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ADT is the most experienced security monitoring company in the country. If you can look past higher monitoring fees and long contracts, its years of experience combined with six redundant monitoring centers deliver fast response times and reassurance when it matters most.

Below, we’ve answered frequently asked questions about ADT to help you decide if it’s right for you. If you want to know what we think about this brand after years of testing, head over to our ADT Home Security review

Common ADT queries

Do ADT cameras record?

Yes, ADT uses Google Nest cameras, which record videos on the Nest Aware service. You can choose from outdoor cameras, indoor color cameras, floodlight cameras, or doorbell cameras. The company even provides a wireless camera option with the Google Nest Cam (Battery).

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Do ADT signs deter burglars?

It’s hard to say if ADT signs specifically deter burglars, but, in general, it seems that security signs could keep intruders away. Burglaries are usually crimes of opportunity, meaning if a burglar sees a house that looks unoccupied, they will seize the opportunity to break in.

But if they see a house that could have an alarm system, their risk of getting caught goes up, so it’s likely to deter them. According to ADT, "83% of convicted burglars said they try to determine whether an alarm system is present before attempting a burglary." Either way, it’s better to be safe by purchasing a security system.

Can the system detect gas leaks or smoke?

This depends on the type of ADT service level and package you select or customize. If you go with the Basic service level, you can add smoke and CO monitoring using sensors and devices for an additional cost. If you decide to go with ADT’s Smart, Video, or Complete service levels, then you’ll have access to everything provided in the Basic package along with fire, smoke, and CO monitoring, water detection, and temperature control.

Will ADT dispatch for fire, smoke, and CO?

In the case of an emergency due to fire, smoke, or CO, an alarm will go off, and ADT will contact you as well as the authorities to ensure your safety.

Does the system work if the power goes out?

In the event of a power outage, your ADT security system will still work. Every ADT control panel comes with a 24-hour backup battery in case of a power interruption. ADT recommends that you keep the backup battery fully charged so your alarm system still works if the power goes out. When the backup battery starts to get low, the monitoring center will receive a signal and alert you.

Does ADT’s system require manual resetting in the event of a power failure?

In the event of power failure, ADT will reboot your system with your saved settings. According to ADT’s representatives, you won’t need to manually reset the system.

How long does it take for my security system to notify ADT of an intrusion?

Response time varies based on a slew of factors, including your location, how busy the authorities are, and the monitoring center’s call volume. From what we’ve seen, ADT’s average response time is around 45 seconds, which is within the acceptable standard.

Does ADT offer systems with advanced safety features?

The ADT monitoring plan and equipment you choose will determine your security system’s capabilities.

Every ADT monitoring plan lets you add smoke and CO detectors and medical alert pendants. 

The Smart level give you access to control your security system from your phone or other devices, whether you’re at home or on the go.

With the Video and Complete service levels, you can set up video surveillance while the Smart and Complete plans unlock customized home automation commands like having your lights turn on at a certain time and arming your system when the lights are off.

Does ADT security require a landline?

This will depend on which option you choose. ADT has one landline plan (and it's also the cheapest ADT monitoring plan), but the rest use a cellular connection in your control panel to connect your system with one of ADT's monitoring centers.

Can ADT be installed in an apartment?

Yes. ADT can create customized solutions for renters. ADT requires that you set up an in-person appointment for someone to assess your apartment before the company can put a package together.

Does ADT work with VoIP?

It depends. ADT works with certain VoIP providers, but the company recommends that you call it at 1-800-ADT-ASAP before setting up the service to find out which providers meet its criteria. You can also find the list of approved providers in ADT’s policy. However, because VoIP providers are not 100% reliable, ADT recommends that you have a backup connection in place.

According to ADT, the company requires that one of the following methods is used to transmit an alarm signal to the monitoring centers.

  • Landline telephone service
  • Cellular communication service such as CellGuard®
  • Phone service provided by a qualified Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN) provider

Is Protection 1 the same as ADT?

