Motion Sensor Tips and Tricks!

Motion Sensor Tips and Tricks

My friends are always asking me questions about their alarms. Ever since I started working at Protection 1, I am looked to as the resident Siren Whisperer. For the most part, their questions are simple and I can tell them the answer in seconds.

Recently, a seamstress friend of mine called to ask me what could be causing her motion sensors to go off every morning. As a historical costumer, she keeps strange hours to keep up with movie industry demand…I honestly don’t know how she manages to find time to sleep. She was being woken up every morning, and it was really cutting into her sleep schedule! Her alarm kept tripping, and she didn’t understand why.

For a solid week she’d had the police sent to her studio every morning at 3:45am. Insects and spider webs occasionally get in front of motion detectors, but not too many spiders have stop watches and follow a schedule to the minute, so I knew they were out. Mice or rats generally aren’t big enough to trigger a false motion, and she had no cats or dogs in her shop.

Sometimes I’ve seen cases were oscillating fans will trigger the alarms, but there weren’t any of them in her building. I asked her about plants or decorations hanging from the ceiling, or even banners that would blow when the air conditioning or heat was turned on. All of these are common causes, and we were coming up with no solution.

I had her take a picture of the shop, since I couldn’t drive the three hours to take a look myself. Right under her motion sensor she had several rolls of sheer fabric that were loosely attached to the bolts right under her vents. I had her put rubber bands around the rolls hoping that would fix it!

Low and behold at 3:45 the next morning… no false alarm!

Her heater was on a timer, and it was programmed to turn on at 3:45. That sheer fabric would flap in the breeze, triggering that motion. I am so glad that I was able to help her get her precious sleep!

What are some of the top causes of false alarms for motion sensors?

  • Flying or crawling insects; spiders like to make homes in corners and anchor their webs to the sensors
  • Pets
  • Curtains or plants blown by air conditioning or heaters
  • Low batteries
  • Ceiling fans
  • Objects moving near motion sensors

How can you prevent the motion from being triggered?

Do not allow any moving items to remain in an area where a motion sensor is located. Talk to your technician when he is installing your system. Let him or her know if you have pets that can climb onto furniture and get in the way of a motion sensor. Most sensors can be adjusted or replaced with newer models that can ignore pets under 2 1/2 feet and up to 85 lbs. Sometimes, just installing the sensors upside down can get the window of coverage up above what a pet could trigger.

For trouble shooing Q&As and false alarm prevention, please visit our Online Technical Support page.