What to Know about Alarm Cables
The FBI says more than 1 million burglaries occur each year in the U.S., with a total loss of about $3 billion. So, it pays to install a high-quality security/alarm system.
A key component to a good system is the cable wire that connects an alarm panel to security system components. Such devices include door and window sensors, motion detectors, keypads, and other hardwired accessories. But not all cable is created equal. Following are a few things to know before you buy.
Most security system wires are either 18-gauge or 22-gauge. Eighteen-gauge cable carries more current than 22-gauge, and thus is used for connecting transformers to AC terminals and sirens. The thinner 22-gauge cable is ideal for the lower voltage of alarm system components, such as alarm sensors, modules, and keypads. It’s also less expensive than 18-gauge.
How Many Conductors?
Most security system cables come with either two conductors or four. Door and window wires use both types. Powered devices such as motion and glass-break detectors require four conductors. Four-conductor cable offers the versatility of also being able to connect with two-conductor devices.
Beauty and Brawn
Alarm cable should be both visually pleasing and robust. Looks-wise, it should tastefully blend in to building interiors, since portions might be visible against baseboards and walls. White-jacketed cable is usually a good choice.
But those graceful lines should be able to withstand stress as well. The cable should be housed in a CL2 fire-rated jacket and designated for “in wall” use and should be made with high-quality materials such as an aluminum foil shielding and stranded, copper clad aluminum (CCA) conductors.
Reliable cable is not cheap, but you can save money by buying it in bulk rather than in precut segments. Being able to cut custom lengths allows you to have shorter cable runs. It’s also easier to store (and to find) when you keep all your unused cable on one spool neatly housed in a pull box.
We hope this helps you make decisions about wiring your alarm system. Remember, most alarm systems are low voltage so 22-gauge wire is usually the best choice, as is four-conductor cable. The alarm cable should be tough yet attractive enough to blend into interiors. And it’s cheaper and easier to use when bought in bulk rolls.
You might start your search for alarm cable right here. NavePoint offers 500-foot spools of security burglar alarm cable. For any additional help or advice on what product is best for you, contact the NavePoint sales team!