How to Reset a Home Alarm System

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One in every four U.S. homes has a security system. Alarm distributors often provide free installation to homeowners with a monitoring and service commitment. When that commitment ends, however, many homeowners resort to using their alarm system locally – not tied to a central monitoring or police/fire alert service.

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Homeowners occasionally find it necessary to reset their home alarm system. This can occur for any number of reasons, including a power outage or brownout, the need to change the alarm unit backup battery or the purchase of a new home with no knowledge of the password. When homeowners contact an alarm company for help, they are often told that the company will not reset their system unless they purchase a service or monitoring contract, often a costly proposition.

How to Reset a Home Alarm System

Step 1: Gather Some Information

Alarm companies make their money by providing monthly monitoring services for homeowners. As a result, they are not usually interested in helping out a homeowner who has no intention of buying their services. There are companies that will help homeowners and there are resources available via the internet.

The first step is to gather basic information regarding the system make, model number and serial number. These are most often found on the master control panel, which is a central processing unit for a home alarm system. This panel is usually located in the basement, garage or closet, and often is locked. This panel should contain detailed information about your alarm system on the inside cover.

Step 2: Check for Instructions

Check the manufacturer's website for installer instructions. It is usually easy to locate basic system operation manuals written for the homeowner. Homeowner alarm system manuals, however, do not typically include reset instructions. Installation manuals can sometimes be found online for a given system. Use a search engine for the specific system model number to find any online resources that may be helpful for a given system.

Step 3: Check for DIY Support

Check out do-it-yourself alarm support sites. Other homeowners may post information helpful in resetting a particular type of alarm system.

Step 4: Disconnect the Power

Locate the power source to the main control panel. Disconnect the power. If the panel is hard-wired, this will require shutting off the circuit breaker at the house electrical service panel (breaker box).

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Step 5: Disconnect the Battery

Disconnect the backup battery in the main control panel. Pull both leads from the battery. Take care: Battery leads are easily broken.

Step 6: Keep the Power Off

Leave power off for a minimum of five minutes.

Step 7: Reconnect the Battery

Reconnect the battery leads. With the help of a friend, power up the system. While one person activates the power, the second should be at the alarm system control panel.

Step 8: Power the Alarm

At the alarm system control panel, press the * (star) and # (pound) keys at the same time. Hold them for approximately five seconds while the system is powering up.

Step 9: Add the Code

Key in the installer code. This varies by manufacturer. The default Honeywell/Ademco alarm system code is 4112. If you have an ADT SafeWatch Pro, a rebranded Honeywell Vista, the default installer code is 6321. Other systems should enable the user to scroll through a series of screens to reset alarm system features.

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