faq

Existing Customers:

Prospective Customers:

GENERAL QUESTIONS


Existing Customers:


Q: My keypad says “FC”, “Comm Trouble”, Phone Line Trouble, or something similar, what should I do?

A: The code “FC”, “Comm Trouble”, Phone Line Trouble, or something similar is referring to the communication path your panel uses to connect to the central monitoring station. The panel is indicating that it senses a disruption in the communication path.

This error typically occurs because the phone service is out in your area OR you recently had phone service work done at your home or business. Have you changed from one phone provider to another? Is your phone company conducting work in the area and may have taken down your phone line? Did you change your service plan and cancel your phone line?

If you have changed phone system providers, you will most likely need to schedule a service call to have a technician come and ensure your phone line is connected properly. Call 856-854-9222.

In the other cases, once the phone line is back up, you will need to send a test signal from the panel to “clear” or “reset” the communication error code you are having. See below to perform this test yourself.

Testing the system:

1)      Put your alarm system on “test” with central monitoring station (C.O.P.S.) (see below).

2)      Arm your alarm system and activate by opening a door or window (*system will not activate until exit delay time has expired).

3)      Once activated with a triggered door / window, the siren will activate and signals will be sent to the central monitoring station (C.O.P.S.).  Wait about 15-30 seconds with the siren activated before disarming the system with your code. This ensures signals were sent.

4)      Call back the central monitoring station (C.O.P.S.) and ask for test results for your account. They will inform you which point(s) triggered the activation (e.g. front door, back door, etc.). Have the operator take your system off test and put back online, as testing is now complete. Call Independent Alarm if you need assistance.

To put your system on test you have two options.

1)      Call Independent Alarm during regular business hours and request to have your account put on test. We can do this online and watch as your test codes come in.

2)      Call the central monitoring station (C.O.P.S.) and request to have your account put on test with your receiver and account number (C.O.P.S. phone number and your receiver / account number can be found on the data card you were given after installation). You will be asked for your name and password (also on your data card). When testing is complete, call C.O.P.S. and request to take your system off test. You can ask for test results at this time, to ensure your alarm system is sending signals.



Q: Our RESIDENTIAL fire system has activated and I want to reset it, what should I do?

A: If your fire alarm activates while you are home, IMMEDIATELY EVACUATE the premises and wait for the fire department. If the activation was a known false alarm, you first MUST CLEAR the smoke and / or other activating agents such as dust before resetting your system. If you do not clear the smoke or dust, the system will reactivate once it detects the presence of the smoke or dust again.

Consult your user manual or quick guide on silencing and resetting instructions. Download common keypad guides here.



Q: Our COMMERCIAL fire system has activated and I want to reset it, what should I do?

A: If your fire alarm activates in a commercial setting, such as a warehouse, office building, or dental / medical office, you should IMMEDIATELY evacuate the building and wait for the fire department. DO NOT reset the fire panel until the fire department arrives. Once the issue has been resolved, the fire official will indicate when it is okay to reset the fire system.

Resetting the system is not the same as “silencing” the system. You may silence the fire system if your panel allows and the activation is a confirmed false alarm. This will allow for determination of activating device. Instructions vary by model. Call Independent Alarm at 856-854-9222 if you are at all unsure of the operation of your system.



Q: Can I change my alarm system back-up battery myself?

A: Yes, for most alarm systems you can change the main back-up battery yourself. If you have a system with a main control panel (metal box in utility area, closet, etc.) with a large 4 or 8 AH (amp hour) rated battery, it is rather simple (see panel and battery pictures below). If you have an all in one system, (all in one wireless system with no separate metal box) you should contact Independent Alarm for changing the main battery. If you are unsure, call 856-854-9222 to ask about your specific system.

5AH Battery for FAQ question 4  8AH Battery for FAQ question 4



Q: How do I change my alarm system back-up battery?

