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The Do’s and Don’ts of Installing your Home Alarm

  • Don’t short together the terminals or wires leading from any transformer. This will blow the transformer’s internal fuse, which can not be replaced. Because of this, transformers are not under warranty!


  • Don’t locate digital remote key stations where rain will contact the keyboard.

Packaged Keypad 

  • Don’t run any alarm sensor wiring parallel to any 110 VAC wiring, florescent light fixtures or dimmer switches within 3 feet, and always cross 110 VAC wiring at right angles.
  • Do mount any exterior non-enclosed weather resistant sirens out of rain paths, with the horn facing down.
  • Do ground your control panel to a cold water pipe per manufacturer’s specifications for maximum protection against electric spikes, etc.
  • Don’t exceed the recommended gap distance for magnetic and mechanical switches, testing each switch for a reasonable safety margin before it will trigger the alarm.  When in doubt, use wide gap switches.
  • Do align the manufacturer’s name so as to read the same way on surface mounted switches, and align the magnet the proper way per manufacturer’s specifications on recess mounted switches. This means that on Sentrol wide gap recess mounted switches, the painted end on the magnet goes away from the switch; and on GRI wide gap switches, the painted end goes towards the switch.
  • Do drill any holes that go through exterior walls on an angle to prevent rain from entering building. 
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  • Do measure all sensor wiring, while disconnected from control panel, for presence of any A.C. voltage (before connecting wiring to control panel).
  • Do use metal “nailer plates” to protect any wires ran through holes drilled in wall studs that are not centered between the inside and outside wall surfaces (when pre-wiring, before drywall goes on).
  • Don’t connect any A.C. or D.C. power sources to the control panel until all other wiring is completed.
  • Don’t aim passive infrared detectors at heat sources (window’s, heaters, fireplaces, heater ducts, etc.) even if beyond sensor’s specified range.  Remember that bright reflected light (sunlight, car headlights, etc.) can be reflected into sensor’s field-of-view by mirrors, shiny wallpaper, metal furniture, mylar balloons, etc.  Such sources could cause a false alarm.
  • Do “mask off” any problem areas from view of passive infrared detectors (by covering the specific area of the lens that looks at these areas) with masking tape, etc.
  • Don’t install a passive infrared detector where it’s view is blocked by walls that lie at a distance less than one-half the detectors specified maximum range.
  • Don’t install a passive infrared detector where it’s view (before terminating at a wall or floor)is greater than the detectors specified maximum range.
  • Do walk test all motion detectors thoroughly.


  • Don’t force recess mounted magnetic switches into their mounting holes.  They should press in with very little pressure. When in doubt, use a silicone type adhesive.
  • Don’t mount microwave detectors on any surface that moves or vibrates, such as drywall between the wall studs.
  • Don’t aim motion detectors at objects that will move while you are not home (drapes, fans, etc.).  Remember that microwave sensors can “see” the fans moving inside refrigerators, forced air heaters, etc. by penetrating the thin metal enclosure.  Microwave sensors must also not “see” objects moving beyond the protected area by penetrating walls into other areas.
  • Don’t place carpet sensor in-between the carpet and the pad.  Place it under the pad.  Don’t use where moisture is present and avoid placing in areas here furniture placement would place sensor under an object that may take several hours to compress the carpet enough to cause a false alarm.
  • Don’t use “window bugs” or any other fast vibration detection devices in a control panel loop that is not a “fast loop”, unless used with a pulse stretcher. 
  • Do test the back-up battery by disconnecting the transformer after the system has been in operation for a couple of days, and leave disconnected for several hours before testing alarm.  Re-connect battery after a bell or siren test.
  • Don’t mount wireless radio receivers or transmitters inside a metal container, or close to metal objects that will reduce range.  Keep all sides of receivers at least one inch away from any metal, and at least 15 feet away from any other radio receivers or transmitters.
  • Do test all wiring connections with a slight pull to check for improper connection.
  • Don’t exceed the control panel’s output power ratings by demanding excessive draw with your reporting devices or sensors.
  • Do install tamper switches on any exposed control panels and exterior siren or bell boxes.
  • Do provide for line-seizure when installing tape dialers or digital dialers.
  • Don’t install smoke detectors within 1 foot of a wall.  Try to center in the room for maximum effectiveness. See guidelines supplied with detector.
  • Don’t use smoke detectors in garages, in water heater or forced air heater closets, in kitchens, or in bathrooms where smoke, steam, or fumes are constantly present.  Use a rate-of-rise thermostat for fire detection instead.
  • Don’t “home run” fire detection devices, if on the same zone, back to the control panel.  Instead, run wire from the control panel fire zone to the first detector, then from the first detector to the second, from the second to the third, and so on.  At the last detector in the fire zone loop, install the E.O.L. resistor (and a power supervision relay if using “4 wire type” smoke detectors). 
  • Do use the proper gauge wire for any power driven devices, per manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Do use a large enough back-up battery power source to maintain the system for at least 1 day without A.C. power.
  • Don’t exceed the rated “current handling” capacity of sensor contacts.
  • Do install the end-of-line resistor internally in any “exposed contact” sensors.
  • Don’t use multiple microwave sensors without checking for frequency consideration.
  • Don’t install microwave sensors within 5 feet of fluorescent lights.
  • Don’t mount wireless transmitters where simultaneous transmitter activation from an intruder could occur, resulting in receiver jamming.
  • Do seal any wiring holes into walls to prevent air drafts from entering motion detector cases.
  • Do not utilize a telephone line for digital communicators that has “call waiting” or “800 number service block” and make sure to install the special alarm / DSL filter for telephone lines that have DSL service (this is not a standard DSL filter that is typically supplied by your DSL provider). You should also not use any telephone line intended for use as a fax line as this line may incorporate a voice filter that could result in incomplete transmissions. Due to the lack of standard transmission compression protocols used on “non-copper wire” telephone systems such as VoIP (Vonage, Magic Jack, etc.), cable, fiber optic (FIOS, etc.) it is not recommended to use such services for critical alarm system communications either.
  • Do check with local (City, County or State) ordinances regarding alarm system permits, restrictions, etc. for your locality.
  • Do seal the entry holes for wires entering the passive infrared case with silicone or other sealant.
  • Don’t mount passive infrared sensors near drafty windows or doors.
  • Don’t run A.C. transformer wires or digital key station wires parallel to telephone wires within 2 feet.
  • Do replace the alarm control backup battery at least 2 years.

Following these simple guidelines will result in a smooth professional installation that you and your family can trust.  Here is the file in a word document for easy reference DO’S AND DON’TS OF INSTALLING AN ALARM SYSTEM

Category: Home Alarm