Did you know that the majority of burglars that break into homes always do it through either a door or a window? These are obviously the weakest points of entry into your house, which makes them very enticing for burglars to break into. Opportunistic burglars will always find a way to break in when you aren’t home or when you and your family are sleeping.
The thing about a home break-in is that nobody expects it to happen to them. Until it happens. And then suddenly you realize that even your home is just as vulnerable as everyone else’s. That’s why it’s always good to have some sort of protection against burglars and home break-ins. You want to have your protection in place in advance, so that just in case someone tries to break into your house, you already have your security system up and running.
I’ve never actually had someone break into my home, but I’ve heard of numerous people including my friends that either had their dorm rooms broken into in college, or had burglars break into their homes while they were away. Home break-ins are much more common than one would think they are, and so I was prompted to do something to protect myself and my family.
I recently bought the 12 Piece SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System to protect my home. You can read about that in my article here. I wanted to protect all my windows and doors so I also purchased additional sensors.
Basically, these sensors will watch every door and window in my house. Each sensor contains a tiny magnet which detects when either a door or window is opened. When you set it up you can also have the option to sound an alarm anytime that there’s a break-in and the wireless sensors will notify you immediately by sounding an alarm. There’s also the option of having professional monitoring which will alert the SimpliSafe Monitoring Center and they will dispatch police to your home automatically in the case of a break-in.
These sensors are perfect for my home because they are not bulky and work right out of the box. They have a small form factor and you literally just peel and stick the device onto your wall or frame. They have a rechargeable battery which has a five to 10-year battery life, so I don’t even need to worry about constantly changing batteries.
Another cool feature is that it also functions as a door chime. So when my system is off, but a door or window opens, the base station will sound a door chime so at least I will know that someone is entering. It’s a nice little notification system that will alert me anytime somebody is coming in and out of my house and it allows me to just be more aware without sounding an alarm.
How Does The SimpliSafe Sensor Alarm Work?
If you’re curious how the notification or alarm works, it detects when the magnet moves more than 2 inches away from the sensor and that’s what tells it that either the door or window has opened.
Keep in mind that these are entry sensors. So basically if you place them on a door or window and then somebody opens it then the alarm will go off. Do not confuse these with breakage or motion sensors which function differently. So if somebody smashes the window or breaks the glass then you would need separate sensors to detect an event like that.
These sensors use magnets so if you want extra security it’s also good idea to other types of sensors. For example, motion sensors can serve as an extra layer of security and can detect anybody that’s moving around in close proximity to your house, or inside your house. You can also install a glass break sensor as an additional layer of security because many times burglars will just break windows if they know nobody is at home.
Lately I’ve been getting more and more into DIY projects for the house and I was very impressed with the clear instructions and confirmation signals from the main base station during setup. The camera actually has almost a hundred and eighty degree view which is great and same with the motion detector. It feels good to know that I’m getting good coverage with both of these.
I’ve now had my SimpliSafe system for a few months. I found it very easy to install and connect to the base station. The connection is pretty much done automatically after you turn it on and then you name each sensor (you can choose from the motion detector, the glass breakage sensor, entryway sensors, cameras, etc.) all of which are wireless. Setup is very easy and there’s literally no drilling required. You also don’t need any tools as you basically just have to plug in the base station, stick your sensors on, turn the system on, adjust your settings and preferences, and your home is automatically protected.
You can also buy additional sensors such as a temperature sensor, a motion sensor, and a water sensor. The temperature sensor comes in very handy to monitor that your water lines don’t freeze which would be great for cabins and vacation homes where temperatures can get very low.
The nice thing about the SimpliSafe security system is you don’t have to buy all the sensors at the same time. You can just add additional sensors as you need in the future.
Cool tip: I actually got a discount on my homeowner’s association fee for installing this alarm system, so it’s definitely worth checking whether your homeowners association might also provide similar discounts or incentives.
Another friend of mine has actually had this system installed for about 5 years now and they literally had no issues with it. This experience he’s had is a big part of why I bought this same system.
How long does installation of SimpliSafe sensors take?
In one go it took me only 30 minutes to install 17 Door and Window sensors, as well as a glass break detector, as well as a siren. I couldn’t ask for anything simpler or easier.
Pro tip: I also put a sensor in my mailbox which informs me with just a regular alert every time my mail arrives. It’s a great and fun hack!
