One in every four U.S. homes has a security alarm. 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.
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 purchase of a new home with no knowledge of the password. When they 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, an often costly proposition.
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, however, as well as other 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.
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 web resources that may be helpful for a given system.
Check out do-it-yourself alarm support sites (see References below). Other homeowners may post information helpful in resetting a particular type of alarm system.
Locate the power source to the Main Control Panel. Disconnect the power. If the panel is hard-wired, this will require cutting off the circuit breaker at the house electrical panel board.
Disconnect the backup battery in the Main Control Panel. Pull both leads from the battery. Take care: Battery leads are easily broken.
Leave power off for a minimum of five minutes.
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.
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.
Key in the installer code. This varies by manufacturer. Ademco common installer codes are (4+1+1+2), followed by 8+0+0. This sequence will put the user in the data fields, where password information can be reset. For Ademco model alarms, *97 resets all alarm features to factory defaults. Other systems should enable the user to scroll through a series of screens to reset alarm system features.
Some alarm installer manuals are available online (search manufacturer or distributor websites).
Take care when disconnecting the alarm battery (terminal tab is easily broken).