With the increase in business and home security systems, more and more people are accustomed to using a system and its keypad. A home security system is as easy to operate as the push of a few buttons. However, false alarms can happen and are inconvenient. Fortunately, there are steps and tips for using your security system that can help prevent false alarms.
Preventing false alarms using your security system is important so that emergency personnel aren’t diverted from actual emergencies. False alarms also can be stressful for you and a nuisance for neighbors. However, there’s clear value in using your security system to prevent crime or alert you to emergencies such as smoke, heat, and dangerous carbon monoxide levels. It’s a fact that a security system and alarm monitoring can help prevent break-ins and save lives.
It’s important that fear of false alarms doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the peace of mind available from your security system. So that you’re comfortable using your security system, it helps to understand some of the top reasons for false alarms. For our Alert 360 business owners who also use a business security system, some of these same causes and tips could apply.
The leading causes of false alarms are:
• user error, such as visitors who are unsure how to arm or disarm the system or how to respond if an alarm is activated;
• items that move, such as curtains, pets, or party decorations;
• doors or windows that are not properly latched, locked or closed;
• rodents or insects;
• Mother Nature; or
• an alarm system malfunction.
Now that we understand the top reasons for home security system false alarms, let’s review ways to prevent them.
Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent false alarms with the following steps:
1) Provide instruction for operating your home alarm system. It’s important that anyone using your home security system knows how to arm and disarm the system. It’s a good idea to practice alarm cancellation with everyone who might use your security system. Also, make sure anyone who has a key to your home or business knows how to operate the security system and knows the keypad code and password. Remember to consider these tips when you have guests or someone who stops by frequently, such as a house cleaner or pet sitter. Another tip: Keep your monitoring center number, along with your address, in a handy location in case someone accidentally activates your alarm system.
2) It seems simple, but ensure everyone who needs your alarm code knows your code as well as your password. Many false alarms are caused by a user entering a wrong code or forgetting the password. Remembering your code is easiest when you use your system frequently. Daily use of your security system also greatly increases the security of your family, employees, and property.
3) Before arming your system, be sure to move or remove objects that might cause activation of your motion detectors. Some of the most common items that can set off a motion detector include curtains that move when the air conditioning comes on, balloons from a recent celebration, and holiday decorations.
4) Pets fall into the same category as above and can activate some motion detectors. At Alert 360, we recommend pet immune sensors or securing a pet in a select, safe area where he or she cannot set off a detector.
5) Similar to objects that might move and pets, it’s important to secure windows and doors before arming your system. A door that is not latched securely can activate an alarm. An open window, breeze, and nearby pasture fire or bonfire can activate a motion sensor or smoke alarm. Also, be sure to disarm your system before opening a door or window.
6) While not a major cause, system malfunctions can create false alarms. To avoid a malfunction or situations that might impact the operation of your home alarm system, work with your alarm monitoring company to identify potential issues or schedule a system check. Contact your alarm company right away if you are experiencing false alarms. You also should call your alarm company if you change your phone number, cancel your landline, plan to sell or remodel your house, or to update your emergency call list.
7) We also suggest that you call your security provider if you hire someone who will perform work at your property on an extended basis. It is possible to obtain a temporary code for that person to use when arming or disarming your system.
8) Pay attention to system alerts, such as low battery notifications. While many wireless home security systems have batteries that last many years, low batteries can cause system malfunctions.
9) Severe weather, such as strong winds, lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes, can cause false alarms. Just be aware of an alarm is activated during such a time, the weather is likely the cause. It’s good to check out the alarm and stay in touch with your alarm monitoring center dispatchers who can help identify the alarm signal and potential cause.
10) Periodically dust lightly around sensors to ensure insects or other critters aren’t setting up home nearby or causing issues.
The good news is updated home security technology also can help prevent false alarms. Today’s home security systems provide so much helpful information and control, it’s much easier to address false alarms before they become a problem. One popular example is a doorbell camera. A doorbell with a camera allows you to see and speak to anyone who visits your front door or property. Overall, home security cameras and remote control using a security app make a big difference.
Home Security Cameras, Mobile Apps Help Prevent False Alarms
Homeowners who install a wireless security system, with mobile app control, can easily and remotely arm or disarm a system to avoid false alarms. Home security cameras also are useful in seeing what’s happening so that you might cancel an alarm before police arrive. Home security cameras are especially helpful in keeping an eye on pets and children who might accidentally trigger an alarm. Smart security video systems often include two-way voice so that you also can speak to anyone who might have triggered an alarm.
The convenience of seeing what’s happening and controlling your security system using a mobile app is especially helpful for business owners. Arming or disarming your system remotely and checking in using security cameras can prevent trips across town and unnecessary worry.
Home Automation and Connected Home Devices Lend a Hand
If your home security system includes home automation and connected devices, use these to your advantage as well. Alert 360 customers can use our free mobile app to lock doors or close a garage that might have been left open. It’s easy to use the Alert 360 mobile app to turn lights on before you arrive home to help light your entry while disarming your system. Connected devices, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home also can help lend a hand arming/disarming your system if needed.
Prevent False Alarms, Enjoy your Home Security System
While false alarms can be, well, alarming, as well as annoying, it’s important to always check that the alarm is indeed false. And while it’s important to also take steps to prevent additional false alarms, it’s also an opportunity to easily remedy a situation that may need to be fixed. No alarm company wants a customer to feel uneasy using a system that can save a life or property.
One of the easiest ways to avoid false alarms is to use your system often and enjoy its many benefits. Becoming comfortable with your home security system is easy prevention. And remember that your home security company and alarm monitoring center is on your side, happy to help and available 24/7.
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