Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about false alarms, sensors, and general troubleshooting solutions here.


Does my smoke detector operate on AC power or on batteries?

Peripheral devices, like smoke and motion detectors, door, and window sensors can either use AC power to function and require a battery only in case of a loss of power or can function as wireless devices which run independently and on battery power only. Regardless of whether your peripheral device uses AC power or battery power to operate, you will eventually need to replace their batteries. Find the right battery for your peripheral device on our Battery Identification page.


Why is my ADT Pulse security system receiving an unavailable message?

Watch this video to learn more about ADT Pulse unavailable messages.


Why is my security system not receiving any video feed?

Watch this video to learn more about ADT Pulse video feed.


Why is my Wi-FI camera offline?

Watch this video to learn more about Wi-Fi enabled cameras.


Can I add outdoor motion detectors to the system?

No. ADT does not currently sell or support outdoor motion detectors.


How do I fix a disconnected camera?

Camera repairs vary from system to system. If your problem is with a wifi camera, please visit our Wi-Fi Camera Troubleshooting page. For hardwired cameras and other camera problems, refer to your owner’s manual. If you do not have your manual available, you can download one from our System Manuals & User Guides page.


My alarm went off accidentally, but I quickly put in the code and shut it off. I expected a call from ADT, but no one called. Why not?

Your system allows for a brief grace period to disarm your system before an alarm signal is sent to the Customer Monitoring Center. This gives you enough time to cancel the signal and prevent a false alarm.


Where can I find a copy of the system owner's manual?

Your system-specific user manual can be found on our System Manuals & User Guides page.


What happens when the alarm goes off?

When the system is tripped, the burglary siren will sound and a signal is sent from your alarm system to ADT’s Customer Monitoring Centers, where it appears on a monitoring representative’s computer.


How can I avoid setting false alarms?

Sometimes people avoid using their security system because they’re afraid of setting it off accidentally. But if you use your system regularly, it becomes part of your daily routine, which can help prevent mistakes and avoid false alarms.

There are two ways to arm your system:

AWAY - When leaving your house, you should always arm your system for Away to activate the interior zones such as your motion detectors.

STAY - If you have larger, active pets or pets who climb on the furniture, you should arm your system for Stay so your motion detector does not pick up their activity and cause false alarms.

When coming home, the first thing you should do is enter your 4 digit code to Disarm the system. Then make sure to arm the system again, but this time in Stay mode. This provides an added layer of protection for you and your family while you’re at home. Stay mode activates exterior doors but let’s you move around the home freely without triggering the alarm.

Another way to avoid setting off your alarm accidentally is to make sure everyone in your household knows how to use the alarm.

Be sure to test your system regularly to make sure it communicates properly with the 24-hour ADT Customer Monitoring Center. This can be done by logging into MyADT.com and selecting My Alarm, then click System Management and then select Place System on Test. You can also call 800-ADT-ASAP to put your system into Test Mode.

Watch this video to learn more about avoiding false alarms.


What are some events that can adversely affect my alarm system or cause maintenance issues?

• A change in phone service. If your ADT system utilizes a land line to send alarm signals to our Customer Monitoring Centers, changes to your telephone service could impact the transmission of these signals. If you have a telephone technician visit your home, be sure to test the system before they leave to ensure it is communicating properly with ADT’s Customer Monitoring Centers.

• Switching to DSL. If you plan to switch to a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) for Internet services, a DSL filter created specifically to work with the ADT system may be necessary.

• Remodeling. Home repairs can result in dislodged wires that can prevent you from successfully arming without having to bypass zones. Additionally, sanding and welding in the home may also cause smoke detectors to trip. Remember to save the wireless sensor contacts before disposing of an old door/window and be sure to test the system after any remodeling work is done.

• Loss of power. When power is completely shut off for home repairs or you experience a power outage as a result of severe weather, the system will begin to operate on its backup battery for several hours. Once the backup battery power has been entirely depleted, the system will become non-operational. When power returns, the battery should fully recharge itself. If it is not fully recharged within 24-48 hours, you many need to replace the system battery.

• Household pests. Motion detectors may stop functioning or cause false alarms when pests begin to infest. Spiders building cobwebs in front of a motion detector or bugs walking across or nesting in the motion detector are common examples. Mice and other rodents that scurry across a motion detector will be picked up as movement. Other rodents may pick up or chew on wiring that leads to door or window contacts, causing the contacts to trigger false alarms or fail completely. Fumigating your home will only affect your alarm system if you have monitored smoke/heat detectors installed. Keep in mind that fumes can cause smoke detectors to trigger.

• Decorations and ornaments. Items hanging in front of motion detectors are a common cause of false alarms. Wreaths hung on doors or other door interferences can block door contacts from meeting and prevent the system from arming.

• In places of business, point of purchase displays and advertisements may affect the system’s ability to arm properly. These items often hang from ceilings, twisting or spinning in the air, and can often be light enough for air conditioning to cause them move, tripping a motion detector. Free-standing displays can block motion detectors and open box tops and loose plastic packaging in store rooms can flap and move when the air conditioning initiates.