A: Once you have acquired the correct replacement battery (4 or 8 AH (amp hour) lead acid battery), from Independent Alarm, locate the main control panel or “brains” of the system in your utility area, closet, etc. Open the metal door and locate the old battery. Remove the red wire (positive terminal) and the black wire (negative terminal). Remove the old battery. Place the new battery in the box and connect the red wire to the red terminal of the battery. Connect the black wire to black terminal of the battery. DO NOT CONNECT THE WIRES TO THE OPPOSITE COLOR TERMINAL. Incorrectly connecting the battery may do irreparable damage to the panel.

If you do not feel comfortable with this process, please contact Independent Alarm to schedule a service call. 856-854-9222



Q: Am I required to purchase my alarm system back-up battery from Independent Alarm or can I buy from a hardware store, etc.?

A: No, you do not need to purchase your battery from us. However, the batteries we sell are commercial grade and intended to ensure the proper operation of your alarm panel. Batteries from hardware stores or from online sources are not necessarily specific to the alarm industry. To ensure maximizing the system you use to protect your home and family, we recommend purchasing your battery from us. We know what size battery you need and will help with replacement instructions.



Q: Will Independent Alarm take my old battery?

A: Yes, bring your old battery in when picking-up your new battery. We will recycle it at no extra cost.



Q: Who do I call if my alarm is activating outside of business hours and I cannot silence it?

A: If you are a MONITORED customer, please refer to the Independent Alarm data card that you were given after the installation of your system. This card contains our emergency 24 hour phone number. A live person can be reached via this number 24 / 7. During regular business hours call the office at 856-854-9222.

If you are a NON-MONITORED customer, you can leave a message on the main line (856-854-9222) and someone will contact you during regular business hours. The emergency contact number is provided for monitored customers only, due to notification being made to the local authorities.



Q: I hear a beeping in my home. How do I determine if my alarm is beeping or another device?

A: There are many devices in your home that can cause an audible beep or chirp, which may not necessarily be your alarm system. An alarm system beep / sound will occur when a trouble or error is indicated on your system’s keypad. This is the first place you should look.

If your alarm system keypad reads “System Normal – Ready to Arm” or displays a green “Ready” light, your system is operating normally and is probably not causing the beep. If your alarm keypad has an error code, trouble code, or LED light lit up under the trouble / error indicator, your system is not working properly and you should contact Independent Alarm at 856-854-9222.

Be sure to not confuse an error / trouble on the keypad with a faulted zone. A faulted zone is when a zone on your system (front door, back door, window, motion detector, etc.) is open or activated. If your front door is open, the keypad will display “zone xx, front door faulted” and the keypad will indicate it is “Not Ready” to arm. Correct the faulted zone (close the door / window or stop moving in front of the motion detector) and the system will display “Ready to Arm” or a green indicator light.



Q: What is the difference between arming “Stay” and “Away”?

A: In general, the “stay” arming mode enables all of the perimeter devices in your home / business. This includes doors and windows most commonly. The “away” arming mode enables all perimeter AND interior devices such as motion detectors. Every system can be set up differently so your specific situation should be verified if you are unsure if a certain device is programmed as a perimeter or interior device.



Q: My keypad is beeping, what should I do?

A: First you need to confirm that your keypad is the device making noise in your home. There are many devices in your home that can cause an audible beep or chirp, which may not necessarily be your alarm system. An alarm system beep / sound will occur when a trouble or error is indicated on your system’s keypad. This is the first place you should look.

If your alarm system keypad reads “System Normal – Ready to Arm” or displays a green “Ready” light, your system is operating normally and should not be beeping. If your alarm keypad has an error code, trouble code or LED light lit up under the trouble / error indicator, your system is not working properly and you should contact Independent Alarm at 856-854-9222.

You can consult your quick guide or user manual to investigate the issue yourself. Our most commonly installed system guides can be downloaded here.



Q: What should I do if I change phone service?

