Before you pull out your smartphone and check the home security application that is live-streaming video of your house to your phone, a system of networks had to communicate with each-other. These networks communicated through the cloud to your phone, but inside of the home, they communicated within the security equipment itself.

If you really want to get to the nuts and bolts, a home security system is basically an electrical alarm that operates with an electrical circuit. Open up your security system and you’ll find a giant collection of wires, batteries and a circuit board.

But there’s a whole lot going on behind the scenes — or inside of your equipment. Here’s what’s happening:

Dissecting the Home Security System

Many of us remember dissecting animals during school. These were interesting lessons because we learned what was inside, and what components brought animals to life. A home security system is no different. The electronic parts inside of equipment is what brings it to life and what keeps your home and family protected on a daily basis.

If the home security system had a brain, it would probably be the main control panel. That’s where the heart and soul of the system is located. But once you open up the control panel, you’ll find a circuit board, wires and the components that make up your home protection.

Every singular piece of home security equipment will feature its own circuit boards and its own set of wires and fixings. Your home security system itself is an inter-working of parts and devices that come together to create a unique system. Once created, the network is built.

The control panel also houses the CPU (central processing unit), a sort of computer. It’s a hard drive and main processor for the panel. All of the action happens from here.

A key-fob lets you communicate with the main panel, or you use the keypad on the panel itself. The sensors send signals back to the main control, and from there, local law enforcement and emergency personnel receive communication if there’s ever a break-in.

Cameras are placed around the home that send signals back to the panel and smartphone, so you can view a live-stream and stay up to date on what’s happening in the house.

How the System Communicates

A security system works in a basic way. Each part of the system speaks to each other. Sensors secure entry points, doors, windows, and interiors spaces, then send they signal back to main control panel.

Your doors and window sensors consists of magnets that conduct a current. When windows and doors are open, magnets slide apart and the current is broken. Once the current is broken, a signal will be sent to the home security system.

Glass break sensors work by detecting the sound of any broken glass in the home and sending that information back to the control panel. If a glass is broken and it doesn’t make a noise, was the sensor still there to hear it? (We’re only kidding, that isn’t actually possible.)

Heat sensors are slightly more complicated. These tools use infrared technology to detect temperature spikes before any concentration of smoke particles is registered by the home security system. More impressively, flood sensors work by notifying you if a temperature controlled area in the house suddenly becomes too hot or cold. Temperature can change due to a flood, or something as simple as a plumbing malfunction or pump failure.

The two-way talk keypads on your system are the quickest communication point to local authorities. These keypads communicate directly to the monitoring station, so you can call authorities if an emergency happens.

The PIR (passive-infrared-motion-sensor) is one of the coolest components of a home security system. This tool is the most similar to a device out of a James Bond film. PIR sensors detect body heat. A single PIR unit mounted in the corner of a room can detect the entire room. Just don’t put these next to objects that will affect temperature in any way.

The tools you have in the house may vary due to home size, security needs and preferences. But regardless of how much equipment is employed, the home security system works as one cohesive unit. All parts come together to form a team and win the game of protecting your home. A game they play and win every single day.