How to deal with an ageing security system

As with all electronics, security systems will age and suffer from wear and tear. Unlike other electronics, a security system needs to be operational at all times because your safety lies in the balance. So realistically how long should your security system last and when should you call in the experts to either repair or replace it?

Johan Joubert, products manager at Fidelity-ADT, says the current lifespan for consumer electronics is around 4.5 years.

“We do, however, see a trend in security that people tend to keep their alarm system for an average of seven years. Electronic components and cables age and deteriorate which causes unreliable behaviour.”

He suggests repairing and maintaining the peripheral devices such as passive infrared detectors or outdoor beams for the first 4.5 years and then considering an upgrade.

“This not only improves reliability but also features as technology improves,” he says.

But what are home owners facing cost wise to replace rather than repair?

Joubert says it’s important to remember that very few suppliers still do component level repairs. The component will either be replaced or exchanged.

“In terms of cost, most devices are covered by a warranty for an initial period which is typically one year. In this period there is no cost to the end user for repair or replacement, unless the failure is due to lightning or power-related issues. As the supplier, however, we need to weigh the cost of shipping products internationally for repair versus the replacement cost. In most cases we do get a small allowance from suppliers in the form of an oversupply to cover in-warranty failures. Nowadays, out-of-warranty failure means buying a new device which will be more cost-effective.”

He says that if you are moving into a new house it is not always easy to know the age of the security system already installed.

“We do a full system check before we link any new home owner customer. It is imperative that this is done in order to make sure you do not have an overactive alarm system. If the security professional finds that the system is outdated or discontinued, or there is no support available, I would highly recommend replacing it.

“An alarm system is only effective if it is reliable. Speak to a professional and ask about your options in terms of repairing versus replacing. You need to weigh up the cost of the repair, how long the repaired part will last compared to a new part, and so on. Your safety is worth investing in,” concludes Joubert.