Security systems, at face value, are about the knowledge that your home, your belongings, and your family are kept safe. Someone of course wants to know when their alarm has been activated by an intruder. However, this isn’t the only feature of alarm systems anymore. The most important piece of knowledge you need during the day might not be whether or not someone has pried open your window, but whether or not the closet or cabinet door where you keep your guns, alcohol, cleaning products, medication, etc. has been opened by your children, your guests, your babysitter; items that, unless accessed by you, should not be accessed.

A lot of these circumstances do not warrant a security sensor, a sensor that is armed along with your doors and windows and motion detectors etc. when you arm your alarm. You don’t want to set off your alarm simply because you opened your pantry at night. However, your kids may have a habit of sneaking junk food out when you aren’t looking, so a quick, immediate notification to your cell phone is all that is needed.

Through Alarm.com, this is some of the easiest information to come by, and all it takes is a sensor and Sensor Activity Monitoring. The difference between sensor activity monitoring and sensor security monitoring is an important distinction to make.

The chief differences between Sensor Activity Monitoring and Sensor Security Monitoring:

  • Security monitoring is by default enabled for all of your sensors. Any time the alarm is tripped by a sensor being opened while the system is armed, you will be notified. If you have 24/7 Central Station Monitoring, the call center will contact you and you will receive any alarm notifications you have set up with Alarm.com.  If you self-monitor, you will receive any alarm notifications you have set up with Alarm.com. This requires the alarm system, once again, to be in an armed state.
  • In addition to alarm notifications, sensor left open notifications are available with Sensor Security Monitoring which allow you to know when and if a door/window etc. was left open for a pre-determined span of time, regardless of arming state.
  • Sensor Activity Monitoring refers to the real-time status of your selected sensors at all times. This means that regardless of the arming state of your panel (stay, away, disarmed) you can set up notifications to immediately inform you of a sensor being tripped. This is why Sensor Activity Monitoring is so important in situations like the ones described above. You can program a sensor for an interior door that won’t set off your alarm, but will notify you every time it opens.
  • Sensor Activity Monitoring also affords you the ability to use your alarm sensors to gain information when the system is not armed. You can be notified whenever the front door opens between certain hours, whenever someone opens a window around the house (useful if children have a habit of this when the AC or heat is running).

The video below shows the quick steps you can take in order to immediately know every time that location is accessed (with a cabinet example).

Steps:

  1. Program your sensor.  This project is easily accomplished with a Thin Door Window contact (programming can be found here.) You will want to change the programming sensor type to (23) No Response Type instead of entry exit or perimeter.
  2. Once you have your sensor learned in, log into your Alarm.com account and from the Security tab, choose the Sensors button.  Turn on sensor activity monitoring for your new sensor.
  3. Log out of Alarm.com and log back in. It may take a couple minutes before you see your new sensor listed under the status box or as an option for sensor activity notifications.  This is normal.
  4. Go to the Notifications tab in Alarm.com and click New Notification.
  5. Choose Sensor Activity
  6. Name your notification and select the new sensor from the list.
  7. Select the time frame when you want this notification to be active.
  8. Choose the recipient from your address book and save.

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