Important Home Security Terms to Know

Written by Angie's List staff
Updated November 11, 2015
Deadbolt lock
Deadbolts and security panels are essential parts of security systems. (Photo courtesy of Kwikset)

When you're securing your home it's important to know how different features work. Deadbolt locks and security control panels are vital to security systems.

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When adding home security features to your home, it's important to understand how each new component works.Different types of locks have different functions, just as different kinds of fire extinguishers are used to fight different types of fires. And the better you understand how a security system's controls work, the better protection your home will have.Here's a look at common locks and home security features, and what they mean:

Carbon monoxide detector - central monitoring system

Carbon monoxide detector:  This device senses elevated indoor levels of carbon monoxide and alerts occupants with an auditory alarm. Carbon monoxide is virtually undetectable by humans because it has no odor and cannot be seen, but it can be fatal at high concentrations.

CCTV: Closed-circuit television is typically employed as a component of a home security system.  The CCTV includes cameras positioned in strategic locations to detect unauthorized intruders and a monitor for transmitting images.

Central monitoring system: A remotely-located relay station that fields and verifies security alarms transmitted by master control panels from residential or commercial security system locations, and then contacts appropriate first responders to secure the locations.

Class A fire extinguisher - Class C fire extinguisher

Class A fire extinguisher: A standard, household extinguisher intended for putting out fires fueled by wood, cardboard, paper and most plastic products.  A green triangle on the canister identifies Class A.

Class B fire extinguisher: Designed to quench fires fueled by flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline, kerosene or oil. A red square on the canister indicates Class B.

Class C fire extinguisher: A unit intended for use in extinguishing electrical fires caused by malfunctioning appliances, faulty wiring or circuit breakers. A blue circle on the canister indicates Class C.

Fire extinguisher
Different types of fire extinguishers are used to battle different types of fires. (Katelin Kinney)

Deadbolt - master control panel

Deadbolt: A door-locking mechanism that consists of a steel cylinder that, with the turn of a key or knob, extends from the door's edge into the adjacent jamb to prevent unauthorized entry.

Double-cylinder lock: A deadbolt mechanism that features a keyed lock on both sides of the door for heightened security when engaged.

Infrared sensors: Electronic security system components that detect motion or body heat when someone enters the area, and then transmit an electronic alarm to the master control panel.

Master control panel:  A control center for a security system.  Similar to a central computer, the master control panel is connected to security sensors throughout the building and automatically connects to a remote monitoring station should a security breach be detected.

Motion detection - security risk assessment

Motion detection: A security option that automatically turns on a light or alerts an alarm system when motion is detected. 

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association. NFPA is a leading authority that sets worldwide safety codes and standards to minimize fire danger and other safety risks.

Panic button:  A security system component that, when pressed, will instantly relay an alert to the system's remote monitoring service and/or law enforcement.

Pressure mats:  Pressure-sensitive security mats are designed for placement beneath carpeting in spots most likely to be crossed by an intruder. When stepped on, they alert the master control panel.

Security risk assessment: A calculation of all of the possible security risks facing a home or business. A risk assessment is the first step in creating a security system that provides adequate, customized protection.

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