How to Build Your Own ADT Alarm System

Written by pam haefner
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How to Build Your Own ADT Alarm System
In addition to installing a home security alarm, you should follow additional safety measures. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

ADT is a security alarm monitoring company. For a monthly fee, ADT will install and monitor a home or business security alarm. This service typically requires a term commitment or contract. A home security alarm has three basic parts: sensors, receivers and alarm hosts. With advances in security technology, home and business owners can now install and monitor their own security alarms by using DIY self-monitored security alarm kits or building systems piece-by-piece.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Double-sided adhesive
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Determine which system will work for your home or business. Pre-made kits are available that included a variety of sensors and an alarm host keypad with a built-in dialer and siren. It is important to purchase a system that is capable of monitoring the amount of sensors needed to protect the location. Common types of sensors are window/door transmitters and PIR (photo infrared) motion sensors. Look for systems that provide a "Home" and "Away" alarms. A "Home" alarm engages sensors on the perimeter of the home while allowing activity within the home. An "Away" alarm engages all sensors programmed to the receiver.

  2. 2

    Install batteries in all sensors. Refer to the owner's manual for proper battery type and installation method.

  3. 3

    Program the receiver prior to mounting according to the system's owner's manual. Change the default password on the alarm box to an easy-to-remember code. Program the outgoing phone numbers. These numbers are the contacts the dialer will call in the event of a security breach.

  4. 4

    Test the system.

  5. 5

    Determine the window/door sensor placement. These sensors have two parts: one is a magnet and the other houses a transmitter and magnet. In standby mode, the two magnets are in contact with each other and the transmitter is dormant. Once a window or door is opened, the magnets are separated from each other. This results in a security breach being transmitted to the receiver. Attach the two pieces with double-sided adhesive or screws.

  6. 6

    Determine the placement of the motion sensors. Place the sensors in main sections of the house, such as the living room and hallways. Indoor motion sensors are available with a feature called "pet ally," which resists the detection of smaller animals. Mount the sensors directly to an interior wall using a screwdriver and hardware. Do not point the sensor directly at a window because sunlight shining through a window may trigger the sensor.

  7. 7

    Connect the receiver to a land line phone line.

  8. 8

    Test the security alarm and verify that the system is functioning properly. Ensure all sensors are triggering the alarm and the dialer is making outgoing calls.

Tips and warnings

  • Cellular monitoring is available in the event there is no land line phone connections. Check the cellular coverage in your area before committing to a cellular-based monitoring system.
  • Some self-monitored alarm systems also have smoke and temperature sensors.
  • Do not program the receiver to call 911.
  • To avoid false sensor detection, do not place sensors outside.
  • Test the system regularly.

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