How many home security motion sensors is too many?

When it comes to the security of your home and family, it may seem like a given that more is better. While you want your home security system to be as safe and effective as possible, too many security elements in one home can easily become a nuisance. When it comes to installing motion sensors, the idea is to install them wisely, but not necessarily liberally.

So, what are the downfalls of having too many motion sensors? And how many home security motion sensors are too many? We’ll break it down for you, starting with the drawbacks of excessive motion sensors.

False alarms

Motion sensors are certainly known to go off when there’s no threat. False alarms occasionally happen, whether it’s due to a faulty or overly-sensitive detector, your teenager getting up for a midnight snack, or your nocturnal cat climbing around on your furniture. While false alarms are inevitable, realize that the more motion sensors you have around your home, the more likely false alarms will be. Keep the nuisance of ill-timed false alarms at a minimum by installing only the sensors you absolutely need.

person installing wired home security camera
APChanel/Shutterstock

Intensive installation

Installing motion sensors is not necessarily a difficult task. Most window sensors, for example, can be quickly installed in just a few minutes with no tools and minimal sweat. Motion detectors are a bit more labor-intensive to install, depending on where you’re mounting them, but even these devices require minimal tools and time to get up and going. While individual motion sensors are a breeze to get hooked up, the more you have to install, the more time and energy you’ll have to spend on your overall home security startup.

Increased cost

Many home security packages are fairly affordable and include a supply of window sensors and motion detectors. If you determine that the included devices are too few, you can certainly purchase additional window or motion sensors. However, as you add to your package, each additional device adds dollars to your home security project. If you get overzealous about motion sensors in your home, you’ll watch your overhead cost for this project rise exponentially.

How many motion sensors do you actually need?

Considering the downfalls of having too many motion sensors, it can be difficult to determine how many you actually need. Motion sensors monitor a fairly large space, like a standard-sized living room, so you’ll generally never need multiple sensors in one room. They typically detect movement in the monitored space, or they can even detect body heat using infrared technology.

Depending on the layout of your home, it’s a good idea to have motion sensors in larger, shared spaces on the lower level — such as the kitchen, living room, or den — and to have the device pointed toward the room’s entryway. If your home’s layout requires entry through one space to get to another, you typically only need a motion sensor in the room that is accessed first. Additionally, if you decide not to install window sensors on the upper level, you could increase security on that level by installing a motion sensor in a shared hallway.

Olga_Ionina/Shutterstock

Do I need a window sensor on every window?

Window sensors typically have the sensor installed on the stationary window pane and a magnetic element installed on the portion of the window that moves when opened. They do not monitor motion around the window, and they do not use infrared technology to monitor bodily presence in the space around as motion sensors do. The primary function of a window sensor is to detect when the window is opened. With that being said, window sensors need to be installed on entry doors and windows that can be entered through from the outside. If an intruder cannot physically access your upper-level windows, there is no need to equip them with window sensors.

Putting together a customized home security system can be a challenge. You have to find a balance between keeping your home at a security level that you’re comfortable with and preventing overkill that could be a big headache. The last thing you want is to invest heavily in your home security system just to have it be ineffective, counterproductive, or labor-intensive. Installing motion sensors doesn’t have to be an enormous project with an excessive amount of devices, as long as you select their locations with wisdom. You can actually keep your family safe with a surprisingly minimal amount of effort.

Editors' Recommendations