Will my Intruder Alarm Still Work During a Power Cut?
By Tony Parkes
May 14, 2021
Many people worry whether their home will remain secure during a power cut, and whether their alarm will continue to protect them. Here our experts take a look at what happens to various types of intruder alarm when the power goes off, whether you remain safeguarded, and common issues to look out for.
Does an intruder alarm still work during a power cut?
Most alarm systems are fitted with backup batteries. These are specifically intended to keep a security system up and running during a power cut. The battery backup is designed to kick in automatically as mains power fails, so you won’t have to worry about switching it over yourself.
If your alarm is connected to an alarm receiving station via a traditional phone line, then the connection will remain operational, and the security control panel will usually continue to function uninterrupted on battery backup power.
If you are connected to a receiving station via VoIP however, then although the alarm itself will continue to run on battery power, the loss of mains power will usually cut the line of communication with the monitoring centre, because the internet that powers the connection will have failed. Some systems do provide built-in backup systems for VoIP connected alarms, however. These will generally involve linking to a cellular communication system that maintains the connection should the internet phone line fail.
Wireless alarm systems may have motion sensors that connect wirelessly to a receiver, which then connects via the internet to communicate with a monitoring service. Others may have cameras that connect in to a receiver via the internet.
Mostly, wireless systems should go on providing some level of protection during a power outage, as the devices run on batteries. Some receivers however will be mains powered, so if the unit doesn’t have its own integrated battery backup, it may be an idea to install your own backup power supply.
Smart alarm systems, being internet powered, will almost always fail during a power cut.
If your smart home system is fully connected, in other words also operates CCTV, smart locks, lighting and heating for example, then you will quite rightly be concerned that these will cease to function during a power cut. However, thankfully, the designers of these devices have cleverly factored in the possibility of a power outage.
Most will come with internal battery backups that will keep them going for at least 24 hours. However, you will need to consider that without power going to your Wi-Fi router, none of these devices will be connected. So you won’t for example be able to control your heating from your tablet, or operate your door locks from your phone. CCTV cameras will continue recording, they just won’t relay footage to your smart device.
If you have a smart alarm system therefore, it is good practice to be aware of what happens when power is lost. Which features will still work? What happens if there is an extended power cut and the battery backup fails? Make yourself aware of the potential situation, and be prepared to take extra care to safeguard your property during such times.
Why does an alarm go off during a power cut?
More often than not, an alarm sounds when mains power is lost because the backup battery is faulty or not charged.
If you are worried about power cuts, perhaps because they are a regular occurrence in your area, then it may be a good idea to check the age of your backup batteries and replace them if they are old. It is also wise to keep a spare set of batteries handy which you can use in the event of an extended power outage.
Why is my alarm control panel beeping after a power cut?
An alarm system often beeps following a power failure. You should be able to stop this by entering a code, or by following some other instruction which may vary depending on the particular make and model of your alarm.
How to reset an intruder alarm following a power cut?
There really should be no need to reset an intruder alarm following a power cut. Once you have dismissed any alerts and made sure the backup battery is working, the alarm should go straight back to working correctly.
If it doesn’t, then you should consult the troubleshooting section of your manual, or seek assistance from your alarm installer or servicing company.
It is important to remember that regular servicing is vital if your intruder alarm is going to continue to protect you and your property in the way it was intended. A service will involve checking that backup batteries are in working order, and ready to keep your alarm operating in the event of a power cut.
For an intruder alarm system tailored to your individual needs, talk to Barry Bros Security
Barry Bros Security is National Security Inspectorate (NSI) Gold and BS EN ISO9001 accredited. All our approved alarm systems meet European and British standards EN50131, PD6662 & BS8243. Our experience in alarm supply, installation, servicing and maintenance spans several decades.
If you are thinking about having an intruder alarm installed, or are looking for an alarm servicing company, you are welcome to get in touch with our home security experts who will visit your property and undertake a thorough assessment, before designing a bespoke alarm system that gives you the best protection possible.