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Why do Burglar Alarms Develop Faults & How to Fix Them?

Around 40% of UK households have a burglar alarm installed but 34% of those rarely set it – an even greater and more alarming number don’t even check for faults.

Like every system, burglar alarms are susceptible to faults but unlike every system, they are one of the easiest to configure, diagnose, and troubleshoot

Burglar alarms have helped a lot of people sleep better. Knowing that there is a deterrent keeping intruders away from their property gives them peace of mind and a sense of security.

Burglar alarms play a huge role in both residential and commercial security. Along with keeping burglars and intruders away, they also alert the people in the vicinity in case of a break-in; playing an important role in a community as well.

Burglar alarms work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect any unusual activity, notifying the person-in-charge to take necessary action. However, if your burglar alarm is faulty or poorly maintained, it can fail you when it’s needed the most and leave you and your property in a vulnerable state. 

It might also cause false alarms, turning into a nuisance for you and your neighbours.

Opportunistic burglars keep close tabs on the places they plan on breaking in to and these faults can give them just what they need. Having a faulty burglar alarm is just as good as not having one at all. 

Educating yourself about burglar alarm faults and repairs and the importance of proper maintenance and servicing will ensure that you are best equipped to keep yourself and your property safe.

TOP BURGLAR ALARM FAULTS AND REPAIRS

From triggering false alarms to misfires and even beeping all night, keeping you and the neighbours awake, burglar alarms can develop all kinds of faults. Let’s look at some of the top burglar alarm faults and repairs:

  • Low battery

As with all electrical devices working on a battery, the most common fault is the battery wearing out. Having a low battery on a burglar alarm can be dangerous and risky because the alarm may not function correctly. 

A beeping keypad and a warning code on the monitor are a couple of indicators of low battery issue in burglar alarms. Insufficient charges during power outages may also cause the low battery indicator to show.

A possible solution for the low battery fault is first checking if the battery is charged properly. If it isn’t, charge it completely and see if the issue persists. If it still does, the battery might need to be replaced

A good quality battery lasts for a good 6 to 7 years, so make sure you have the right quality and brand to avoid the issue arising unexpectedly and beforehand. Reach out to us for exceptional repairing services with our SSAIB approved alarm installers and repairers.

  • Faulty sensors

Burglar alarms work through sensors that have moving pins inside of them which are designed to pick up vibrations caused by an intruder trying to break into your property. 

These pins can sometimes jam in the open or closed position, leaving it impossible to set or unset. If left in the open position, the alarm won’t set, and if left in the closed position, it will set but won’t detect any intrusions. Faulty sensors sometimes become a reason for false alarms as well. In this case, the burglar alarm will detect an intrusion even when there isn’t any.

This issue can be solved and repaired by identifying and replacing the faulty sensor. The sensors must be installed properly, tested thoroughly, and regularly maintained to overcome this issue.

  • Loose cables and connections

Loose connections are a big problem for electronic devices such as burglar alarms. They may cause the burglar alarm to malfunction in several ways. The cables connecting the components or the main power supply cable might be loose resulting in the system not working properly. 

The device might not charge completely or result in the sensors not picking up intrusions. Connections can also become frayed and corroded due to harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat or moisture.

The best way to avoid this fault is by having the burglar alarm professionally installed by certified installers. During installation, screws must be screwed tightly and all the connections must be checked to ensure they’re secured and in place.

  • Faulty control panel or keypad
    Control panels are the heart of a burglar alarm system. All the systems components are connected through the control panel. The main features of a control panel include zone types and capacity, arming/disarming the alarm, and event logs and activation records. 

An ineffective control panel might show tamper and zone faults, which might make it difficult to set the alarm. Another issue is the keypad freezing and becoming unresponsive.

If the other components work fine, the faulty control panel and keypad can be changed. This is a cost-effective repair method instead of replacing the entire system altogether.

