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DFT Security Frequently Asked Questions

Alarm Activation - Frequently Asked Questions

What if I accidentally trip my alarm?

First and foremost remain calm, and simply enter your four digit security code (and “OFF” on some systems). If your system still doesn’t disarm, try your code again. DFT’s Central Monitoring Center will call shortly, when they call – give them your password and name and tell them you accidentally tripped your alarm.

Is there an automatic shutoff for the siren?

Sirens can be programmed to sound for two or more minute increments. Most ordinances required the outside siren to shutdown after 15 minutes. Most systems will sound for a specified period of time, usually 12 minutes. The time period is per occurrence and will resound if another violation is detected.

If there is a break-in attempt will the system re-arm?

During an attempted break-in, the system will go into alarm. The system remains armed until a user presses in their code + off. If there is a subsequent detection, the system will go into alarm again.

What happens when the alarm goes off?

When your system that is being monitored by DFT Security goes into an alarm mode, it sends a signal to our central monitoring station. This signal tells us the type and / or location of the alarm. Depending on the type of alarm signal, our central station staff will call the premises to determine if there is an emergency, call the proper emergency support officials, and call you to inform you of the situation. The specific procedures are set up when your system is installed, and you have control in this process.

DFT’s trained Central Station dispatcher will call you to verify the validity of the alarm and will ask for your password. If there is no answer within 3 rings or the correct password is not given, the proper authorities (Police) are immediately notified and dispatched to your premises. The monitoring station will proceed to go through the call list for the premises and try to reach a responsible party. The police, once they have arrived will do a perimeter check of your premises, and look for any visible signs of forced entry. If none is found, they will leave. The alarm will attempt to reset itself after approximately 15 minutes and the siren will stop sounding. If a break-in has occurred, the police will often notify the Central Station, and report their findings to you.

Billing - Frequently Asked Questions

I've sold my home, how do I terminate Central Station service?

Due to regulations, DFT cannot formally stop your services and billing until we have sent and received DFT’s completed “Termination of Service Request / Authorization” form.

I'm moving out of the area, does DFT provide service in my new area?

Possibly. DFT Security is proud to provide service to customers throughout Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Through our First Alert dealer network DFT Security can assist you with obtaining the same high level of service in your new home no matter where you move.

I still have 14 months left on my DFT Service Agreement, am I responsible for the balance of the payments?

Yes, DFT is only able to provide low cost installations, because we are counting on receiving the contractual payments. If it is still necessary for you to terminate service, DFT will invoice you for the balance of the payments.

How will I be billed?

DFT Security can bill you on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. We also offer Electronic Funds Transfer (AFT) billing. This convenient method of payment is drawn directly from your checking account or credit card. Now you won’t have to hassle with writing out checks and getting your payment in on time.

What is my "account number"?

An account number is used to obtain any information on an account. You actually have two “account numbers” one for billing purposes and the other is your Central Station ID. Your billing account number always begins with “200” and followed by five digits (i.e. 200xxxxx) and your Central Station ID is always eight digits (i.e. 17006540)

Can I change how often I make my monitoring payment?

Yes, even though you may have selected a payment plan when you signed your monitoring contract, by contacting our Customer Service Department you may have the option of paying your monitoring fee annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. If necessary under certain conditions, you may make special payment arrangements. Select the payment option that most comfortably fits your budget.

I wrote a check to DFT Security when my system was first installed, but it didn't show up on my first bill. Is there a problem?

Due to billing cycles it is possible that your first bill was issued before the payment you made was posted. It generally takes one billing cycle for the posted payment to be reflected on your account. By the second billing cycle if the payment does not appear, do not hesitate to contact DFT at 800-724-1057 to verify the payment was received.

I've lost my Invoice and can't find it anywhere. Can I send my payment in without it? What do I need to do and where do I send it?

Yes, you can send your payment in without your Invoice. Make sure you write on your check your DFT Security Account number along with your name, address and telephone number and send the payment to: DFT Security Services, Inc., PO Box 1353, 40 Temple St., Fredonia, New York 14063

Do I have to make my payment by check only?

No, DFT Security offers a variety of options by which you may make your monthly Payment. They are: Check, Money Order, AFT (Electronic Fund Transfer – Debit of your Bank account, Visa / MasterCard.

I would like to change where my bill is sent, does it have to be sent to the same address where the system is located?

No, you can have your bill sent to an address which is different from your system location. Just contact DFT at 800-724-1057 ask for assistance with your Billing and let us know the new address. We will make sure the changes are made and your bill is sent where it can most conveniently be received and paid by you.

I just got my first bill and it is higher than the rate I thought I was paying. I understand the taxes on the bill, but what is this other amount for?

The amount may be a pro-rated amount for the balance of the billing cycle in the month. For example, if your system was installed on the 15th of October there are 16 days left in the month. You are being billed for those 16 days of service based on the monthly monitoring rate. Other charges that may appear on your bill are Alarm License or Permit fees that DFT must collect on the behalf of some government agencies.

Central Station - Frequently Asked Questions

How does an alarm report to central station?

A basic alarm system communicates over your regular telephone line. When the alarm activates it seizes (takes priority) over your handsets, makes a call to the Central Station receivers, which answer the call and decode the message from your alarm panel. The decoded signal is sent to the Central Station operators computer and then handled as per your instructions. DFT offers Alarmnet-M, AlarmNet-I and AlarmNet-C as back-up communications path to insure receipt of the alarm signal in the event of loss of normal telephone service.

If I am already using the phone, how will the alarm communicate with the Central Station?

By installing a RJ31x jack and running a connection between it and the Telephone Company’s demarcation point, the alarm will have proper line seizure. This means that if anyone was talking on the telephone, or if an intruder took the telephone off the hook, it would not matter. The alarm will send a signal and properly communicate with the monitoring station. DFT offers Alarmnet I and Alarmnet C as back-up communications path to insure receipt of the alarm signal in the event of loss of normal telephone service.

What if the telephone is in use when the system goes into alarm?

Each alarm system is equipped with a digital communicator that is designed to “seize” the phone line when it needs to communicate with the central station. This prevents an “off hook” or in use phone line from preventing the system from communicating an alarm.

What happens when the burglar alarm goes off?

