The impact of load shedding is tough on all of us. Aside from the larger impact on the economy as a whole, load shedding can disrupt some of the basic needs in our lives. While the status of load shedding disruptions remains uncertain, it is important that we proactively minimise any risks to the safety of our families during these times.

Let’s start by reviewing some of the most common assumptions/myths about your alarm system and load shedding:

Myth 1: Load shedding means that my alarm system deactivates as soon as the power goes out

It is important to remember that when the power supply to your home or business is interrupted, it does not mean that your alarm system is immediately deactivated and ineffective. There is a difference between your alarm system and the battery that powers it. The battery actually exists as a back-up for your alarm system if the power goes out for whatever reason. However, batteries, depending on which one you have, can offer a backup for only a few hours (generally up to 8 hours) before it will need to be recharged. Provided that load shedding does not exceed 6-8 consecutive hours and you have a well-serviced alarm battery, your alarm system will remain active and responsive.

Myth 2: My alarm system is not affected at all by load shedding

When the lights suddenly come back on, we are so relieved that life can continue as normal that it’s easy to forget the impact the sudden surge of electricity has on our appliances. Your alarm system and battery are no exceptions.

It is for this reason that home owners have been urged to test their security systems more regularly to ensure minimal damage to the system itself or the battery condition.

Alarm systems exposed to more frequent power cuts and power surges can result in the following:

  • An increase in the risk of technical issues. With time, this can affect anything from your system programming to how your sensors operate.
  • If your home/business security includes a fire system, these could be affected.
  • An increase in false alarms.

An unhealthy alarm battery which ultimately affects its performance.

Myth 3: My panic button does not connect to Armed Response if the power is out

The signal that notifies and links to your armed response service in case of an emergency remains active for as long as your battery remains active. This means that your panic button can still operate during periods of load shedding.

In the case of Secure Rite installed alarm systems, there is generally a 12volt, 7amp backup battery on alarm systems that will keep the system up and running during electricity down times. The emergency signal (also known as an RF or GSM radio signal) is connected to the backup battery. Basically, this means that as long as your battery keeps your alarm system active, your panic button is operational.

TRUTH 1: Your alarm battery is the heart of your system

The most important take away from this article is to realise not only that your alarm system must be well maintained but that your alarm battery is the heart of your system.

At Secure Rite, we advise our clients to test the battery and the system itself at least twice a year. An added safety resolution should be to replace the battery once a year especially if the battery has supported a few load shedding days in the year.

TRUTH 2: The ‘bigger’ your alarm the bigger back up you need

What exactly is a ‘big alarm’ you may wonder?  Well, if your home or business has a system with more than 8 external devices, it is considered to be a ‘big system’. An external device can include elements like sensors, beams, electric fencing, etc.

In order to maintain a ‘bigger’ alarm during load shedding, it is advisable to consider having an extra power pack on hand. This will provide power to your system and ensure less strain on the main operating panel of your alarm during power outages.

Remember, alarm panels were not necessarily designed to function in extended load shedding scenarios and this can place an immense strain on the battery condition. The reason for this is that the battery is not able to fully recharge from one power outage period to another. Therefore, when we experience days with 2 or 3 different load shedding periods, this increases the risk of battery damage.

As a trusted Security Partner in the Helderberg basin, we pride ourselves on providing safety with service. From alarm systems to access control to armed response, Secure Rite offers all you need in private security for your home and business… even in the dark .

Contact us for all your home and business security needs
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