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The 5 Most Common Home Security System Mistakes


An investment in a home alarm system is an investment in your home's safety and security. But the simple fact that you have a home security system isn't enough to keep your home safe. Sometimes, people become complacent after installing a home alarm system, which can lead to mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of the system. Here are five common mistakes people make with home alarm systems.

1. Choosing a "Bells Only" Alarm

A non-monitored home security system simply sounds a loud alarm when the system is triggered, and does not automatically alert a security monitoring center or local authorities. Some people believe that the simple presence of a loud alarm will help protect their home. However, neighbors are most likely to respond by shutting windows to block out the noise, and neither neighbors nor passers-by may be inclined to call police, particularly if most homes in the neighborhood have monitored systems. People may assume the authorities are automatically being called and do nothing. In other words, a "bells only" system is basically just an expensive siren.

2. Not Checking Batteries Regularly

Your home alarm system probably has a battery backup so that it will work for a period of time even if the power is out. But like all other batteries, the batteries in your backup system can fail. Check batteries quarterly—or better still, monthly—and replace them when they become weak. This will help ensure your entire system is in good working order when you need it.

3. Placing the Control Panel Next to a Door or Window

Having your home security system control panel right next to the front door may be convenient for you, but it's also convenient for the intruder who knows how to disconnect the system. Not only that, but placing the control panel where it can be seen from outside allows a determined burglar to surreptitiously watch you punch in the security code. Once a potential intruder knows your security code, when they break in, all they would have to do is type in the number to disable the alarm system.

4. Using the Factory Default Security Code

Depending on the company, the default security code that comes with your system may be the same for all new systems, and there are websites where burglars can learn the default security codes for different models of home alarm systems. Always change the default security code to something that you will remember, but which would be difficult for the average burglar to guess. Don't use your house number, 1234, or any other obvious combination of numbers.

5. Not Arming the System Consistently

You've gone to the trouble and expense to have a monitored home security system installed, but the system can't help protect your home if you don't arm it every time you leave your home vacant, as well as overnight. A Consumer Reports survey cited in the Chicago Tribune in 2011 revealed that 43% of people with home alarm systems say they occasionally don't turn it on when they're away. Burglars are always looking for an opportunity to intrude upon your home; therefore, consistently using your security system is imperative.

A monitored home security system is a great investment in helping keep your home and family secure. Don't let simple mistakes undermine your home security plan and your family's safety.