What Does Bypass Mean on an Alarm System?
Homes and commercial buildings often have alarm systems to deter thieves and protect assets. Alarm systems often have many controls, which can make it difficult for homeowners and employers to know if they're getting enough protection.
One of the functions you may see on your alarm system is the term "bypass." Bypass means to deactivate security in one or more areas Ð or zones Ð in your home or business. This means that if anyone enters a bypassed area, the alarm won't sound. That's because the security system is not monitoring these zones.
You might find this an unusual function. After all, who would want a specific area to be left unsecured?
When Is a Bypass Useful?
The bypass function is useful for a couple reasons. Those who are remodeling an area of their office or home may want to allow access to this area. This would allow contractors and other workers to enter and exit the room freely without triggering the alarm. You can simply bypass the areas in which the people would be working, instead of turning off the entire alarm system and leaving your home unprotected. The areas of the home not bypassed would still be monitored by the alarm system.
Another case in which a bypass would be useful is if a sensor becomes damaged or needs service for some other reason. This can happen during a home renovation. If the sensor becomes faulty, you will be unable to arm your alarm. This leaves the whole house unprotected. If a sensor becomes damaged, use the bypass function and contact your alarm monitoring service as soon as possible to get the sensor fixed. You don't want to leave the room unsecured for too long.
For most alarm systems, only the actual alarm can be bypassed. You may not be able to bypass fire and carbon monoxide sensors.
Also, for some systems, you must enter the areas you want to bypass every time you arm and disarm the system. So, keep this in mind, because you might need to go through the procedure multiple times.
How to Perform a Bypass
Each alarm manufacturer has a different procedure for allowing a bypass. See your owner's manual or contact your alarm monitoring company for the correct procedures for your alarm. You may also be able to do an internet search and find the information you need online.
For Honeywell security systems, a bypass requires this combination of numbers: Code + 6 + Zone. Your code is the number provided to you by the security company. Zones are identified by numbers. You can also open the window or door you want to be bypassed and enter just the code + 6.
For DSC alarms, start with *, 1, and your four-digit user code. Enter the zone(s) you want to bypass, and end the sequence with the pound (#) sign. So, if your code is 5678, and you want to bypass zone 03, your sequence would be *1567803#.
While each alarm is different, once you have your user code and zone number bypassing should be fairly easy. If you can't figure it out, an alarm monitoring service can help.
Another Type of Bypass
If you don't perform a bypass on your own, a criminal may be able to if your home isn't secure enough. Many sensors and motion detectors used in homes can be easily bypassed by thieves who enter your home. In fact, as many as 25% of new alarm systems have components that can all be bypassed.
This is especially true for door sensors, which operate off of magnetic fields. They will trip if you counteract them with a high magnetic field. Some thieves also know how to disable alarms remotely, allowing them to enter a home without warning homeowners. As a consumer, there's not really a lot you can do on your end except wait for the manufacturer to upgrade the system.
Alarm systems can be tricky. You may think your home is fully protected Ð but bypassing an area can result in a loss of protection. This can make it easier for theft to occur. Contact an alarm monitoring system to learn more about residential alarm systems and make sure your family and you are safe and sound.
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