Testing Your Home Alarm System: How, When and Why

Testing Your Home Alarm System: How, When and Why

In order for alarm systems to operate effectively and work as they are intended, each component must be functioning correctly. There are a lot of elements that work together to give you the level of protection that you need: the sensors must be operating correctly and transmitting information to a control panel, the control panel needs to be transmitting information to your monitoring center, and any remote monitoring features that you are using need to be receiving information and relaying it through the system as well.

In order for your family and property to receive maximum protection, regular maintenance and testing should take place. Here we have compiled a list of the ways you can test your system as recommended by leading alarm system companies. These tests include both hardwired and wireless alarm systems for homes, and they can be applied to businesses, apartments or vacation properties as well.

Set Reminders from the Start

Today’s leading alarm system companies offer many features that make using and maintaining your home alarm system easy and convenient. One of the features available, especially if you use any smartphone app access, is customizable alerts pertaining to the testing of your home alarm system. These are a great benefit if your system does not have default alerts that come standard with most equipment for things like testing batteries and notifying you if any connects are severed. They also help if you want to synchronize your alarm tests with other home maintenance tasks.

These customizable alerts can help you keep track of when you need to test your equipment by sending you an alert or reminder after a set number of days that you program into your app. Also, if you do not have a smartphone app connected to the alarm system for your house, any other scheduling program that you use regularly will work to update you of when you need to take some time.

When To Test Your Home Alarm System

Leading alarm system companies recommend that your home alarm system be tested at least every three months to ensure your equipment is still working properly. The three-month rule is good to follow if there have not been any special circumstances that would affect your alarm system. Some systems have regular tests that are scheduled and performed remotely by your alarm provider. Ask your home alarm service provider for any details about their remote testing practices or what you may need to do in response to their tests. If, however, your home has been affected by any of the following occurrences, it is recommended that you test the alarm system for your house as soon as you are able to after the event.

Here are some situations that could affect your alarm system:

Utility Work in Your Area

Check your alarm system if there has been any utility work in your area this could affect your home alarm system, especially a hardwired system that is still connected to your monitoring center through a phone line. Utility work could mean that something like a power source or connection line has been inadvertently disconnected, and you will need to know this immediately to maintain a reliable home alarm system.

Additionally, if any work has been done on your home that involved the power or phone lines that connect your system, it is important to double check that this work has not interrupted your services. Be sure to make it a habit to double check your alarm system after any work is done involving the elements that connect the system.

Home Renovations or Upgrades

If you have been doing any renovations or upgrades to your home, that is another good time to reserve a few minutes to double check your alarm system functionality. The alarm system could be interrupted by any inadvertent changes to the wiring that happen during construction. Again, this applies mostly to hardwired systems. Wireless alarm systems for homes do not have the same vulnerability when it comes to wiring being cut or interrupted, however, they could be altered by construction causing them to get out of alignment and weaken the signal between sensor elements or between sensors and the control panel. If you are not sure how to go about testing your alarm after construction work, contact your leading alarm system company for a checklist of what to look for.

Cellular Provider or WiFi Changes

A wireless alarm system for your home could be susceptible to upgrades or changes that occur over your wireless or cellular network provider. Regular testing of your home alarm system will identify if these upgrades or changes have negatively affected your coverage and protection. Leading alarm system companies will notify you of any of these upgrades as they become aware of them, but regular testing is the best way to ensure that you maintain coverage.

Major Weather Events

Leading alarm system companies also recommend that your home alarm system be tested after any major weather event like a lightning storm, major snow or rainstorm, tornado or any event where any utilities have been affected in your area. These events change the flow of electricity into your home and can alter the inner workings of an alarm that is connected to your home power source.

What to Check Before Testing Your Alarm System

If you are working with wireless alarm systems for homes then you need to make sure that you are checking the battery power of these systems regularly. Battery power notifications may be set up through your alarm system monitoring, but regular checks beyond these notifications will be sure to catch any potential power problem. Replacing batteries regularly is the best way to make sure there is no interruption in your security.

For wired alarm systems, it is important to make sure that the wires you can see do not have any substantial wear or fraying that would lessen the strength of the signal passing through the wires. Checking sensors and the control panel for these wires is a good way to make sure that they are well connected. If you do experience a disconnection that you believe is do to wiring that is not easily observed, you may have to call a trained technician to remedy the situation and run new wiring between the affected components.

Leading alarm system companies recommend that you check video feeds, camera equipment and motion detectors during your testing. When you check these items you are looking for any damage, especially for equipment that is used outdoors, that may disrupt your service. Cracks, or damage because of weather could make the equipment inoperable overtime and it is important to fix these issues as soon as you catch them.

Testing Your Home Alarm System

After you have checked the power sources, connection points and equipment status you can perform the final step to test your home alarm system by using the TEST mode that is included on the control panel. This mode will check all of the inner workings of the system and report back any problems to you. These tests should be done with a customer service representative from your alarm service company on the line to ensure that the test is run properly and any necessary responses handled immediately. A quick call to your alarm company will also eliminate any false alarms and subsequent confusion or unnecessary response.

Questions?

If you have any questions about testing your home alarm system, contact your alarm system company and request information about their specific recommendations for your equipment and features. They will be able to provide you with detailed instructions and things to watch out for when it comes to maintaining your security system. Remember, never let more than three months pass between tests to ensure that you have complete protection.

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