5 Most Common Problems with Home Security Systems (and their Easy Fixes)

Installing a new home alarm system is a means of escaping the anxiety of not being able to attend to the safety of your home and belongings while away or asleep. It’s not surprising then that having a security system that fails is a frustrating experience; but overwhelmingly, the causes of security breaches are absolutely preventable. Below are the five most common problems that inexperienced home security system owners encounter − along with the easy fixes to each of them.

1. Incomplete home coverage is a crucial flaw in many peoples’ security systems. Most people fail to account for all possible entries because security companies usually have tempting low-cost packages that provide a bare minimum of coverage − usually limited to a door and a few windows at most.

The Easy Fix: 
As tempting as it is to be economical with your security system, it is better to make sure your system is more reliable than affordable. If a system can be easily bypassed, it may as well have never been installed. Consider all possible entries: is there a balcony accessible via ladder, or maybe a tree? Is there a crawlspace that can be exploited? Is there an entrance through the garage that isn’t secured? Consider every possibility and tailor your system accordingly.

2. Improperly calibrated and poorly maintained equipment is another common failure of home security. In order to avoid the dreaded false alarm, many people calibrate their equipment too leniently. Alternatively, equipment can fall into disrepair and become useless. Motion sensors, for example, are often programmed to exclude a few feet of crawling room so that pets cannot trigger an alarm; criminals are frequently aware of this. Sound sensors are sometimes set at too high of a threshold and can completely ignore the sounds of breaking glass. Contacts at windows and doors can be prone to failure, which may either make them highly sensitive and sound at the slightest budge or never sound at all. But surprisingly, one of the more common problems is that people simply forget to change the batteries on their equipment.

The Easy Fix:
Have a specialist calibrate your equipment and test it so that your equipment is in order and functioning at its best. If you’re experiencing false alarms for no apparent reason, it is most likely due to an equipment failure of some kind. This can be avoided with regular inspections and, when necessary, maintenance. And always keep a few extra batteries so that you’re never left without a system. Turning on a security system while the battery voltage is low is a surefire way to trigger a false alarm.

3. Using passwords for security that are easily guessed or well-known is a reckless habit. If your password is easy enough that any acquaintance can guess it, consider changing it immediately.

The Easy Fix: 
Your password should only be given to people who live with you. Or, if you have frequent visitors, share only with the most trusted. Never distribute the password to people who you don’t know unless you can supervise their stay, and change the password promptly afterwards. Refrain from leaving the password written down anywhere common. Resist making the password relevant to your personal information, such as incorporating birthdates, loved ones, or hobbies. If your password can be guessed by someone who browses you on a social network, consider changing it immediately (and change your social media habits!)

4. Buying and installing security products that aren’t compatible or effective together is a bad practice that may compromise your security entirely. A tracking security camera may disrupt a motion detector; placing two pieces of equipment near each other might result in electromagnetic interference, which could disrupt either piece’s function.

The Easy Fix: 
As tempting as it is to purchase something that might be on sale to contribute to your security system, it’s better to stick with one provider unless you have expertise in installing equipment or your security provider approves the addition. Hire a specialist to help you plan your system if you’re the DIY type and would rather not deal with a provider.

5. Not turning the system on to avoid false alarms is one of the more unfortunately common no-brainer ways a security system fails. 80% of calls made through security systems are estimated to be false alarms. This can be undoubtedly frustrating to families inexperienced with security systems, and the decision is frequently made to leave a system off because of the inconveniences of false alarms.

The Easy Fix: 
It bears repeating: correct installation and maintenance is absolutely necessary in keeping security systems functioning properly. Investing in a security system is not the ultimate answer in defending your home, but it is a very powerful tool in your efforts. Owners of systems who responsibly manage their equipment can prevent false alarms without sacrificing their peace of mind. Following the tips above will reduce – and even eliminate – your false alarm incidents. It will also ensure that your system is working correctly when you need it most.