So, Heathen Central has always had an alarm with these people. Over the weekend, we had enough heavy weather in Houston that we lost our regular phone line, and the alarm started telling us about it by beeping.
Ever ten minutes.
Clearing the error doesn’t work; it tries the phone line periodically to check, and as soon as the test fails it starts beeping again (unless the alarm is actually ENGAGED at the time, in which case the alarm goes off; this is less charming than beeping).
I called ATT, sure (we don’t actually use ATT for voice; the POTS line exists only for the alarm and failover reasons), but in the meantime what I needed was a way to continue to set and use the alarm, even in the absence of a phone line for monitoring.
Well, it turns out there’s no way to do that, and this is bone fucking stupid. An alarm works on several levels:
- The big ADT sign does some deterrence;
- If some douchebag breaks in and the alarm goes off, there’s a nonzero chance the miscreant will just run away. Someone DID try our (unfortunately unlocked) downstairs patio door at one point, which is on a zero-delay switch. They got it open half an inch and the alarm went nuts; exit bad guys.
- If both of those fail on you, then yes, the alarm DOES use the phone line to alert the monitoring service, and the monitoring service will dispatch the authorities.
By making it impossible to turn off the phone line check (for situations such as the one we’re in), ADT has made the alarm system 100% useless until ATT gets off its ass and fixes my POTS line. Given the power in case #2, above, that’s just dumb.
(Well; the signs still work; call it 95% useless.)
I think it’s probably time to shop for a new alarm system. In a city with a history of heavy weather, a system designed like the one I have seriously needs to get fired.