Testing Your Home Alarm System
Monday, October 6, 2014
Installing a monitored home alarm system is a great way to ensure peace of mind, AND get a discount on your home insurance premium. But, many people make the mistake of having the system installed, then forgetting about it. In reality, alarm systems should be tested on a regular basis – just like conventional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Test the System at Regular Intervals. A security system is an electronic device and at some point, it may become faulty. Test it on a regular basis to ensure it’s in good functioning order. Don’t forget to contact the alarm company beforehand to give them a heads up. Activate the system, and then trigger it from different locations throughout the home. Ideally, you should check the system monthly, but at a minimum, make it quarterly.
Avoid False Alarms. Let your installation team know if you have young children or pets before they install the system. Little kids love to play with gadgets, so the installer will make sure components are inaccessible to them, and the system may require special settings to ensure that your pup doesn’t trip an alarm when he uses his doggie door to answer the call of nature at 3 am. Smoke, carbon monoxide, and motion detectors need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Dust, cobwebs, and debris can trigger a false alarm, or prevent a sensor from functioning properly. Back up batteries should be replaced at least annually (or sooner, if your system recommends it).
Take the Opportunity of Testing to Run a Mock Emergency. It’s a great idea to combine your alarm test with an emergency drill. Involve the whole family in creating an emergency plan. Map it out, and commit it to paper (you can even laminate it). Make sure all family members know planned safe exit routes and the emergency basics (like stop drop and roll, and checking closed doors for heat). Now is a great time to ensure that children and elderly not only know how to get out of the house, but that proposed exits are not beyond their abilities. Make sure your windows are in smooth working order, and that kids and elderly can access, unlock, open, and exit through them. Keep in mind that mobility aids like stair lifts may not be in functioning during an actual emergency, so keep them out of your emergency plan.
Do you have any other tips for ensuring your alarm system isn’t giving you a false sense of security?