With the power out, is your home a prime target for break ins? The electricity can go out for a number of reasons, including bad weather, routine maintenance or overloaded systems. Smart criminals may look to take advantage of a power outage to break into homes, but a good security system can still dissuade them and even help catch them in the act when the neighborhood goes dark. Here’s what you should consider.
As the first line of defense in many homes, you want the security system to be prepared for anything. Many of a security system’s sensors — like those found on doors and windows — run on batteries, but sometimes the main control panel relies on the house’s power to monitor those sensors and alert the authorities.
However, most systems have a battery backup to keep them running for as long as 24 hours without power. These batteries often can still sound an alarm in the control panel to scare off a criminal, but separate alarms like those mounted outside often rely on power from the house. A home generator system can provide backup power for hardwired systems and extend the lifespan of the battery backups.
ADT Phone Home?
Monitored security solutions, such as Frontpoint or ADT, have another wrinkle to worry about: alerting the proper authorities. If the power is out, will your home security system still be able to call for help? It all depends on the kind of system you have.
If your solution is based on a landline connection, you’ll probably be fine, since landline power is separate from traditional outlets. Cellular system connections are also unaffected by power outages since the wireless towers that transfer your signal have backup generators on site.
However, if your system connects to the internet, either through Wi-Fi, a wired connections or an internet-connected telephone system, it won’t be able to update your monitoring company. This is because the modem and router rely on the house’s power to run. You can consider getting an uninterruptible power supply to keep those systems up and running for a short time, but UPSs often only last a matter of hours.
The Right Notifications
If you have a DIY setup with a lot of Wi-Fi cameras and other sensors that connect to the internet, you likely won’t be able to access them for the reasons mentioned above. But the best solutions often let you know when they go offline. This way if you’re away, you can check with your power company and internet provider immediately to see if service is out for your area or if something more nefarious is going on.
If power goes out frequently in your area, it may be worth it to invest in security cameras that record to a local storage option like an SD card so that you’ll still have footage captured during the outage. Just make sure those cameras are plugged into a UPS or another backup power source.
While thieves may be emboldened during a power outage, the right security system can still keep you safe. Consider an option with a larger battery backup, an integrated alarm and a cellular connection for the safest options during an outage.
To check out the best in home security, read our review of the best home security cameras.