DFT’s trained Central Station dispatcher will call you to verify the validity of the alarm and will ask for your password. If there is no answer within 3 rings or the correct password is not given, the proper authorities (Police) are immediately notified and dispatched to your premises. The monitoring station will proceed to go through the call list for the premises and try to reach a responsible party. The police, once they have arrived will do a perimeter check of your premises, and look for any visible signs of forced entry. If none is found, they will leave. The alarm will attempt to reset itself after approximately 15 minutes and the siren will stop sounding. If a break-in has occurred, the police will often notify the Central Station, and report their findings to you.

Why should my system be monitored by a central station?

There are many benefits for having your system professionally monitored. The most obvious is the automatic reporting or alarms. Your system is capable of notifying us of what type of alarm is occurring and our trained operators will respond to each alert. Each individual alarm owner can dictate how we should respond and we will notify the police and/or fire department for you if required. The alarm system also monitors it’s own system status and can alert us to many things that may require attention before they become a problem. Besides monitoring the status of the sensors and control panel it also monitors the batteries, and communications functions. If your alarm system reports a system problem we will notify you as soon as possible.

Can I choose how the Central Station will handle alarms?

Yes you can. While DFT follows established industry standards, we can customize exactly how you want your alarms to be handled. Please understand that your safety and security are our foremost concern and we may not be able to change a procedure that adversely affects you or the responding authorities.

What happens if I cannot be reached in case of an alarm?

At the time of the alarm installation you provided us with a Emergency Contact list of two or more individuals that will have a key and an entry code that can be contacted in case you cannot be. It is very important that you spend time with these “Emergency Contacts” or “Keyholders” instructing them on your expectations and their responsibilities and most importantly on the operation of the alarm system in your absence.

Should DFT's Central Station monitor my system?

We highly recommend that DFT’s Central Station monitor your security system. In the event of an alarm or trouble condition, the Central Station can contact the Police or Fire Department, First Aid, a nearby relative, call your pager, or even the plumber if needed.

Can I be notified when my system is armed or disarmed?

Some of our systems have the ability to call a pager and notify you when a particular user arms or disarms the system. You also have the ability of having DFT’s Central Station supervise the Open/Close (On/Off) status of your system and notifying you of any discrepancies. With DFT’s Supervised Open/Close Service you can also have Opening / Closing reports mailed, emailed or faxed on a weekly or monthly basis for an additional monitoring fee.

Who does the Central Station call first?

In most cases DFT’s trained Central Station dispatcher will call you to verify the validity of the alarm and will ask for your password. If there is no answer within 3 rings or the correct password is not given, the proper authorities (Police) are immediately notified and dispatched to your premises. The monitoring station will proceed to go through the call list for the premises and try to reach one of your Emergency Contacts. Please see “How are ________ signals handled by the Central Station?” elsewhere in these FAQ’s.

What happens if our first key-holder is unavailable?

DFT’s Central Station will continue to attempt to contact the persons you gave us on your “Emergency Contact / Keyholder list” until someone is notified.

How do we know that our system signaled correctly?

If you are unsure, please call DFT’s Central Station, our trained operators will be able to assist you and/or coordinate a service visit for you.

Do we have a Police response immediately after the alarm is installed?

Yes, unless you would prefer to have DFT defer your police response for a few days (Training Period) while you become acquainted with the system.

Why does my alarm system take so long to notify DFT?

The alarm system provides a delay period for the user. This delay period allows the user to disarm the system in order to prevent alarm activation. The delay period can range from 30 seconds up to 2 minutes.

How do I change the people listed on my Emergency Contact list (Keyholders)?

It’s simple. Just call the DFT Central Monitoring Center at 800-724-1057 with your changes. Have your password ready in order to make your changes. Make sure to tell everyone on your call list what to do in case they receive a call from DFT.

What is an undefined signal?

Your alarm system is capable of sending many types of signals to DFT, which is why we spend a lot of time during the installation testing the alarms. Very rarely a system will send a signal that is not clearly defined in our database and requires us to update our information.

How do I change the people listed on my Emergency Contact list (Keyholders)?

It’s simple. Just call the DFT Central Monitoring Center at 800-724-1057 with your changes. Have your password ready in order to make your changes. Make sure to tell everyone on your call list what to do in case they receive a call from DFT.

When do I call the Central Station?

Central Station should be called to put the account on test, to have the signals of the alarm testing read back, to make changes to your account call list, to review your alarm history and to cancel a false alarm.

What if I forgot my password?

Unfortunately, due to security and safety reasons and for your protection, DFT can only send via U.S.P.S. mail the current password to the Master User / Owner of the system.

What is my "account number"?

An account number is used to obtain any information on an account. You actually have two “account numbers” one for billing purposes and the other is your Central Station ID. Your billing account number always begins with “200” and followed by five digits (i.e. 200xxxxx) and your Central Station ID is always eight digits (i.e. 17006540)

How are Burglar Alarm Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Burglary Signal: This type of signal is always verified. An operator will first telephone the premises. If there is no answer after three rings, the authorities will be dispatched and emergency contacts / key holders will be notified. If the line is busy, authorities will be dispatched. Customers who are at the site and know that the alarm is “false” should try to answer the phone promptly and give the operator their Password.

How are Fire Alarm Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Fire Alarm: This type of signal is typically verified. An operator will first telephone the premises. If there is no answer after three rings, the authorities will be dispatched and emergency contacts / key holders will be notified. If the line is busy, authorities will be dispatched. Customers who are at the site and know that the alarm is “false” should try to answer the phone promptly and give the operator their Password.

How are Commercial Fire Alarm Signals Handled at my business by the Central Station?

Commercial Fire / Fire Sprinkler: There is no verification for this type of signal. The fire department is dispatched first, then a telephone call to the premises is made to alert the customer that the fire department is on its way. If there is no answer, emergency contacts / key holders are called to meet the fire department. If a false alarm has been sounded, please call the central station quickly. Although the fire department’s visit cannot be cancelled, it is important that it be informed.

How are Panic Alarm Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Residential Panic / Duress Signal: There is no verification for these signals. Authorities are sent immediately. If a false alarm has been sounded, call the central station immediately. It cannot be cancelled if the police have been notified.

How are Commercial Holdup Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Commercial Ambush / Holdup Signal: There is no verification for these signals. Authorities are sent immediately. If a false alarm has been sounded, call the central station immediately. It cannot be cancelled if the police have been notified.

