There are things about alarm system system that require an alarm technician to come to your home, and some things about an alarm system that do not require an alarm technician to come to your home. We get called for both, which is fine; we’re happy to do them. That said, let’s cover some of the easier calls we do that you can actually do yourself.
- Battery Change
There’s always the chance you need a new battery regardless of the date on the sticker. If you’re comfortable with a meter, you can read the black and red terminals for current. Anything under 12.5 Volts should be replaced, but if it’s dead before the 4 year date it may be time to get us to do an inspection on the system.
We carry the batteries in stock, so feel free to come in and grab one to save yourself the service charge. Alternative you can get the 12v4 and 12v7 batteries at virtually any hardware store, though the recharge rates and lifespans vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
2. “What’s that beeping noise”
We get this all the time. There are a couple of questions that can help you figure it out.
Is there one beep? Two beeps? Three?
One beep isn’t necessarily the alarm system. One beep is normally a carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, or another wireless device reading out a low battery or telling you it’s expiry date has come and gone. Two beeps is a trouble on your alarm system, and you can check what that is by pressing the relevant key sequence (*2 on a DSC, for example). Three beeps is a door chime.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of alarm connected devices done have internal speakers that will announce a trouble themselves. They speak through the speaker on the keypad so if you’re hearing a single beep from an alarm device, check your keypad for a trouble. If there’s no trouble… it’s not an alarm device. There are exceptions… but they’re very rare.
3. My alarm code doesn’t work
This one’s usually an age thing. Not your age… well… maybe your age. But I mean the age of the keypad you’re using.
Remember that every time you press the buttons on the keypad you’re triggering an internal contact that lets the keypad know what button you pushed. Over time that contact will wear out. Especially relevant for businesses, if you have 30 users and all of them have a code using the number “5”, that 5 key will eventually stop working before all the other numbers do.
How to test this? Make sure your sound is turned on and put in your code. If one of the buttons doesn’t return an audible beep, that button is either dead or dying. You need a new keypad. Rarely if ever does an alarm system reset itself to the point where codes are forgotten.
An easy test for this is simply press all the numbered buttons on your keypad in sequence. If any of them don’t return a sound, you can either reprogram you codes to not include that number anymore or get a replacement.
Keep in mind that numbers like 2, 5 and 6 are very necessary to an alarm systems internal operation. If those are gone you have no choice but to replace.
4. My System Won’t Arm
There could be a couple of reasons for this;
- A door is open
- Someone is moving around in front of a motion
- The keypad buttons are wearing out
- Something is wrong with one of your devices
Let’s focus on number 4, because that’s where service comes in.
Your keypad readout should always display one of two messages; Ready to Arm OR Secure System Before Arming.
Here, it’s as simple as closing the door the system is indicating is open to get the system into it’s ready state. It may not always be that easy. If the door is closed or motion detector is clear, then check that the magnet is still in place on the door itself. The door contact and magnet must be making contact for the alarm to register that the door is closed.
If the magnet is gone, it will need to be replaced. Try finding the magnet. If you can’t find the magnet, try holding a refrigerator magnet over the contact to see if the zone closes. If it does, you found the problem. However, if it doesn’t, you may have a wire issue somewhere between the device and the alarm panel. You’ll need service for that.
However, if the magnet is simply gone and it was surface mounted, take a look around the immediate area. It could have fallen off the door and can be reattached with two sided tape and/or a couple of screws. Mind you, if it was screwed on it should never should have fallen off.
When it’s a motion detector it could be as simply as opening it up to clean the lens. Motions have a lot of room for air, and at times our eight legged friends will find their way in there and create themselves a home. Those webs and internal movement can cause an alarm to detect movement, even though it’s not immediately apparent what it is. If you can find the motion detector and are comfortable opening it up, give it a good wipe and evict the new tenant. That might be the solution.
It could also be that you have a low battery in a wireless device. The system will tell you that as well. Use the same method to find the device and then… replace the battery if there is one.
5. My Phone Line Keeps Cutting Out When I’m on the Phone
Yep. The alarm system is sending a signal to the monitoring station. Alarm systems using the old POTS connections are given priority over any other type of communication on that line. If you’re on the line and the alarm decides to dial out, it’s going to cut you off. Give it a few minutes and then call back.
A lot of these issues are things we check for during our annual inspections. We not only test your connection to our monitoring station, and verify the proper signals are being received, but we’ll often check older keypads for wear and the expiry date on your battery. If it’s close, we’ll give you the option to replace it then and there or to wait until that low battery trouble shows up.
Inspections are optional, and vary in cost by the number of devices attached to the alarm system. Give us a call at 519-578-6268, get us on H&B Security Centre | Facebook or over on Instagram @hbsecurity5362 . Or contact us on our webpage; Burglar Alarms, Security Systems & Surveillance | Kitchener, Waterloo (hbsecurity.com) .