Protection 1 Security Solutions and ADT merged in 2017. They still operate under the Protection 1 Security Solutions name as of 2021. According to a representative, the two companies are still in the process of merging.

How much internet speed do I need to use an ADT system?

According to ADT internet requirements, you need upload speeds of 2.5 Mbps per video doorbell and 2 Mbps for each camera. So if you have two doorbells and two cameras, you need an upload speed of 9 Mbps—and that's on top of requirements for any other devices connected to your home network.

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Image: ADT

Am I getting the newest and most up-to-date equipment?

All of ADT's equipment is brand new right out of the box. ADT doesn’t provide previously rented or refurbished equipment.

Do I own or lease the home security system?

With ADT, you lease the equipment. The price of the equipment is rolled into your monthly monitoring payment.

When we spoke with an agent from ADT, they said that once the contract is up, they will not take their equipment back—so you can either leave it in the home or throw it out. However, on the ADT FAQ page, the company states that once your service is disconnected, you’ll receive a prepaid return box and instructions on how to return the equipment.

Does ADT service its equipment?

Yes, ADT services its equipment, but depending on your plan, there might be a fee associated with the service.

After speaking to an ADT representative, we learned that we could choose to design our system—by picking out the equipment we need—with a warranty or without. According to ADT,  there is a fee attached to the service without the warranty.

Either way, the good news is that the company has technicians available 24/7.

How often does ADT check its systems?

The company recommends that you check your system once a month to ensure that everything functions correctly. You can do the test yourself or call the support line, and a technician will walk through the process.

A customer service representative told us that it’s best to call the technician because they can ping the device directly. Luckily, ADT has technical support available 24/7, so no matter what goes wrong, there’s always someone there to help.

Are batteries required?

ADT’s equipment requires batteries. Most of the batteries are easy to replace and can be found online or at a local grocery store. To make it simple, ADT provides a list of devices and the batteries they take so you know exactly what you need.

One thing to note: ADT advises placing your security system in test mode before changing your control panel battery to prevent any false alarms.

Can I take my security system with me when I move?

ADT allows you to move with your security system. However, there's usually a fee attached. The company offers a Mover’s Discount Guarantee to help with some of the expenses of moving, but you’ll have to be a customer for at least two years.

Is the service transferrable?

You might be able to use ADT’s equipment with another company if the new security provider’s technology works with ADT’s equipment.

Device capabilities

Can I control my home security from my phone?

ADT offers remote home security access depending on the package or level of service you select. The ADT Smart package comes with remote access capabilities, including arming and disarming your system as well as getting email and alert notifications.

Is there a mobile app?

Yes. The Google Home app allows you to control your home while you’re on the go with a tablet or smartphone. It includes the following features:

  • Arming and disarming your system and checking the status of your sensors
  • Viewing live and recorded video to see what’s happening around your home
  • Using voice commands to control your system
  • Automating lights, locks, the thermostat, and more around your home
  • Receiving alerts about break-ins and other events

Can the ADT app be accessed from more than one device?

Yes. You can use the Google Home app from multiple smartphones using iOS or Android.

Integration capabilities

a nest thermostat

Does the ADT system integrate with Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Wi-Fi devices?

ADT doesn’t support Zigbee devices. But ADT works with Z-Wave compatible devices to control various aspects of your home that you can purchase through its site. If you decide to purchase your own Z-Wave devices, ADT doesn’t guarantee that they will work with its system.

Does the hardware sync with other security systems?

According to ADT, whether the company’s hardware will sync with another system depends on the encryption. Some companies might use the same encryption as ADT, but its technicians will have to test for compatibility.

Can I mix and match the components?

You might be able to mix and match some components with ADT’s security system, but the company would have to test the equipment first to see if it’s a good fit with its system.

Does ADT home security integrate with other smart home platforms and devices?