How are Emergency Alert Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Emergency Alert Signal: An operator will telephone the premises first to verify, and follow your special instructions as necessary.

How are Environmental Alarm Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Environmental / Supervisory Signal: This type of signal indicates problems associated with building temperature, gas, flood, sump pump, low battery, power failures or in Commercial fire alarm systems low water pressure or . An operator will telephone the premises first. If there is no answer, the operator will call emergency contacts / key holders.

How are Late-To-Test Signals Handled by the Central Station?

Late-To-Test Signal: This is an internal signal generated by DFT Security’s Central Station computers when your alarm system misses or fails to communicate its assigned “Check-In” signal. This type of signal may indicate a problem associated with your alarm panel or telephone connection. An operator will first telephone the premises to have you test your system and attempt to determine the problem. If there is no answer the operator will call emergency contacts / key holders and DFT Service & Repair will be notified.

DFT - Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose DFT Security?

DFT Security was founded more than 30 years ago. Since 1979, DFT has grown to be one of the largest independently owned and operated alarm companies in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania, protecting over 8,000 residential and commercial customers. We care about our customers! At DFT Security, each member of our experienced, professional staff is dedicated to the highest measure of quality. We take great pride in our work and constantly strive to ensure that our products, workmanship and services exceed the expectations of our customers. DFT Security has created a distinct line of products and services designed to provide our customers with a full range of intrusion, fire, access control, and video surveillance solutions.

I am not happy with the system I currently have through another company. Can I switch over to DFT Security?

Yes, however, if you have an existing monitoring agreement with another company, you must wait until it expires. Once you are free from your contracted obligation, feel free to contact us. We will send a qualified DFT Security Sales Representative to your home to evaluate your system. Our representatives will determine your security needs, make recommendations, and discuss the necessary steps required to bring you on board as a valued DFT Security customer.

Where is the DFT Security's Service Territory?

DFT Security is proud to provide service to customers throughout Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Specifically – In New York State: Erie County, Niagara County, Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus County, Allegany County, Livingston County, Wyoming County, Genesee County, Orleans County, Monroe County. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Erie County, Warren County, McKean County, Bradford County, Potter County, Crawford County.

How much does an alarm system cost?

As with anything you buy, the cost can vary considerably depending on your needs and the choices you make. At DFT Security we strive to give you complete protection and competitive pricing. Currently our basic alarm packages start as low as $299 and $25.95 per month.

Why shouldn't I buy the Free nationally-advertised system? Isn't it a good deal?

This cost is for a minimal, basic system that doesn’t adequately protect most homes. Starting with that price, you then move to the “a la carte menu” to add other components you will need for your system — which often ends up costing more than a custom designed system from DFT Security. Some of the systems that are advertised for very low prices are leased systems, but when you buy a security system from DFT Security it belongs to you.

Can my existing alarm system be upgraded?

With technology advancing rapidly in recent years, many improvements have been made in our industry. For example, today’s control panels have a much larger zone capacity that those of a few years ago. Also, if you are experiencing false alarms, you may have faulty contacts or wiring that needs replacing. Please contact us if you would like to discuss upgrading your security system.

I want a security system but my house is not pre-wired. Can you still install a system without running wires everywhere?

Yes! DFT Security has over 30 years of experience installing alarm systems in existing homes. In fact the vast majority of the systems we install are in existing lived-in homes. This vast experience allows us in most cases to provide a neat and clean installation with almost every wire hidden from view. Even in “impossible” homes we have some wonderful “wireless” solutions to address this problem.

If I move, will I have to pay again to put a security system in my new house?

If you’ve already enjoyed DFT services for at least two years, then DFT will provide a One-Time credit of $200 towards a new system in your new home (within our service territory) as a courtesy. Please note that your new home must be located in an area that is serviced by DFT Security.

What is the purpose of having a monitored Security System?

With DFT Security Systems, your home or business is protected, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Imagine the peace of mind you will have knowing that when you are at home or away, your property is protected. With an alarm system, you, your family members and your cherished possessions are shielded from robbery. You will have full use of three panic buttons (police, emergency and fire) located on the keypad. Some systems even have a silent duress code feature, please ask your DFT representative for more information on this feature. When an alarm is detected, you will be contacted (work, cell phone, pager) and the proper authorities will be notified (police or fire department) as well as any friends, neighbors or relatives that you have placed on your emergency contact list.

False Alarm - Frequently Asked Questions

How do false alarms occur?

User error (i.e.. someone taking too long to leave or not knowing the Pin Code) is the most common problem, but other reasons include: Faulty Equipment, Good Equipment Installed Improperly, Programming Errors and sometimes Extreme Weather Conditions.

Why is my system false alarming?

The most common cause of non-user related false alarms is due to movement within a motion detector’s field of view while the system is armed. They can be triggered by pets, or movement of curtains or blinds. We can assist you if a motion detector needs adjustment to prevent reoccurrence. Windows or doors that have shifted or aren’t closing properly and water damage from leaks and condensation can also cause problems.

What happens if I set off the alarm by mistake?

All you need to do is to turn off the alarm immediately with your PIN Code. Then wait for the Central Station to call, give them your PASSWORD and your full name. This will abort DFT from contacting the authorities. Then tell Central Station what happened – “I forgot the alarm was armed and opened the door”. Do not call the Central Station, as they will be attempting to call you and will get a busy signal if you are on the phone and they will then send the authorities.

With the advances in Security devices, are the new motion detectors better at not activating false alarms?

Yes, but only when properly installed. All motion sensors need to be located, adjusted and installed properly to assure they do not trip by accident due to your building’s heat coming on or pet movement when you have dogs and cats. New technology now allows motion sensors to be ever more stable, but no motion detector, if installed improperly, will ever be 100% reliable.

What if we accidentally triggered our alarm?

Disarm the alarm and wait by the phone. DFT will call and request your “Password”. Provided that you answer the phone within the 3 rings we allow and know the proper Password, DFT will cancel the alarm and document the activation as “accidental”.

Why is my motion sensor false alarming?

A motion detector may activate falsely due to improper installation of the device above a heater or furnace. Movement of objects such as balloons, blinds, and curtains within the range of a motion detector may also trigger an alarm activation. The motion detector may require relocation or adjustment by a DFT technician.

