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Some Things to Consider Regarding Your Alarm System When Planning a Home Remodeling Project

Some things to consider regarding your alarm system when planning a home remodeling project.

Planning a home remodeling project is an exciting time.  The possibilities seem endless and the opportunities abundant.  Whether you are simply replacing the existing doors and/orwindows, putting on an addition, taking out walls and expanding different areas of your home, or adding on a garage to house that sweet new ride you are dreaming of purchasing, consider your alarm system and expanded security needs in this process.  

updating home alarm system

If you are adding on to your existing home, you want to make sure that you are planning on additional security components for the doors and windows of the addition.  If the addition is going to potentially be a main point of exit/entry for you and your family into your home, you may also want to consider adding a keypad to arm and disarm the system.  

One of the reasons that considering your security system in the planning of the addition rather then after the fact is that while the walls, ceilings, and basement are open during construction, it is pretty easy to run lines for the alarm system.  You may be saying to yourself, “Why would I want to consider running wires through the open walls of my addition when I can use wireless components in my extension of my alarm system?” That is a good question.  

Running hard-wired lines for the components of your alarm system makes those components much more stable.  I am not trying to knock on wireless components. They are great, but each of the components in a wireless alarm system has a battery in them.  This means that from the day they are installed, it is only a matter of time before the battery in those components runs down. Don’t get me wrong, the batteries should last in those components for three to five years.  I am not trying to make it sound as though the low batteries are eminent. I’m just saying that if the opportunity arises and you have a chance to eliminate the hassle of eventually changing out the batteries, why wouldn’t you take it?  This is important to consider especially when it comes to an additional keypad.  

When considering adding protection for windows and doors, check the manufacturers warranty for the new windows and doors because a hard-wired recess contact must be drilled into the frame of the window and into the door itself to house the magnet that makes the contact work.  If there is any question regarding voiding the warranty for either of these items, we would recommend using wireless contacts as they are far less invasive on the windows or doors themselves.

If you are getting new, more energy efficient windows and doors in your home, you will also need to consider your security system.  If the windows and doors that you are replacing are part of the existing alarm system, you will get a message on your keypad when you take those windows and doors out that says either, “Tamper Zone” and the zone number of the windows or doors that your have taken out or a “Zone Fault” and the zone number.  These messages will show up on the keypad because the alarm system recognizes that something has happened to the contacts on these windows and doors, but it does not know what. 

 A “Tamper” message means that someone has tampered with the physical components. This is the same message that comes up on the keypad if you take the cover off of the wireless contact on a window or door to change the battery in that unit.  A “Zone Fault” message on your keypad means that the alarm system is seeing those zones as being open. In other words, the alarm system is seeing the door or window that the zone corresponds to is open and needs to be closed. When you take the windows out of the system, make sure that you know how to bypass these zones at least temporarily so that you can still arm and disarm the rest of your alarm system.  If you are not sure how to bypass a zone, there should be instructions that came with your alarm system either from the alarm company that you use or the online company that you purchased the equipment from. If you do have an alarm company that you use, call them. They can walk you through the process of bypassing the zones or possibly on a temporary basis, they can take those doors or windows out of the system altogether.  When you bypass a zone, it is a temporary fix. The next time you arm your system and disarm it, it will clear out the bypass. You will need to bypass these zones each time you arm the system, and the bypass will be cleared out each time you disarm the system.  

If you are still not sure what to do following the instructions or if you have misplaced the instructions, there are plenty of video tutorials available online and especially on youtube.com that can walk you through the process.  If you want to either yourself or have your alarm company take the contacts temporarily out of the system, you will need to write down the zone ID number that is usually printed on the contact itself inside the plastic case. If you do not write that number down and lose the little sticker on the contact, you will have to purchase a new contact because that one will be useless.  When the new doors and windows are installed, you will need to contact your alarm company if you have one to come to your home to re-connect the contacts. If you do not have an alarm company, you will need to re-connect the contacts to the new windows and doors yourself. Again, if you are not sure what to do or how to do this, there are plenty of tutorial videos online especially on youtube.com that can walk you through the process step-by-step.    

I sincerely hope that I have given you some food for thought at least.  A home remodeling project is stressful enough. The last thing you need is to forget anything let alone the security system.  If you do or did forget to consider the security system, it is all right. The only thing forgetting it does is potentially limit the options that you may have.  

If you’d like to have your home security questions answered, contact one of our home security experts today!