Installing a home security system is one of the best and wisest actions a homeowner can take. Unfortunately, even after taking the time to install a system, a lot of homeowners make serious mistakes which could lead to a loss of property or injury. The following are just a few of the most common mistakes made by homeowners AFTER an alarm installation:
Failure to Arm an Alarm System
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. Over and over again, I visit the homes of friends and relatives who have expensive state-of-the-art alarm systems that they do not arm. Why? What would cause a person to be so careless? A few of the reasons I know of include:
“I forgot the alarm code.”
“I leave it off, because I’m constantly triggering it by accident and it’s just too loud.”
“The kids don’t know how to use it, so we just leave it alone.”
“Ah, it’s broad daylight outside…no one’s going to break into our house at this time.”
The excuses go on and on, but you get the picture. The solutions to these issues are always a lot easier to implement than the loss of valuables due to a burglary, but people have a way of convincing themselves that such a crime will never actually happen to them.
Failure to Have an Alarm System Monitored
This is probably one of the most common failures among people who own alarm systems. To be fair, this one isn’t entirely their fault since alarm vendors routinely overcharge for this service. We’ve blogged about it before, but in case you’re just joining us, some of the biggest alarm vendors in town charge in excess of $30 per month for a service that actually costs less than $9 per month. Why, you ask? Well, the extra $21 or so dollars per month per household that a vendor actually pockets appears to be the motive here.
Oh, you thought those advertisements for free equipment and free installation were really free? Sorry. No.
Failure to Investigate the Source of Frequent False Alarms
False alarms aren’t really false. Sure, they may not indicate that a break-in is in progress, but they are typically signaling something important including:
- A faulty installation
- Loose door or window contacts
- Something interfering with the contacts
- A low battery
No alarm system in good working condition should emit false alarms…especially not frequent ones. Not only can this be costly (some police departments charge the homeowner a fee if they are repeatedly called out to investigate), but people become desensitized to frequent alarms and response times can suffer as a result. Frequent false alarms are a signal to investigate NOT ignore!
Failure to Replace an Alarm’s Battery
This applies mainly to homeowners with wireless alarm systems. Batteries on most alarm systems last at least a year and in many cases much longer. They should also be tested frequently according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When it is realized that a battery is getting low, it should be replaced right away. Even if the alarm was professionally installed, homeowners can and should replace the battery on their own as quickly as possible. Those who ignore this advice, however, frequently experience false alarms and other alarm failures.
Sharing the Alarm Code With Others
Outside of the people who live in your home, no one else should know your alarm’s code. Yet, I know people who randomly give the code out to other people without a second thought. Or, if they don’t outright give the code to someone, they do very little to shield it while disarming a system. Guess people don’t realize the percentage of homes that are broken into by people who are familiar to them.
Tip: If you have a cleaning service or other workers who you want to have access to your home while you’re away, most alarm systems allow you to have secondary codes for precisely this reason.
Are You Making a Serious Mistake With Your Alarm System?
Hopefully, you’re not making any of the mistakes detailed above. And if you are, please take this as a timely warning to stop and immediately change direction. There is no excuse under the sun for having an alarm system and not using it for your family’s security.
If you have questions about your alarm’s proper use, we encourage you to give us a call. Even if your alarm was purchased from another vendor or installed professionally, we still welcome the opportunity to discuss your alarm concerns with you.
What are some of the most common security alarm mistakes you’ve made or that you’ve witnessed other homeowners make? Don’t be shy, we’ve all made security mistakes before, but when we know better we do better, right? Here’s your chance to tell us all about yours below and, who knows? You just may be the person to help someone else avoid a similar mistake.