Now I need to order one more sensor to install on the outside side door to my garage. A burglar can gain access to my garage through this door just in case I forget to lock it going into my garage or going inside my home. I actually live in a pretty safe neighborhood but crime is unfortunately increasing in my state. Installation again will be very simple – basically I will take it out of the box stick it on the door and then add it into the system with a name!
How far can the sensor be away from the base station and still work?
I have one sensor that’s located the farthest away from the base station compared to all the other sensors, and it still works pretty much like normal. It’s about 4 feet through plaster wall along with some concrete behind that and through a thick wooden door. I was impressed to find that it still triggers and is reachable even at that distance and through these different types of materials.
How is SimpliSafe customer service and technical support?
One reader emailed me to say that he was very happy with the customer service of SimpliSafe. One of the cameras was not connecting to the internet properly and Technical Support helped him test the camera after which they determined that the camera was defective. Without too much hassle or questioning, they mailed a new one and then everything was working fine.
What happens if your WiFi is down?
Another really important feature is that just in case your Wi-Fi connection drops then it will go straight to the cell phone connection so that you’re always protected regardless of whether your Wi-Fi is running or not.
How do you make your sensors stick even better?
Just for additional safety I always add a little bit of extra double-sided tape of my own just to make sure the sensors are stuck on tightly and won’t get accidentally knocked off or move. One reader messaged me that there were not impressed with the gum strip and that one of their sensors actually fell off the sliding doors multiple times which ended up causing a false alarm. This person was fined by their locale because the support center called the police even though it was a false alarm. A different person gave me some feedback that the stickers don’t have the strongest adhesive and that they may lose their stickiness over time. While most people don’t seem to have this issue, I think it’s always a good idea to add a little bit of your own double-sided tape anyways, whether or not the standard stickers are good.
Will the sensors work in very cold or hot temperatures?
The battery used in the sensors is a 2032 button battery. In my experience even in very cold temperatures the performance of the sensors does not degrade.
Can I add additional sensors after the system has already been set up?
Yes it’s very easy – all you have to do is go to ‘Add Device’ on your keypad and then choose which one it is and then the system will identify it by its serial number. We can then also name where it’s located. Most people actually end up adding more sensors after the initial setup so this is totally normal.
Do the sensors have a manual on/off switch?
No they do not – they can only be turned on and off if you turn the entire system on or off, or if you’re at home so the motion detectors don’t turn on but the sensors do.
Can the SimpliSafe sensors be used outdoors?
No these SimpliSafe sensors are only for indoor use. They are not rated IP66 or for outdoor use.
If I come into my house when the system is set for Home, is it possible for me to enter a code so the alarm doesn’t go off?
Yes this is possible – you can set an entry delay time which is the amount of time between when the entry sensor is first triggered and when when the alarm is sounded. SimpliSafe has a default setting set to 30 seconds but you can change it from anywhere between 0 to 250 seconds. So basically if you set a 60 second delay then you’ll need to enter the code within those 60 seconds to shut it down otherwise the alarm will sound. Note that the motion sensors are not active when you have set it to home mode. Only the entry sensors would be active. If you don’t want to type in the code if you’re an authorized person you can also do it from your phone.
Can I use the SimpliSafe sensors without using the base station?
No you have to have the base station in order for the sensors to work, you can’t just use the sensors alone as a chime to alert you when the door is open.
Do I need to change the batteries on my SimpliSafe sensor system?
You can change the batteries but they have a very long life approximately 5 to 10 years so most likely you won’t have to change the batteries anytime soon.
Can I use the SimpliSafe sensors for my camper van or RV?
You can definitely use these on your camper van or RV as long as you have Wi-Fi internet and AC power. However you will need the base station unit that actually sounds the alarm since you can’t just use the sensors by themselves. Also make sure that you update your address if you move to a new location in your camper van so that the security dispatch will always have your latest address in case of a burglary or emergency.
Do the SimpliSafe sensors work with casement crank out windows?
Yes SimpliSafe sensors can work with casement crank out windows. Just make sure that the placement will create a distance between the two sensors of approximately 1.5 to 2 inches when the window is open versus closed.
Can I just get alerted on my phone and turn the time or other off on my SimpliSafe sensor system?
Yes you can actually set up secret alerts on your SimpliSafe system so that there’s no alarm triggered but you can receive a notification. To receive notifications to your phone you can enable the interactive monitoring plan.