How Often Should My Alarm System Be Tested?

Alarm systems need to be tested on a regular basis to ensure they are working properly. After all, what good is a fancy home security system if it fails when you need it most? Many security authorities recommend monthly testing, but there are also other situations that might merit additional testing.

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When to test your home security system

The US Fire Administration (USFA) recommends testing smoke alarms at least once a month. This might seem like a lot, but it helps ensure that everything is working properly. ADT recommends testing its security systems at least once a month as well, and that’s a good goal to shoot for regardless of the system you have.

There are a few other general guidelines to follow.

  1. Test your security system after any service technicians do work in your home. Anyone that has been working inside your home for any reason could have interfered with your alarm system, either intentionally or unintentionally. After the technician leaves, do a quick system test to make sure everything is functioning correctly.
  2. Test your alarm system after you perform any major modifications or renovations in your home. Even if you know your system well, it’s easier than you might think to accidentally damage a connection or component. You don’t want to find out there’s an issue after an intruder has already entered your home.
  3. Test your system after any major changes to phone or internet service. Anything that might affect the system’s ability to communicate with the monitoring center deserves to be double-checked.

How to test alarm systems

Security testing processes will vary depending on the setup you have, so the best thing you can do is consult the information provided by your home security company or the equipment manufacturer. You’ll then want to test each component, including the following:

  1. Cameras
  2. Motion sensors
  3. Door and window sensors
  4. Glass break detectors
  5. Smoke alarms

It can take a little time to test all components, but the result—a security system that you know you can trust—is worth it. Add security system tests to your monthly home maintenance and safety checklist to ensure you don’t forget.


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Info current as of 05/27/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
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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 people 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 continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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