A: Anytime you are thinking of adding, changing, or removing phone service at your home or business you should contact our office at 856-854-9222 to see how this will affect your security and / or fire systems.  Contacting us ahead of time may not only save you the added expense of a service call but it could also help avoid any lapse of protection.



Q: What happens if I am moving and need to disconnect my monitoring?

A: While we never wish to lose a monitored customer, we understand that your life changes and you will be moving from time to time. The first step to disconnect your account is to pull out your original agreement (paperwork signed when you came on board with Independent Alarm) and review your agreement. Next you must notify us in writing via email (monitoring@ialarmnj.com), fax (856-854-7171), or mail that you wish to disconnect. At that time we will begin the process and follow up with you in order to make arrangements.



Q:  Can I connect to my alarm system through my smart phone?

A: Most recently installed alarm and camera systems have the ability to be controlled and / or viewed from a smartphone. Each system is different and additions / upgrades to a system may be needed to ensure proper operation. An additional monthly fee may apply.

Contact Independent Alarm at 856-854-9222 to discuss your system’s capabilities.



Q: I changed my alarm panel’s battery but the keypad is still reading “Low Battery”. What should I do?

A: After you install a NEW main alarm panel battery in the gray / tan / white / black metal box in your utility / closet area, the system may take up to 4 hours to sense its presence. If your panel still indicates a low battery signal after 24 hours or so, contact us at 856-854-9222.



Q: How do I put my system on test?

A: To put your system on test you have two options:

1)      Call Independent Alarm during regular business hours and request to have your account put on test. We can do this online and watch as your test codes come in.

2)      Call the central monitoring station (C.O.P.S.) and request to have your account put on test with your receiver and account number (C.O.P.S. phone number and your receiver / account number can be found on the data card you were given after installation). You will be asked for your name and password (also on your data card). When testing is complete, call C.O.P.S. and request to take your system off of test. You can ask for test results at this time, to ensure your alarm system is sending signals.



Q:  How do I add, change, or delete a code from my system?

A:  If you are a monitored customer, we can make code changes remotely for most systems. We use software at the office to contact your alarm panel and make the changes you request. For your protection, any account change requests must be submitted in writing. Your code change request can either be emailed to (codechange@iAlarmNJ.com), faxed (856-854-7171), or mailed. This is available to monitored customers only.

If you would like to handle this manually we have outlined instructions for adding, changing, and deleting codes on our most commonly used panels / keypads in our panel quick guides. You can download your panel’s quick guide (if available) or user manual on our “Downloads” page seen here.

If your keypad / system is not listed, please contact us at 856-854-9222.



Q: How do I change my wireless smoke detector / motion detector and / or window contact batteries?

A: Despite the many different types of alarm systems installed, it is relatively straightforward to change batteries in alarm system sensors. The following steps should be taken:

  • Identify and confirm the device with a low battery.
  • Confirm and purchase the correct replacement battery from Independent Alarm (or your local pharmacy).
  • Carefully remove the cover on the device with a low battery. (This step may require a small flathead screwdriver to remove the cover and a ladder to reach smoke detectors.) Wireless window and door contacts typically have a slot on the side where a small flathead screwdriver can be used to GENTLY pry open a case. Smoke detectors typically swivel off of a mounting base and can be lowered for battery replacement.
  • Once opened, remove the dead battery and replace a new battery. Be sure to install the new battery in the same configuration as the previous battery.
  • Reinstall the device’s cover onto the main base plate.
  • Confirm the low battery signal is gone from the alarm system keypad.

If you do not feel comfortable with this procedure, please contact Independent Alarm at 856-854-9222. Independent Alarm can not be held responsible for damaged or broken sensors that were serviced by the owner.


Prospective Customers:


Q: I haven’t had my alarm monitored in a while, what is my first step?

A: If you were a customer of ours in the past, we will have information about your account and we can help you get set up again. If your alarm system was monitored by another company in the past, there are a few pieces of information that we need to determine the steps to “take-over” and monitor your system. In both cases, the first step is to call us at 856-854-9222 to speak with a qualified professional or request a service call.



