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What Causes False Alarms on Home Security Systems?

False alarms in home security systems are common. This is particularly the case with older or unreliable equipment. However, most false alarms are caused by everyday occurrences, like bad weather or falling objects.

A false alarm is defined as an alarm set off unintentionally and needlessly, alerting you to something happening in the home that you didn’t need to know about. 

For example, some people use security cameras to monitor pets when away from the home. But for those that don’t, an alarm being triggered by a pet is considered a false alarm. Likewise, a security camera designed to detect movements in case an intruder breaks in being set off by a curtain blowing in the wind is a false alarm.

Identifying the cause of a false alarm is the first step to preventing it. Most issues are easily fixed by making a few changes to the alarm settings or positioning. Small changes can also be made around the home to prevent frequent false alarms.

Read on to learn what causes false alarms on home security systems and how to prevent them.  

1. Pets

Creating a detection zone avoids notification triggers for certain areas. A detection zone that ignores the floor is a logical way to reduce the number of notifications caused by pets crawling around the house. 

2. Low Battery

Another common cause of false alarms on home security systems is when the batteries are low on a device. This impacts performance and causes weak connection to power sources, like when wireless cameras disconnect from Wi-Fi.

Battery-powered home security cameras sometimes give alerts when power is running low. When these alerts sound, change the batteries or charge the device as soon as possible. This prevents reduced performance of the camera and the occurrence of false alarms. 

3. Sudden Temperature Changes

4. Open Windows

Breezes caused by open windows and doors can be another cause of false alarms in the home. Firstly, the wind itself can set off motion sensors and alarms. This is because the breeze can disrupt the connection between the sensors, particularly if it’s very strong. 

Secondly, if objects move around from the breeze, like curtains, flowers, and other items, these can also set off alarms. Keep windows and doors shut when devices are armed.

It can also be combated by reducing motion sensitivity on the device. Lower settings are less likely to trigger false alarms caused by small movements.

In the AlfredCamera app, motion detection sensitivity can be changed to one of three settings: high, medium, and low. Low sensitivity will only send notifications of motion when significant motion is detected. Experiment with the settings to find what works best for you. 

5. Insects

Bugs and insects can also be the cause of home security system false alarms. During summer when windows and doors are left open, flies and other insects can get into the house. 

It’s unlikely a small bug, like a fly, ant, or beetle, will set off a motion detector camera or sensor in a house. But when bugs fly or crawl directly over the sensor, it can cause a false alarm. 

Preventing this involves taking measures to prevent insects getting in. For example, by installing a magnetic fly mesh or roller fly screen on backdoors in summer. 

6. Mail & Deliveries

Much like pet monitoring, deliveries are something that a lot of people proactively use their home surveillance to keep an eye on. But for those that don’t, mail and deliveries wind up being a common cause of false alarms. 

The motion of mail through the letter box or the sound of heavy letters dropping can cause a false alarm. A package left around a property or over a gate can also trigger a back door or side gate sensor alarm. 

To prevent false alarms caused by mail, particularly if they happen frequently, try installing a letterbox catcher. These are small metal crates secured on the inside of the door under the letterbox. Alternatively, consider installing a metal mailbox outside the property. 

7. Falling Objects

Things around the home can fall or move, even when there is no one home and there are no windows open. Such movements and noises can falsely trigger internal sensors and alarms. 

A closet crammed shut can pop open and spill contents, triggering the alarm, or a helium balloon left inside the house can drop to the floor and be flagged as sudden movement. 

Other unexpected movements, like kids’ toys twitching, robotic hoovers starting a pre-set clean, or drooping flowers, can set the alarm off.

8. Old Systems

Most home security systems, cameras, and alarms will eventually need replacing. 

The older a system gets, the less reliable it can become. Frequent false alarms can occur when a system is becoming faulty due to age.

AlfredCamera is a dependable way to quickly replace a failing security camera because it can be set up in just minutes using a phone, tablet, or even a computer. No excuses for using dated security equipment! 

9. Tumble Dryers

Though it’s rare, tumble dryers can also be the cause of a false alarm. The airflow, vibration, or sudden noise of them starting and stopping can trigger sensors inside a property.

To prevent this, make sure the alarm systems meet modern alarm standards and have a suitable “immunity to airflow”. This will prevent a tumble dryer from setting off the alarm, as well as other gusts of wind.

Or, if possible, don’t position sensors near a tumble dryer. 

10. Bad Weather

False alarms in home security systems are commonly caused by bad weather. Storms, heavy rainfall, and sudden gusts of winds can impact outdoor security cameras and cause a false alarm. 

This is particularly the case if cameras are not installed properly and move during strong winds.

Bad weather can also cause false alarms inside the property. Gusts of wind coming through vents or the chimney can move objects and trigger sensors. Likewise, in a bad storm, thunder can cause vibrations that trigger a home security alarm. 


So many everyday occurrences can trigger a false alarm in a home security system. There are different ways to prevent these alarms, which mostly involve installing home security cameras properly and maintaining them well.

If a false alarm has been triggered on the property, it’s important to find the cause as quickly as possible. Continuous false alarms are a nuisance, particularly for neighbors.