You built your home, and you made it a point to install one of those state-of-the-art home security systems. It’s got motion sensors, it’s got surveillance cameras, and it’s got a host of advanced functionality that you didn’t even think was commercially available. You may now think that all of this is done and dusted, and you can sleep well. But that’s actually not that true.
When it comes to home security systems, installing it and setting it up right is about 80% of getting things done. The other 20% are you testing it regularly, making sure everything is in perfect order. This is what will ensure that your system works when you need it most. If Murphy’s law is anything to believe, the day someone breaks in may very well be the day your system isn’t working, because you forgot to check it.
That being said, you couldn’t possibly spend an hour every day testing the system, and if it’s connected to a security company, they won’t put up with that either. You’ll need to be reasonable but still, do it often enough so you can have your peace of mind. So, how often should you do this, and how is it done?
Do you have a system that works with a security provider?
This is a question you should answer before you consider testing. Many homes have at least an alarm system that’s connected to a provider that gives 24/7 monitoring. That provider is usually alerted if something is happening in your home, and they’re the ones that call the authorities in that case. Given that they have people doing just that, chances are they’ll react much more quickly than you would.
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If you do have one, you should keep in mind that you’ll need to notify the said provider when you’re doing your testing. You don’t want the police to arrive at your home, only for you to say “Hey, I was just testing things out”.
Why are we mentioning this? Because the provider won’t want you testing things on a daily basis. They’ll very likely allow you to do this once a month, for example, but not much more often than that. And that’s just the sweet spot as to how often you should test your home security system – once a month.
How do you test your home security system?
While this greatly depends on the system you have in place, we’ll mention a few tips for a comprehensive system. If you don’t have any of the components, just skip that part.
First things first, you have the alarm. Provided this is connected to a security provider, as mentioned earlier, you’ll want to call them and ask how you put it in test mode. Test mode means that they’ll disregard the signals that they receive, and any false alarms with the local authorities will be avoided.
Once this is done, you can arm your alarm. Check the front door, the windows, and any motion sensors that are connected to the alarm by intentionally triggering them. When you’re sure you covered all systems, call the security company again and verify that they received signals from all the devices you triggered. This should let you know that the system works as intended.
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Next, you’ll want to test any independent components. If you have surveillance cameras that are connected to the internet, log on to your app, and see whether you can see the feed from all of them. Check your DVR, or your cloud storage solution, and see whether you have the recordings from the past few days. If you don’t there might be a saving issue you’ll want to address.
Last but not least, check the locks themselves. Yes, they’re a part of home security, and no technology is going to help you if you don’t have secure locks. Make sure none of them is wiggling, there’s no issue with any of them, and they lock and unlock just fine, provided you have the key.
With all the aforementioned in mind, we can conclude that testing your home security system once per month is actually quite sufficient. This will let you sleep well knowing that your home is well secured, and knowing that if anything does happen, you’ll be able to either prevent it or deal with it as quickly as possible.