Tips For Avoiding False Alarms

It's common sense that an alarm system on your home only works if you actually use it. For this reason, don't let the fear of false alarms let you skip the setting of your alarm. Many towns and cities now fine residents for false alarms if they go over a certain annual limit. The following tips can help you get the most from your alarm system without the fear of a false alarm.

Tip #1: Perform Routine Checks

Getting into the habit of performing a routine check before setting the alarm is the best way to avoid a false alarm. This means walking through each room of your home and making sure windows are closed and locked, and that doors are properly latched. Your control panel likely informs you if any doors or windows are open before you arm the system, but a walk through is still a good idea. Sometimes a door is closed enough to register as closed on the alarm system, but a sharp gust of wind may blow it open if it isn't completely latched.

Tip #2: Dial In Motion Detectors

Motion detectors are a common cause of false alarms. Improperly placed sensors are often the culprit. Your alarm company can inspect your sensors to make sure they are not picking up any movement outside, such as through a window. If you have pets, it's a good idea to place sensors higher up, so that your pets are below the sensor area. Another option is to only use sensors in rooms your pets do not go into. In extreme cases, you may want to forgo motion detectors and just depend upon entry alarms.

Tip #3: Drill Your Housemates

Every member of the household should have an alarm code and a passcode. An alarm system should, by default, give the user a couple of chances to get their code correct in case they mistype. The passcode is used if the alarm is accidentally triggered. The alarm company will call and the user must give their passcode to prevent the alarm from being sent to emergency services. Make sure everyone has their codes memorized. With teens and children you may need to quiz them occasionally to make sure they haven't forgotten. Alarm companies also have test mode options. Simply call the alarm company and request test mode. Then, have the users practice mistypes so that they know what to do in the event of a false alarm, so they can properly cancel it if necessary.

Tip #4: Skip the Delay

Most alarm systems provide a few minute delay between the time they are set and the time they are actively armed. This is designed to give you time to leave the house. If you need to reenter your home, don't try to beat the time delay. Disarm the alarm every single time, and then re-arm it when you are ready to leave again. A ringing phone or a dropped item can easily let you miss the time delay window, setting off a false alarm.

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