Q: I am not happy with my monitoring company; can Independent Alarm take-over or reuse existing alarm systems that were installed by another company?

A: Most likely. Each scenario is different because of the multitude of alarm manufacturers, models, and installation companies in the marketplace. Despite these variables, our technicians are trained experts and most times they can salvage existing equipment.

Occasionally, we run into issues because the installation company will attempt to block other companies from reusing the equipment they installed with codes and passwords in the software. This will all be discussed with you by your representative.

We go into the process in great detail on our “Existing Systems Takeover” page seen here.

Contact us at 856-854-9222 to discuss your situation. A qualified individual is waiting to speak with you!



Q: Do I need a land-line to be monitored?

A: With the advancement of technology, most alarm systems do not need a land line to be monitored. Most alarm panels have the ability to integrate cellular or internet communicators, enabling alternative communication paths. Every situation is unique so please contact Independent Alarm at 856-854-9222 to discuss your system’s capabilities.



Q: I moved into a home with an existing alarm system; can you test, repair, and monitor it?

A: If the alarm system has an Independent Alarm decal on the metal control panel box (gray, white, tan metal box in your basement / utility area or closet) the answer is “YES”. We were the previous company to work on the system and we should have no problem reactivating it.

If the system was installed / serviced by another company in the past, we can most likely take it over. Each scenario is different because of the multitude of alarm manufacturers, models, and installation companies in the marketplace. Despite these variables our technicians are trained experts and most times they can salvage existing equipment.

Occasionally, we run into issues because the installation company will attempt to block other companies from reusing the equipment they installed with codes and passwords in the software. This will all be discussed with you by your representative.

We go into the process in great detail on our Takeover page seen here.

Contact us at 856-854-9222 to discuss your situation. A qualified individual is waiting to speak with you!



Q: Do I need an alarm permit to have a system installed?

A: Unfortunately, every town in NJ and PA has different rules regarding the need for a permit to have an alarm system installed. Most of the time, our sales associates can advise you of our experience with your particular town. Ultimately though, due to changing codes and regulations, we recommend that you contact your town’s local permit office directly to confirm the need for a permit.



Q:  Do you provide service to my area?

A: We are a regionally based company providing installation and service to NJ and PA. In New Jersey we handle all of southern New Jersey and most of central New Jersey. This includes the Jersey shore and north of Rt. 195. In PA we handle the greater Philadelphia metro area and the surrounding counties.



Q:  Can I purchase my own equipment and have you install it?

A: Certain exceptions may apply but in general we do not install customer supplied equipment.


GENERAL QUESTIONS:


Q: Do insurance companies offer a homeowner insurance premium discount for homes with monitored alarm systems?

A: Most insurance providers will offer a premium discount of up to 20% for having a monitored security and / or fire system.



Q: Do you offer service contracts?

A: Yes, we do offer service contracts for all of the equipment that we install and service. Inquire at 856-854-9222 or contact your sales representative to discuss your options.



Q: Will my alarm system work with Voice over IP (VOIP) type systems like Vonage or Magic Jack?

A: Unfortunately, low cost Voice over IP phone services like Vonage and Magic Jack are not compatible with traditional style alarm systems. Call us at 856-854-9222 to discuss alternative ways of communicating to the central monitoring station.



Q: Will my alarm system work with Comcast or Verizon digital phone lines.

A: As of January, 2015, most conventional alarm systems will work with Comcast Xfinity and Verizon FIOS phone lines. Other configurations should be confirmed with Independent Alarm before making a change to a new service.



Q: Does Independent Alarm have a referral program? If so, what are the details?

A: Yes, we do have a referral program. The details are as follows:

Referral Program Details:

When a current monitored customer refers someone who elects to be monitored, the referrer receives a $100 shopping gift certificate to a national retailer AFTER the new system has been installed. The person being referred must be a new Independent Alarm customer. There is no limit to the amount of people you can refer. Read more about our “Referral Program” here.

 

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