Troubleshooting FAQs

You may encounter some issues with your security system and peripheral devices. Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions and answers about false alarms, sensors, and general troubleshooting solutions here.

How do I reset my keypad after an alarm event?

You may want to clear the keypad display history after an alarm event. The process of resetting your keypad varies from system to system. Reset instructions for ADT’s most popular systems can be found on our Reset System page. For all other systems, please refer to your security system manual for specific instructions. 

Where can I find a copy of the system owner's manual?

Your system-specific user manual can be found on our System Manuals & User Guides page.

How often should my alarm system be tested?

Regular testing ensures the system is able to communicate with our Customer Monitoring Centers. Alarm systems should be tested once a month and after any changes to your phone, Internet, or cable service. System test instructions can be found on MyADT.com.

How do I use my home security system?

Watch this video to learn more about how to use your ADT home security system.

How do I set my alarm?

Each individual system has its own alarm setting sequence. For your particular system, please refer to your security system manual.

How do I test a zone?

The process of testing zones varies from system to system. Please refer to your security system manual for specific instructions.

What happens when the alarm goes off?

When the system is tripped, the burglary siren will sound and a signal is sent from your alarm system to ADT’s Customer Monitoring Centers, where it appears on a monitoring representative’s computer.

How can I avoid setting false alarms?

Watch the video from author and security expert Robert Siciliano, to learn how to avoid setting false alarms.

How does a door or window sensor work?

A door or window sensor is typically a two-piece magnetic contact sensor. When the system is armed and a door or window is opened, the two magnetic sensors are separated from each other, thereby tripping the alarm. If a protected door or window with a sensor is open, you will not be able to arm the system until the door or window is closed or the zone is bypassed. If your door or window sensor is causing false alarms, the door or window may not be securely closed or the sensor may be damaged. Swelling or contracting of the door or window due to changing weather may also result in false alarms. 

If you are having problems with your door or window sensors you may try troubleshooting the problem from our Sensor Troubleshooting page to determine if a service visit is necessary.

What should I do if a door or window contact falls off?

If a door or window contact becomes dislodged you can set the system to bypass the zone in which that contact is located, allowing you to keep the system armed with only those zones bypassed. 

For instructions on how to bypass a zone, you will need to refer to your system manual. If you do not have your system manual available, you can download one from our System Manuals & User Guides page.

Will bypassing a zone fix the situation?

No. Bypassing a zone should be regarded as a temporary solution and the issue must be corrected as soon as possible. If the problem is related to a peripheral device you may try troubleshooting the problem from our Sensor Troubleshooting page to determine if a service visit is necessary.

How does the motion detector work?

A motion detector detects motion in the inside of a house or business. If someone enters an area covered by a motion detector while the system is armed, the burglary alarm will sound. Motion detectors are sensitive to the slightest movement and can easily cause a false alarm. Some common events that may cause a motion detector to set off a false alarm include balloons or other decorations, roaming pets, household pests, such as bugs and rodents or cobwebs, curtains, and blinds moving around when a central heat or air system is initiated.

How does a glass break detector work?

A glass-break detector is an alarm system component capable of detecting the high and low frequency sounds associated with shattering glass. False alarms can be triggered in glass-break detectors by slamming doors, breaking dishes, barking dogs, roof work, jingling keys, etc.

What are some events that can adversely affect my alarm system or cause maintenance issues?

A change in phone service. If your ADT system utilizes a land line to send alarm signals to our Customer Monitoring Centers, changes to your telephone service could impact the transmission of these signals. If you have a telephone technician visit your home, be sure to test the system before they leave to ensure it is communicating properly with ADT’s Customer Monitoring Centers. 

Switching to DSL. If you plan to switch to a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) for Internet services, a DSL filter created specifically to work with the ADT system may be necessary. 

Remodeling. Home repairs can result in dislodged wires that can prevent you from successfully arming without having to bypass zones. Additionally, sanding and welding in the home may also cause smoke detectors to trip. Remember to save the wireless sensor contacts before disposing of an old door/window and be sure to test the system after any remodeling work is done. 

