Home Security Basics: Anatomy of a Home Security System
Home Security Basics: Anatomy of a Home Security System

Home Security Basics: Anatomy of a Home Security System

Fancy home with a security system

If you’re shopping for a new security system, you need to know all of its parts so you know what your security consultant is talking about.

Here we’ll show you:

  • The parts of a basic security system
  • Accessories you can add to the security system

Parts of a basic security system

Control panel The control panel is the brain of your entire security system. It receives alarms from your motion detectors and sensors to set off the alarm. The control panel is often connected to your phone line, cell signal (wireless monitoring) to by a central monitoring station.

The control panel needs to be located where burglars can’t easily find it, like the back of a closet.

Keypad The keypad is how you arm and disarm your security system. It may be a physical set of buttons or a digital touchscreen.

You only need one, but you can certainly benefit from having 2 keypads—one in your master bedroom and one near your front door.

Window and door contacts These are attached to the windows and doors and send a notification to the control panel when they’re opened while your system is armed.

Motion detectors Motion detectors are your second line of defense if an intruder makes his way into your home.

They send a signal to your alarm panel when they detect when a heat source of a particular size in your home. Learn how to set your motion detectors for maximum security.

If you have pets, learn how to minimize false alarms with your motion detectors.

Alarm/Siren When the control panel receives a signal from sensors or motion detectors, it sends a silent alarm to a monitoring station and/or a loud siren that can scare the intruder away and alert your neighbors. The alarm is sometimes built into the control panel.

Security monitoring and central monitoring station Just because a security system alarm goes off does not mean help is automatically on the way.

Your security system needs to be monitored 24/7 by a monitoring company to call the appropriate authorities in case of an emergency.

Learn the benefits of security monitoring.

Security system accessories

Now that you know the basics, there are a few extras that you can add that will give you extra security and convenience.

These include:

  • Surveillance cameras–  Keep an eye on your home when you’re not there.
  • Asset protection device–  Triggers an alarm when someone moves an important item.
  • Glassbreak sensors– Send a signal to your control panel if someone breaks your windows.
  • Remote security services– Control your entire system from a web-enabled device like a smartphone or tablet.


Whatever your security system looks like, you need to decide if you want a wired or a wireless system. For a brief analysis on this subject, check out our article:  Wired vs. Wireless Home Security Systems – Which is Best for Your Family?

Need help building your security system? Contact Asheville Security Systems and ask for a security consultant come to your home to build a system that fits your family’s needs and your budget.