A siren is a device that produces loud noises when the system goes into alarm. The purpose of these devices is to alert building occupants to emergencies. This can include anything like a break-in or a fire. The siren will begin making loud noises that everyone in the building should hear. The building occupants will then know to make a quick escape for their own safety. Many sirens also include strobe lights to provide a visual indication of an alarm event.
Most wireless all-in-one alarm systems already include built-in sounders for producing noises during alarm events. Many users find that these internal sounders are perfectly adequate for alerting them to emergencies that occur in the home. For these users, no external siren or sounder is needed. But there are many cases where a user may want to add a second noisemaker or a louder external siren. Additionally, most hardwired systems don't have a built-in sounder. For those systems, a siren should be added.
Most sirens are of the hardwired variety. These sirens will require a relay, a power supply and a backup battery. These sirens are usually more difficult to set up, but we have many guides on our website covering the process. The advantage to using hardwired sirens is that they often come in louder variations. If you need high-grade sirens for an industrial or commercial setting, you will probably need to go the hardwired route. You can purchase all the required equipment for a hardwired siren setup from the Alarm Grid website.
The other option is to use a wireless siren. Many of these sirens use Z-Wave to communicate with the system. You may need to create special rules and scenes to have the siren activate during alarm events and to stop sounding when the system is disarmed. These sirens don't require any complex wiring, and they can usually be installed in to a typical wall outlet. However, most of these sirens cannot produce noises louder than 105 dB or 110 dB. While this is still very loud, most commercial or industrial sites will require a louder device. Additionally, it also possible to have a hardwired siren communicate with a system wirelessly using a wireless relay.
But not all wireless sirens use Z-Wave. Some examples include the SiXSIREN for the Resideo Lyric Alarm System and the DSC PG9911B Wireless Outdoor Siren for PowerG-compatible systems. These sirens can learn into standard wireless zones for easy programming. The system will know to activate the siren when the system goes into alarm and shut it down when the system is disarmed. There is also a bell timeout setting that will have the siren automatically stop sounding after a set period of time.
Sirens come in many styles and variants beyond wireless versus hardwired. You will also need to decide whether the siren will be for indoor or outdoor use. There are outdoor sirens that are capable of withstanding the rain, dust, wind and humidity that will likely be present in an outdoor setting. An indoor siren may experience damage if it is used in an outdoor environment. Make sure to carefully review the specifications for any siren you decide to purchase.