Why do my pets trigger my pet immune motions detectors?

Pet immunity technology requires specific installation practices to work properly. You must consider device placement in relation to stairwells and any objects the pets may jump onto. There is no guarantee that pets of any size will not trigger false alarms if these practices are not met.

Pet immune motion detectors like the hardwired IS335, 5800 series wireless 5800PIR-RES and the SiX series wireless SiXPIR are all capable of up to 80 pound pet immunity. That does not mean that they are actually "immune" or somehow completely protected from triggering from a pet under this weight. In fact, the terminology "pet immunity" is a bit misleading which is why we call them "pet friendly."

In essence, passive IR or "PIR" motion detection relies on a process that detects the change in infrared energy caused by an intruder moving into the protected space. There are several detection zones in a motion detector's field of view. Pet friendly motions require multiple detection zones to be tripped nearly simultaneously to prevent smaller objects like a cat or dog from tripping the sensor. In other words, the PIR sensor is avoiding the areas where pets are usually found, namely, the floor. If the motion is positioned within view of a stairwell that a pet can climb, or in an area with furniture or other objects that the pet can climb or jump on, which puts them within closer proximity to the motion detector, they are likely to cause a false alarm.

If any of the following situations exist it MAY defeat the pet immunity technology...

  • Mounted within view of a stairwell.

    If the pets are traveling up and down stairs within view of the motion, their IR signature will most likely trigger enough detection zones to cause an alarm. In any situation where a pet can get within six feet of the front of the motion detector, they will cause an alarm, regardless of their size.

  • Installed in a living area with objects more than a foot off the ground.

    Make sure there is no furniture or any object within the field of view that your pets may jump on/off of. Couches or countertops are favorite hangout spots for pets. Cats can climb drapes, window blinds, and can jump very high. Avoid putting motions in these areas.

  • Very Active Pets.

    Again, the main threat with very active pets is that they will either jump or climb onto something that will put them too close to the front of the motion detector. This is something to keep in mind when designing a system with pets. There is always glass break detection and door/window contacts.

Here are some possible remedies to the above situations:

  • Relocate the motion to avoid anything listed above.

    When considering relocation we recommend keeping this zone in test mode with your central station if you are monitored. This will avoid any additional false alarms while you are testing the new location.

  • Swap in a Glass Break Detector and/or Door and Window Contacts.

    If relocating the motion does not work you can simply swap in a glass break detector. In some cases they may offer better protection since they can scare off an intruder before the enter the premise. Generally the detection area is a bit smaller with an average radius of about 25 feet but it may offer a way to avoid false alarms without compromising your security. Door and window contacts are another option. They can even be used in tandem with a glass break to have primary and secondary detection. There are wired and wireless options. Just be sure to get one that is compatible with your alarm system.

  • Only arm stay mode when your pets are home and active in these areas.

    If you are unable to find a perfect solution you can always just arm stay (which disables motion detectors set to interior zone types by default) when the pets are roaming the premise. When the pets are confined outside of any areas with motion you can arm away again. This may help for added protection when you are traveling and the pets may not be in the space.

  • Confine the pets to areas that do not have motion detection.

    Professionally this may be the easiest solution since it does not require any programming or hardware changes. However personally we understand the reality of how pets behave in your home is not determined by your alarm system. Nonetheless this is still an option to consider.

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