not go for wireless presence detectors and give installing them yourself a go?

With wireless presence detectors/motion sensors, you won’t need to employ home security installation experts to wire them into the walls of your home. Instead, the wireless, normally battery operated presence detectors are simply wall mounted.

Plus, wireless presence detectors are likely to incorporate smart home security options, so you can link your motion sensors up to your smart devices. Then, if your presence detectors do detect an intruder in your home, you’ll receive an immediate alert on your portable smart devices.

Pre-installation: make sure you take a good look at the technical information on your presence detectors’ product sheet

If you’re browsing presence detectors/motion sensors, you might not get very far if you haven’t got the technical language down!

We’ve discussed a few of these terms in this article, but we’ll recap them briefly here:

  • Presence detector or PIR motion sensor: these terms mean that the presence detectors/motion sensors will have infrared sensors fitted inside them. These security products will alert you to the presence of an intruder in your home via interpreting the infrared radiation that emanates from their body.

  • Presence detector or KNX motion sensor: this signals that the presence detectors/motion sensors comply with the KNX home automation manufacturing standards*. This also means that these products will be compatible with other KNX automated products.

  • X m, X° or 360°: the range in metres or range in degrees of the detection angle of the motion sensor/presence detector. 360° signals a panoramic presence detector.

  • Other additional features: waterproofing for outdoor presence detectors/motion sensors, LED lighting, battery operation, wireless set-up, etc.

*Further information on KNX home automation manufacturing standards: KNX came about in 1990 and is an open system that incorporates 420 product manufacturers. All these product manufacturers must comply with KNX industry standards, consequently complying with both European (EN50090) and International (ISO/IEC 14543) standards regarding products in the home automation sector.

If you have questions about any technical specifications, feel free to get in touch with Netatmo to get some answers!