Wondering Why a Storm Sets Off Alarm System?
If you have had any experiences with a home alarm systems when a storm arises, many times it can be simply maddening! The beeping from the keypad, the sound of the siren, the flashing lights on the keypad, all of which you do not know or understand why these things are happening, you just want with all of your being to “Make It Stop!!!” You can experience the peace, the silence, the tranquility again without ripping the keypad or alarm system off your wall! With just a few simple, easy steps, you can bring yourself back from the brink of insanity.
1. Diagnose the Damage
When the storm is raging and the alarm is going nuts, it is difficult to think clearly and divorce yourself from the situation, but that is exactly what you need to do. If the storm that has hit is an electrical (thunder) storm, there is a possibility that your home has been struck by lightning. If this is the case, your alarm system may be driving you crazy because it has been significantly damaged by the storm.
Just as when you purchase other electronic devices, the sales person usually encourages you to purchase a surge protector device. This type of device serves as a “buffer” between your home’s electrical system and the electrical device or devices that you have connected to it. In the event of a power serge due to a lightning strike or something similar, the surge protector is there to stop the surge before it reaches your device and ruins it.
If your alarm system was installed correctly, it should be what’s called “grounded.” For a system to be grounded means that there is a wire connected to the alarm system that is connected to cold water pipe in your home or something similar to that. The ground wire does not affect the water pipe at all. If you have a fire alarm, the rules and codes for grounding the system may be different. If you have a fire alarm and want to know what is required by code to ground the system, please contact your AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).
Sometimes the damage is much more limited. It might be one signal device that is part of the system that is ruined by the power surge. This can be a headache because it is can be difficult to diagnose the problem specifically and determine what if any of the other parts of the alarm system are affected by the surge. Diagnosis is extremely important.
2. Isolate the Problem
Under the current circumstances, the immediate need it is to make the siren, beeping from the keypad, and flashing lights stop. Most alarm systems have a control panel. This is the “brains” of the alarm system. In older systems, the control panel is a metal box that is installed in a closet or your basement. Once you open the metal box, you will see a battery (possibly multiple batteries). The alarm system will become silent once you take one of the leads off the batteries and flip down the silver toggle switch usually in the top left corner of the control panel. With that accomplished, now you can think clearly again!
Hopefully, you figured out before this what was the problem with the alarm system. You have several different options. If you have an alarm company, I would recommend that you contact your alarm company, and have them come out and diagnose the problem. They will also present to you what your options are whether the components of the system can be fixed, the control panel needs to be replaced but the components of the alarm system are fine, or if you need a completely new system because the entire thing has been damaged beyond repair. The one positive thing about this route is that the repairs or replacement should be covered by your home owner’s insurance policy. Other than your deductible, there should be no cost to you.
Most alarm companies are willing to work with you on this and the paperwork to submit to your alarm company. If you installed the system yourself through a do-it-yourself company, diagnosis of the problem can be more difficult. One great place to start to figure things out is to find out what type of signals your system sent out as it was going through the process of being damages. You can find out this information by contacting your monitoring company that provides that service. The next step would be checking the volts level of each component and wire that are a part of the alarm system. This can be a laborious and time-consuming process. You will need a device called a voltohmmeter. This device will help you see whether or not the right amount of electricity or any electricity is flowing into and through your system correctly. If any of the wires or components register very high or very low on the voltohmmeter, that wire or component needs to be replaced.
3. Replace the Components or the Entire System if Necessary
This is like going back to the drawing board in many ways with your alarm system. If you have a do-it-yourself alarm system, go online and find the components of the alarm system that you need or the entire package that suits the needs of your home, and order these devices again. Your home owner’s insurance policy should help you less your deductible.
If you have a regular alarm company, you should contact them. As I suggested above, if you have an alarm company that you have been working with, you should contact them and set up a time and day for them to go to your house and diagnose the problem. Once they have diagnosed the problem, they can offer solutions. The solution might be as simple as replacing the transformer that connects your alarm system to the electrical power of your home. It might also be as complicated as needing a new alarm system because the previous one was so damaged by the storm or surge to be used any further. As I said earlier, your alarm company should be experienced in working with homeowners insurance companies so that you might not have to pay anything out of pocket, or at minimum only your deductible to replace the alarm system. This can be a great relief because some alarm systems can be expensive.
One of the advantages of replacing the entire system would be that the new system usually has more features and advanced technology that is capable of handling far more than your typical alarm system.
Thanks for reading. We hope this blog has helped you understand why a storm is setting off your alarm system.
Would you like to learn more? Contact us today to have your questions about alarm systems and home security answered.