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How Annoying Is Your Home Security System Low Battery Notification and How to Get Ahead of It.

I have an alarm system in my home. I have had several alarm systems in my life in the various houses I’ve lived in. The most annoying thing about alarm systems is when a battery goes bad, and the home security system keypad keeps saying, “Low Battery.” Many times the keypad will beep at you as well when this message comes up-talk about the epitome of annoying! When you are in this situation all you want out of life it seems is to “MAKE IT STOP!!!” This type of experience (Especially in the middle of the night!) can be so aggravating that I have heard of people ripping the keypad right off the wall because they cannot make the beeping stop! Trying to get an actual person on the phone that you can talk to that actually knows how to help is nearly impossible.

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The Beginning

The day that a person from an alarm company comes to the house to finalize your system and show you how to use it is exciting. The feeling is there that you now have a new toy in your alarm system. There is an air of excitement to using the alarm system and the capabilities of using the other features of the new Christmas toy such as home automation, cameras, smart device connectivity and others. What people do not realize in the world of wireless alarm systems is that the moment the system is installed, the individual batteries in each of the components of the alarm system begins to go down and your home security system will get a low battery. These batteries are rated to work for between three to five years. Running into problems with low or dead batteries is an inevitability.    

The  Solutions

1. Service Contract

Most alarm companies offer a service contract type of addition to the typical monitoring contract. If your system is made up of a majority of wireless devices, this might be a great option. Since the batteries were all installed usually at the same time, it would make sense that if one of the home security system batteries is running low, the others cannot be far behind. A service contract can cover the cost of the alarm company coming out to your home, changing all of the low batteries that are a part of your system, and then professionally checking all of the components of your alarm system to make certain that they are working properly.

Sometimes the problem is not actually the individual battery in the component of the alarm system, the problem can be with the device itself.  I had several additional wireless devices installed in the system in my home. Within six months, I received a message from my alarm company letting me know that one of the batteries in my alarm system is registering as low. Since it was not anywhere near the actual life span of the batteries, a technician came out to the house and discovered that the sensor was malfunctioning because it was constantly sending messages to the control panel. This drained that battery much faster than usual use.  

2. Buy Some Batteries in Advance

If a service contract is not the right choice for you, or if you have installed the system yourself, you might consider as you are getting into year three with your alarm system, I would strongly recommend purchasing the necessary batteries for each of the components of your alarm system.  Most of the modern wireless systems use CR 123A batteries. These batteries look a lot like standard AA batteries except they are shorter and a little fatter. These CR 123A batteries can be purchased at any retail department store, drug store, or box store. When it comes to batteries in the components of an alarm system, these batteries are the modern equivalent of having a few extra 9V batteries around the house to be able to stop the “Chirping” of the 9V smoke detectors in your home. Like any battery selection, good ones are not the cheapest ones. By making this change ahead of time, you can avoid the annoying notification that happen when your home security system has a low battery.

Pretty much all alarm systems have a back-up power supply (battery) that is rechargeable that can hold the system up for a period of time in the event of a power outage. These batteries vary in size and life expectancy. Most of them are meant to hold the system up for a period of twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) hours. These batteries can be purchased online at a variety of platforms. Please be careful and don’t always necessarily just buy the cheapest one. The better brands will usually last longer even though they may be more expensive.  

3. Changing the Batteries

This may seem like a complete “no brainer,” but you need to know a few things before you attempt to physically change the batteries. Before you actually begin to attempt to change the batteries, you should probably contact your alarm monitoring service. When you take the plastic cover off of the components of your alarm system, your system is usually programmed to send out a “Tamper” signal. This means that someone is attempting to mess with a part of the system. This is a good thing if someone is trying to defeat your alarm system by attempting to physically remove the components from your system. Your alarm monitoring service can put your system “on test” so that the “Tamper” signals will be ignored while you change the batteries.

Please be super careful in working with the plastic cases of the wireless components of your alarm system. These cases usually have plastic tabs on the inside that hold the cover to the baseplate. If you aren’t careful, it is very easy to break the plastic tabs on the covers of the components. If you break the plastic tabs, that creates a whole other problem of having to replace the plastic cover. You don’t want that. You usually can easily and gently take the cover off of the component of your alarm system using a flat-head screwdriver. There is a slot or notch on the cover to slide the screw driver into that with a slight amount of force pops the cover off of the component. Once you have taken the cover off, it is pretty straight forward in changing the battery. 

For the back-up battery for the entire system, it is pretty easy as well. The battery is usually located in a “control panel.” This is a metal box that is usually located in a closet or in your basement. This is the “brains” of your alarm system. Once you have located the box and opened it, you have already finished the hardest part! The only thing about this that you must be careful with is the leads on the battery. Most alarm systems have two leads that connect to the battery: a red one and a black one. The battery’s terminals are also color coated the same way. Be super careful to connect the red lead to the red terminal and the black lead to the black terminal.  If you are careless and not paying attention and mix this step up, you can completely short out the control panel of the alarm system. This is a MUCH bigger problem than you have bargained or at this point. (Hint: I am an idiot and have made the mistake of shorting the control panel because I put the leads on the battery the wrong way! Yikes!) Just be careful and attach the correct leads to the correct terminals. That’s about it. It isn’t “rocket science” or anything like that. You can do it yourself, but if you feel any discomfort or anxiety, I would recommend using professionals to take care of this for you. 

Thanks for reading. We hope this blog has helped you understand your options to avoid dealing with a low battery in your home security system.

Would you like to learn more? Contact us today to have your questions about home security systems answered.