It was recently discovered that George H.W. Bush’s 20-year-old home security system had been broken for more than a year.

This recent event has many home security system users wondering, “How long will my security system last?”

The short answer: if properly maintained and updated, and the technology exists to repair it as needed, a security system can last 20 years or more. Future upgrades could be a challenge though for these older systems as technology rapidly advances. 

How Long Can Security Systems Last?

Security system panel devices, including sensors, will stay in working order for years if proper maintained. Back-up batteries utilized within each system, however, should be tested frequently and replaced every 3-4 years. To guarantee proper functionality, ensure your provider regularly tests system operation and that signals are being received to the central monitoring center.

At Vector Security, for example, we conduct timer tests every 30 days to ensure proper communication between the system and monitoring station. If a system isn’t functioning properly—perhaps due to a lightning strike or other act of nature, we take proactive steps to get it back online.

Though many homeowners update their security within a 20-year time frame, some choose to keep vintage systems in place. Ultimately, as long as it is properly maintained, an “oldie” is still a “goodie,” providing the same level of protection as it did in the 90s.  

System Monitoring and Maintenance

While some security companies offer contracts that include annual inspection services, regular system testing is often left to the homeowner. Keep a pulse on your home security system every seven to 10 days to make sure alarms are working properly.

Fire alarm and carbon monoxide sensors should also be checked regularly, and tested by NICET certified technicians once per year.  NFPA requires all household fire alarms to be inspected on an annual basis.

Related Post: How To Maintain Your Home Security System

Old Versus New Technologies

Older security systems are typically wired, transmitting signals for central station monitoring via plain old telephone service (POTS) lines. Though effective if properly maintained, a wired system will not offer the same opportunities to homeowners that wireless technology can provide. Cellular capabilities have reshaped the way homeowners control the safety of the home.

When choosing between wired or wireless security systems, consider key differences:


  • Relies on landline phone to transmit signals.
  • Supports basic monitoring capabilities.
  • Threat of physical onsite wires being cut or damaged.


  • Allows remote system management.
  • Integrates with smart home functionality (e.g. thermostats, lights and video surveillance).
  • Ideal for families that rely on mobile phones, rather than landlines.
  • Could become susceptible to cyber hacks, if not properly secured. 


Time For An Upgrade

If your family is ready to update your home security system, reach out to your provider to evaluate the offerings that are best for your needs and budget. Modern security capabilities provide homeowners unprecedented levels of convenience and control.

Though factors like home and security system size will adjust installation time, a typical customer setup can be completed the same day or within 48 hours. Contact a Vector Security expert to discuss a security update that’s perfect for your family.

Have you recently updated your security system? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Source: Esther