What is the purpose of a keypad in an alarm system?

For many, the keypad is the most ubiquitous part of their alarm system. It is, for most people, the most interacted with piece of their security system. And that’s because interactivity is the intended purpose of your alarm keypad: you interact with your keypad as part of controlling your alarm system. An alarm keypad can be used to arm and disarm your security system, as well as program your security system. Your alarm system’s keypad can be thought of as your command center, a headquarters for everything in your alarm system.

The purpose of a keypad in an alarm system is to act as the central panel for your entire security system. You use the keypad to arm and disarm your alarm system. All of your equipment, your motion sensors, contact sensors, cameras and flood sensors, will send their signals to the keypad, creating a centralized zone where information and updates from your equipment can be communicated to the user. The keypad is paramount to any security system, giving you a simple way to arm and disarm your system when arriving and leaving, and letting you read out updates from your various pieces of equipment. A door sensor without an interface to tell you which door was opened isn’t too useful, and a flood sensor not being specific in which one is detecting a flood is too vague. With a keypad, these issues are thought of and avoided, giving you a clear, concise way of monitoring your security system from a single spot.

How does a keypad work in an alarm system?

Alarm keypads have an interface similar to the keypad on a telephone. 10 numbered keys, containing 0 – 9, as well as a a pound symbol (#) and an asterisk (*). These are the major keys used to control your keypad, and the main method you’ll be arming and disarming your alarm system. By inputting your personal code, you are able to arm and disarm your system easily, ensuring that alarms are set off when you’re not there and motion is detected, and that they aren’t when you come back home. The keypad is also used for programming your security system, being able to set a delay before the alarm goes off ensure you’ll have time to input your code and disarm the alarm, preventing false alarms. Away mode and stay mode are two further options you have when setting up your keypad. Away mode arms the system fully, while you’re out of the house. Stay mode, however, only arms certain pieces of the system, knowing you’ll be home. Window and door sensors will still go off during stay mode, for example, to keep you informed of when people are entering and exiting the property, which is especially helpful overnight.

Most keypads come equipped with an LCD screen, giving you all the information you’ll need about your alarm system. As a hub for your alarm system, you can quickly see at a glance where motion sensors are being set off, which doors and windows are open, and if any flood sensors are detecting water. Some keypads nowadays are touchscreens as well, giving further options beyond the original keys used to control the system entirely.

Keypads work by receiving the signals from all of your other pieces of security equipment. Without a keypad, you wouldn’t be able to know what your security system might be detecting.

How to properly place a keypad during install

When entering your home, you’ll need to input your code in order to disarm the system, as failing to do so could cause a false alarm to go off. Due to this, it’s highly recommended you install your alarm keypad in a strategic location that is easy and quick to get to. Most homes will only require one keypad, but other homes, especially larger ones, may benefit from having multiple keypads installed. When getting a security system installed, have a good idea of which point of entry you tend to use most in your house, as you’ll want to have the keypad installed near one of these entrances.

Recommended locations for an alarm keypad include the front door or side door, if these are the most frequently used points of entry. Installing it by a garage door, if applicable, is a convenient spot, as this allows the user to disarm the system the moment they exit their vehicle. For the most part, installing a keypad by any point of entry is a good idea, so long as you are able to get to your keypad in a timely manner to prevent the alarm from activating improperly.

Why you should include a keypad in your alarm system

There’s a good reason that an alarm keypad is synonymous with a security system in the eyes of many people; a keypad is such a necessary piece of equipment that most security systems wouldn’t be able to function without one. After all, without a keypad, all of your motion sensors and window contacts wouldn’t have anything to report to; they’d only silently notice their sensors have been set off with no ability to tell you about it. The keypad is instrumental to any security system, providing a centralized hub where all of your alerts are sent to, so you have an easy way of recording what’s going on in your system. Being able to look at the screen on your keypad and immediately know what doors are currently open is a massive convenience, and knowing that your keypad is receiving signals from all of your pieces of security equipment and sending it to you monitoring station is what a security system is built to do.

Not all keypads will work exactly the same as one another; certain keypads will only work with certain brands of security equipment. Be sure to speak with a professional during installation to ensure all the equipment you intend on hooking up works properly with your keypad. Consult the manual the may come with your keypad, as this can help make programming these devices much easier. Can’t find the manual? You’ll be able to find online versions of these manuals right here on Cunningham Security’s website.