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The heavy wind has caused a lot of power outages in Ohio & surrounding states in the past few weeks. Fortunately, the home security systems that Protector Home Security provides have battery backups that will protect your home during a power outage, which is a critical time for you and your family. Burglars see power outages as opportune times for break-ins, so maintaining your system status when the power is out is critical.
Having a land line phone instead of a cellular system will help prolong the power- since regular telephone lines continue to work when the power is out- even if your cordless phones all die. Cellular monitoring requires more power and drains your backup battery faster.
Your system can be programed to alert you of the power outage- which can be critical if you aren’t at home and have critical power requirements- like fish tanks, medical devices or food spoiling.
Below is a small list of resources that we have compiled to answer some questions about alarm systems after a power outage.
If the power is cut (power outage), will my house’s alarm still work?
All modern alarm systems have a backup battery. A low-voltage transformer supplies AC power to the system and keeps the backup battery charged. In case of a power failure, the battery will continue to run the system.
Most systems monitor the condition of the battery automatically, and will begin beeping if there is a problem.
Backup batteries have a lifespan of about 3-5 years. After that, they may test OK with a voltmeter, but they won’t have enough capacity to power the system for very long. You can usually change an alarm battery yourself, and replacement batteries are available online and at battery stores like BatteriesPlus.
How do I check/change my battery?
To change your battery, which is located in the alarm panel, simply pull out the red and black wires from the battery terminal. It should be easily removed with your hands, so no tools are required. Don’t worry, you won’t get shocked by this process. As a reminder, be sure to properly dispose of batteries when you replace them – do not just toss them in the garbage!
Here are a few excellent FAQs.
What happens to your security system when you lose AC power?
Your security system was installed with a 12-volt backup battery to provide backup power to the alarm panel for ten to twenty-four hours (depending on the size of your system and the condition of your battery). When your AC power goes out, the system will transfer to the battery and continue to work at the same arming level as before. To conserve power, the lights on the keypad may reduce to a flicker. When power is restored, the system will automatically go back onto household power and begin charging the battery back to its normal levels.
What will happen to my system if my back-up battery becomes completely depleted?
If power is not restored within the life of the backup battery, then there will be no power at all supplied to the system. In the minutes or hours before that time, your keypads may become unresponsive and your sirens may begin to “whine”. If the system is armed, motion sensors and smoke detectors will activate, causing alarms to be sent to Central Station. These alarms are generally recognizable to us as being power related.
What should I do to be prepared for a power outage?
Make sure that you know the location of your main panel box (CPU). Locate the transformer or the circuit breaker that provides AC power. Know how to acknowledge an “AC Loss” condition on the keypad. Call us at Hammond if you are unsure of any of these.
Here is a good discussion about how long your battery backup will last.
How long will my alarm systems backup battery last?
The answer is really complicated because it depends on the age of the battery, how hot it is, how much power is getting drawn by the panel if you’re using devices and arming the system or setting off motion detectors. Those sorts of things are all going to affect the life span of the battery once the power is down. Now, in most systems the battery is designed to last four to eight hours minimum. That’s a manufacture standard most companies go by.
If you’re concerned and you know you’re going to have a power outage you can increase the number of backup batteries you have to support your panel. Alternatively you can put a bigger backup battery in. Most alarm panels run on standard 12V DC lead acid batteries, the same type of battery that you have in your car but a lot smaller. And technically you could actually take the battery out your car to back up your alarm system.
So if you know there’s going to be having a power outage be prepared change the batteries ahead of time, and if you know it’s going to be an extended power outage get a bigger battery or a lot of batteries.
Hopefully this will help you answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding battery backups and your alarm system. If you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.