Alarm contacts Contact switches are magnetic switches used to protect most doors and windows. There are three main styles used by most alarm companies. These are flush contacts, surface mount contacts, and rolling ball contacts.
Recessed contacts are hidden in window rails and door jams so that they cannot be seen when the window or door is closed. The switch is on the fixed or non-movable side of the opening and a magnet is placed on the movable side. When the magnet meets the switch, the circuit is complete and the control knows it is closed. Recessed contacts are more complicated to install unless they are placed during the construction phase of your home or business. A good installation technician can install recessed contacts in your home after construction, as long as they have an unfinished basement, accessible attic, or closet to run wires through.
Surface mounted contacts work the same as recessed lights, but they are visible when doors or windows are closed. They come in three main sizes: large, small, and micro. They are available in white, gray and brown colors so that they can blend in with the door trim or window sill they are mounted on.
Rolling ball contacts are on the hinge side of your blocked door and the spring ball is depressed when the door is closed to complete the circuit. These are more likely to need to be replaced in a few years as they are considered a moving part.
All types of recessed and surface mounted contacts can be wired directly to your control panel or you can get them in a wireless version. Wireless contacts have a transmitter linked or built into them which sends a radio signal to a receiver in the control. The transmitter is surface mounted and is available in two colors, white and brown. If white and brown are not your desired colors, you can paint switches and transmitters to match your decor.
Doors are the most common entry point and should be protected by your system. I always recommend contacting every perimeter door in your home or business
Window contacts can add up quickly because most homes have many windows. I have always believed that window contacts give the owner a false sense of security due to the fact that you have to open a window for them to work. If your window is locked (and it should be) when you’re away or asleep, a burglar has to break the glass or remove the glass to unlock it. If they break the window and the alarm doesn’t sound, why would they open the window? Instead, they would likely clean up the broken glass and get in there. This is why your money is better spent on motion detectors and / or glass break detectors.
If you have children, window contacts can be a valuable tool. They will prevent your children from opening the window to a stranger. And they will also make your teenager sorry you ever read this. (If they tell you all they want for the holidays is a magnet, the jigs up!) Window contacts are often better for keeping people indoors than they are for prevent burglars from entering. If you choose to use window contacts, you might like that the surface mounted versions can be configured so that you can keep your window open a few inches for ventilation while armed.