Yes, ADT integrates with several smart home platforms, including Amazon Alexa and  Google Nest. Learn more about ADT's smart home compatibility on ADT's website. 

Amazon Alexa integration

With Alexa’s assistance, ADT lets you use voice commands to control your security system. You can do everything from arming and disarming your home and turning lights on and off to locking and unlocking doors and much more.

Google Nest integration

ADT integrates with Google Nest, allowing you to control your thermostat. Nest will learn your activities and adjust to your schedule over time. And if you want to adjust the temperature manually, you can do so using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. ADT is also using Nest security cameras now.

Thumbs Up
ADT and Google Nest team up

ADT and Google announced the two tech giants were teaming up to offer more Google Nest integration in 2021. 

Alarm capabilities

How does the ADT alarm system work?

The ADT alarm system will activate when triggered. A trigger can occur for a variety of reasons from glass breaking and high carbon monoxide levels to motion detection and more. Once the alarm is tripped, a signal will be sent to your control panel, which will alert the monitoring center.

The monitoring center will contact you as well as the authorities to see if you need help. ADT has 24/7 monitoring and six interconnected monitoring centers, so there’s always someone available to help.

What do I do in the event of a false alarm?

We contacted ADT to see what happens in case of a false alarm. The representative we spoke with said that ADT will call you to verify that the alarm is an actual emergency before contacting authorities.

ADT also offers some tips to minimize or prevent false alarms: train security system users, secure doors and windows before arming your system, and service your system to ensure it’s running properly.

Does the ADT alarm system connect to a TV?

Yes, ADT connects with Samsung Smart TVs, allowing you to view live and recorded footage and stream video of your home.

Will the police automatically be notified if my alarm is triggered?

Before police are contacted, the ADT monitoring center will call you to verify that the alarm is a true emergency. This is mandated by law in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of authorities responding to false alarms.

Does the ADT alarm sound a siren when activated by an intruder?

Yes. ADT’s system sounds an alarm siren when it’s triggered. The loud sound is meant to alert you, the people around you, and the police that something’s wrong and you need help.

What happens if I need help after hours with my alarm system?

ADT technicians are available 24/7 with live support. So, no matter when an alarm system issue arises, there will always be someone available to help you. If they’re unable to resolve your issue over the phone, you’ll have to schedule an in-person appointment, which could result in a fee, depending on your package.

Will my children be able to operate the ADT alarm system?

When we spoke to a representative from ADT, they told us that the system is simple enough that anyone can use it. They also said that customers can create a child’s user account, so children can have access to the security system as well.

Will I be provided with alarm yard signs and decals to put up around my home?

Yes, every ADT package comes with yard signs and decals. ADT doesn’t specify how many signs and decals come with the different packages, but they’re relatively inexpensive if you’re looking to add a few extra around your house.

ADT monitoring capabilities

woman using smart phone

Who does professional monitoring call first?

By law, professional monitoring has to call the homeowner first to verify the alarm. The alarm has to be verified because there are many false alarms, which use up valuable police resources. Once the monitoring center has confirmed the emergency, it will notify first responders.

If I have an emergency, who should I call first?

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, it’s always a good idea to call 911 first, even if your home security system has been triggered and you know help is on the way.

Will somebody be monitoring my home at all times?

Yes, ADT has 24/7 monitoring 365 days a year, so as long as your alarm system is armed, help will be on the way. The company has nine monitoring stations, enabling it to quickly answer a high number of calls.

Who monitors ADT’s security systems?

Unlike some security companies that partner with independent monitoring centers, ADT owns its nine monitoring stations. Having ownership over the monitoring station gives ADT more power to set high standards and ensure operational excellence.

What are my monitoring options?

ADT home security provides customers with 24/7 monitoring regardless of the package you select. With ADT’s professional monitoring, you’ll have a whole team ready to respond in case of an emergency.

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Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.
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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help everyone find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In her free time, she volunteers at the local botanical garden and writers for the community newspaper.

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