how to not set off your motion detector

how to not set off your motion detector

Written By

The Vivint Smart Home Team

Our motion detectors are really sensitive—which is great. It ensures that you home is always protected. But we do understand that it if you’re using your system for the first time, it can be easy to trigger false alarms. To help you avoid this, you first have to understand how the motion detector works. It uses passive infrared technology, which means that you not only have to avoid movement while the sensor is armed, but light and temperature shifts as well. Here are a few quick ways to help you do that.

  1. Pet immunity. All of our motion detectors come with pet immunity; however, depending on the size of pet you have, you can increase or decrease the sensor’s sensitivity (to 33 or 55 pounds). Also, make sure to talk to your technician about where the sensor is placed. You’ll want to mount it where pets cannot come within 6 feet of it by climbing on furniture, boxes, or other objects.
  2. Bugs and insects. This sensor has built-in protection that keeps bugs from getting into the sensor area and causing false alarms. This does not prevent insects from crawling across the lens of the sensor, which will cause an alarm to trigger.
  3. Reflected light. Infrared energy can be reflected off any glossy surface such as mirrors, windows, floors or countertops with a glossy finish, and slick finished concrete and cause the alarm to trigger.
  4. Windows. Windows not only reflect infrared energy, but they can also allow sunlight or lights from cars to pass through to the sensor. For example, the sensor can detect a quick change in infrared energy if sunlight comes through a window (which may not be detected by the sensor) and shines on a hardwood floor (which can be detected by the sensor). If the change in infrared energy is quick enough on the floor, the sensor can trigger an alarm. Lights from a passing car can also pass through the window at night and directly into the lens of the detector.
  5. HVAC. Heating and A/C ducts are also important aspect to consider because if they blow air onto an object within the fields of view, the temperature of that object could change quickly enough for the detector to see a change in infrared energy. Detectors cannot see air current, only the change in temperature of a physical object.
  6. Moving objects. Anything that can sway or move because of an air current can cause a change in infrared energy within the fields of view. Heating and A/C ducts and drafts from doors or windows can cause this to happen. Other objects to be aware of are curtains, blinds, balloons, loose paper, plants, hanging banners or baskets, etc.
  7. Vibration. Make sure the sensor is mounted on a solid surface and does not vibrate. Vibration will not only cause the sensor to move a little, but it can also cause the fields of view in the room to move. A little vibration can cause the sensor to see a change in energy and trigger a false alarm.