9 Common Mistakes With Alarm Systems

Mistakes with Home Alarm Systems

Ready to buy and install a new home security system? Hold on!

Check out these common mistakes first so you do not fall prey to some of the most popular mistakes homeowners make with alarm systems.

1. Ignoring Alert or Contact Alarm Options

When first buying and setting up your alarm system (or paying to have a professional do it for you), it can be tempting to go with the classic, siren-type alarms that make a lot of noise, but do not do much else. Yes, these alarms can scare off burglars and neighborhood cats when activated, but that is all they do, and that is rarely enough.

So many home alarm systems offer the ability to alert security companies or local law enforcement that it is unwise to not include some type of alert options. Prices are dropping low enough for even a strict budget to afford these services, but if you are still worried about the expense, look into more personal contact options. Getting a notification on your phone or in your email is much more useful than just knowing that your alarm makes a big noise.

2. Missing Key Entry Points

This is an especially common mistake with DIY home alarm systems that homeowners install by themselves without any outside consultation. Some installation spots are obvious. As a homeowner, you will probably put sensors and locks on your primary door and your big windows and other obvious access points. But the obvious access points are not always enough. Many homeowners decide not to invest in alarms for their back doors or second story windows — spots that burglars will have no problem investigating for possible entry.

3. Spending Money on Unnecessary Products

A lot of home security products are marketed to homeowners as extra-helpful gadgets, but are really just burning holes in your wallet.

Driveway alarms, for example — If you have a 50-foot driveway and a home entirely enclosed by a brick fence, a driveway alarm may be useful, but otherwise your money is much better spent on options like porch cameras or digital door locks.

Fake TVs and fake security cameras are even worse — why spend money on useless imitations when you can use the real thing — or least make homemade versions of your own without spending any extra money? Just say no.

4. Doing a Poor Job When Installing

This is another common mistake for DIY homeowners, and is growing more frequent as the popularity of DIY security alarm packages increases. Alarm systems must be installed in the right way, so they stay put.

Ignoring your studs, depending too much on mounting tape, and failing to follow instructions are all common failings. This is especially annoying with sensor calibration because fallen or drooping devices will need to be fully recalibrated. When in doubt, it is okay to use a few screws and a level to make sure your components are installed the right way.

5. Picking the Wrong Sensors for Indoor or Outdoor Use

With so many sensors on the market, it can be easy to pick the wrong ones. Is that spotlight sensor infrared? Will it turn on every time your shrubs bend in the wind? Does that camera have infrared or night-vision features? Will that alarm trip every time your pet gets up to get a drink of water?

Yes, you have to consider all these little details — no one else will do it for you.

6. Choosing Dumb Codes

This should be obvious, even simple, but by the time many homeowners get around to programming their security systems, they are too anxious to get the process finished to take a moment and pick a good code. The result is a lot of dumb codes that are easy to guess.

Do not choose “0000” or “1234.” Do not, by any means, leave your control panel on the factory default security codes, which are widely available.

Choose a code that is unique to your family.

7. Placing the Control Panel Close to an Entrance

This is one the most common mistakes that homeowners make when installing their own alarms. At first it seems like common sense to put control panels near doorways – this makes it easy to input codes and set systems. But with today’s advanced control panels, a near-entrance location is actually much more dangerous than useful.

Placing the panel near a door or window makes it easy for a burglar to quickly disconnect or disengage it — or just watch for you to enter the code. Put the control panel in a less accessible location.

8. Even Great Alarm Systems Still Need to Be Armed

It is very easy to forget to arm the system once you have it installed. There are lots of excuses, from frequent friend visits to problems with kids or forgotten codes.

This is a discipline issue — The system is no good unless you arm it.

9. Forgetting About Batteries

Today’s home security systems have plenty of wireless components that are extra-easy to set up — and therein lies the danger. They can be so easy, you may forget that some maintenance is required. As with your smoke monitors (but probably more frequently) you will need to replace the batteries in your sensors to keep them up to date.

Hopefully, these tips and suggestions will help your alarm systems remain ready to protect your family and property. If you have any suggestions yourself, feel free to drop them in the comment box below!