Need some creative thinking... House Alarm & Windows

Was woken at 5am this morning due to the house alarm.
Wife had opened a window which are linked to to arming mode, and alarm is on overnight
With hindsight this seems like something I should have foreseen but with a recent spate of burglaries in my area I went full Rambo on the alarm level

I do need the security on the window (as we have a low roof), but realistically we do need to be able to open a window once in a while.

How are others managing this? Any creative ideas?!

Button on the inside to disable the window sensor.


I have bed occupancy sensors. When everyone is in bed the alarm gets armed in perimeter mode. When someone gets up it is disarmed.


I like this idea, but how do you handle if one person is away for the night? Or is it just one sensor for the whole bed I guess (which then wouldn’t work in last night’s scenario)

By setting this to the appropriate option (manually or with automations):


This mode is then used in conditions in automations.

Normal mode
Just me in bed → Everyone in bed

Guest mode
Spare bed and master bed occupied → Everyone in bed

Guest away
Spare bed occupied → Everyone in bed

  - platform: template
        friendly_name: Everyone Home is in Bed
        value_template: >
          {% set partner_in_bed = is_state('person.partner', 'home') and (is_state('binary_sensor.left_is_in_spare_bed', 'on') or is_state('binary_sensor.right_is_in_spare_bed', 'on')) %}
          {% set me_in_bed = is_state('', 'home') and (is_state('binary_sensor.left_is_in_master_bed', 'on') or is_state('binary_sensor.right_is_in_master_bed', 'on')) %}
          {% set partner_not_home = not is_state('person.partner', 'home') %}
          {% set me_not_home = not is_state('', 'home') %}
          {{ (partner_in_bed  or partner_not_home) and (me_in_bed or me_not_home) }}

Presumably you then have another automation which disables the alarm upon the other person’s arrival home?

But in addition, that seems less than ideal to me - I mean, someone gets up to use the restroom in the middle of the night, or attend to a crying child, and the alarm would turn off? I’m not sure that’s the goal.

I think some manual intervention for disabling the alarm would be better.

In theory, I think the idea of a button to disable the alarm on a window, but in practice - then there’s buttons next to every window - and how does the person receive confirmation that the button press was successful?

I think if I were to do this, and I’m just thinking aloud, I think I’d put a small tablet somewhere in the room that contains the window to be disabled (if it’s a bedroom), or in a common area (living room/kitchen/etc) for the rest of the house. Have the dashboard for a bedroom tablet display the bedroom by default. That way, no ugly buttons by each window, and the user gets confirmation of the disabled alarm on the window.

Of course, you’d also need to automatically re-arm it the following evening.

Fair points…
I think a tablet is overkill, visually, even ignoring the costs
A button held while the window is opened might do the job, tho do agree it’s not perfect

To display a single page, the costs of a tablet are negligible when compared with everything else we’ve already bought for our smart homes - not to mention the fact that if you buy a button for each window, and a button costs $18 each (current price for Aqara button on Amazon), multiply that by the number of windows per room (my master suite has 4 windows in it, so that’s $72…) You can buy an Amazon Fire 7 tablet, which will display a single view without video feeds or animations or anything else complex, for $60. $50 if you’re ok with refurbished. And those prices get MUCH cheaper during prime days or black Friday if you can wait and/or plan ahead.

As for visually, assuming this is for use in bedrooms, you can just leave it on the nightstand. Doesn’t have to be wall-mount.

Actually I don’t because I don’t use that sensor to control the alarm as I don’t auto set or disable the alarm. It’s used for other automations

But If I did then I see no issue turning the alarm off if someone gets up. That’s the entire point of enabling and disabling the alarm automatically. What if the person gets up to not use the restroom but actually wants to do some action that would set off the alarm? Wouldn’t that be the preferred case that the alarm would be disabled? Otherwise the alarm could get inadvertently triggered. I’m sure that’s not the goal as well.

If it’s a concern you could always set some other condition that’s needed to be met before disabling the alarm. But I don’t see it as much of a concern as long as the alarm gets re-enabled again when the person goes back to bed.

Besides the question wasn’t about the conditions required for automatically setting or disabling the alarm. It was how to set up a sensor that would indicate if everyone that was home was in bed.

It’s less about the question, and more about the discussion that has ensued as a result. This is very timely for me as I am in the planning stages of a home alarm myself, so I’m trying to think through varying scenarios. No need to be defensive, my questions are exploratory, not critical in nature.

The reason I question disabling the alarm if someone gets up, I suppose, needs some additional clarification around what constitutes a trigger for the alarm.

For example, if my wife gets up because the baby is crying, I wouldn’t want to disarm the exterior door and window sensors. What if she were to fall asleep in the nursery, and then someone breaks in and the alarm doesn’t go off?

If you don’t have an automation to disable the alarm if the person that’s not home were to return home, then they have to manually disable the alarm? Otherwise the alarm would go off when they opened an exterior door or garage door or something, right? Or is there some other way you handle the arrival of that person?

