The sound of an alarm system instinctually creates panic, and most people would rather avoid it. However, it’s very important to test these systems to ensure they are working if and when you need them most.
The test itself is a fairly simple process, but you’ll want to perform it correctly. After all, what is the point in having a system if you’re not sure it’s working?
Here are the ways you can test your home security system and how often you should be thinking about it.
Communicate the Testing to Affected Parties
Prior to running a test on your home security system, alert everyone in the house. This will help avoid any panic or disrupt any daily activities.
Additionally, consider alerting your neighbors if they live nearby and if your system is especially loud, so they don’t suspect suspicious activity in your house. To give the neighbors peace-of-mind, select one day a month that you’ll test the system and notify them of this date. Then, don’t be too casual with talking about your selected time period. Potential thieves could take advantage of that knowledge.
Finally, ask your security company about whether or not they should be alerted for the test. They will be thankful that you are trying to help avoid false alarms, which keep emergency responders away from where they’re needed most.
Frequency of Tests
The first alarms you should test are your fire alarms and smoke detectors. Three out of five deaths caused by fires are from properties without a working fire alarm.
The U.S. Fire Administration has a few useful tips for when to test them.
- Check the manufacturing date on the back of the smoke detector. These alarms have a ten-year lifespan.
- Test each alarm once a month. It’s as easy as pushing the “test” button on your system.
- Test every alarm. There should be one in each sleeping area, in kitchens, rooms with fireplaces and on every floor of the home.
You know fire alarms and smoke detectors should be tested once a month, but what about the rest of your security system? Aside from regular tests, there are other times to investigate the status of the system.
- It’s also safe to test your security system once a month. Pick one day of the month to test each system so that it becomes a habit.
- Test after maintenance workers are in your home. No matter what they’re working on, it’s best practice to ensure they haven’t interfered with your security accidentally.
- Test after you’ve had a house, babysitter or pet sitter in your home. They may have made changes to your system, such as disabling alarms for their own easy access.
- If your security system uses the Internet, test after any major changes are made to your connectivity or provider. Those changes could affect the responsiveness of your system.
- Test your system when renovations are completed, whether it’s inside or out of the home. You may have accidentally altered any number of aspects to the system, such as camera angles.
- Test after resolving a beeping system. Usually it only starts beeping after an underlying issue has occurred, such as power failure.
How to Test Effectively
Work with your security provider to ensure you are properly educated on system testing. They’ll have the best knowledge and tips. These are the best practices on learning how to test:
- Review the step-by-step process they give you, as it is usually time-sensitive once you’ve started the process.
- Watch a provider-created video to give yourself clarity on what the process looks like.
- Remember to test the individual components of the system, like window sensors, security cameras and the alarm itself.