SimpliSafe: System Installation and Setup

Table of Contents

Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring, although you’ll only get notifications with the Interactive Plan. They also added a Google Assistant integration, and cloud storage is available separately from monitoring. They’ve also added a professional installation option for $79. 

The SimpliSafe home security product does not require professional installations. The various packages each contain simple instruction, provided on a thumb drive that is part of the keychain remote. The flash drive does not download any software. It includes a generic instruction guide that will play on any PC or laptop to help you with the install.  If you are still considering SimpliSafe make sure to check out our SimpliSafe system reviewTo learn more about SimpliSafe installation, read on!

Watch this for a guide on a quick SimpliSafe installation

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If you have never installed a home security system, you should familiarize yourself with how each component operates. You need to understand sensor and detector placement options and how to activate them individually and when linked together. All your sensors, detectors and the rest of your equipment should synchronize and establish a virtual perimeter for your home or small business.

Reading about how to do so prior to purchase will save you time if you do decide to buy a system like SimpliSafe that requires self-install. It can also save you money since after reading about it you may decide that you would rather have a professional put it all together for you.

First Step

It is a good idea prior to even purchasing your package to think about what you want to protect and how you want to do it. For example, in a low crime suburb without significant high-value items, you likely only need coverage for the main floor. You make a risk management decision, based on where you live, the crime rates, accessibility, and other factors, and then choose the best package for your needs. If the upstairs windows are 20 feet off the ground with no easy roof access, then you may not need glass break or motion sensors upstairs.

Survey your home. Count the number of entrances and windows. Think about how many sensors it will take to secure your perimeter. Remember that a motion detector can cover a large space. If you have a room with five windows, one motion sensor can take the place of five window sensors.

General Procedures

Once you decide the type of package you want and purchase it, perhaps along with extra items your survey indicated you may need, you set up the base station first. The base station should be likely be in a central location where you can hear the voice alerts or siren easily.

Once that is working, then install the keypad in an appropriate place. Then install your sensors, followed by the siren and any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Once everything is in place, you will need to test the system and activate your monitoring service (if you decided to purchase one of their month-to-month plans). 

Base Station

The base station should be installed somewhere off the ground where you can quickly access and hear it. SimpliSafe recommends near the entrance used most frequently so you can hear the alerts.

It requires AC power so you will have to place it near an outlet. All the components of the system communicate with the base station through cellular waves, so unless it is plugged in or on temporary battery power, no sensor will alarm. The smoke and carbon monoxide detectors would still sound an audible alert if activated, but would send no signal to your smartphone or monitoring station.

The light on the base station indicates one of four things:

  1. If the light is off, the system is off
  2. If the light is on, the system is armed and functioning
  3. A blinking light means there is an error or warning message on the keypad

The rechargeable lithium battery for the base station automatically recharges every time power is restored. The fully-charged battery should last up to 48 hours if the power goes out. It takes about four hours to recharge the battery.

There is also a phone jack on the side of the unit where you can connect a landline. This can serve as a backup to cellular service should cellular towers or service malfunction.


Prior to installation, you must remove the battery activation strip. The adhesive tape is already pre-installed. You strip off the covering to the tape and mount the keypad in your desired location. Most people install it by their garage or front door, whichever entrance the family uses most often.

You should install it at least 4-5 feet off the ground and as close to the sensors as possible or within 10-100 feet.

There are three modes buttons on the keypad: away, home and off.

You must enter your four-digit pin number to use the keypad. The factory pin number is 1234.

Motion Sensors

Install the motion sensors, once you remove the battery activation strip, 4-5 feet above the floor. You can use the adhesive to stick them to a wall or place them on a shelf.

They have about 180° coverage left and right, and 45° vertically.

Do not place the sensor near any device that uses electricity such as a lamp, router, air conditioner or heater. They usually provide the best coverage if installed in the corner of the room.

As long as any pet under about 30 pounds remains at least five feet away, it will not detect given the angle of the proximity sensor. If you have larger pets, SimpliSafe recommends installing the motion detector upside down. You should be cautious as to where you place it if you do this, as it will not detect anything below the level of the sensor.

