DIY Network

Home Automation Part II: How to Install a Wireless Home Security System

Add door and window sensors for protection all around your home.

More in Electrical

install a wireless home security system
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $2,500 - $5,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Choose Sensor Locations

Walk around your house and identify the places most vulnerable to a break-in. Statistics show that doors are the number one target in burglaries, so be sure to place sensors on all the exterior doors.

Another area prone to break-ins is windows. Because there are many windows in a home, it can be costly to put a sensor on each window. As an alternative, you can place a motion sensor in each room, and then if anyone tries to get in through the window, an alarm will be sent to the control panel.

Step 2: Install the Door Sensor

The wireless transmitters inside the sensors have a limited range. Before installing any remote sensors, check their operation from the intended position to be sure they operate properly at that distance from the control panel.

The door sensor consists of two pieces (Image 1) -- the larger half is a wireless transmitter and the smaller piece is a magnet that completes the circuit. When then door opens, the circuit is broken and an alarm sounds.

Use screws to secure the sensor to the door jamb.

Align the magnet on the door edge opposite the sensor. Drill pilot holes and attach the magnet to the door with the screws provided (Image 2).

Step 3: Install the Motion Sensor

Motion detectors work by sensing a change in temperature. Avoid pointing them toward windows where the temperature of the glass fluctuates during hot and cold periods. Although these sensors use infrared technology to detect body heat, small pets won’t affect their operation because the sensors are not powerful enough to detect a body weighing less than 40 pounds.

To install the motion detector, first choose a spot with an unobstructed view of the entire room. Use the mounting plate as a template to mark pilot holes, and attach the sensor to a solid base – use drywall anchors in hollow wallboard.

install motion detector

Step 4: Program the Control Panel

After all of the sensors are installed, program the control panel. Plug the controller into an electrical outlet and a phone jack. Follow the system’s programming procedure carefully – if you make a mistake, you may have to repeat the entire sequence.

When the system is programmed, it will sound an alarm if a sensor is activated, and it will call to alert you.

Activate the door and window sensors when you go to bed, or leave the house. The smoke detector, freeze detector and water detector are always activated. Many systems provide a “keychain” remote control that you can carry and use to activate the system with a touch of a button.

program the control panel