According to the FBI, In 2015 “Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 71.6 percent of all burglary offenses.” Prominent studies confirm that having a home security system makes a home more secure from uninvited entry.

As with any modern technology, an occasional question or issue can be expected to come up. Fortunately, issues with today’s advanced home security systems can often be easily addressed using this handy general troubleshooting guide. Here are some helpful tips for troubleshooting some of the most common issues that arise with residential security systems.

Power Failure

If your security system keypad indicates that power has been lost, but it does not appear that there has been a power outage in your home, take these steps to ensure proper functioning of your system.

  • Before you unplug the system’s power source from the electrical outlet, contact your security company’s monitoring center, and ask the customer service specialist to put your system in test mode.
  • Find the transformer that powers your security system, located where your security system’s control panel is installed.
  • Check to confirm that the transformer is plugged in. If it is securely plugged in, then examine the the wiring for the transformer to confirm that all wires are well connected and in good condition.
  • If the transformer is properly plugged in and its wires are connected and in good condition, next unplug the transformer, and plug in a lamp or other electrical device, to confirm that the outlet is working to deliver power.
  • If the electrical outlet DOES NOT have power coming through it, then it’s recommended that you check the circuit breaker, in case it may have tripped.
  • If the outlet DOES have power, then the transformer may not be operating. Call your security monitoring company customer service center and ask to schedule an in-home service call to have your system inspected.

Low System Battery

If your home security system keypad indicates “low battery”, first contact your security company’s monitoring center, and to have them place your system in test mode before you change the battery.

If you have confirmed that the “low battery” indicator is due to a low battery at the main panel (not a low battery at the wireless transmitter), simply remove the system battery by disconnecting the red and black lead wires (in any order) and take the battery to your security company’s local office for replacement.

Remember that new batteries for security systems are not always at full charge upon purchase. It can take 4-12 hours for the new battery to fully charge.

Failure to Communicate

Your residential security system keypad may sound an alert and/or display a message such as “phone line fault”, “failure to communicate”, or similar language. This message indicates that there is a problem with communication between the security system equipment located in your home and your security company’s remotely located system monitoring center.

Test your system with your monitoring center, before scheduling an in-home security system service call. Testing can help you determine whether or not the communication lapse was just a brief glitch or that the problem still exists. Follow directions provided by your security system provider for testing the system.


Telephone System or Phone Line Change

It is strongly recommended that you perform a test of your alarm system with your security company’s monitoring center, to make sure that any changes made that affect your phone are not affecting your security system. Contact your monitoring center about conducting testing, if you have made changes to your:

  • Phone line
  • Telephone service
  • Phone service provider

Your monitoring service representative will guide you through testing your system, to confirm that it is still communicating with your monitoring service’s systems.

Out of Town Settings

If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, you should contact your security company’s customer service center to advise them of the time frame during which your home will be unoccupied.

Keypad Showing a Number or Letter Code

On the majority of modern home security systems:

Number Codes — Numbers displayed means that there are sensors that correspond to those numbers, and that those sensors are not prepared to be armed. To clear such numbers from your keypad window, check all of your home’s monitored windows and doors to ensure that all are closing properly and that the security sensor components are properly placed on each.

Letter Codes — Some of the most common letters displayed on home security system keypads include:

  • BAT or Battery — This code indicates that there is a sensor with a low battery. This may be due to a flipped breaker or power outage, or your security equipment may have been unplugged.  The letter code indicates that the battery is currently recharging. If this message continues to show on the keypad’s digital display after 72 hours, you should contact your security company’s customer service center for assistance.
  • BF — This is an error code that indicates that there may be a problem with communication between your wireless GSM unit and a wireless tower. Your security company’s customer service specialist can help you to reconnect the GSM unit to the tower.
  • FC — This error code typically indicates that your security system is having difficulty communicating with your monitoring center through the telephone line. To resolve this problem, first confirm that your landline phone has a dial tone. Check to make sure that your security system is actually connected to your phone line.

System is Beeping

Your security system should rarely make any beeping sounds. If you hear a beeping noise that you believe is coming from your home security system equipment, check your keypad. Today’s security systems typically can be trusted to display information if something is wrong.

If there is no information about an issue displayed on your keypad, then the beeping is likely not being produced by your security system equipment. Try then checking store-bought smoke detectors, microwaves, mobile phones, and other devices that can make beeping noises.

If the beeping persists, and you cannot identify the source of the noise, then along with other checks of your home’s operational equipment, you may want to consider calling your security monitoring company to assist you in turning off and testing your system, just to confirm that the sound is not related to the security equipment.

System Needs Testing

To test test your home security system equipment, see instructions supplied by your provider in your user manual or online, or contact your customer service center for help. Be sure to have people and pets that are sensitive to the loud noise that will occur during the test outside of home before you begin the testing.

To Test Your Home Security System:

  • Call your monitoring company’s customer service center to advise them that you are going to test your system.
  • Follow instructions provided instructions for testing your particular system.
  • After you have tripped all of the alarm devices you want to test, wait one minute, and then disarm your security alarm system. NOTE: It may be necessary to disarm your system twice, to clear out the memory.
  • Call the monitoring service center again, and ask the customer service specialist to provide you with the alarm signals that the monitoring center received during the test.
  • Ask the monitoring center representative to remove the test mode status from your account.
  • If signals were not all received, then schedule for repair service.


Protect America

Protect America is a leading national home security company, selected nine times as the Consumers Digest Best Buy winner. We provide security systems directly to residential and business consumers, and guide our customers over the phone through the quick and easy installation process.

Monitored home security systems provide much more thorough and effective security than non-monitored security technology can offer. Stand-alone cameras, for example, simply cannot deliver the level of home protection that a 24/7 professionally monitored home security system provides. In addition to the superior security of a monitored system, Protect America also offers our valued customers:

  • As much as $1,400 in Free Equipment
  • Free Installation
  • Guaranteed Price Matching

For More Information

If you would like more information about monitored home security, call Protect America at 1-855-995-6398, and just ask for your free consultation and price quote. Or, start by visiting our website for general information.