A common question we get from homeowners is, “If the power goes out, does my security system still work?”

Well, it depends on the type of security monitoring you have:

  • Landline/Phone line: Yes, still works
  • Cellular radio: Yes, still works
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): No, does not work.

Let’s explain each of these alarm monitoring technologies in more detail.

Landline/Phone line alarm monitoring

What it is: This type of monitoring sends signals to the monitoring station via a standard phone line (often known as POTS, for Plain Old Telephone Service).

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Why it still works during a power failure: It works for the same reason your landline phone still works when the power goes out. Essentially, the security system is powered by the phone company.

You see, your phone and your landline security system are connected to and powered by a dedicated pair of copper wires which are connected to the phone company's office.

During a power failure, the phone company’s office uses their extensive battery system and backup generator to supply power to your phone and security system. So as long as their batteries hold, your security system will work during a power outage.

Cellular radio monitoring

What it is: This monitoring technology communicates wirelessly with the monitoring station via a GSM or CDMA wireless device. These are the same technologies used in cell phones.

Why it still works during a power failure: Most cellular radio monitoring systems are equipped with a backup battery that lasts 24+ hours (it depends on your system). And as long as it’s powered, the cellular device can communicate with the monitoring station wirelessly.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) monitoring

What it is: This technology allows your security system to send signals to the monitoring station via the internet.

Why it does NOT work during a power failure: With VoIP monitoring, your security system will not work during a power failure since both your internet router and VoIP modem need a constant power source to work. So, no power means no signal transmission from your alarm system to the monitoring station.

The home alarm monitoring solution we recommend most

Of the 3 monitoring solutions listed here, we highly recommend cellular radio monitoring for a few reasons:

  • Works during a power outage (as long as the battery lasts)
  • Has no wires for burglars to cut, meaning you have a safer, more reliable security system.
  • Is technically cheaper than landline monitoring if you ditch your phone line.

Learn more about Ackerman’s cellular/wireless monitoring.