Top 5 causes of false alarms and how to prevent them

Top 5 causes of false alarms and how to prevent them

False alarms are costly.

Not only could they actually cost you a fine, but they also slow down the authorities' response time to real emergencies.

Plus, they're embarrassing. So to help you eliminate false alarms from your home, here are the top 5 causes and what you can do to prevent them.

1) Human error

The number one cause of false home security alarms is simply human error. Someone uses the system who is not familiar with it or not properly trained.

Some of the most common culprits are:

  • Children
  • Friends/family staying with you
  • House or baby sitters

How to prevent it: Make sure anyone who needs to use your security system has been properly trained.

2) Poorly-designed security systems

Your system is more susceptible to false alarms If the installer did not consider the home, who lives in the home and how you use the home.

Some examples of a poorly designed security system include:

  • Smoke detectors placed too close to heat sources. Your smoke detectors shouldn't be too close to stoves or fireplaces or they could easily trigger false alarms.
  • Smoke detectors placed too close to bathrooms. Steam from the bathroom can also cause false alarms.
  • Not using pet-friendly motion detectors in a home with pets. A normal motion detector will cause all kinds of trouble for families with pets.
  • Bad wiring. If you have a hard-wired alarm system, the wires can get crossed or come loose and cause false alarms.
  • Loose doors or windows. Sensors on loose doors or windows can trigger false alarms when the door or window jiggles.
  • Incorrectly placed motion sensors. Motion sensors placed too near a heating or cooling vent can create a false alarm.

How to prevent it: Hire a trustworthy home security company to install a custom security system rather than relying on pre-packaged security products.

3) Lack of maintenance/upkeep

Although security system equipment generally doesn't need much maintenance, it does need some.

Otherwise, false alarms can be caused by:

  • Dead batteries. In older alarm systems, dead batteries in equipment like motion sensors can trigger false alarms.
  • Dust in smoke detector. Older smoke detectors can mistake dust for smoke and cause a false alarm. This is especially common if there's any construction going on in the home.

How to prevent it: Replace your batteries every couple of years (or as soon as the indicator tells you they need to be). Cover up smoke detectors temporarily while working on dusty projects in the home.

4) Outdated or old security equipment

If it's been awhile since your security system was installed and you're experiencing a lot of false alarms, your equipment may need to be replaced. Here's just 2 types of older security equipment that can cause false alarms.

Non supervised wireless devices
Everything we use today, the panel checks in with the device every 24 hours so that the panel knows everything is working well. Old devices don't communicate with the panel and can't send signal

Old ionization smoke detectors
Ionization is an old smoke detector technology that's not as reliable as newer photoelectric detectors and more susceptible to false alarms. Yet this type of detector is common in homes that were built 12-15 years ago (they were built with them installed.)

Outdated glass-break sensors
Acoustic glass-break sensors listen for the sound of breaking glass. However, that also leaves them susceptible to false alarms from other sounds of glass breaking (like dropping a dish or watching a loud movie with crashing noises).

Newer dual-tech glassbreak sensors combine acoustic and shock-sensing technology so the sensor only goes off if the window actually breaks.

How to prevent it: Contact a home security company to come take a look at your existing system and see if there are any weak points that should be addressed.

5) Malfunctioning security system equipment

Although relatively rare, there's always the chance that the equipment itself is actually malfunctioning and that's what's causing the false alarm.

How to prevent it: If you suspect that may be the problem, a professional home security company can help find and replace the faulty product.

Need help with your Ackerman Security System?

If you're an Ackerman customer and have been experiencing any security system false alarms, please let us know. We're here to help.