Load shedding: understanding its impact on home security systems
Owners should ensure they understand the impact load shedding can have on any security system.
Sufficient backup batteries and charging capacity can extend the availability of alarm systems during load shedding. However, it is not ideal for a battery to experience continuous power outages, whether planned or unplanned.
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The advisory was issued by armed response company Fidelity ADT, after several weeks of scheduled power outages across the country. At its peak, it reached the sixth stage of load shedding implementation.
The focus on home security systems and their backup batteries should remain even after load shedding is suspended,” said the company’s head of communications and marketing, Charnel Hattingh.
“Batteries play an important role in your home’s security system, which includes your electric fence and gate motor. Wireless security systems have batteries in the detectors that are unaffected by load shedding, but the main control box still contains a battery backup that should not be overlooked.
“When you check your backup batteries, be sure to look at everything. Taking preventive maintenance action today can help ensure that your security system is still working as it should tomorrow.
Batteries have a limited lifespan which is affected by the number of times they discharge and recharge. Batteries that have been through too many of these cycles deteriorate and may not be able to recharge sufficiently between periods of load shedding. This compromises the backup time provided by the battery in the event of a power outage.
Hattingh said the first stage of load shedding can give the batteries enough time to recharge, while any higher stage will begin to reduce that time needed. Keep in mind, however, that there can be other, unrelated technical issues affecting a battery, so regular testing is essential. No battery will last forever and at some point it will need to be replaced.
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She also urged people to pay attention to text messages they receive from their armed response company, especially when linked to possible low battery warning signals. Addressing these issues as soon as possible can alleviate the strain on monitoring systems caused by a flood of signals received during load shedding.
Regular power outages impact a range of communications technology and systems, including alarm systems that begin to malfunction without adequate battery backup. Malfunctioning alarm systems during load shedding lead to an increase in false alarms which impact the ability of armed response companies to deal with real emergency signals.
Homeowners can help by taking ownership of their alarm system hardware to ensure it performs optimally during these power outages, especially as it seems to be happening more frequently.
Your security system’s keypad can provide you with information about any issues that require technical intervention. Search the Internet for a copy of the system’s user guide or ask your surveillance company to send you a copy.
Hattingh said UPS backup systems are also useful to add to any home system, even if they are expensive. They can play a role in the safety of you and your property if properly connected and used as intended.
“If you have any questions about your home security system and its backup batteries, please contact your armed response company as soon as possible. They will help you test to see if there are any technical issues that require urgent attention.
Also read: Seven tips to help you prepare for load shedding