As a homeowner, you've likely had people like salesmen or solicitors pull into your driveway unannounced. It's alarming and, at times, unsettling when you open the door to a total stranger, especially if you're home alone.
Monitoring who shows up at your door can also be a challenge if you have a large piece of property. You want to know who's coming down your long driveway or if someone might be trespassing.
Installing a driveway alert system can save you the shock of someone showing up on your doorstep unannounced. And, it can give you time to prepare to greet someone if you're expecting guests.
What Is a Driveway Alert System?
A driveway alert system has two main parts - the sensor and the receiver.
Installation is straightforward. You install the sensor along your driveway on a post or tree. When a car drives by, the sensor sends a signal to the receiver in your home which beeps to let you know a car is coming down the driveway.
What Types of Systems Are There?
There are two basic types of driveway alert systems. The first is a wireless install-it-yourself sensor, and the second is a buried wire system.
A wireless system simply involves a radio transmitter with a receiver that plugs into the wall.
This type of system is easy for a homeowner to install. Mount the transmitter on a post alongside your driveway, and install the receiver in the area or your home you are in the most to hear it beeping.
If you have a larger home and don't think you'll hear the receiver, you can find alert systems which include a portable receiver. There is even an option to receive a text message on smart phone
When you install your wireless system, you need to ensure there are no trees or other interferences (apart from the wall of your home) between the sensor and the receiver.
Buried Wire System
Buried wire alert systems involve connecting the sensor to the receiver via a wire which is buried in your yard.
These types of systems tend to be more reliable due to the direct connection between the two devices. Buried wire systems also tend to offer more flexibility in how you customize the system.
Buried wire systems also tend to offer more flexibility in how you customize the system. For example, you can adjust the sensor sensitivity, so it will be tripped by only a car, not a person walking by.
Buried wire systems also easier to connect to your smartphone or automatic lighting in your home. This might be appealing to families with smart homes full of the Internet of Things. The IoT market is expected to grow to nearly $98 billion by 2025, which might cause home alert systems to drop in the coming years.
However, these systems tend to be a bit more expensive due to the extra hardware and professional installation.
Why Do I Need One?
Everyone has a different reason for installing a driveway alert system. Some common reasons include:
- Disliking being caught off-guard
- Living alone or a member of the family is frequently at home alone
- Needing to manage trespassers
- Wanting to know when visitors arrive
- Several entrance points on property to keep track of
No matter your reason for installing an alert system, at the end of the day you will feel safer knowing who or what is coming down your driveway.
Features to Consider
A driveway alert system's price point and wires shouldn't be the only factors you consider when you make your purchase.
We recommend deciding on the following features, then using that list to cross-reference with alert systems available on the market.
Some sensors can differentiate between a deer walking by your driveway or a car driving toward your house.
Being able to customize that sensitivity is important to some homeowners. Large property owners who deal with trespassing might want their sensor to beep when anything larger than a person goes by the sensor.
Others might not be bothered by animals or people on their driveway, so would only want the sensor to sound when a car drove by.
Distance from Sensor to Receiver
You will need to take the size of your property into consideration when you purchase an alert system.
If you want your sensor to be placed farther up your drive, you will need to look for sensors which have a higher range so the signal can reach the receiver.
For those with a short driveway, distance is not an important feature to consider.
How much interference the signal will get between your sensor and receiver depends both on the distance between the two and your landscaping.
If you have many trees on your property, you'll want to consider a system that deals with signal interference well. Otherwise, consider placing the sensor closer to your home with fewer blockers.
Your sensor will be out in the elements, so durability is an important feature to consider. Your sensor should be waterproof and ok with extreme temperatures.
Also, some sensors do not work in the dark. If this is an important feature to you, check the model to ensure it will work at night.
You'll get more use out of your driveway alert system if you don't have to change the batteries frequently. It's cheaper and more convenient in the long run if you select a model with a long battery life.
If you select a sensor with a shorter battery life in favor of other features, consider using rechargeable batteries which are a cheaper option than non-rechargeable batteries over the long term.
If you have multiple driveways to cover, you might want to consider a multi-sensor system.
This is important to decide up front because not all driveway alert systems will allow you to add on more sensors once the first is installed.
Peace of Mind for You and Your Family
Even if you have a home security system, a driveway alert system provides an added layer of security for you and your family.
There are many alert systems available on the market to fit any budget or security need. You can check out our full range of driveway alert systems here.