Can animals cause a PIR to go into alarm?

Yes, since it is a warm, moving mass. Today there are PIR’s designed with the technology to differentiate between an animal and a human, which will not allow PIR to alarm. There are also sensors designed with ‘Pet Alleys’ which will allow the animal to walk into the area of coverage without causing the sensor to alarm.

Can a heater or air conditioner set the PIR off?

Yes, but rarely does this occur. Manufacturers have built-in sensitivity adjustments which may be calibrated by the technicians to eliminate that problem at the time of installation. However, if you have made a change in the area of protection, for example, added large curtains that move when the air conditioner turns on, the sensor was calibrated without these in place. A call to the DFT at 800-724-1057 (ask for Service & Repair) to schedule a service call to re-calibrate or re-locate the PIR should solve this problem.

General - Frequently Asked Questions

Is it a good idea to create a "Panic Room" in my house?

Excellent question. The answer is yes. Many larger homes today are “hardening” the master bedroom walk-in closet, complete with steel reinforced doors and door jams, plywood reinforced walls, cellular phone, nonperishable foods & water, security keypad, monitors for perimeter security cameras. This is a place where your family can “escape” to when the system is activated until law enforcement arrives.

If I have an emergency, should I call DFT first?

No, if you have an emergency, call 911 first. If you are unable to call 911, then depress the panic or fire alarm button on your touchpad, and DFT will request emergency services.

Do I need to call DFT first if we are remodeling or painting?

Maybe. It depends on what is being painted or the extent of the remodeling. It is best to call and talk to a Customer Service Representative before beginning the work.

Security System - Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have pets?

Our latest design in motion sensors allows for pet movement while still providing protection. A pet immune motion sensor is specifically designed so that a pet under a certain weight and size will not cause an alarm. Pets under a certain weight and size are ignored through use of state-of-the-art dual sensor technology located in the motion detector which processes a pets’ characteristics against those of a human to decide whether or not to activate.

What does PIR stand for?

PIR is the abbreviation for Passive Infrared, basically it is a sensor that detects and analyzes the movement of infrared (heat) energy. When the security system is armed with a motion detector, the PIR picks up the rapid change in temperature and motion. When this happens the PIR tells the alarm control to sound the siren and notify Central Station. This device is only “armed” when the console is in the “AWAY” mode, in the “STAY” mode the unit is deactivated allowing for freedom of movement when you’re home.

How does a security system work?

The master control panel is the “heart” of the system. Electronic sensing devices are connected to the master control panel from various protected areas throughout the premises. When a sensor detects a problem, it signals the master control panel. The master control panel can transmit signals to a 24 hour Central Station if that option is selected. The Central Station then dispatches the proper authorities, Police, Fire, First Aid etc. They will then follow instructions given to them by you, such as call your pager or call Mrs. Smith the neighbor. While all this is going on, an electronic siren, located inside (and optionally outside) alerts the intruder, you and your family, as well as the neighbors to the intrusion.

What kind of sensors are connected to the master control panel?

Sensors can include magnetic contacts, glass breakage sensors, interior detectors such as passive infrared motion detectors, which detect motion and body heat. Other detectors can sense a drop in temperature (freeze protection), the presence of carbon monoxide, water leaks, fire and smoke or even a change in humidity in the wine cooler. The possibilities are endless.

What is a keypads function?

Keypads, Consoles or Touchpads allow you to control and operate the alarm system. They can allow you to arm, disarm, or bypass your system, as well as operate many other functions. You operate your system by entering your PIN code(s) into the keypad, similar to entering digits into a telephone keypad. There are also portable keypads available that can be carried with you. Keypads usually are located near entrance doors, but for convenience they can be installed just about anywhere. Keypads provide the user with audible and visual system status of the system at all times.

Do I have to change the way I live in my home?

No, your system can be programmed to your lifestyle. Delays on entry and exit doors can be structured around the way you use your home. The Security Company that does the installation will help you decide on the protection that is right for you. Should something change in the future, they can remotely configure your system to your changing needs.

Is there special wiring involved?

Yes, there is different wire for different devices and applications. Our consultants will be glad to detail the recommended wiring for each application. This is just one area where it pays to have the experts of DFT Security installing your system.

Can I install motion detection if I have pet dog or cat?

YES you can, “Pet-immune” motion detectors are very popular with our pet loving customers. These detectors are designed to ignore cats or dogs up to 40lbs when properly installed, programmed and utilized.

Is my system fully functional all the time?

Your smoke detectors, panic buttons, flood detectors, temperature alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and tamper switches are functional all the time. You have the ability to arm and disarm the burglar portion of your system with the use of a keypad or remote keyfob device.

Can I use the system when I go to bed at night?

Typically the “Stay” and “Instant” modes give you the freedom of arming the perimeter of your system (the doors and windows), while ignoring the interior protection (motion detectors and interior doors).

What kind of things can my system "detect"?

With door and window switches and motion detectors your system can detect intrusion when the system is active. Smoke and heat detectors can detect a fire. Systems also have the ability (with the proper device) to detect water, low temperature, and carbon monoxide. They can even detect whether your system has been activated or deactivated by a particular user. We can also distinguish exactly what zone the intrusion occurred in.

What is the "Chime" mode?

The chime mode gives you the ability to know when a door or window is opened in the disarm state. This is widely used by families with small children that need to know their whereabouts around the home. It is also great to announce company. Businesses may use it to alert the back room of a new customer entering the building.

What is a system "user"?

Each person using the system can be issued a four-digit code that can arm and disarm the system. The level of system you install dictates the number of users on a system. Each user code number can be changed locally through the keypad or through remote programming. The Central Station can identify who armed or disarmed the system by user.

I want someone to be able to arm my system without giving them my code?

You can, by utilizing the Quick-Arm feature. When programmed, you can use the “#” + Function buttons to arm in the Away, Stay or Instant modes.

What are points of protection? What are Zones?

Points of protection are individual devices that detect an opening or condition. Zones are groups of protection points. For example, entry/exit protection points may be grouped into a single zone on a system. Normally the more zones the master control panel has, the more sophisticated it is, naturally the cost increases.

What is a magnetic contact?

