It’s a stormy Friday night and the family is settled in for popcorn and a movie. Rain hurtles against the house; thunder crashes in the distance, and a large crash explodes in the rooms above just as the ravaged face of a tormented soul flashes on the flickering screen. As a homeowner, you don’t know which is more frightening, the carnage playing out on the 32” flat screen TV or realizing that breaking into your home through glass windows and doors is not that difficult.

The Role of Glass Break Sensors in Home Security

Residential security is divided into two zones: perimeter and interior protection. An example of interior protection is motion detectors, which are designed to identify unsuspected movement inside the home. Perimeter protection, on the other hand, is designed to detect an intruder as they actually enter the home.

Perimeter security devices can include door sensors, window latch sensors, external security cameras and glass break sensors. Glass break sensors play a very important role in home security in California because glass, particularly large-pane glass, is a potential security weakness and something that criminals can use to undermine an entire wired or wireless alarm system.

What Are Glass Break Sensors?

Glass break sensors are a kind of security detector that is practically imperceptible as they are not placed on the glass or window. They don’t interfere with the view through the glass. Instead, glass break sensors are installed within 25’ of the glass and activate the alarm system should a break occur. They can be either of round or rectangular shape to mimic other in-house devices. Any form of glass breakage will trigger the system, including an errant ball thrown by a neighborhood child.

How They Work

A glass break sensor is a very small smart device that analyzes incoming sound frequencies in the protected space through a tiny microphone located on the surface of the low profile housing. The technology has advanced in recent years to include LED’s for status and test functions. Glass has a very specific sound frequency when broken and the technology is able to discern this very narrow range apart from other sounds in and around the house.


For home security in California, glass break sensors are generally applied on windows and doors that have glass panes. Basement windows are a target for many burglars because they’re easy to break and are located in a hard-to-detect area. Large picture windows that take in the view in many living rooms and dens are also prime targets. Because of this, glass break sensors are very useful throughout the house. Sensors are used in locations where glass breakage can present a danger to the family.

Who Needs Them?

Nearly anyone who uses a wired or wireless alarm system to protect their home could benefit from glass break sensors. To determine if you need them, consider the various access points to your home. What devices protect those access points and if breaking glass can undermine that protection.

A Customized Approach

Glass break sensors range from simplistic to sophisticated, and some devices are so advanced that the sensors can be armed while the homeowners are in the home. Some companies sell one-size-fits-all sensors, but those really aren’t practical or effective. It’s crucial to have a professional develop the ideal glass break sensor for the particular purpose and environment.

Having a home security professional assess the risk of intruders gaining entrance through the glass windows and doors in your house is one step toward a peaceful Friday night at home with the family. Skipping the scary movie selections at your local Red Box is another!

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