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Home Security False Alarms

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Preventing False Alarms

Your security system is supposed to protect your family and processions so it is the last thing you want is to not be able to trust your alarm system. It can not only be annoying but also very frightening. Just imagine being awakened in the middle of the night to your alarm system going off. There are a range of emotions that you go through all at once. Is it a false alarm? Is there an actual intruder? Many times before you have even had the chance to get out of bed your Alarm Monitoring Company is calling you to check on the validity of the alarm and at that point you are not even sure one way or the other. If there have been other false alarms you do not want the police sent. They are busy enough with actual crimes but there are also stiff fines associated with false police dispatches.

There are a number of issues that can cause a false alarm and it can be difficult (and expensive) to find the cause. Not to mention the annoyance of being woke up in the middle of the night. No matter what the reason the cause of the false alarms must be found and corrected.

How to Find the Cause of False Alarms

Troubleshooting always comes down to eliminating the obvious first because this can be relatively easy to do and often rectifies the problem quickly. Many false alarms can be isolated to the following:

  1. Alarm System Batteries
  2. Faulty Contacts
  3. Pets
  4. Air Vent
  5. People
  6. User Error

Alarm System Batteries

Your alarm system batteries being low can cause a false alarm. Typically a low or faulty battery will cause a trouble on your alarm panel. This is often ignored due to lack of time to get it fixed or not understanding what the alarm indication means. Your alarm system battery is meant to last 1 year. The manufacturer guarantees it for the 1 year period. I have seen them last much longer but they should be replaced every year. If you do not want to replace them every year then you should at a minimum test them every year for proper operation.

Faulty Alarm Contacts

Wired alarm contacts are comprised of two separate items to work properly. There is the switch and the magnet. When your door or window is closed the switch and the magnet are lined up in close proximity to each other. This causes the alarm circuit to be closed. When your alarm is armed and the circuit is broken then the alarm will sound. That is the typical way that they work. These contacts can become loose and if they become too far out of alignment then the alarm can sound without the door or window being opened. The magnets can become weak over time and fail to keep the switch closed. The switch can also fail to operate over time. These should be closely looked at by yourself or call a technician out to have your system checked.

False Alarms Due To Pets

Your pets may be the culprits when you are having false alarms. Most alarm systems have at least one motion sensor installed inside. When your system is armed at night they are ready to detect movement and if you have pets they may be triggering the alarm. There are pet immune motion sensors that are designed to ignore movement under a certain size of animal. If you already have this type installed then you must look at the placement of the motion sensor. If it is close to the back of a couch and your cat jumps up on the couch they can falsely trigger the alarm. A glass break detector is sometimes a good alternative to a motion sensor.DSC Pet-Immune PIR Motion Sensor

False Alarms Due To Air Vents

Believe it or not an air vent can set off your motion sensors. If the motion sensor is improperly located in the direct air flow of your air vents they are a likely candidate for causing your false alarms. Many times these are overlooked because they may not be on when you or a technician inspects the system. Fans can cause some of the same issues so you must pay close attention to the direction that they are blowing.

People Causing False Alarms

Sometimes the false alarms are caused by the occupants of the home. If the alarm is set while a member of the household is away and they come home later then they may not realize that the alarm was already set and may not be able to find the keypad in the middle of the night. Each person that has permission to enter the home should be aware of how to use the alarm system. Adding a key fob to the system can make the arming and disarming of the system very easy for new users to operate the system.

User Error Setting Off Alarm Systems

Security systems are actually fairly easy to operate when the home owner is properly trained. The problem can be that the technician did not go through all of the modes of operation. In many events the homeowner only uses 2 different modes of operation so if something new happens they do not know how to respond. Many home owners are afraid of the new technology and are very timid in operating the system and this ultimately causes problems. Every alarm system that is installed has an operator’s handbook that comes with it. This operator’s manual should be given to each owner and also gone over with the technician. As an alarm system owner it is your responsibility to take ownership of the system. The best time to do this is when it is being installed. Make sure that the technician explains everything until you are satisfied.

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