Guess which keypad disables the alarm. 10 seconds, MacGruber!
May 18, 2010 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Is there any reason I shouldn't rip this ADT alarm system keypad out of the wall and patch over it like it never existed?

We moved into a condo that came prewired with an ADT alarm system. We have never activated it.

We've decided on going with different company's wireless alarm system, which means we won't need the ADT keypad or other components that are installed around the condo.

Are there any benefits to keeping the ADT wired system in place? I'd like to avoid adding yet another little plastic box to the wall next to the thermostat and intercom, and I don't want to risk future pet sitters or visitors accidentally using the wrong keypad. Is a wired alarm system something future buyers will look for when we move out in 4-5 years or so? Even if it is something buyers look for, would it be worth the hassle and the occasional keypad confusion to leave it in?

Bonus question: If the system is unplugged and I remove the backup battery, I should be safe from electrocution and certain fiery death when I rip these suckers out and spackle over them, right?
posted by awegz to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
The system is low-voltage so even if you left it plugged in, you would be unlikely to be in any danger from it. You might look into local companies that can unlock and use existing wired equipment, though -- you don't have to go with ADT just because you have their equipment installed. It might be less expensive than having a new system installed even if it is wireless.
posted by kindall at 11:45 AM on May 18, 2010

In my opinion, the biggest benefit is having the wiring in place for future use, and not so much in a proprietary panel. You might want to leave the control box in place, if its lurking in the back of a closet and isn't in your way.

If you haven't already purchased the equipment from the next company, you might consider trying to leverage some of the existing wiring where possible. The wireless sensors are great if you can't run wires but the sensors are bulky and do occasionally need batteries. Plus, wireless alarm panels have a max number of wireless sensors that can be registered to them. If you think you might need more sensors than the panel allows, you can do a hybrid wired/wireless system.

Lastly, alot of people on this forum recommend not putting the main panel of a wireless system in plain view of the front door. You can get auxiliary panel to put next to the intercom and then you stash the main panel somewhere else in the house.

On preview, kindall's suggestion of trying to use the existing equipment is a good one.
posted by cabingirl at 11:52 AM on May 18, 2010

First thing I did when I moved into my house was remove the ADT alarm and patch the holes. Go for it.
posted by fixedgear at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2010

My first house had a disabled ADT system. I never planned on activating it, and it didn't bother me to have it there. The benefit to this was that there was a short series of beeps when a door or window was opened, so while it didn't function as an alarm per se, it was still put to use letting me know when the front door opened while I was upstairs, as well as displaying outside temperature and the time, so it was left alone.

Until, that is, a friend noted after too many drinks, that the time was now off by an hour after having switched to daylight savings time. This bothered her intensely, and after much button mashing, managed to activate the alarm. At 1.30 at night. Calls to ADT yielded nothing ("Technically ma'am, you don't have an alarm. Yes I do hear the high pitched screeching.") and to the manufacturer ("Please leave a message and we will return your call."). I had to cut the power to the house, yank out the battery backup, and then eventually cut the hard line to the alarm box. What followed was what felt like a forever of apologizing to new, cranky neighbors, and then explaining to the police officer who showed up that yes I lived there, no, I was not actually a burglar saying that there isn't actually an alarm though clearly something sounding like an alarm had been going off, and no my friend was not driving home, although I encouraged him to feel free to haul her off anyway in order to prevent me from killing her.

If it's not a problem, leave it alone. If you are or have an OCD button-mashing friend, take that thing out ASAP.
posted by sephira at 9:19 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

No harm in removing it, since these are low voltage systems, and it is pretty tough to hurt yourself. As for leaving it, the odds that it will ever be used are less and less over time. The great majority of new systems are wireless anyway, especially for existing homes. You can actually get a wireless system for very little money that will support up to 39 or 40 zones (or sensors) such as the GE Simon XT, and it is really rare that you would need more than that. Plus, the new systems do so much more!

By the way, be sure that you focus on cellular monitoring (the only safe method, since there is no phone line or internet connection to cut) - and look hard for interactive features. a good system these days has the following:

1) 100% cellular monitoring - no phone line required, and none to cut!
2) Remote arm/disarm capability
3) Special apps for iPhone, Blackberry, Android
4) Email & test notifications on anything happening at home: doors opening, etc.
5) Video services - live viewing from any web connection (including phone) and motion-activated clips
6) Smart home - remote light and thermostat control
remote arm/disarm, special apps for hand-held devices, text and email notifications, and even video and smart home features.

Note: I work for FrontPoint Security ( and we specialize in these kinds of systems - and we are a logical (and frequent!) replacement for ADT systems.
posted by peterrogers at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2010

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