Sorry it sounded like that.


I have a 15 second delay in the alarm actually doing anything and a warning light and announcement that the alarm trigger is pending in case they forget when the door is opened. The button to disable the alarm is very near the access door so 15 seconds should be long enough.

Right. That’s for the user to decide what their level of automation is. There are always tons of “what if…” questions to work out that are totally unique to each persons situation.

And it’s why I choose to not auto arm or disarm the alarm. Some (most?..) things lend themselves to fully automating. Others not so much.

Agreed, and this is part of my theoretical struggle. There are just SO many conditions.

A big part of me does NOT want to arm the alarm automatically, because we sometimes have overnight guests. But then, I find myself wondering under what circumstances we would have overnight guests and no one would be home with them. But then I do have a “guest mode” control that disables certain things if a guest is connected to my wifi network, perhaps that could be leveraged? So many different scenarios.

What type of button are you using to disable the alarm? Just a regular button, or a pin pad?

I did pick up a Zigbee pin pad for the project, but I haven’t even yet added it to HA. I figured an old-school physical pin pad would be useful in the (possible?) event that a babysitter was here while my wife and I were out late and wanted to arm the perimeter alarm? Some of our babysitters are… We’ll just say some are older than others, and technology is not their strong suit, so having an “old fashioned”-style interface is desireable.

Are you using Alarmo, or did you write your own sets of automations? Do you have horns or sirens, or are you just using media players, or… ?

Sorry for all the questions, and I didn’t mean to hijack the thread - but it is in the social section, and the title is “creative thinking…house alarm”, so I figured this is as good a place as any for a discussion. :slight_smile:

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True, button for every window might be expensive.
It could be a button for each room though, since an open window would sort of the defeat the purpose of the other window sensors in the room, unless that window is “special”.
You could also just make a button for a specific window, like especially if you have a “special” one, and then agree to only open that.
A tablet do provide more options for other stuff though, so if such options is a gain, then a tablet would be the way to go.

I have to admit i have it fairly simple, as i live alone , so im aware of my own routines ( and know what im doing , most of the times :laughing: )
But i was thinking that in the middle of night, people at home, want’s to open a window , somehow this person went out of bed ( as mentioned ) , but most likely also activates a specific motion-sensor, and turn on a specific light ( this might even happen in a certain Order )
So which Window ? , if it’s in your own Bedroom, it should be fairly easy to create an exception ( if motion-1 activated and/or light-1 turned-on, then if window-1 opens, ( and rest of Alarm-scene is true ), don’t Alarm … as noone hardly gets to this bedroom, without triggering the alarm
Well, as i said, i can only tell by my own routines and HouseHold-Device-Architecture

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that - we already have a motion sensor in that room so that might work really well

It’s just a regular Zigbee button.

We only ever enter or leave the house thru one door at the back of our house so I put the button in an easily accessible but out of the way place close to the door.

I made my own since I hadn’t heard about Alarmo when I started creating the system.

I have Alarmo downloaded and I had planned to start playing around with it but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.


I have a bunch of Echo and Sonos devices for the media players. I also have an Aeotec door bell that can be triggered as a siren from HA and a Neo brand standalone siren.

I also use Twilio to send out text messages and phone calls to us (in case we aren’t home) and family if the alarm is triggered.

As triggering devices I use door/window sensors and, if we are both away, motion sensors for places where there shouldn’t be motion. Unfortunately we have cats that would set off motion sensors in most of the house so I only use motion sensors where they aren’t usually allowed.

So basically I have it set up so that if any of the sensors for the alarm are breached (either doors/windows for home mode or anything for away mode) then the alarm is triggered immediately (except for our normal access door then there is a 15 second delay to allow the alarm to be turned off).

When the alarm is triggered all the lights in the house turn on, the sirens blare, the media players make a loud announcement that people are being called (the announcement says police are called but I don’t have it tied to 911 - but the criminal doesn’t need to know that :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:), Twilio makes all of the texts and phone calls as desired and my security cameras start taking snaphots of all the coverage areas and sends those to our phones via pushbullet so even if everything gets stolen we still have at least some independent record of the people.

The alarm noises go on for a couple of minutes and then stop. If by that time the bad guys aren’t scared away then there isn’t much point in continuing.

Not every access opening is covered by a sensor - just the ones that I think will be more likely that a bad guy would find convenient to gain access thru. Ex no windows on the second floor have sensors and none of the windows that are on the street side have sensors since we live on a fairly busy street so I doubt a burglar would break in thru a window there.

There are definitely some gaps that aren’t completely locked down but at the end of the day, we don’t live in an area with a lot of crime so it’s not likely that we would need the alarm. But also as the saying goes “it’s better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it”.

Interesting. Thanks for all the info.

I don’t live in a bad neighborhood either - quite the opposite. Unfortunately, in my younger years I did live in a pretty bad neighborhood - and was a victim. It stays with you. I could probably live in Fort Knox and would still be paranoid. LOL

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