How To Maintain Your Home Alarm System
One thing many people often forget when making a purchase is to think about the long term costs and maintenance. The excitement of getting behind the wheel of that new car or picking up that new TV can get in the way of clear thinking and responsibility. The same can be said when shopping for a new home alarm system. Of course the up-front cost of alarm system equipment and your monthly alarm monitoring price are right there in front of you and easy to see, but you should also think about long terms costs and how to maintain your home alarm system for years to come.
Before we dive in to some different types of alarm systems and how to keep them running smoothly let’s first make one thing clear. Alarm systems are fairly easy to maintain and don’t often cost much to maintain, however, it’s always good to know what you’re getting in to and how to respond if you run in to an issue down the line.
Ok, now that we’ve got that cleared up let’s look at a few ways to maintain your home alarm system and the different types of alarm systems that may be encountered.
Maintain A Wireless Alarm System
The wireless alarm system is becoming the most commonly used home alarm system. A wireless alarm system uses 100% wireless alarm system equipment that normally attach with a double sided adhesive or a small screw. Each wireless alarm sensor uses a small lithium battery and the Control Panel normally plugs in to a standard outlet. Some wireless alarm systems may have a fully mounted or “wired-in” Control Panel, but with the rise of do it yourself alarm systems many Control Panel’s simply plug in.
Newer wireless alarm systems are fairly sophisticated and are a lot of help to you when maintaining your wireless system. If a sensor battery is getting low or dies your Control Panel will let you know. It will send you a notification or will display a warning on the Control Panel’s display. It will tell you which sensor is in need of attention. If you have interactive alarm monitoring from your alarm system company you can even give a specific name to your sensors, such as “Front Door” or “Downstairs Motion Sensor”. This can make things even easier when trying to maintain your home alarm system.
As for changing the batteries each alarm sensor has a casing that should be fairly easy to pop off to expose the battery. Most alarm sensors use a coin-sized lithium ion battery that can be found in any hardware or retail store. The cost of these batteries depends on brand etc. but usually run around $2.50-$5.00 for a pack of five batteries. You may even be able to find them in bulk for a great price. We recently saw a deal for five packs of batteries, totaling 25, for a price a little under $7 on Amazon.com. So, if you look around a little bit you can find a great deal, and given that most alarm systems won’t have nearly that many sensors you should be good to go for quite a while. Not to mention that most wireless alarm system sensor batteries have a lifetime of about 2-3 years if not more.
Aside from changing the alarm sensor batteries you can also test your entire system and Control Panel. Your alarm system has a “test mode” in which you can shut off communication to the monitoring center and essentially trigger your alarm system to find out if it is working correctly. Your alarm system company can help you out with the test if you would like as well, and it’s probably a good idea to get their input before doing any testing.
Another maintenance factor may be replacing the adhesive for some of your alarm sensors. While the adhesive should last a good while it’s possible you may have to switch it out after a few years. Again this is very inexpensive upkeep. You can usually find double sided tape at any hardware or retail store, or even from your alarm company. This should cost you less than $10.
Overall wireless alarm systems are extremely easy to maintain and won’t cost you very much to do so. Most alarm companies offer warranties that will cover your sensors if they malfunction or die. Even if you end up having to pay for a replacement sensor or two down the line it should be a one time expense that doesn’t cost very much, and you can always look for compatible sensors from other vendors if you find a better price.
Maintaining A Hard Wired Alarm System
Figuring out how to maintain your home alarm system when it is hard wired can be a little more difficult. Rather than just having sensors and a Control Panel you have wires to worry about. While you won’t need to replace any batteries and likely won’t have to replace any adhesives you’ll still need to make sure that everything is functioning properly. Since you cannot see the wires in your alarm system you’ll likely need the assistance of your alarm system company. There may be a fee for a technician to come out to inspect your system.
Keep in mind though that maintaining a wired alarm system is often more important than a wireless alarm system. While a hard wired alarm system will still notify you if there is an issue you have to keep an eye out for wires that may be going bad over time. One bad wire can affect your entire alarm system which won’t allow it to function properly.
For a hard wired alarm system it’s probably best to contact your alarm system company for assistance unless you have experience with alarm systems or electrical wiring. This is important to remember when figuring out how to maintain your home alarm system.
What’s It All Mean?
Well, it means that maintaining your home alarm system is important to keeping it running smoothly and keeping your family protected. While your home alarm system will certainly assist you in this regard it should be your responsibility to maintain your home alarm system and make sure all is well. Perhaps keeping a reminder to check your system every month or two will help keep you on track. Whatever works best for you. Just know that maintaining your home alarm system is important!