10 Tips for alarm system owners
Posted on May 4, 2014 by OnGuard
1. Turn it on!
Use it! If it’s not armed, it’s not much use. An important element is that it’s easy to use and there isn’t a good reason why it should be easy. Make sure you have a keypad near your main entry door. Another good spot is the master bedroom. Other popular locations include the Front door and if you have a dog, the door you use to let him out is a good spot. If it’s not accessible to run a wire, no worries because wireless keypads are available. Or you can use a remote or telephone to arm / disarm the system. The bottom line is getting in the habit or turning on each night and whenever you go away.
2. Put up and check alarm warning stickers and signs
If you have a system, it is a strong deterrent to have fresh, clean alarm warning stickers and yard sign. If you have existing ones that are looking faded and old, call your current provider and request new decals and signs. If you already have, or switch to providers, make sure they are positioned properly and the old ones are removed and replaced with new.
3. Get the most out of it
Most manufactures have manuals on-line. This site www.alarmguides.com has most of them. Or call your alarm company and have them send someone out to do a demonstration for you.
4. Get it monitored
If it not monitored, just have a local siren, you are missing a lot. Such as:
A) Emergency response from Police, Fire and Medical.
B) Your notification of an alarm or trouble conditions while away.
C) Hostage code.
D) Homeowner’s insurance discount up to 20%.
5. Test it!
1st call your central monitoring station and put on test if monitored. I recommend you do it when the times change, so at least twice a year or more often if desired. Pay attention to error codes or messages on the keypad. Refer to the user manual or customer service if in doubt. Always test the alarm after you have had service personnel in the home, particularly your phone or cable provider.
6. Check batteries
If you have wireless sensors and need replacement batteries, a place I recommend is Fry’s Electronics (96th/I69) because they have a great selection and low prices. Last I checked, they had 2 – 3v lithium batteries for about $ 3.00. Other good places include Batteries Plus (116th/Rangeline -Westfield), 465/Pendleton Pike and 46/Lafayette).
The main battery typically last 10-15 years. The above locations work for them as well.
7. Clean the smokes
Check the age of your smoke sensors. Most manufactures recommend you replace them every 10-12 years. The yellower they are, the older. We use the photoelectric type with combo heat sensor. On the other hand, if you have heat sensors…the normally last until they are needed. A good idea is to spray some of the canned air stuff used to clean computer keyboards into the smoke chambers a couple times a year to clean them out and/or use a vacuum cleaner. It is not a bad idea to call the central station first to put it on test to make sure you don’t have a false dispatch of the fire dept while cleaning.
8. Shop around
You might be pleasantly surprised what kind of rate you can find. Some alarm companies have a bad habit of regular raising rates. Be extremely cautious about companies that may come door knocking. Check there credentials, location of office (make sure local service), location of monitoring (UL Certification is recommended), Angie’s List
9. Check out new technology
There are some great newer features that are more affordable than ever. Such as cellular monitoring which is great for those who would like the peace of mind of knowing if the landline goes down, there is a back-up method for the system to communicate to the monitoring station. More companies are connecting alarms to the internet for remote control from a computer and smart phones. Alarm messaging is an easy and fast way to get the word out via text and email. Another good one is 2 way voice which allows the central station operator to hear and speak within the premise.
10. Be careful when remodeling
Many times decent systems get butchered in the remodeling process. Particularly when replacing old windows with new. Sometimes it is inevitable the sensor will have to get replaced with new, sometimes not. Contact your alarm company before the saws and crow bars come out.