Whenever a home security system is activated by a potential threat, there is always a chance it’s a false alarm. That’s the one downside of home security as no system is 100% immune from false alarms. And yet, false alarms occur far more frequently than they should. The good news is that preventing them is easier than you might think.
A 2007 study out of Arizona State University suggests that between 94% and 98% of all triggered home security alarms are false alarms. The study further suggests that false alarms cost upwards of $1.8 billion in fines, penalties, and lost police resources. The study is 13 years old, but it is hard to imagine the numbers are way down since then.
Preventing false alarms is the responsibility of every homeowner who owns a security system. Prevention is also smart. Local police agencies have a tendency of fining homeowners for excessive false alarms. They do so to encourage alarm owners to practice prevention.
In light of that, here are five tips for preventing home security false alarms, compliments of Vivint Smart Home:
1. Professional Installation
Some false alarms are the direct result of improper system configuration. For instance, a motion detector placed in the wrong location could result in a security system being triggered by pets walking through. Professional installers are experts at configuration. They know the secrets for configuring a security system for maximum effectiveness but minimum false alarm risks.
2. Professional Monitoring
Hand-in-hand with professional installation is professional monitoring. Vivint says that monitoring can make a significant difference for the simple fact that monitoring professionals are trained to assess whether or not alarms are legitimate. Only when monitoring personnel are concerned that a genuine threat exists will law enforcement be notified. They will not notify law-enforcement if an assessment suggests a false alarm.
3. Inspect and Maintain Equipment
Next up, false alarms can be avoided simply by inspecting and maintaining equipment. A good example involves entry sensors placed on first floor windows. The sensors work just fine when newly installed. Over time however the connection between the two parts of a sensor can loosen. An exceptionally loose connection could trigger an alarm during a windstorm.
4. Go with Brand-Name Equipment
Home security is one industry in which you truly get what you pay for. The best equipment on the market is high quality equipment that works as advertised – and that equipment almost always comes from well-known brands. If you want to avoid false alarms, choose brand-name equipment for your installation.
5. Learn How to Use Your System
Finally, too many false alarms are triggered by homeowners who don’t know how to use their systems properly. The solution to that problem is obvious. Homeowners should do everything they can to learn how to properly arm and disarm their systems. They should learn about all the little things that can trigger an alarm.
When you choose a professionally installed system, training should be part of the package. The installation technician should show you everything you need to know about your system before leaving your home. In the case of DIY systems, training is generally left up to literature and videos. It is up to homeowners to educate themselves.
If you own a home security system remember that false alarms can be costly. They can also be dangerous in the sense that law enforcement could be prevented from responding to more serious crimes by having to chase down false alarms. Do what you can to avoid false alarms as much as possible. You and your community will be better off for it.