You have decided that you need a driveway alarm, researched it, determined which system suits your needs, and are now ready to buy and install it. Most systems in most locations will last for many years or even decades. There are however, several steps you can take to extend the life of your driveway alarm and protect it from damage.
Many driveway alarms are wireless; which means that they require batteries that will need to be maintained. Most systems have a warning in place to alert you to low batteries. The most common way that driveway alarms will do this is by repeating a chime. This means that every time your driveway alarm is set off it will chime twice instead of once. The batteries in most systems last for a year when used with light to moderate traffic. Systems that transmit signals over several miles generally need to have batteries changed every 4 months. Something else to consider with batteries, is that even when you are buying brand new batteries, you should be sure to check that they are still fully charged. Often stores will sell old batteries that have expired. When dead batteries are installed in a system people believe there is something wrong with their driveway alarm, causing much unnecessary worry and tech support. A simple volt meter will help you ensure that the batteries you have purchased are good and do not need to be returned to the store.Most people are conscious of the damaging effects of water to their electrical equipment, but many do not consider how sunlight is also damaging. Sunlight will cause UV degradation in many plastics; which causes discoloration and cracking. Cracked plastics can lead to water leaks. Inexpensive wooden birdhouses are designed to protect your plastic devices by keeping them out of the sunlight. These birdhouse often come unfinished so that you can stain them yourself and choose a color that works with you outdoor space. These birdhouses also act as a disguise so that potential thieves or vandals do not see that you have a driveway alarm.
Many driveway alarms use magnetic probes. Magnetic probes are often buried in the ground and only false alarm when there is lightning storms. False alarms occur during lightning storms because the lightning has the same effect on a probe as moving metal. When a lightning storm occurs many people will just unplug their chime because of the noise of the false alarms. By unplugging a chime you are stopping the chiming in the house but the probe and transmitter are still alarming and sending signals and draining the batteries. One lightning storm could be the equivalent of one month’s worth of traffic. A simple way to prevent this is to remove the batteries before a lightning storm. A direct lightning hit will severely damage your probe and transmitter, often irreparably. There is no way to protect them from surges as we do in our homes for our TV’s and computers. An option however would be to unplug the probe from the transmitter stopping a surge from travelling from the probe up to the transmitter box. This does require a screwdriver and a little electrical knowledge, so it is not advisable for everybody.
Batteries and birdhouses are available from our Driveway Alarm Accessories section on our website, found here.