All motion sensors always remain active in the Away mode. You must set your system through the keypad to the Home mode to avoid setting off the alarm when in residence.

“Entry” or Door and Window Sensors

The entry sensors, as SimpliSafe calls them, come in two parts: the magnet and the sensor. There are two grooves on the sensor where the magnet component fits. The two parts must be no more than two inches apart whenever the door or window is closed.

Usually, the larger sensor piece is stuck to the door or window frame and the smaller magnet on the door or window itself. However, you can install each piece on either section.

Once you remove the battery activation strip and attach both parts, test them by opening, then closing the window or door. When you open the access point, a blue light on the sensor will flash once. When you close it, and each piece is aligned, the blue light will blink twice.

You do not need to worry about installing the sensor or magnet upside down. They will work no matter that way you install them as long as the two components are within two inches of each other when the door or window is closed.

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Glass Break

Glass break sensors work best when placed less than 20 feet away and facing the bank of windows you want to cover. After activating the battery, you can stick it anywhere on a wall or shelf facing out.

Since they work by using a sensor tuned to the acoustical frequency that the sound of glass breaking generates, it probably is better not to place them within 20 feet of your kitchen or dining room. These are likely places where someone may accidently drop a glass or clink two together, activating the sound sensor.

Curtains can dull or mask the sound of glass breaking, so in a room with windows covered by curtains, especially heavy or blackout curtains, you may need to place the sensors closer to the windows.

Panic Buttons

Most people like to install panic buttons in their bedroom though they can be installed anywhere. You only need to activate the battery and place the button at whatever location you choose.

It takes pressing and holding the button for 1-2 seconds before it will send an alarm signal.


Place the sirens within a maximum of 100 feet of the base station. There are mounting screws and brackets provided if you want to mount them under an awning or someplace where the adhesive may not work well.

The siren makes a beeping sound during the entry delay period prior to entering you pin number when you return home. You can disable this feature by pressing the programming button, located on the back of the siren, five times. You should hear a long tone that indicates you have successfully disabled the beeping feature.

Smoke Detector

If you have only one smoke detector, most people install it near the bedroom area of the home. Usually, it is best to install one on each level of the house.

The smoke detectors come with a mounting bracket attached. Activate the battery and rotate the detector counterclockwise to remove the bracket. Install the bracket on the wall or ceiling, and then connect the smoke detector by pushing it into place and rotating it clockwise until it snaps into place.

Avoid installing the detector near a bathroom, fireplace, stove or furnace as this may set off the alarm.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

The carbon monoxide detector mounts the same way as the smoke detectors. Make sure the sensor is not located near your garage. Lingering fumes from your car’s exhaust when driving your car in and out of the garage could seep inside and set it off.

Freeze Sensor

The freeze sensors install like all the other sensors. It is best to place the sensor near your home thermostat. You can also place it near your water pipes.

Do not place them near furnaces or boilers, as those areas of the home may stay warm much longer than the rest of the house if temperatures drop.

Many insurance companies will offer discounts also if you have a freeze and/or water sensor installed.

Water Sensor

Water sensors work best if you place them in the drip pans underneath the appliances connected to water lines. You can also place them in the drip pan of your boiler.

If you are concerned about bathroom leaks, place them by the plumbing.

Arming and Disarming the System

Once all your doors and windows are closed, you arm the system by pressing “Away” on your keypad or Keychain Remote. Once pressed, you have sixty seconds to exit and close the door until the alarm is active.

You have thirty seconds to disarm the system once you enter the house again. You can either press “Off” on the Keychain Remote or press “Off” on the keypad, then enter your four-digit pin number.

If you enter the wrong pin, press delete and reenter the figures.

You can change the delay settings online if you have the Interactive Monitoring Plan. Otherwise, the instruction guide included on the Keychain Remote’s flash drive has step- by-step procedures to change the delay using the keypad and Keychain Remote.

