What is a window sensor?

Close-up of Hive Window or Door Sensor attached to a grey framed door with glass windows showing green trees in the background

Window sensors have been around for a while. And what they do is no great mystery: they spot windows opening. But with smart window sensors, there’s a lot more than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll look at how they work, what their benefits are, how they connect to other smart devices and of course, how much they cost.

How do window sensors work?

Wireless window sensors connect to your WiFi network at home. And that means they’re able to send notifications to your smartphone if they’re triggered (i.e. if someone opens or closes a window).

They come in two parts. One part is a ‘reed switch’ and the other is a magnet. You put one on the window and the other on the window frame. When the two parts are close to each other, a current flows between them. When they are separated, that connection is cut – like when the window opens – and this sends an alert to your phone.

It works the other way too. When the current is activated between the two parts – when the window closes – you get an alert too.

How to install window sensors

Window sensors are designed so anyone can set them up. You really don’t have to be an electrician or some kind of digital wizard to do it.

First, you need to connect your sensor to the internet. Open up the app on your smartphone then follow the step-by-step instructions to link it with your hub. (This is a small device plugged into your router which enables you to control your smart devices remotely.)

When that’s done – and it should take a couple of minutes max – you just need to fix your sensor to the window. Ours come with adhesive strips, so you literally just stick them in position.

As for what windows you put them on, no one knows your home better than you. But we’d suggest putting them on any ground floor windows that could give burglars easy access – as well as upstairs windows that could be reached via a roof.

What are the benefits of WiFi window sensors?

For such a small subtle device, window sensors have seriously powerful security benefits. The moment anyone tries to get into your home by opening a window, you’ll know. Then you can head home to see what’s happening or call the neighbours.

That benefit works two ways: if something happens, you know – which is great for security. And if nothing happens, you know (because you won’t get a notification). And that gives you peace of mind.

How do window sensors connect with other smart devices?

The world of smart home technology is full of all kinds of companies focusing on all sorts of things. For some it’s heating, for others it’s lights and for many it’s all about security.

At Hive we want to give people a fully-integrated smart home experience. And that means that as well as offering a family of smart devices, we design them all to connect with each other. Because when that happens, the joys of the smart home really come to life.

Let’s look at how that works with window sensors.

  • Window sensors and smart heating

Link your window sensor with a smart thermostat so when you open it, the heating turns off automatically. That way you don’t waste energy.

  • Window sensors and smart lights

Our window sensors work just as well on doors. Connect one to your front door, link it with a smart light and on it goes when you open it.

  • Window sensors and smart alarms

At Hive we have a smart alarm called HomeShield – and it takes your connected devices to another level. You can add any devices your home needs, like a siren, keypad, sensors, cameras, lights and plugs. Then you can link them in all kinds of ways.

The obvious one is getting your sensors to work as window alarm sensors – so the moment they’re triggered, on goes the siren. But you could also set them to turn on lights, cameras or the radio (if it’s connected to a smart plug).

There are endless possibilities – and they’re all controlled by you.

Ready to take your first step to smarter security?

If you want to start small with a sensor or go all out and build a smart alarm system for your home, we’ve got you covered. Happy Hiving!

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