A two-part device that protects doors and windows that open. One part of the contact is a switch, installed in the door jam or window frame. The other part is a magnet installed in the door or window itself. The switch signals an alarm when the magnet moves away from the switch. For comprehensive protection every accessible door and window should have a magnetic contact.

How does a glass break sensor work?

There are two basic types of glass break sensors — “acoustic” sensor that is mounted in the wall or ceiling and listens for the sound of breaking glass in a window or door and a “shock” sensor that is mounted on the window and “feels” the shock of breaking glass. A glass break sensor can detect an intruder while he is still outside your home.

What is a PIR?

A passive infrared motion detector (PIR) is a security sensor that detects an intruder by sensing his body heat (infrared energy) as he passes through the area “covered” by the PIR. Since PIRs are motion sensors, they are designed to be used when no one is at home or when the family will not be moving through the protected areas. If you will have dogs or cats home when the PIR is on, you may be able to use one of the newer “pet immune” motion detectors.

Should the windows be alarmed or should I have motion detectors?

Each of these components serves a different purpose and you may need one or the other or possibly both depending on your building, its location on the property, and how it is used. These questions and similar issues can be resolved by an on-site visit and discussion with you to design a custom security system for your home or business.

Why do I need monitoring anyway? Why can't I just have a loud siren outside?

Having an alarm system often does serve as a deterrent and the siren may scare off the burglar. But, wouldn’t you want to know if someone broke into your home or business while you were away so you could re-secure the premises or repair the damage as soon as possible? Also, wouldn’t you want the fire department called before a fire was visible from the outside? Our monitoring service gives you peace of mind in knowing that, even when you are not there, someone is protecting your property.

Will Central Monitoring Station receive an alarm signal if the system is not armed?

Yes and No. We will from your fire alarm and environmental devices that are always on, but we will not receive a signal from your burglar alarm system unless it is “armed”. It is important to keep your burglar alarm armed, even when you are at home. This is often accomplished through the use of the “STAY” feature (depending on programming).

What happens when I press the emergency alarm buttons on the touchpad?

If you hold down the panic, fire or emergency alarm buttons on the touchpad for 1 to 3 seconds, an alarm is transmitted to the DFT Central Station and emergency authorities will be dispatched immediately. An alarm received in this manner cannot be canceled.

What other devices can be monitored by my alarm?

Smoke & Fire Detectors / Panic buttons / Low temperature sensors / High temperature sensors / Freeze monitors / Window contacts / Wireless key remotes / Flood Detection / Glass break detectors / Emergency alert for the elderly or infirmed / Carbon Monoxide detectors. Want something monitored that is not on the list? Please inquire, the options are endless.

Can the system be set when we are in for the evening?

Yes, arming your system in “STAY MODE” disarms the interior motion detector(s) for freedom of movement while keeping the perimeter armed. Ask your DFT Representative for more information on this popular feature.

In simple terms, how does an alarm system work?

An alarm system consists of a control panel, keypad(s), a telephone connection jack, a transformer, a back-up battery, a siren and a variety of security devices, which may include door/window contacts, motion detectors, glass break sensors, security screens and smoke detectors. The keypad(s) which are connected to the control panel turn the alarm system on or off (arm/disarm the system). The security devices (also connected to the control panel) when sensing an intrusion in their protection zone, send a signal notifying the control panel there has been an intrusion or something occurring in the area of protection. Immediately upon receiving this information, the control panel will seize the telephone line, dial the Central Station and transmit the system’s information status through the telephone line. The Central Station Operator will determine by the information sent whether to contact police, fire or medical emergency personnel.

How long does it take my alarm system to contact the Central Monitoring Station?

The alarm system is designed to have a delay time for the alarm user. The delay time is built in, to give the user time to disarm the system in order to prevent an alarm activation. It depends on how much time was programmed into the system when it was originally installed, but will range from between 30 seconds up to 3 minutes.

Can you turn off my system from your Central Monitoring Station?

No, for complete security, your system is designed and performs as an independent system. The only way it can be turned off is through the keypad(s) located in your home.

How does the motion sensor work?

The Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) being used in your system is actually detecting a change in infrared information in the area of coverage. All objects emit infrared energy. The PIR when installed gets a reading on all of the objects in the area of coverage and settles on an ambient temperature. When there is an intrusion, there is a change from the ambient reading and the PIR will go into an alarm condition and activate the alarm system.

How do door/window contacts work?

Contacts are simple read switches and magnets that send a signal to the control panel When contact is broken by the action of a door or window being opened or closed. It is always important to check your doors or windows to make sure they are completely closed, otherwise the zone with the open contact will cause the keypad to display “not ready”. Contacts are made to be durable and should last for quire a few years. However, if the door or windows being protected by the contacts are opened and closed frequently, the constant wear and tear on the contacts may require that a service call be made to repair or replace the contact.

Installation - Frequently Asked Questions

Can you install an alarm system in a finished house?

Yes we can. We have all the specialized tools and equipment to completely hide the wires. If it is physically impossible to run wires to the alarm devices we can substitute wireless devices for a slightly higher fee.

How long will it take to install my security system?

This all depends on the size of the system and accessibility for wiring. Our “typical” residential system can be installed in one day.

Insurance - Frequently Asked Questions

Does installing a system give me an insurance discount?

Yes, Most insurance companies do offer an insurance discount. The amount of homeowner’s insurance discount depends on your carrier.

Keypad - Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when my keypad shows "Not Ready"?

This is the keypad’s way of telling you that there is a condition present affecting one or more of the security devices and the system is not ready to be turned on. It will require that you correct the condition before the keypad will allow you to arm or turn on the system. Common devices to check are the door/window contacts, which may mean that a window or door is still open. Or a motion detector may be sensing some form of movement.

What does my keypad mean when it displays "No AC" or "AC Loss"?

The keypad will display No AC when the system no longer has electrical current You will need to check the outlet and the transformer to make sure that the outlet is working properly and that the transformer has not been disconnected. If the outlet and transformer are working correctly, please contact DFT Service & Repair, and they will schedule a service call for you.

What should I do if I enter the wrong PIN code numbers?

Don’t panic, there is a delay on the alarm to give you enough time to enter the correct code and disarm your system. Take a breath and re-enter the correct PIN code.

PIN Code - Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change my security code?

Yes, but make sure you follow the instructions in the Owner’s Manual or call the Customer Service Department so they can walk you through the procedure. Our commercial customer should notify Central Station immediately and report any changes to their user list.

