Burglar Alarms | Fire Alarms | Monitoring | Security Cameras | Safes

Testing your Security Alarm System

vista-alarm3Testing your Alarm Systems

OnDuty Systems recommends the testing of your burglar alarm system on a regular basis.  It is easy to see if a zone is not working properly but what if the siren is disabled and not going off to alert you of a system breach?

Best Practices:

If you have work done in your house that includes electrical systems and/or work done in the attic, test your system.

If you experience a power outage due to a storm or other interruption, test your system.

If you have had workers in the house while you are not home, test your system.

If you can not remember the last time you tested your system, test your system.

System Testing Advice

Recommended Alarm Testing & User Programming Procedures:

OnDuty Systems, LP requests that all customers refer to the equipment manufacturer’s owner’s manual manual, and follow all testing procedures, including the following advice. And, if you have lost or misplaced your owner’s manual, please call OnDuty so that we can help you with obtaining a new one.

Changing a Ademco / Honeywell Vista Control User Codes:

To modify the system on/off codes, you will need to know the Master Code. Enter the Master Code, Press the word Code, enter the position number of the code you are changing (usually 3-14), and then enter a new 4-Digit Code. Test the new code by entering the new 4-Digit Code, and Off. You should hear a long beep. Note: The Duress Code for most panels is set to 2-5-8-0, so this code is not available.

System Battery:

Your system’s control panel is equipped with a rechargeable battery. The battery can power your system in the event of a power failure for a few hours, which depends on the capacity of the battery, and how many alarm devices it must run during a power outage. The battery can last up to five years, but it is recommended that it be replaced every four years. Testing of the battery is performed automatically by the control panel, which should indicate a “low battery” and also may cause a “low battery” transmission to the monitoring station (if you subscribe to alarm monitoring). However, you may also test the battery by disconnecting AC power from the alarm control panel (either the AC breaker, or unplugging the transformer from the wall) and then activating the system. If the siren(s) sound for five continuous minutes with no degradation of sound, this is a good indication of a healthy battery. In order to be certain about the health of the battery, please call OnDuty to schedule a service appointment. OnDuty can use special instruments to accurately test the battery.

Changing Control Battery:

Always replace the system battery with the equivalent and/or proper battery. The leads from the control panel to the battery have a Positive Red (+) and Negative Black (-) connector. It is critical that the new battery be installed correctly using the correct polarity. Please contact OnDuty if you need to purchase a new battery, or would like OnDuty to replace your battery.

Other Batteries:

Batteries are also contained in other alarm devices, such as wireless controls, wireless keyfobs, wireless motion detectors, and other wireless equipment. This equipment is powered by battery. It is recommended that all portable devices containing batteries, that such battery(ies) are replaced once every two years. Some equipment utilizes Lithium battery technology and may last five years. Please contact OnDuty if you need to purchase a new battery, or would like OnDuty to replace your battery.

Beeping Sound:

A beeping sound (a chirp every one minute or so) will usually be coming from a battery operated smoke detector. If this is the case, you will need to replace the smoke detector battery. (OnDuty does not install smoke detectors that need battery replacement) If the beeping is coming from the keypad, then read the keypad indicator of trouble or contact OnDuty for advice.

Testing of Windows / Doors:

If you have a “chime” feature on your keypad, turn it on, and then open and close (and be sure to re-lock) each window and door. Each time you open the door or window, your keypads should chime. If you do not hear the chime for each window or door opening, please contact OnDuty, as this is an indication of failure. Note: Motion detectors will not make the chime activate.

Testing Motion Detectors:

If your system has a motion detector, when you move in front of the detector (about 2-3 steps), a walk test light should come on when the detector detects movement. If you do not see the light, please contact OnDuty, as this is an indication of failure.

Testing Monitoring & Siren Test:

To test your monitored system, you will need to call OnDuty and put your monitoring account on test. Please have your password ready. Once the system has been put on test, arm your system. Then, open a window (an instant zone) and you should hear the siren sound, and the transmission to the monitoring station should be transmitted. Let the siren sound for one full minute, then turn the system off. You will need to then clear the memory by turning the system off a second time — otherwise you may not be able to set the system.

Other Devices:

Please test all other devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, if you need help, call OnDuty and we will assist you. 713-378-7500

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