Loss of power. When power is completely shut off for home repairs or you experience a power outage as a result of severe weather, the system will begin to operate on its backup battery for several hours. Once the backup battery power has been entirely depleted, the system will become non-operational. When power returns, the battery should fully recharge itself. If it is not fully recharged within 24-48 hours, you many need to replace the system battery. 

Household pests. Motion detectors may stop functioning or cause false alarms when pests begin to infest. Spiders building cobwebs in front of a motion detector or bugs walking across or nesting in the motion detector are common examples. Mice and other rodents that scurry across a motion detector will be picked up as movement. Other rodents may pick up or chew on wiring that leads to door or window contacts, causing the contacts to trigger false alarms or fail completely. Fumigating your home will only affect your alarm system if you have monitored smoke/heat detectors installed. Keep in mind that fumes can cause smoke detectors to trigger. 

Decorations and ornaments. Items hanging in front of motion detectors are a common cause of false alarms. Wreaths hung on doors or other door interferences can block door contacts from meeting and prevent the system from arming.

• In places of business, point of purchase displays and advertisements may affect the system’s ability to arm properly. These items often hang from ceilings, twisting or spinning in the air, and can often be light enough for air conditioning to cause them move, tripping a motion detector. Free-standing displays can block motion detectors and open box tops and loose plastic packaging in store rooms can flap and move when the air conditioning initiates.

What causes a trouble signal?

A trouble signal (sometimes indicated in the alarm history by the abbreviation TR) indicates a possible problem or difficulty with your security system, such as a loose wire, a poorly aligned sensor or a low battery status. 

If you believe your issue is related to a peripheral device you may try troubleshooting the problem from our Sensor Troubleshooting page to determine if a service visit is necessary.

How do I silence low battery beeping?

Most systems will begin beeping or chirping as a result of a total power outage or failure to recharge the system backup battery. 

For many of our most popular systems, beeping alarms and low battery trouble beeps can be silenced by pressing the [OFF] or [#] buttons from the keypad. If this does not work, please refer to your security system manual for specific instructions. If you need to order a replacement battery you can reference our Battery Identification page to find out which battery is required for your system or peripheral device.

Learn what steps to take for a low-battery signal.

How can I determine which battery is low?

Both your system and your peripheral devices use messages and beeps to indicate a low battery status. If your system battery is running low, most of our systems will display notifications like LOW BATT or BAT. If your peripheral device is low, most of our systems will display a similar message with the particular zone with the low battery status clearly indicated. 

To silence low battery beeping, refer to the MyADT Help Center page on how to silence beeping.

Does my smoke detector operate on AC power or on batteries?

Peripheral devices, like smoke and motion detectors, door, and window sensors can either use AC power to function and require a battery only in case of a loss of power or can function as wireless devices which run independently and on battery power only. Regardless of whether your peripheral device uses AC power or battery power to operate, you will eventually need to replace their batteries. Find the right battery for your peripheral device on our Battery Identification page.

Why is my ADT Pulse security system receiving an unavailable message?

Watch this video to learn more about ADT Pulse unavailable messages.

Why is my security system not receiving any video feed?

Watch this video to learn more about ADT Pulse video feed.

Why is my Wi-Fi camera offline?

Watch this video to learn more about Wi-Fi enabled cameras.

How do I fix a disconnected camera?

Camera repairs vary from system to system. If your problem is with a wifi camera, please visit our Wi-Fi Camera Troubleshooting page. For hardwired cameras and other camera problems, refer to your owner’s manual. If you do not have your manual available, you can download one from our System Manuals & User Guides page.

Can I add outdoor motion detectors to the system?

No. ADT does not currently sell or support outdoor motion detectors.

My alarm went off accidentally, but I quickly put in the code and shut it off. I expected a call from ADT, but no one called. Why not?

Your system allows for a brief grace period to disarm your system before an alarm signal is sent to the Customer Monitoring Center. This gives you enough time to cancel the signal and prevent a false alarm.

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