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Alarm systems are a PITA. I don't touch them if I can help it. As an inspector they are specifically excluded in my contract, and about all I report about them is that the client needs to get all of the operating manuals from the seller and have the system tested by the alarm company that installed it, or turn it of and leave it off. At my day job I take it further, my contract states that I will disconnect the switches at what ever I'm replacing but they must contact their alarm company to reconnect it. I would be liable if I reconnected a switch and it malfunctioned, and my insurance wouldn't pay the claim.

I don't know what's worse, a bunch of angry fire fighters or the cops with guns drawn because you hit the panic button. They never say so in the commercials, but most alarms are false alarms.


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The Texas TREC SOP "requires" all such tests, but many of the Texas HIs dis-claim them and do not test due to what happened to you.

Any more the local fire departments don't like such false alarms and they are seeking $$ compensation for such.

Now the question becomes:

Who is going to pay?

Home Inspector?

Listing Agent?

Buyer's Agent?



It can go round and round and round. Fundamentally it would start with the homeowner/seller as their name is on the records for the address where the alarm originated.

Years ago I had one set of firetrucks show up. That was enough to tell me to stop pushing the button and make other notes in my report from then on.

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I won't tell the entire story; I've repeated the whole story somewhere on here half a dozen times. It was so long ago that the particulars are starting to fade. Here's the abridged version.

I once tripped a silent alarm that was supposed to have been reset. Later, while backing out from under the kitchen sink, I felt a hard object poke me behind my ear and a voice said something like, "Freeze motherf****r!" My response, "Jeez, I sure hope yer a "f*****g cop. Please don't drop the hammer on that weapon!" or some such. He came back with, "Who are you. What the f**k do you think you're doing here?" I told him; he talked me out from under the cabinet into the spreadeagle position, frisked me to make sure I wasn't carrying and then let me get up to explain.

We had a good laugh afterward - the ex-cop who'd practically crapped his drawers and the cop who thought he'd caught a real bad actor in the act. I wasn't real happy with the realtor that'd met me out in front and said, "Go on in. I unlocked the door and the alarm has been reset."



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I did that as well. Looked, smelled, tasted like smoke alarm. Pushed button and all !@#$ broke loose. Phone rang, I answered it knowing who it was told her what was going on, inspecting the home. I can hear them laughing in the background and I told them I will still be here when the cavalry comes. Sure 'nuff, police and fire came through the door laughing and making fun of me. [:-monkeyd

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Set the alarm off once. Turned out the wire was pinched between a ceiling joist and the decking in an attic. Pretty red lights. I simply report on the locations, advise they be replaced the devices at about six years of age and add a comment about CO detectors.

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