How do I change or add a user code?

The process varies from system to system. The procedure is detailed in the manual for each type of system. If you are not completely sure how to do this you should call DFT Security and we may be able to make the changes for you. Any improper entries may cause the system to require reprogramming. Anytime this is done you should first call DFT Security since the alarm control panel will notify the central station of any programming change.

I don't like the idea of someone else having a key and alarm code to my home. What can be done about that?

What we can do to make you more comfortable about that is to assign a separate code to each of these users. The alarm panels that we install have the ability to track the individual user as to when they arm and disarm the alarm. If at any time you wish not allow them to use the system you can change their code.

What happens if I forget my user PIN code?

Your security information is password protected. If you forget your user code, DFT Security can re-establish a new one for you. Call the Central Station at 800-638-0708 and be prepared to provide the correct PASSWORD and other information which will verify your authority to have the PIN code reset.

Power - Frequently Asked Questions

When do the batteries need replacement?

The system battery in the alarm panel is a rechargeable type that is kept charged automatically. If you have wireless sensors the batteries are disposable. However these batteries last many months or even years and only rarely need replacement. You may notice that a wireless device in a high traffic area such as a hallway or entry may need battery replacement long before one in a less often used area. Your keypad will normally display a low battery warning when a battery needs replacement. Additionally the panel will notify DFT Security of the low battery status.

I have "wireless" devices, how do I change their batteries?

If you have wireless sensors the batteries are disposable. However these batteries last many months or even years and only rarely need replacement. You may notice that a wireless device in a high traffic area such as a hallway or entry may need battery replacement long before one in a less often used area. Your keypad will normally display a low battery warning when a battery needs replacement. Additionally the panel will notify DFT Security of the low battery status. Some batteries are easily changed by you, others require a DFT Technician to change them. Please contact DFT Service & Repair if you are unsure or need further help.

Is the voltage dangerous or can I get electrocuted?

The voltage of the systems is only 12vdc and very low current. There is a very remote chance that you might feel a slight shock if you were to cross certain power wires, similar to an electric shock from static electricity. Care must be taken however to not cross or short certain wires as it may “blow” a fuse in the alarm control and cause the system to become inoperative.

Will my system still work when the utility power goes off?

Your system has its own backup battery that is capable of sustaining normal operation for several hours. This battery is also capable of powering the siren and the alarm communicator if the system goes off. It recharges automatically whenever the power is restored and its status is constantly monitored.

Why does my keypad display read "No Ac"?

The system requires AC utility power for normal operation. Most systems have a plug in type transformer near the control panel that my have become inadvertently unplugged. Once the ac is restored the display should return to normal.

What if there is a power failure?

Every system we sell has a rechargeable backup battery. Depending on the number of devices installed, the backup battery will operate the system for a minimum of four hours (and often longer, depending on usage). While operating on back up battery the system retains all the functions just as if there was no power failure. The Central Station also receives a signal of the power failure. If the standby battery is getting weak the Central Station will receive that signal too.

How long do the batteries last?

The backup battery in the control panel should be replaced at least every five years, if not sooner, (the battery condition is monitored at the Central Station). Wireless transmitter (lithium) batteries typically last two to three years, and can be purchased in almost any supermarket, hardware or drug store. Security Systems monitor the status of the batteries and should a battery become weak, the Central Station will notify you of the exact location of the transmitter and the procedures involved in replacing it.

How do I power down my alarm system?

An alarm system should only be powered down as a last resort to reset the system or if major remodeling is being done. To power down the system – first the transformer must be located and unplugged. (Often the screw that secures the transformer to the outlet will need to be removed.) Once the transformer is unplugged you must also remove the battery connection. Both terminals on the battery should be unplugged to ensure the alarm system will shut down. Always contact DFT before powering down the system as a tamper alarm will be sent to the Central Station.

What is a Low Battery Signal?

A low battery can describe a number of conditions. It generally means that a battery used to supply power or back up power to your alarm panel or devices is low on power or has failed and needs to be replaced. Please refer to your user manual or contact DFT Security Service & Repair should you need additional information.

What is an AC Loss?

When an AC Loss is received, this means that the power has been interrupted to the alarm panel. If your entire home is without utility power you will have to wait for power to be restored. If your home has power, but the keypad or Central Station shows “AC Loss” then the problem is only with your alarm control. Check your buildings electric panel breakers and fuses to make sure that power is going to the alarm panel outlet. If you are unable to find the problem, please call DFT Service & Repair at 800-724-1057.

I have been notified the utility power will be turned off due to some construction work being done nearby. Will my alarm system continue to work while the power is off?

Yes, there is a back-up battery located in the control panel which will automatically be activated to maintain your security system for several hours. This will also happen during storms or other instances when there is a power outage. When the power comes back on, the battery should recharge itself. Sometimes it won’t because the battery has gone into deep discharge meaning the battery was already an almost low battery status and now is in too low a state to recharge itself. When that happens, a low battery signal will be sent to the Central Monitoring Station and you will be notified that you will need a new battery.

Can I replace the battery myself?

Yes, you can. For further information on how to do this, contact DFT Service & Repair at 1-800-724-1057 and they will walk you through the procedure. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, they will schedule a service technician to come to your home and change out the battery for you for a service fee.

Registration / License - Frequently Asked Questions

Who registers us with the police department?

More and more municipalities are requiring end users of alarm systems to be registered, have a permit, pay a fee or more. It’s best to check with your local police department or building inspector for the latest information.

Is there a charge for the police responding to false alarms?

In many areas the Police and Fire Departments do charge fines to alarm users for responding to false alarms. Some authorities allow you one or two false alarms for free, after that you will be fined if the Police or Fire authorities respond and determine that it was not an actual alarm. The more alarm activations you have in a given period the more expensive each subsequent fine becomes. Typically, if you remain false alarm free for three-hundred and sixty-five days the process and fine schedule resets. The rules, regulations and fines vary by municipality / county. For more information please contact DFT Security Customer Service at 800-724-1057.

Do I need a license or permit to have an alarm system?

More and more municipalities are requiring end users of alarm systems to be registered, have a permit, pay a fee or more. It’s best to check with your local police department or building inspector for the latest information.

Service - Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my system isn't working properly?

