If you’ve spent any time perusing our product pages, it is likely that you’ve seen us mention PIR sensors a time or twenty before. You may have even loosely linked them with pet sensors, yet remain unsure about what they are and what types of home security devices they are best suited for. We thought we’d spend a little time today exploring this useful technology and, perhaps, even answering a few of your questions in the process.
Sensors, Contacts and Transmitters…What’s the Difference?
Before we go into detail about what a PIR sensor is, for clarity’s sake, allow us to take a moment to first explain the differences between a sensor, a contact and a transmitter. As words, sensors and contacts are sometimes used interchangeably, so it helps to define what these items are and how they work. Sensors are probably already clearly defined in the minds of most people. Simply put, they are tiny devices that are programmed to “sense” a disruption. The word contacts is often used in place of sensors, which is fine since they are one in the same. In home security systems, the technology used in most ordinary contacts or sensors consists of a switch, known as a reed switch, and a magnet. Together these items form a contact, and when the magnet and reed switch are separated, an alert is triggered.
A transmitter, on the other hand, is different from a contact or a sensor, but uses sensors for the process of identifying incoming information. When we use the word transmitter, we are almost always referring to a wireless device. A transmitter literally “transmits” signals and information garnered from a sensor to a main base.
What Is a PIR Sensor?
A passive infrared (PIR) sensor is a special type of sensor used to detect body heat generated by humans and animals. This heat energy is compared to the temperature in the area where the sensor, or the device containing a PIR sensor, is mounted. In home security devices, each time a PIR sensor detects a significant change in a nearby object’s infrared or heat energy in relation to the rest of the room or environment, an alarm is triggered. Sometimes referred to by other names, such as pyroelectric infrared sensors or even pet immune sensors, PIR sensors are commonly used home security devices such as motion detectors and security lights.
Who Should Consider Using a PIR Sensor?
Homeowners with pets should definitely consider home security devices with PIR sensors. After all, the ability to differentiate between animals and humans is the primary reason that these sensors are used in home security devices. Motion detectors utilizing this technology should be used in households with indoor pets, in particular, as such helps to eliminate instances of false alarms.
Individuals who wish to conserve energy without compromising security should also consider using PIR sensors. These sensors help to assure that devices, such as motion activated security lighting, are not triggered each time an animal (like a pesky rodent or a neighbor’s cat) passes in front of the sensor. In many such devices, the level of the sensitivity of a PIR sensor can be calibrated to only react when a being exceeding a certain weight is detected within the sensor’s range, which eliminates the problem of minor disturbances by insects or nearby shrubbery shifting in the wind.
Anyone currently relying on motion sensors for home security, but experiencing frequent false alarms, should consider whether a PIR sensor may help resolve the problem. There is a good likelihood that motion sensors are being triggered by a family pet or even flying insects. Many homeowners grow weary of false alarms and may even be reluctant to arm motion detectors for this reason. There is no need to choose between home security and a beloved pet, however, since motion detectors using PIR sensors can so easily serve to eliminate this frustrating inconvenience.
Devices Using PIR Sensors
PIR Sensors can be found in wireless as well as hardwired security devices. In fact, among our highest rated devices which are equipped with PIR sensors is the Visonic K940 40lb Pet Immune Hardwired Motion Sensor. Easy to install and able to distinguish between small pets and larger humans, this device can only be triggered by an object or being that exceeds a 40 pound weight limit.
The Dakota Alert MAT MURS Alert Transmitter also uses PIR sensors. From its mounted location, the Dakota Alert MAT MURS Alert Transmitter sends a signal each time an object, person or animal comes into its range. This transmitter is great for outdoor spaces, even in rural areas where animals roam freely.
For more information about PIR sensors and the products we carry that utilize this technology, you may employ a search from our main page. If you’ve recently purchased a device equipped with a PIR sensor and need our support in making sure that you are using it properly, please give us a call. Should you have further questions or comments about passive infrared sensors, we encourage you to let us know in the section below.