How to Use an Existing Alarm System

Commercial security companies, such as Broadview Security and ADT, monitor alarm systems and respond to alarms as necessary by dispatching police or sending other forms of help. Customers buy the alarm components (such as the panel and sensors) and pay the company to monitor the system. Customers keep the alarm components even if they cancel their monitoring services. If you move into a new home, you may find an existing alarm system. More often than not, the system is ready for use.

Existing alarm systems are usually ready for use, even after the monitoring service has been canceled.

Step 1

Check to make sure the system is powered up. Press any button on the alarm panel; if it lights up, the panel is still plugged in. If not, look in the basement or one of your crawlspaces for a black box. Open the box and plug in the system.

Step 2

Contact the former owners or the realtor and ask for the alarm code. If necessary, contact the manufacturer of the alarm panel and contact the company directly for instructions on how to clear and enter new codes into the system. You must have a valid pass code to use an existing system.

Step 3

Input the pass code (typically a four-digit number) and press “Arm” or “Stay” on the panel. This will arm the system. Open a door equipped with a sensor, and the alarm should sound. Deactivate the alarm by entering your code again (after you shut all doors and windows equipped with sensors).

Step 4

Contact a monitoring company to start formal alarm services. You can use your alarm on your own but only you and your neighbors will hear it if it goes off. If you hire a commercial company, the company will monitor your alarm and notify the authorities if needed.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.