The majority of home security alarm calls are actually false alarms. While this is comforting in the sense that: there are not as many bad things happening as we’d think and it means your system is working, it places undue stress on the security company. To do your part and help the security company be able to focus their efforts on the people who do need the help, here are some tips to minimize your home security false alarms.

Be Careful When Typing the Alarm Code

Though many of today’s newer systems do not require a code, some home security alarms still go off if you enter the wrong code. If you use a system with a keypad, carefully pay attention to where your fingers are going to minimize the chance of entering the wrong code. Sometimes the pressure of having a time limit to enter the code when you walk in the door is frustrating, but there’s time for you to slow down and be accurate. It will only cost you a few more seconds. Most alarm companies allow for a 45 second window to enter the code. That is plenty of time, even when you are taking your time. Make sure your system is set with that delay time before it activates, so you have the time you need to enter the code. The delay should only be placed at entry and exit doors.

As an extra safeguard, make sure everyone who needs regular access to your home, including babysitters, has the code to disarm the system. Make sure they know how to contact the home security company should they ever need to. Give them the secret code word or phrase you set up with the security company so they can cancel the alarm by phone when the security company calls. Knowing this code can prevent unnecessary dispatch of emergency personnel to your home.

Ensure Motion Sensors are Placed Correctly

If the motion sensors are not correctly placed, something as simple as letting your dog into the backyard, or even running a ceiling fan could trigger it. Make sure the motion sensor is set at the correct level to avoid triggering the sensor for no good reason. If you need help with this, contact your home security company’s customer service department. During installation, the technician should set the motion sensors in the correct location to avoid false triggers, but it is always a good idea to check the location on a regular basis, especially if you have recently had an increase in false trips.

Minimize False Alarms

If you did not have pets at the time of installation, but plan on adding a pet to the family, ask the security company how to make your arrangement more pet friendly.

Remember to Disarm

If you arm the system because you are about to leave, but run back into the house because you forgot something, make sure you take the time to disarm the system. Even if you are only going to be back in the house for a minute or so because you left something on the table, not disabling the alarm and rearming the alarm before you leave can lead to a false alarm. Slow down and take a few seconds to disarm because it will take more time in the end when you have to deal with the false alarm call.

Maintain Equipment

A major culprit of false alarms is faulty equipment. It is important to keep up maintenance on your system. If you’re not sure how to do this on your own, contact your home security company’s customer service department for assistance. Check the system’s batteries every year. Most backup batteries will last anywhere from three to five years, but if you’ve had a significant number of power outages, the lifetime of the backup battery could be significantly reduced. Reputable companies will provide system checks and maintenance to help ensure your equipment runs as smoothly as possible. Make sure to follow any testing instructions the company provides you with.

If your system is older, consider upgrading to a newer system. Today’s systems have more advanced technology that will drastically reduce the potential for false alarms. Contact your home security company to discuss options that will work for your budget and current protection setup.

If you will be installing anything in the home, such as cables or wires, near the keypad, contact your home security company. You do not want to do anything that will disrupt the system and cause a false alarm. You also do not want to do anything that could render the system useless and require a technician to come repair. Practice caution when working anywhere around the keypads and alarm system wiring or sensors.

Ensure Doors and Windows are Secured

Sometimes if your doors and windows are not completely latched, this can cause a false alarm. This only applies to doors and windows with sensors attached to them, but for overall home security, it is important to make sure that all doors and windows are completely closed and locked.

If your alarm system does activate, do not panic. Enter the code to deactivate the alarm. Contact the security company and follow the instructions to cancel the alarm so as not to alert emergency personnel to come to your home.

Choosing the right company can go a long way toward minimizing your false alarms. The best companies will make sure your system is installed correctly from the start, and will provide a step-by-step demonstration to make sure you know how to use it and will not have issues with it. If you are installing the system yourself, companies will have stellar, easy-to-follow instructions that ensure you can get the job done correctly yourself. A company with a strong customer service department will have a minimum of false alarms, simply because their customers are well taken care of.

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