It’s easy to forget about your alarm system. Hopefully, it’s rarely used. But if the need arises, it absolutely needs to work. The best way to ensure that your system will function properly during an emergency is to perform regular maintenance. It’s suggested that you perform simple maintenance on your system at least once per month and get a professional service annually to keep your home or business alarm system in tip-top shape.
Check Control Panel Diagnostics
The first step for alarm system maintenance is to run a diagnostic test from the control panel. Most modern control panels can send signals between all the sensors and make sure that everything is connected and functioning properly. It’ll tell you if there are any problems that need closer attention.
To run system diagnostics, follow prompts on your control panel. For most systems, it’s labeled as “test” mode. All alarm systems are different, so be sure to consult your owners’ manual before running diagnostic tests. If you have a monitored alarm system, you might need to call your monitoring service to let them know you’re running a test. You don’t want the police to show up accidentally!
Check the Batteries
If you’re using a wireless alarm system, or a wired system with a battery backup, be sure to check all the batteries during your maintenance routine. Check your control panel along with every sensor, detector, and integrated piece of equipment in the system. Change the batteries that are low. A dead battery in any part of the system is a security risk and might even set off a false alarm.
Most control panels will tell you if there’s a low battery somewhere in the system. Panels with an LCD screen will typically have a low battery indicator, while keypad panels without screens will usually make a beeping noise.
Alarm system batteries will typically last anywhere from three to five years — with some newer systems lasting up to seven years. If you’re not sure when your alarm system was last serviced, it might be time to replace the batteries.
Dust and dirt can have a major impact on how your alarm system functions. It can build up on sensors, clog detectors, and gum up keypads hindering system communication. As you’re going around to the different parts of the system, be sure to give each one a good cleaning.
Environmental detectors like those for smoke and carbon monoxide require proper airflow for quick and effective response times. If your detectors are clogged full of dust, dirt, lint, pet hair, or any other contaminants, they might not be able to do their job. Make sure all openings in the sensors are unobstructed and clean.
Door and window sensors work using electrical contact. When a door or window is closed, the two parts of the sensor are touching, which tells the system that everything is safe. When the connection is broken, like when a door or window is open, the system knows there’s been a breech.
Of course, your system isn’t always armed, and it’s nice to keep your windows open for some fresh air. Dust and debris can build up on your sensors and limit the connectivity between the two parts. During your maintenance routine, be sure to give each sensor a good cleaning to ensure proper contact.
Just like your phone screen, anything that gets touched frequently enough is going to get dirty. Grease and dirt from your fingers can build up inside the keys of your alarm system keypad or on the touchscreen panel, depending on your system, which can hinder its functionality. Don’t forget to clean your control panels and keypads to keep them working longer.
Your alarm system probably isn’t the only security system protecting your property. While you’re working on your alarm system, don’t forget to do some maintenance on your other integrated systems like cameras, intercoms, or access control equipment.
Test the System
Running system diagnostics from the control panel is a great way to quickly find out if a part of the system isn’t working properly, but it’s not always foolproof. Once you’ve finished your regular routine maintenance, perform a manual test of your alarm system .
Set your control panel to “test” mode and turn on the “chime” feature (if available). That way, you’ll be able to hear when a sensor is tripped. Go around your property and trigger each sensor individually. Wait for the chime or consult the control panel to make sure each one is working properly. Reset the sensor and move on to the next one.
Don’t forget to test external communication as well by calling your alarm monitoring service, triggering an alarm, and asking if they received the signal.
Even if you follow all maintenance guidelines, nothing beats a professional service. A trained technician will be able to inspect the wiring and perform more thorough diagnostics on your system. They’ll also be able to repair minor issues that they find during the service. It’s suggested that you get your alarm system professionally serviced at least annually to ensure everything is working properly.
Maintain Your Alarm System with Four Walls Security
Proper maintenance is the best way to ensure that your system will function properly in the event of an emergency and continue working for years to come. If you have any questions regarding proper alarm system maintenance or are looking for a professional service of your system, contact the experts at Four Walls Security. We have years of experience working with Brisbane area homes, helping them with all their security needs. Contact us to answer any questions or for a free, no obligation quote today.