What To Know About Your Security Service
Contrary to popular belief, a home security system is just like any other home appliance. It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, but if abused or neglected, it might not work properly when you need it. To keep it in dependable, tip-top shape, note the following dos and don’ts for years of trouble-free security service.
Security System Dos:
- Do Use a Light Touch On Your Keypad. The keypad is the most vulnerable part of the alarm simply because it is the part of the system with the most exposure do to constant human touch. Dirt and oils from your fingers naturally rub off on the keypad which, overtime, can erode the keys. Keep your hands clean and don’t pound or press too hard on the numbers. A slow, firm touch is best when arming or disarming the system.
- Do Test Your Alarm System. There are two distinctly different elements that should be tested; the detection equipment (door/window contacts, glass breakage and motion detectors etc.), and the connection to the central station. Every manufacturer highly recommends that you test your entire system weekly. While this isn’t necessarily practical, it is your (the client’s) responsibility to test the detection equipment (components) regularly. Contact your security company to get instructions, or give them a call for a personal walk through.Testing the connection to the central station can be done manually or automatically. Newer systems send automated signals to the central station on a regular basis (this should be no less than weekly on new systems). If your system does not send an automated signal, you should arrange to send a test signal weekly. This can be done by simply tripping the alarm and waiting for a return call or by initiating a test from your keypad (if this is an option with the equipment you have). This will help ensure that your system is communicating correctly and that the monitoring center is receiving the right codes. The help they send is dependent on the code they receive, so it’s important to make sure they get the right one. (See Don’t #1 below) For more help on this topic, see our post about How To Test Your Alarm System.
- Do Pay Your Monitoring Invoice On Time. Monitoring Fee. If your alarm is monitored (which it should be), you’ll need to pay a monitoring and connection fee. Whether your system is connected via land line, cellular, or VoIP, you’re responsible for keeping that service connected. If it’s disconnected, the alarm will still sound locally, but it won’t call the monitoring center. To maximize the benefits of your system, monitoring is essential. Billing should be available on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual cycle. The monitoring center can send assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if you’re away from home or incapacitated.
Security System Don’ts
- Don’t Share Your User Code. Don’t share your user (pass) codes! This code is for you to use – and you alone! Security systems are designed for user-specific codes in order to identify user activity at any given time. As the master user, temporary user codes can be created then eliminated at a later date for contractors, visitors, or anyone else who isn’t a regular resident of the home. It is important for users to enter their uniqe code for proper tracking of alarm activity. This is especially important if a problem arises and the last known user needs to be identified. Make sure any children in the home understand the importance of not sharing their pass code with anyone.
- Don’t Tamper With Your Security System. I’m often amazed by the number of people who sabotage their alarm systems. They most often do this by disabling or bypassing certain zones that are giving them trouble. If something isn’t working the way you want it to, whether it’s due to a failure or a change in your lifestyle or home, don’t simply bypass that zone. Call and get it fixed, changed, moved, or whatever it takes to make it work properly. A bypassed zone is ignored by the system; it creates a hole in your security that could be exploited by a criminal.
- Don’t Forget To Use Your System! I also run into a lot of people who simply don’t arm their alarm system. They either use it only at night, or only when they plan to be away for hours or days. A burglar can be in and out of your house in minutes. It takes seconds to arm and disarm the system. Take the few seconds necessary to protect your home and valuables. As with anything that you own, your security system only works if you use it. I always shake my head when I get a phone call from someone who has a security system installed but doesn’t use it… Burglars love that. Don’t fall into that trap.
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