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Burglar Alarm Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

You would be surprised by just how many times homeowners have to face problems with security owing to unmaintained burglar alarm systems.

As per statistics, the most basic security measures taken by homeowners in the UK include locks, light sensors, and burglar alarms. So, if you fail to maintain these basic systems, you are deliberately setting yourself up for failure in the future!

Even worse is that some homeowners believe that burglar alarms are a one-and-done kind of deal where you install them once and forget about them. While it is true that you don’t have to actively keep an eye on the alarms and frequently check on them, you should get them periodically assessed for faults and issues that may cause a security breach.

Regular maintenance can not only help you keep up with the security needs of your home, but it can also help you avoid problems that may result in theft, damage, and even other potential issues like an increase in insurance premiums.

Read below to learn more about the importance of burglar alarm maintenance and some helpful tips on how you can make the most of these systems and keep your home safe.

BURGLAR ALARMS 101

Before we dive into the importance of burglar alarm maintenance, we need to first discuss how these systems work and some of the most common faults that they can develop over time.

By understanding the inner workings of these systems, you can build intuition on when these systems might need maintenance and how to keep them functioning properly around the clock.

Burglar alarms have a rather simple layout. They are equipped with a battery/power module, a siren, a sensor, and a housing that holds everything in place.

The most important thing inside the alarm is the sensor. The sensor collects information from the environment, like changes in heat, sound, and movement, and processes this information to determine the presence of a threat.

If you arm (activate) the alarm, the sensor will begin scanning for environmental changes. So, if someone enters a monitored space, the alarm will go off immediately.

The other main components of the system include the control panel, keypad, sounder, and batteries. Each of these components combines to provide security.  So, a fault in any of them may cause the system to malfunction or stop working completely.

There are different types of sensors attached to the system that pick up intrusions. Here are the top ones:

  • Door and window sensors – to detect when someone tries to gain unauthorised access via changes in pressure or a break in the connection when opening a door/window,
  • Motion sensors – to detect any movement or kinetic activity in a limited space,
  • Glass break detectors – to detect the sound of breaking glass, and
  • Shock sensors – to detect vibrations in the area being broken into.

WHY BURGLAR ALARM MAINTENANCE IS IMPORTANT

As mentioned above, burglar alarms are the first line of defence for your home security. So, it behoves homeowners to ensure that the system is running as intended.

One way to make sure that the system is always running at maximum efficiency is to have it regularly serviced and maintained by a professional. Here are all the reasons why burglar alarm maintenance is so important:

Detection of Faults

System faults are inevitable – as is with any electronic device. However, maintenance inspections and servicing activities can significantly increase the lifespan of the device. Usually, with prolonged use, these systems may depreciate to a point where they begin to accumulate errors. This is why when these systems are inspected, a technician carefully scans for faults and corrects them immediately.

With regular inspections, the issues can be fixed before they even start to affect the system and since servicing includes cleaning the system of dust, dirt, pollution, and rust, and changing the batteries, it doesn’t just fix potential faults and issues but also increases its life.

Higher Efficiency for Callouts

Having your burglar alarm regularly maintained by a professional security company like Calder Security, ensures that the system works at maximum efficiency and no call-out is missed.

For example, in the case of wireless systems, if the alarm accumulates processing errors, it may not be able to send details about the intrusion to the relevant parties. Furthermore, security companies also offer maintenance contracts which also give users special perks like priority response.

This way you get the best of both worlds: a fully functioning and well-maintained system and priority support during emergencies.

Reduced insurance premiums

Lack of security has profound implications on insurance costs! Think about it, an insurance company relies on the track record of their client to calculate their premium. For example, if you have previously submitted a claim for insurance due to multiple robberies throughout the years, then the insurance company would charge you more.

However, if you have a robust and well-maintained system, then your chances of being robbed go down significantly and insurance companies may even offer you discounts.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD BURGLAR ALARMS BE MAINTAINED?

Generally, it is best to test the burglar alarm every six months and get professional maintenance services annually.

However, there are no set rules when it comes to testing or maintaining alarm systems. For example, during a power surge, lightning strike, or other environmental-related events, it is best that you get the alarms tested to make sure that they are working as intended.

Homeowners are encouraged to not hesitate to contact their security company of choice and have their burglar alarm system checked.

During a maintenance visit, a professional will carefully inspect all the components of the system and make sure they meet the SSAIB and the British Standards of Safety.

Here’s what will be checked and tested:

  • Previous logs since the last maintenance activity,
  • All major components of the system including the cables and connections for visual signs of damage or deterioration,
  • The mains power supply for interruptions and surges,
  • The battery, including its charging rates,
  • All the sensors,
  • The sounders for audible warnings,
  • Manually operated buttons such as the panic buttons,
  • Remote signalling equipment (where applicable).

COMMON FAULTS IN BURGLAR ALARMS AND TIPS FOR SECURING

Here are the most common burglar alarm faults that may affect the performance of the alarm system and some tips on how to spot these issues to proactively increase security:

Battery Issues

Batteries don’t last forever! Most internal batteries last around 6 to 7 years before they begin to deteriorate and cause the device to either malfunction or shut down completely.

For wired and wireless burglar alarms, this could be a serious issue since it can lead to downtime which can compromise the security of your home.

A few of the indicators of a battery issue might be a beeping keypad or a warning code on the monitor. An insufficient charge during a power outage may also cause the low battery indicator to light up.

