Top 5 Causes of False Alarms and Simple Ways to Prevent Them

Updated: Jul 18, 2019



You rely on your alarm system to protect your home and keep your loved ones safe. The last thing you want is false alarms that cause you undue worry.

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, false alarms do happen. But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them. The best way to counter false alarms is to understand what causes them and learn how to prevent them.

At Smart Security Systems, we want to help you get the most out of your security system. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the five most common causes of false alarms and how you can prevent them.


  1. Human (and Pet) Error


It’s not surprising that one of the biggest reasons for false alarms is that we accidentally trip the system.


Why it happens

  • Forgetting the alarm code (common with visitors, babysitters, etc.)

  • Children playing with the access panel Pets triggering motion alarms

  • Leaving doors or windows unsecured when you set the alarm

  • Improper training on the alarm system

  • Forgetting to turn the alarm off before opening doors and windows

How to prevent it


The good news is that it’s easy to counter simple human error with a few conscientious actions.

  • Properly orient and train all adults and older children who will need to use the alarm system. We recommend running monthly alarm drills to make sure everyone stays prepared to properly operate the system.

  • Make sure small children understand that the alarm panel is for emergencies only and off limits.

  • Talk to your security company about specialized pet sensors that will exempt your furry friends from triggering alarms as they move about the home. This is becoming a standard feature on most alarm systems, and should be easy to address.

  • Be sure to properly secure your perimeter (doors and windows) before you set the alarm.

  • Remember to turn off the alarm before going in and out of the house or opening windows

2. Improper Maintenance


Like any system or appliance in your home, the security system needs to be regularly taken care of to ensure that it is operating as intended.


Why it happens


  • Dirty sensors

  • Old/dead batteries

How to prevent it


Even though security systems only require minimal maintenance, it’s still important to stay on top of it.

  • Test batteries regularly

  • Replace batteries according to the indicator, or as often as recommended by your smart alarm system. If you add changing security system batteries to your list each time you change your smoke alarm batteries, you should be in good shape.

  • Regularly dust all sensors, including motion detectors, cameras, and your smoke alarm if it’s part of your system.

  • Cover up security equipment (cameras, motion detectors) during dusty projects around the house (construction, refinishing floors, etc.).

3.Faulty Equipment It isn’t common, but from time to time a false alarm can be caused because your equipment isn’t functioning properly.


Why it happens


  • Old equipment: As with any electronic device, security system equipment can wear out over time. If your system is older, it’s smart to get it reviewed by a security professional to find out if it’s time for it to be replaced.

  • Outdated technology: Security system technology is changing and improving all the time. Some older types of sensors, like ionization sensors on smoke alarms, are more likely to cause false alarms. If you’re experiencing a lot of false alarms from an older system, get it checked out.

How to prevent it