Call DFT Security. We will be happy to assist you with any service related issues. If necessary we will send one of our technicians to service your equipment. If your alarm is beeping or displaying an alert you don’t understand call us for assistance.

Why does my keypad display say "Not Ready"?

This tells you that the system is not ready to arm. Usually this is due to a protected door or window not being secured or a motion detector sensing movement. Once each zone is returned to normal the system will be ready to arm.

How do I "Bypass" a zone?

On most systems we install you can simply enter your user code then press bypass (6) and then the zone number. This is useful if you want to leave a window or door open or temporarily exclude a zone from being armed. This will reset when the system is disarmed and must be re-entered each time you want to bypass a zone.

I cannot arm my alarm system because I cannot get a zone to close. Even though no one is moving in front a motion and the doors are all secured. What do I do?

This happens sometimes when a motion or door contact malfunctions. You can still arm the system but you will have to bypass that problem zone. Notify DFT Service & Repair at your earliest convenience to discuss the problem or schedule a Service Visit.

Where is my technician?

Your time is important and our technicians strive to arrive promptly as scheduled. If we miss an appointment and have not contacted you, please call 800-724-1057 a DFT Service Dispatcher will quickly assist you.

Why does my system show that DFT is still working on it?

If a DFT technician or installer is not currently working on your alarm system, your system may have been inadvertently left in a programming mode. Or DFT may be performing remote diagnostics or programming on the system. Call DFT at 800-724-1057 and speak to a Central Station operator for instructions.

Can I extend my warranty?

Yes, DFT offers a special Extended Warranty Plan which will cover the repair or replacement costs of the equipment for just a few dollars each month (Basic System). For more information on DFT’s Extended Warranty Plan for your system, call DFT Customer Service at 800-724-1057.

What if my system doesn't work right?

DFT will be happy to investigate any problems you’re having with your equipment, simply call 800-724-1057 and ask for the Service & Repair Department.

If there's a problem, can you turn my system off from the DFT offices?

No, for security and your protection your system is an independent unit and can only be turned off at your control Keypad / Console.

My alarm went off accidentally, but I quickly put in the code and shut it off. I expected a call from DFT, but no one called. Why not?

The system allows a brief period for you to turn off your system before an alarm signal is sent to the Central Monitoring Center. This gives you enough time to cancel the signal and prevent a false alarm. If you are unsure that this is what happened please call the Central Station at 800-638-0708 and simply explain what happened. Our trained staff will assist you in re-testing your system to ease your peace-of-mind.

My Code didn't work the first time I pressed in my PIN code, what should I do?

Take a big breath and try your PIN code again. If this doesn’t work or you continue to have this problem, it could be that your keypad buttons (or a certain one) has worn out from repeated use. Solutions would be to replace the keyboard buttons or to change the code avoiding the same digits.

I am having trouble with one of my security devices and the appointment for the technician to come to my home isn't until next week. Can I arm my system in the meantime?

Yes, you can bypass the zone in which the security device is found. It is generally as simple as entering your code, pressing the bypass key, and then keys designating the zone you wish to bypass. The bypass light will come on, confirming that you have now bypassed the zone, you may now enter your security code to arm your system. Each control panel may be different, but do allow you to bypass a zone. If you aren’t sure and can’t find your Owner’s Manual, please call DFT at 800-724-1057 and ask for Service & Repair and they will walk you through the procedure.

Smoke Detector - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the advantage of having a monitored smoke detector?

Having a monitored smoke detector at your premise ensures that the fire department will be contacted if you have a fire emergency. A good photoelectric smoke detector will detect smoke particles caused by even a slow smoldering fire. If you are not at home, and do not have a monitoring service, odds are no one will hear your smoke alarm when you have a fire condition! Therefore it is important that someone monitor this device 24 hours a day! With this service, your smoke detector is continuously monitored through a 24 hour zone, even when your alarm system is not armed!

I have smoke alarms already installed in my house. Why should I add monitored fire protection with DFT Security?

Fire can be devastating to any home or business. In addition to the immediate life threatening danger, it can cause irreplaceable damage to your property and possessions. Non-monitored smoke alarms only provide audible notification of a fire – relying on someone else to alert the fire department of the emergency! When a fire condition is detected, monitored smoke/fire detectors send an alarm signal to our 24-Hour Monitoring Center. Once the signal is received, our professionally trained staff can quickly dispatch the local fire department to your business or residence, minimizing the potential threat.

I have a battery-operated smoke detector, why do I need a monitored detector?

Battery-operated detectors have two problems. First, they are rarely connected to other detectors, remote warning devices, or a central monitoring station. If they are located outside a bedroom, a sound sleeper may not hear them, especially if the bedroom door is closed or just partially open. If detectors are located on a different level of a residence, other than the bedroom level, then the likelihood they will wake up sleepers further diminishes. A second problem with battery operated detectors is their batteries – if they are not periodically replaced, detectors will not work!

I have an AC powered Detector why do I need a monitored detector?

Many AC powered detectors are not connected to other detectors or remote warning devices. Even those that are only connected to other devices can provide a local warning of fire. If nobody is home, a fire can develop without anyone taking action to protect valuable property. Many of the old style AC powered detectors have no backup batteries at all. This means that if a fire should start in your breaker panel and the breaker for the AC operated smoke detectors trip, you have no smoke detectors.

Should I use an Ionization or Photoelectric smoke detector?

Either technology can detect a fast flaming or slow smoldering fire, but response times can vary. Here are the characteristics of each: Ionization- Ionization detectors respond well to fast flaming fires, such as paper. Photoelectric- Photoelectric detectors are well suited to detecting slow smoldering fires, which are often generated in households.

Can my burglar alarm system detect a fire?

A burglar alarm system’s motion detectors can “see” changing heat “signatures”, but only after it is too late. You must have smoke detection and heat sensors to provide the proper fire protection for your home. Remember, the biggest killer is smoke, not heat.

Telephone / Communications - Frequently Asked Questions

My telephone lines are exposed, what happens when the phones are dead or the line gets cut?

