Having a security system can ward off burglars, but you should test this system at least once a month to ensure the safety of your cherished possessions and your loved ones in the event of a true emergency.

So, how do you test your alarm without freaking out your family and annoying your neighbors? Read on for step-by-step instructions for making sure your alarm system is ready for an emergency.

1. Read the Manual

For the most part, the testing process will be the same regardless of your home security system. Many manuals will include something called a “walk through” test for testing your alarm. Double-check the testing instructions in the manual in case there are any steps not covered in this tutorial.

2. Call Your Service Provider

Your alarm service provider will be able to take your system offline during a test. This way, the test will not cause any accidental dispatch.

3. Alert Your Family and Neighbors

The sound of the alarm can incite panic in any unknowing family members or neighbors, so make sure everyone in the house and in the surrounding homes knows you will be running a test.

4. Make Your Pets Comfortable

Don’t forget about Fido! Since animals have very sensitive hearing, make them as comfortable as possible during the alarm test. Secure pets in an enclosed room with familiar items to help keep them calm.

5. Prepare for the Test

Run the test as if you were actually leaving the house. Lock all protected windows and doors.

6. Arm Your System

Now is when the fun begins. Once everything is in place, activate the test mode on your system and allow the delay time to expire so it is active.

7. Test the Sensors

Your system may tell you which sensor areas to check, especially if any are not working properly. Test each sensor to make sure the signal is strong and the alarm sounds each time. All it takes is one unchecked area to allow an intruder to enter your home.

8. Test Other Detection Methods

If your system includes other forms of detection, read the following sections as they apply to your security system:

  • Smoke detectors: Test the smoke detectors by pressing the test button or by using a can of smoke, but whatever you do, do not test it by burning something.
  • Heat detectors: Rub your hands together for 30 seconds and place your hands on the heat sensors to see if they respond.
  • Motion detectors: Walk back and forth in front of the motion detector. Motion detectors will usually respond when they sense heat and motion, so make sure that you create motion in the area where the detector is aimed.
  • Flood sensors: Create the same response as a rising water level by completing the circuit with a piece of metal to join the two prongs on the end of the sensor.
  • Low temperature sensors: Put an ice cube or tray of ice water in front of the sensor to mimic freezing conditions.

9. End Test Mode and Review Results

Once you have completed the test, end the test mode and rearm the alarm. If you experienced any errors, contact your service provider.

Consider testing your alarm system monthly. However, this is no substitute for professional maintenance; also arrange for periodic inspections and servicing from your alarm service provider.

False alarms cost consumers thousands of dollars in fines every year, so make sure you understand how to operate your alarm system and test it properly.

With a little bit of planning, you can create emergency kits that will let you deal with these types of situations: How to Create Emergency Kits for your Average Workday

Featured photo credit: dome type outdoor cctv camera to secure nonthaburi province via Shutterstock

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