  • Bell doesn’t ring
    if the bell, which is the main alarm triggered during an intrusion, doesn’t ring. It results in the alarm going silent even when it is triggered. It will either not sound or be very muffled, making it very ineffective. This might be due to a battery issue or rust depositing on the bell.

The bell can be cleaned up and repaired or changed completely, in case if it is broken. Charging or changing the battery component might be a good idea as well, to rectify the situation.

ACTIONS TO TAKE

Now that we know the top burglar alarm faults and repairs, let’s read on about what actions to take to avoid such problems arising in the first place.

  • Professional system installation
    The quality of the burglar alarm and the expertise with which it is installed are two crucial factors for the systems overall health. Having a professional service install your system can significantly reduce the risk of faults and issues since they are experts in the field and know what they are doing.

    At Calder Security, we are SSAIB approved burglar alarm installers dealing with only high-quality systems including Texecom, Visonic, Scantronic, Risco, and Pyronics that we know and trust. 

We test all the components thoroughly to ensure they work just as they should. We also offer pet-friendly sensors avoiding accidental triggers by the furry creatures.

  • Properly training users
    Understanding how the system works is crucial in knowing how to operate it. A lot of people are unable to identify basic faults and how to deal with them. Training users how to use the system, such as how to set/unset the alarm is a part of the professional installation process. Many people claim they don’t know how to set their alarm, which is why they never use it.

    At Calder Security, we’ll always demonstrate the system to you before we leave, to make sure you’re fully conversant with how it works and the capabilities your system has.
  • Keeping the system clean
    As mentioned above, one of the reasons why the sensors might become faulty and jam is because of dust being trapped in them. It is necessary for the health of your burglar alarm system to clean it regularly. 

Make sure you protect your system from extreme heat and moisture that may cause it to rust.

For a thorough clean-up, it is advised to call professional maintenance services instead of opening and taking the system apart yourself.

  • Keeping sensors free from obstructions

The positioning of the sensors must be done very strategically and requires knowledge and experience. Placing them somewhere where they can’t even detect intrusions is pointless. 

In addition to that, objects that might act as obstructions to the sensors must be kept away such as moving objects, fans, and curtains. An open door or window after the alarm has been set might also cause it to trigger unnecessarily. Another potential obstruction is water seepage on the wall where the burglar alarm is placed.

At times, the alarm might get triggered because of insects such as spiders. All it takes is a spider to crawl directly over a sensor to fool it into thinking there’s some kind of intruder.  When you consider that a burglar alarm sensor’s job is to detect movement at a distance of several feet, something moving over its direct surface is going to trigger it just the same.

During installation, utmost care and precision must be used to place the sensors at the optimal position and regularly clean them to keep those pesky spiders away.

  • Regular professional burglar alarm maintenance
    This is one of the most important actions to take to ensure the burglar alarm works fault-free. Everything requires maintenance and upkeep, even humans. An electrical system would too. An annual service will check that all is working as it should change any batteries reaching the end of their lives, and detect any potential issues before they become a problem.

We have reliable, qualified engineers working round the clock just to keep you and your belongings safe. In addition to offering maintenance contracts, our experts will remind you when your service is due – so it’s one less thing to worry about!

HOW DO BURGLAR ALARMS WORK?

Now that we know the top burglar alarm faults and repairs, along with the necessary action to take to prevent those faults, let’s look at how burglar alarms exactly work and what the main components are.

Burglar alarms work by identifying intrusions through sensors connected to the control panel. Burglar alarm signals may be in the form of loud noise such as a bell. The most advanced burglar alarm systems are monitored and work by sending signals to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) via telephone lines or the internet. 

The experts monitoring the burglar alarm check and verify every alarm ensuring that no alarm goes unnoticed, even when the owners are away. The monitoring system is also equipped to detect and verify false alarms, which can be caused by improper arming and disarming of the system, weak batteries, and even wandering pets. 