Activating the Monitoring Service

If you purchased a monitoring plan, you need to activate your subscription. Once everything is installed, you can go online at to determine what information is required for your particular city or location. Some localities will require you to purchase an alarm permit before you can use a monitoring service.

There is a six-digit serial number on the bottom of your base station. Once you either have a permit or determine you do not need one, enter this code online, and your monitoring service will be activated.

You will have three days before the monitoring service will respond to any alarms. This allows you time to practice and get used to arming and disarming the system.

Changing Your Pin Number

The default pin number, 1234, can be modified through the keypad:

  1. Press the “Menu/Cancel” key.
  2. The screen will show “Change PIN” as the first menu option.
  3. The “Away” key is used as the enter key. Press it once.
  4. Enter your new four-digit pin and press the “Away” key again.
  5. Confirm your new pin number by entering it again and pressing “Away.”

Testing the Sensors

You can test each sensor and detector through the keypad in conjunction with the base station. You test each component separately and in a slightly different way.

The first step is placing your system in test mode on the keypad. You do this by:

  1. Pressing the “Menu/Cancel” key until you see the first option (change pin)
  2. Scroll through the options using the home key until you get to option five, “Test,” and then press the away (enter) key

Once you are in test mode, you can check each sensor individually, and the keypad will indicate whether or not it is working properly.

Motion Sensor

Press the test button underneath the motion sensor. The internal speaker of the base station will announce “motion sensor.”

You can also test it more accurately by leaving the room for fifteen seconds, then re-entering. The base station should again say “motion sensor.”

Glass Break

Press the test button on the bottom of the sensor and then clap your hands loudly. The sensor light should flash, and the station will announce “glass break sensor.”

Entry Sensors

Open and close each window and door with an entry sensor. Each time you do so you should hear, “entry sensor.”

Panic Buttons

Press and hold the panic button for one second. The base station will say, “panic button.”

Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Press and hold the test button on the front of the smoke detector for four seconds. The detector should beep three times and the base station will say “smoke detector.”

The testing procedure is the same for the carbon monoxide detectors except that there will be four beeps, and the base station announces “carbon monoxide.”

Water and Freeze Sensors

Press the test button on each sensor and wait for the base station to say the sensor’s name.

Press “Off” on the keypad to exit testing mode. If there were any errors detected, the base station will audibly announce which sensor malfunctioned.

Removing Components

You can remove components from the system by using the flash drive on your Keychain Remote and your PC or laptop, or by using the keypad.

Keychain Remote Flash Drive and Computer

  1. Insert the flash drive into your computer
  2. Select “Adjust Settings” on the menu
  3. Click on “Manage “

You can then remove a component by clicking “Remove” next to the component’s name and number (the sensor number is printed on the bottom of each sensor).

You add a component by selecting “Add Component” and filling in the sensor type and number.

Adding and removing components on the keypad is done is a similar manner:

  1. Press the “Menu/Cancel” key
  2. Enter your pin number
  3. Press the home key (underneath the right arrow that appears on the screen)
  4. Scroll to the third option, “Add Component” or the fourth option, “Remove “
  5. Press the away key (enter) and perform the same steps as you would with the flash drive and computer.

When you are done, press “Menu Cancel.”


It is hard not to like the SimpliSafe home security system. The company provides one of the simplest do-it-yourself home security systems on the market. There are no long-term contracts to sign or pushy salesmen trying to force you into doing so.

Related: the Best Security Systems of 2020


Does SimpliSafe offer installation?

SimpliSafe does not offer professional installation; rather, you’ll install their systems yourself.

How much does SimpliSafe cost per month?

If you are fine with having local alarms only, there’s no required fee for SimpliSafe, however, you won’t be able to use the SimpliSafe app at all. For 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup and environmental monitoring, SimpliSafe costs $14.99 a month. For the aforementioned features plus remote control, notifications, cloud storage, and more, the cost goes up to $24.99 a month.

Do you need an Internet connection for SimpliSafe?

No, SimpliSafe doesn’t require an Internet connection.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.