August 31 ,2018
Can your security system protect your home during a power outage?
A security system can offer valuable peace of mind for homeowners. When you know your home, and family is protected by a security system, you can rest easy at night and feel secure when you are away. But what happens when the power goes out? Will the security system be able to provide the protection you need?
These are reasonable questions. You see that the system needs electricity to operate, so it is only natural to wonder about what would happen in the event of a power outage. In this post, we are going to cover some of the issues concerning the operation of a home security system that is experiencing a power outage.
Back-Up Power Supplies
A power outage seems like it would be the ideal time for burglars to target houses that have a security system. In the past, this may have been true; with the power out, your security system wouldn’t protect the home. However, most modern security systems come with battery backups that can keep them running for several hours, if not for a day or more.
If you have a security system, the first thing you should do is check to see if there is a backup battery in the panel. Next, you want to start thinking about how long that battery can power the system if the power goes out.
When it comes to determining how long you have on a battery backup, there are several factors you have to consider. The size of the battery is one obvious factor, but you also need to consider its age and how active the system is. If your battery is old or you repeatedly trip points like motion sensors and door contacts, the battery will not last as long.
If you are concerned about power outages, it could be a good idea to check the age of the backup battery in your alarm system. Replacement batteries are affordable, and it could be the difference between having protection during a power outage and the system going down. You could also consider buying additional batteries that could be used in the event of an extended power outage.
Communication Issues and Power Outages
Most security systems are not simply in-house. They need to communicate with a monitoring station in order to provide the full level of protection. For most homes, this should not be a problem. Most systems connect to a landline that will still have power even when the electricity goes out at the home. As long as you have a backup power supply, the system will remain functional and it will continue to communicate with the monitoring station.
But what happens if the phone lines go down? For some systems, this might mean that it will lose its connection to the monitoring station. However, there is also the option to connect a cellular communication system that can maintain the connection if the phone lines go down. As long as the system has power, the cellular communication system will continue to transmit data.
Some security systems may communicate over the internet instead of using a traditional landline. These systems would be more vulnerable to a power outage. With no power to the router, there is no way for the system to communicate with the monitoring station. If your security system operates over the internet, you may want to consider obtaining a backup power supply for your home internet connection.
Wireless Security Systems
Advances in wireless technology have led to the increased popularity of wireless security systems. The benefits are many, but will this type of system continue to protect the home in the event of a power outage?
The first thing to note is that not all wireless security systems are the same. Some might have things like motion detectors that connect wirelessly to a receiver/base that then connects over the internet to communicate with the monitoring service. In other cases, you might have wireless cameras that all connect to a DVR/receiver that may or may not connect to the internet.
For the most part, most wireless systems should continue to provide some level of security even when the power is out. The devices on the system run on batteries, so they won’t be affected by a loss of power to the home. When it comes to the base or receiver, it depends on the unit, and whether there is a backup power supply.
With many wireless systems, the base unit plugs into an outlet to get power, but it might have an internal battery backup. If the system does not have an internal backup, it might be a good idea to connect the base/receiver to an uninterruptible power supply. This is a power supply that comes with backup batteries, and you could use it to power the security system base and your router in the event of a power outage.
What about smart home features?
Many modern security systems now connect to the internet to leverage smart technology for a more comprehensive form of protection. This could include smart locks, lights, a smart thermostat, smart CCTV, etc. These devices obviously need electricity, so that may have some worried that they will not work when the power goes out.
The designers of these devices have already thought of the possibility of a power failure. Most smart home devices come with internal battery backups that can keep them running for at least a day. However, you still need to consider the fact that they cannot connect to your home Wi-Fi network.
Without Wi-Fi, the devices will operate in a limited state. They will be able to perform all of the basic, necessary functions, but they won’t be able to communicate with the internet. That means you would be able to open a door that has a smart lock, but you won’t be able to control it from your phone. In the case of cameras, they should keep recording as long as there is a back-up power supply, but you won’t be able to access the remote monitoring.
If you do have a smart home security system, it is a good idea to learn about what happens when the power goes out. Learn about the features that will still work when the power goes out. You should also learn about the steps to take when the backup batteries die. This would only happen in the event of an extended power interruption, but it is better to be familiar with these procedures before an emergency situation occurs.
Take some time to learn about your security system so you know what to expect when the power goes out. Checks to make sure it has a reliable backup power supply, and consider whether there is anything you can do to ensure its continued operation during a power interruption. In addition to that, keep your home stocked with flashlights, batteries and emergency lights. When your home is lit up, it significantly reduces the risk of burglary.