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5 Tips for Testing Your Home Security System

The safety of your home and your family is of the utmost importance, which is probably why you have decided to install an alarm system. This form of home security is one of the best when it comes to both deterring would-be criminals and keeping actual intruders from stealing your valuables or harming your family…but only if it’s in good working order. And while you’d probably prefer if the system wasn’t put to the test too frequently (or ever) by intruders, that doesn’t mean you can’t run your own tests in order to ensure that the alarm performs as expected when it is called upon to protect your home and family from the criminal element. So here are just a few tips to keep in mind when testing your home security system.

  1. Read the manual. The modern homeowner is so inundated with manuals for everything from electronics and appliances to home furnishings that it’s not really too surprising that most fail to read or even skim their alarm system owner’s manual. However, this is your go-to resource if you’re interested in testing your alarm system since it not only tells you about your set-up, but also offers a how-to that will get you through the testing process. And you can refer back to it to troubleshoot problems and make sure that your system is in ship shape.
  2. Call your alarm company. Before you start setting off alarms in your home it’s probably a good idea to notify the alarm company that monitors your system so they don’t assume a break-in is in progress. Although your manual should tell you how to test your system without arousing the suspicion of the alarm company, it’s probably best to inform them ahead of time, just in case. They may be able to offer you some helpful hints, and prior knowledge will help to ensure that the police aren’t called out in response to a false alarm.
  3. Warn the neighbors. When you decide to test your alarm system, it’s bound to be noisy. And even if you do it during the day when most of your neighbors are at work, you may disturb the peace. Or concerned neighbors might think your home is under attack and call the authorities. So take the time to knock on nearby doors or leave notes in mailboxes in advance so that you don’t frighten or disturb the whole block when you test your alarms.
  4. Know your system. As you’ll probably learn from your manual, a thorough inspection will require you to test each sensor. For some homes this includes every point of entry, be it door or window. Other homes may have sensors only on doors and ground floor windows. If you’re not quite sure where all of the sensors are placed you should figure it out before you start your test.
  5. Test regularly. Most alarm companies suggest that security systems be tested every month. But if you simply don’t have the time to devote to this task, which could be somewhat lengthy until you get the hang of it, at least test your system at the same time as you change the batteries in your smoke alarm. In other words, undertake the task every six months. If you do it during daylight savings time you won’t forget. And once you are comfortable testing the system you might bump it up to monthly inspections.