Sensor Errors

The sensor inside a burglar alarm is the brain of the device. If the sensor accumulates damage, dust, or errors, it can result in false alarms and missed detections.

Sometimes the arming pins inside the alarms can also jam in an open or closed position, making it impossible to arm or disarm them. So, if you notice that the “armed” light on the alarm doesn’t activate, it is most likely due to a fault in the arming pins.

Loose Connections

Several cables are used to connect the components within the burglar alarm and the entire system to the main power supply.

Over time, these cables and connections may become loose due to general wear and tear and harsh weather conditions. When this happens, the system may fail to detect threats or not work at all.

Unresponsive Components

Arming and disarming a burglar alarm is done through the keypad and an unresponsive keypad can render the system almost useless.

Other times, repeated use of the keypad can also cause some of the keys to become damaged. This can be the case if the same keys are used over a long period, such as using the same PIN throughout, which is another big security issue. This is why we recommend that users change their PIN at least semi-annually.

Damage to Sounder

Apart from the sensors, the speaker or sounder inside a burglar alarm is the second most important component. As you can imagine, the entire point of a burglar alarm is to sound an alarm during an intrusion.

This sound is crucial for alerting people nearby of an intrusion, along with possibly scaring away the intruders. This is why problems with the sounder may result in the alarm going silent even when it is triggered. In some cases, the alarm may produce a very muffled sound.

A muffled sound usually happens due to a battery issue or rust depositing on the bell. This can be an incredibly pressing issue for bells-only burglar alarms that rely heavily on the sounder to scare off intruders. So, if the sounder on these alarms goes down, the system can be rendered useless.

Error in Smart Systems

Smart alarms are the future of security, however, even these systems are not impervious to failure. Since these systems rely heavily on software, they often require maintenance on both ends: software and hardware.

Software issues can cause malfunctions and, in worse cases, they can also lead to missed detection. Although this is incredibly rare, and wireless/smart systems are very reliable, if the conditions are just right, then you may end up with a rare security breach.

This is why we recommend that you follow the maintenance schedule provided by the security company to keep these advanced systems up to date.

During a maintenance visit, a technician can check for firmware issues, software bugs, and other related issues. The benefit of regular maintenance for these systems is that the technician can also install the latest software upgrade to your system, making it even more reliable and capable than before.

HOW MUCH DOES BURGLAR ALARM SERVICING COST?

You might think that maintenance costs are just an added cost that you have to bear. However, we urge homeowners to think about maintenance differently.

If you calculate the overall damage to property, loss, and the hassle of insurance in the case of a break-in, and compare it to the relatively measly cost of maintenance, then you would understand the importance and value of keeping the system up to date.

On average, domestic burglar alarm maintenance and repair services cost around £86.40 including VAT. This includes full testing of the entire alarm system including the control panel, sounders, and sensors, as well as the engineer’s time on site.

BURGLAR ALARM MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS

Along with providing regular maintenance and service checks, a lot of security companies offer maintenance contracts as well.

What are maintenance contracts?

These contracts are more like retainers that guarantee that the system will be looked after and that all its servicing needs will be taken care of by the security company. The biggest benefit of maintenance contracts is that you, the user, can truly install and forget about the alarm system.

Furthermore, a maintenance contract will also keep your system on top priority in case of an unexpected fault or during emergency callouts, regardless of the time of day.

The duration of the contract, cost, and the fine print may vary between contracts and companies, and you may set up a custom maintenance contract as per your requirements and budget. Some maintenance contracts can include professional burglar alarm monitoring services for added security and protection too.

Here are the top benefits of a maintenance contract:

  • A regularly maintained system by professionals,
  • 24-hour coverage,
  • Reduced call-out and labour charges,
  • Potential reduction on insurance premiums.
  • 24/7 – 365 days of security for your home.

CONTACT CALDER SECURITY

A good burglar alarm maintenance company will provide you with 24/7 customer support along with customised maintenance packages suited to your needs.

At Calder Security, we offer comprehensive security solutions that include not just burglar alarm maintenance but also professional installation, repair, and monitoring services.

We are professionals working in the security industry for over 40 years and have extensive knowledge about all kinds of burglar alarm systems. Our experts can also recommend the best system suited for your domestic and commercial security needs.

Here’s why you should choose us:

  • We are SSAIB-approved installers and all of our burglar alarm installations are carried out by qualified, experienced engineers that comply with standards: PD6662: 2010, DD243, and BS8243, required to qualify for police assistance.
  • Our systems meet the stringent requirements of BS4737 and European Standard EN50131 (Intruder Alarm Systems in Buildings).
  • We have both wired and wireless systems and can also advise you on the best option for your property.
  • We only install high-quality systems including Hikvision, Texecom, Visonic, Scantronic, Risco, and Pyronix that we know and trust.
  • Our expert installers guide and train users before leaving the site, making sure they are comfortable with the system and understand how it works.
  • We offer a 24-hour emergency call-out service and can help you even when your alarm goes off at 3 am.
  • We can also talk you through fault fixes over the phone.
  • We have extensive knowledge of all the types of burglar alarms and can also repair systems that we haven’t installed.
  • We offer maintenance contracts for both residential and commercial properties.
  • We give out timed appointments so that you know when we’re coming.
  • We also send out reminders for you to know when servicing is due.

Contact us here or call us today free on 0800 612 9799 for more information on burglar alarm maintenance and why it is so important for home security.

Photo by Mark Jordan on Unsplash