The main components of a burglar alarm include:

  • The control panel

The control panel, as the name suggests, controls the burglar alarm system. It is integrated with all the other components to sound an alarm when an intrusion is detected. The panel typically features an easy-to-use keypad that allows the user to set and unset the alarm.

Most monitored burglar alarm control panels also feature built-in communicators so that the monitoring centre can receive the signal of a break-in for them to call the relevant authorities if necessary.

  • Sensors
    Sensors are devices that detect intrusions and sound an alarm to alert the owners. There are different types of sensors and they all detect intrusions differently.

    Door and window sensors are triggered when someone tries to gain unauthorized access through, you guessed it, doors or windows. There are two components – one is installed on the door or window, and the other part placed on the door frame or window sill. 

Motion sensors are triggered by any movement (or any kinetic activity). If the alarm is armed and someone walks in, the alarm will be triggered. Break glass detectors identify the sound of breaking glass. If an intruder tries to break the window or door glass, it raises an alarm. Shock sensors trigger by vibrations caused by the area being broken in to

  • Keypad
    A keypad is the main interface where the user can arm or disarm the alarm. It is either integrated with the control panel or a separate unit. Normally, the only way to turn off the alarm is by entering the alarm’s PIN into the keypad. It can be a touchscreen or a touchpad depending on the model you have installed.
  • Sounder
    This is the loud sound that the alarm makes when the sensor picks up something suspicious. It is usually a loud bell-type noise or a siren, sometimes accompanied by flashing lights for more attention. 

It scares away intruders because they hate nothing more than being caught in the act. These sounders are the main deterrents that keep burglars away from your property. If the sounder has a fault and doesn’t make a sound, the owners might not even know that the alarm has been triggered, making it a very vulnerable and vital component.

  • Battery
    There are two types of burglar alarm installations; wired and wireless. The wired systems are hard-wired and require to battery to run. There is, however, a back-up battery in the case of a power outage. Wireless systems run solely on batteries. Most modern alarms run on a combination of both. In any case, back-up batteries are always present running the control panels. These batteries need to be checked and replaced periodically, depending on their use.

REPAIRING AND MAINTENANCE COSTS

Professional burglar alarm repairing and maintenance services are vital in keeping your burglar alarm healthy and in top-notch condition. A faulty burglar alarm not only is a nuisance but also a huge risk since it leaves your property in a vulnerable state.

Domestic burglar alarm maintenance services cost around £86.40 including VAT. This includes full testing of the entire alarm system including the control panel, sounders, sensors, as well as the engineer’s time on site. Similar commercial burglar alarm maintenance services cost around £92 including VAT.

Domestic burglar alarm repair services cost around £86.40 including VAT, whereas commercial burglar alarm repair services cost around £92 including VAT. Remember, these are average costs and they may vary depending on the nature of the fault. When your burglar alarm shows signs of an issue, it is time to have it repaired. It must be done ASAP to prevent false alarms or, in a worst-case scenario, prevent it from triggering in the event of a break-in.

Other costs for a state-of-the-art burglar alarm security system include the installation and monitoring services. The cost of a burglar alarm installation varies from property to property depending on a range of factors. A very general idea of the cost for domestic burglar alarm installation for a house with 3 bedrooms, 2 external doors, a kitchen, lounge, and hallway would be in the region of £780 including VAT. 

The average price range for commercial burglar alarm installation would be anywhere in between £800-£2000. The total cost depends on the size of the property as well as the type of burglar alarm installed.

If you’re using burglar alarm monitoring services, you will be expected to pay a monthly fee ranging from £15-£45. When alerted, the Alarm Response Centre (ACR) performs a check to confirm the alarm, notifies the person-in-charge, and if appropriate, alerts the police. 

Calder Security is Yorkshire’s leading independent security company and we promise you the best professional installation, maintenance, and repairing services to keep you and your loved ones safe. To take the security up a notch, try our expert burglar alarm monitoring services for that extra peace of mind.

Image by Hulki Okan Tabak from Pixabay