Normally, if your phone lines become disabled due to tampering, severe weather, or construction, your alarm signal will not reach our 24-Hour Monitoring Center. Because our 24-Hour Monitoring Center is a critical part of your security system, DFT Security offers alternative communication options. Our UpLink and AlarmNet-C cellular backup systems and AlarmNet-M radio backup and AlarmNet-I internet backup offer a reliable secondary sources of alarm signal. These communicators will send signals via radio, powerful cellular control channel or an “always-on” Internet connection to our 24-Hour Monitoring Center.

If I install a DFT Security system, does it require a separate phone line to communicate with your 24-hour Monitoring Center?

No, a separate phone line is not necessary. However, the system will seize your phone line for a few seconds when sending an emergency alarm signal to our 24-hour Central Station Monitoring Center.

Many times when I get calls at my home, I get a high-pitched squeal not unlike a fax tone immediately after the second ring, then the phone goes dead. Could the alarm system be causing this?

Yes, it could be the alarm. Most modern alarms have the ability to answer an incoming call from the central station (as well as make automated outgoing calls to report emergencies). The purpose of the alarm answering is to receive program changes from the dealer who may use download software to remotely program or service the alarm. Typically, the alarm control panel will be programmed to only answer a call specifically form DFT Security’s computer and does not typically interfere with regular telephone calls. It is possible that your system is either programmed to pick up after too few rings or it may have another problem. Either way, from what you describe, it sounds like the alarm is at fault. Call DFT Security to discuss how we can fix this for you.

How does the system connect to the phone lines?

The security system has the ability to separate your home phones from the telephone company’s incoming line. This is accomplished by installing a RJ31X jack. You can have DFT install the jack, or have your local telephone company install it, the choice is yours.

What happens if my phone line is cut or is out of service?

Many alarm companies fail to provide adequate information regarding phone line cuts. There are various methods to assure that your emergency information is transmitted to the Central Station in the event of an alarm. There are internet, cellular and radio backup systems available from DFT. However, these systems do cost a little more to install and monitor. Be sure to fully discuss this with your representative.

Why is my phone line dead during the activation?

The system has “seized” your phone line for a few seconds when sending an emergency alarm signal to our 24-hour Monitoring Center. This helps to insure that the signal gets through without interruption.

Why is my system not communicating?

An alarm system may lose communications for several reasons. The telephone line the system communicates through may be inoperable. Equipment on the alarm system may not function properly. Finally, equipment malfunctions within the Telephone Company or DFT may both be the possible reasons for communications failure.

I have call waiting on my phone line. Can that affect my service?

Your DFT system is designed to seize your phone line in order to call the DFT Central Station. It will then release the line in order for the Central Station to notify you that an alarm signal was received. Therefore Call Waiting should have no affect on the signals reaching DFT’s Central Station.

What is Alarmnet I, AlarmNet-M and Alarmnet C?

DFT offers Alarmnet as a back-up communications path to insure receipt of the alarm signal in the event of loss of normal telephone service. Alarmnet-I is DFT’s “Always on” internet alarm monitoring service. This high speed alarm monitoring service is available to any customer who has either a cable modem or DSL internet connection. Alarmnet-C uses cellular telephone network to communicate alarm signals to DFT’s Central Monitoring center. Alarmnet-M uses the private Mobitex radio network to communicate alarm signals to DFT’s Central Monitoring center.

Will DSL service affect my alarm system?

It may. Normal alarm communications utilizes your regular phone line, with the DSL on the line, line seizure and communications may not work properly. DFT offers DSL FILTERS which overcome the most common problems. If you are unsure, please call Central Station and test your system. If you are having a problem, call 800-724-1057 and ask for Service & Repair.

If I am on my computer and connected to the Internet, will this adversely affect my alarm system?

It should not. If the alarm and your phones are properly wired, then the alarm should take priority over the computer and properly communicate with the Central Station. If you are unsure, please call Central Station and test your system. If you think you are having a problem, call 800-724-1057 and ask for Service & Repair.

When my alarm activates I hear computer / modem tones on my phone, but no dial tone.

While the alarm is communicating it seizes, or takes priority over your normal phone operation. The sounds you hear is the coded signals being sent to the Central Station alarm receivers. At the completion of the alarm signal transmission your phone’s dial tone should return.

My phone goes dead and cuts me off at the same time every day. Could the alarm system be causing this?

Yes. Many systems are programmed to communicate with the Central Station at the same time every day or once a week at the same time. This to test your communications to the Central Station. If the time of day of the signal is not good, DFT can change the TEST activation time.

Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to test my system periodically?

Yes, you are responsible for testing the system to insure proper operation. The system should be tested to insure that all devices are functioning properly and that signals are being sent to DFT’s Central Station. Consult the manual for your system or call for instructions. Remember when testing to call DFT Security first since the system will notify us if the system alarms in any manner. Many of our clients have regularly scheduled and detailed inspections of each system which are conducted by our technicians. Call if you need more information about this program.

How often should I test?

You should test your system daily, but no less than once a month.

How do I test my security system?

Call DFT’s Central Station and tell them you would like to test your system. Be prepared to provide your “Password”. The Central Station Operator will then authorize you to test your system. Or you can test your system by simply arming the system and pretending you’re the “burglar”. When the alarm sounds, press your PIN code and “off”, the siren will stop, but the signals will be still be sent to the Central Station. Don’t forget to call the Central Station back to check on your signals and to let them know you have completed testing. Congratulations, you’ve tested your system.

Does my System Test itself automatically?

Your system can be programmed for automatic test on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. However this automatic test only tests the basic telephone connection between your alarm control panel and DFT’s Central Station and does not test the individual detection devices or sirens. The entire system should be tested by the user for proper operation by arming the system and activating each device.

Am I responsible for testing my system regularly?

Yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that your system is in good working order. DFT regularly initiates a communications performance test, but this only assures your monitoring connection, not that every device is working properly. It’s easy to test your system; just refer to your owner handbook or call 800-724-1057 and ask to talk to a Service Representative. If you find that a part of your system is not working properly, call DFT at 800-724-1057 and request repair service.

Central Station called me and said that my system was "Late-To-Test" and that I needed to test my system. What does this mean?

To help insure the continued proper operation of your system, the Central Station is looking for a TEST signal from your system at a prescribed time each day or once a week and this signal has not been received and has thus generated a trouble. Central Station has contacted you to ask you to test your system to determine if there is in fact a problem that DFT needs to investigate further. If necessary DFT will schedule a free visit to further investigate or correct the problem.