Not all home security systems are created equally. Simply having one is not enough to keep your family and your belongings safe, especially if there are glaring flaws in the way your system is set up or being used that make it unreliable, easy to defeat, or completely ineffective. The good news is, many of the more common problems with home security systems can be fixed or prevented.

Here are the six most common problems we see with home security systems, and how to avoid them, prevent them, or fix them:

1. Crash and Smash

This problem is especially common in older systems and so-called “all-in-ones.” Basically, the scenario goes as follows: A burglar makes their way into a home, usually in this case by some sort of forced entry, like breaking a door or window. They locate the alarm panel somewhere near the door, and using some blunt instrument like a hammer, obliterate it, rendering the entire security system inoperable and unable to call for help. It’s a strategy called, “crash and smash,” and it’s not hard to defeat as long as you have a system that was designed around this flaw. When you need to look for is a system where the “brains” are either not located in the main alarm panel, or a system that alerts the monitoring company if the code isn’t entered, regardless of whether the keypad panel gets destroyed.

2. Easy Passwords

These days, a lot of emphasis is put on creating strong passwords for your wireless networks and online accounts. Well, the same rigor needs to be applied to your home security password or key code. Passwords based on birthdays, family members or the numbers “1-2-3-4” are probably not going to cut it. If anyone other than a very close friend or family member could guess it, it’s probably not strong enough. If it can be pieced together from information available on your public social media accounts, it’s probably not strong enough. And while this should go without saying, please don’t write your password down on a piece of paper and leave it next to, on top of, or anywhere near your keypad. At that point, you’re just making it easy for them.

3. Frankenstein Systems

Piecing together a home security system from different manufacturers and providers is asking for problems. For one, you are likely missing out on the benefits of having a single, centrally operated system in which all of the parts lead back to the same control panel and the same monitoring company. For another, cameras, motion detectors, glass break detectors, door sensors, etc. which are purchased and installed separately may not play nice together – or even worse, the pieces could interfere with each other’s proper functioning. The problem could be signal interference, electromagnetic interference, or sensors that aren’t made to account for other manufacturers’ equipment. The easy solution here is to have a single system, professionally installed by an expert that can provide all of the functionality you are looking for.

4. Incomplete Coverage

This is a common problem with DIY and “one-size-fits-all” home security products. Since they aren’t really designed for your specific home, they fail to account for the specifically exploitable flaws at your home. Perhaps you have an easily climbable tree, or an accessible crawlspace, or a floorplan that requires extra motion sensors. Only an expert is going to be able to help you design the right setup for your home and your family. An incomplete system or one that provides the bare minimum coverage is going to be very easy for an experienced criminal to defeat or avoid triggering, and a system that’s easy to defeat might as well not be there at all.

5. Malfunctioning Equipment

It can be all too easy to find yourself with old security equipment. Maybe it’s been a while since you had your system installed and had someone look at it and test it out. Maybe you inherited your system when you bought your house and aren’t even sure how old it is. Whatever the case, over time, wiring can become worn out. Previous owners may have calibrated sensors for different circumstances than what makes sense for you. For instance, motion sensors can be set to ignore low movement of pets. If you don’t have a pet, you are leaving yourself open to a potential flaw. Schedule a checkup with an expert who can come and test your equipment to make sure everything is working correctly and calibrated properly. We each live different lifestyles and the right alarm system plan should not be looked at as one size fits all.

6. Leaving It Off

If you don’t turn the system on, it won’t do you much good. Some people leave their systems off to avoid false alarms. While false alarms can be common (security companies estimate 80% of calls come from false alarms), and they are certainly frustrating, leaving your system off is not the right solution. If you find your system going off too easily and triggering too many false alarms, it is likely the result of one of the other problems mentioned above, such as equipment interference or improperly calibrated sensors.

Having a home security system is so important for the protection of your property and your family, as well as your peace of mind. But a system with flaws is about as good as no system at all. Make sure you check for these flaws and others you may spot in your system. The best way to prevent flaws is to consult a security expected for the installation and maintenance of a custom system that can be tailored to fit your needs. Contact our team of experts to schedule a consultation today!