How realistic would it be to expect a car that sat idle for three years to start up and operate perfectly? Or how about a home that sat vacant for five years. Would you expect the air conditioner to work?
Just like with any piece of equipment, periodic testing of your home alarm system is essential. In the event of an emergency, there are no second chances. Your security system and home fire alarm system must work flawlessly when needed.
Testing helps to ensure that your home security system will work properly. It identifies problem areas that may require attention from your home security company.
You should test your system each month. Here’s how to do it:
· You want to test alarm signals as they appear on your alarm system control panel and at the alarm monitoring center.
· Procedures for testing your system may vary by manufacturer. Consult your owner’s manual for more details. If you don’t have access to your owner’s manual, the rest of the steps in this blog post work well for most systems.
· To test for signals on your alarm system control panel, do the following:
o Put your system in the READY mode. Do not arm it.
o Open each protected window and door, one at a time.
o Verify that the alarm keypad displays the window or door that it should display during the testing process.
o Walk in front of motion detectors. Each detector has a maximum coverage distance…test it to make sure it registers at the maximum distance.
o Make sure you test each alarm device in your home.
· To test for alarm system communication with the alarm monitoring center, do the following:
o Call the monitoring center and ask them to put your system in TEST MODE. You’ll be asked to provide your account number and unique personal identification password or code.
o Arm your system and then open a door, window or walk in front of a motion detector. Allow the alarm to activate (sound) for about one minute.
o Turn off your system and reset it to the READY mode.
o Call your alarm monitoring center to make sure they received the alarm signal. Once you’ve verified that they have, instruct them to take the system off of test mode.
Testing monitored fire alarm smoke detectors are a little different. You’ll need HSI canned smoke, available from any local hardware store. Once you have your canned smoke, here’s what to do:
· Make sure you contact the alarm monitoring center and instruct them to put the system in TEST mode.
· Stay about 2-4 feet from the detector and spray the canned smoke at the vents or side (chamber) of the detector. Spray for about two seconds or as manufacturer’s instructions indicate.
· Your alarm will sound within 1-10 seconds if everything is working properly.
· Reset the alarm system.
· Call the alarm monitoring center to make sure they received the fire alarm signal. Then, tell them to take the system off test mode.
My Alarm Center customers can see specific instructions about how to test their home security systems at https://www.myalarmcenter.com/support/testing-your-system.
In addition to this monthly test (I do mine each month when I change the air filters in the house), it’s a great idea to have a preventive maintenance inspection performed annually by your home alarm company. They can check the power and useful life of your back-up battery. They’ll inspect wiring and panel components for wear and functionality.
Like any other piece of valuable equipment, your alarm system needs testing to ensure it is operating properly. Begin your testing today, and make testing a regular part of your routine.