What is monitoring?

Monitoring is where the alarm system sends information about what is happening to a remote site where trained people respond to the information received. For example, a home security system might have a  sensor send a signal that the temperature in the home has fallen below a preset threshold. When this signal is received by the monitoring station, the operator will take actions that are set up ahead of time- a set of instructions that you have told them to follow, such as notifying you at a work or cell phone number. You can have a list of trusted friends, neighbors or employees that receive these notifications if you wish.

Monitoring is not limited to alarm signals. You may want to know when employees open and close your store or business. A business owner may find it helpful to recieve a periodic report of when employees are opening and closing the business. Perhaps you would like to know when a child gets home from school, or if the humidity in an area is excessive. Water leaks, valve position, high or low temperature, smoke and fire, Carbon Monoxide levels, deliveries, air or water pressure- all of these conditions and more can be monitored and reported to you or someone you trust.

Is there a charge for false alarms?

No. Building Controls does not charge for false alarms, whatever the reason might be. However, Police or Fire Department authorities in your city or town might charge a fee or fine if a certain number of responses by their agency are exceeded. Please contact your city or town for details on what the policy is where you live.


I already have an alarm system- can you service it?

Yes, in most cases. We can service many of the most common brands of equipment. There are some manufacturers of equipment that choose to limit the availability of parts and system documentation only to a selected group of dealers, such as Simplex and Notifier. This forces customers to use only the company in their area that the manufacturer of the system has decided to support. Building Controls feels that this is not in the best interest of you, the customer. We install equipment that is not proprietary because we feel that the best way to keep customers is with outstanding service, not by holding them hostage by forcing them to continue to use a certain provider.

Technology changes fast in the security field- in many cases, if the equipment is more that a few years old, the main components of a proprietary system- such as the control panel and any keypads- can be updated with new equipment at very reasonable cost while the detection devices, such as door switches and motion detectors, can remain in service.

How much does monitoring cost?

Pricing starts at less than $1.00/day. The cost of monitoring varies depending upon the level of service you require. Some options include how ofter the system sends "test" signals, how the signals are transmited (choices include telephone lines, cellular radio and internet/network) and if you require periodic reports of system activity, such as opening and closing times.

Call to discuss your specific requirements and we'll be happy to give you a quote!


What is your service area?

We service customers that are within a 2-hour travel time from our location in Lewiston/Auburn. We may travel outside this distance from time to time but customers are generally best served if they are within this area due to response time considerations.

Maine Counties within our service area include:

  • Androscoggin
  • Cumberland
  • Franklin
  • Kennebec
  • Oxford
  • Sagadahoc


The power went out and now my alarm system shows "Trouble". Why?

The answer is a bit different for fire alarm systems vs. intrusion alarm systems.

  • For both Fire and Intrusion systems, if the electrical power is still out, this is normal operation. Once the power returns, the trouble will clear (return to normal) on most systems.
  • For virtually all fire alarm systems, the trouble light and sounder will reset to normal once the trouble condition is cleared- the power comes back on, the batteries are replaced, a disabled smoke detector is re-enabled.  Please note that there are a few Fire Alarm systems (Pyrotronics and Siemens are 2 examples) that may require the "Acknowledge" button to be pressed and/or also the "Reset" button to be pressed before troubles will clear, EVEN after the trouble condition has cleared (power has returned).
  • On some intrusion alarm systems, because most have an internal real-time clock, the system will stay in "Trouble" mode after a power outage until the clock is reset to the current time and date. This will generally only happen if the power has been out long enough to also drain the back-up battery. To reset the clock to the correct time on a Digital Security Controls system (DSC systems indicate trouble by a Yellow triangle symbol with an exclamation point in the center), follow these instructions:

Programming Time and Date for DSC:
Step 1 - Enter [*][6]+[Master Code]
Step 2 - Enter [1]
Step 3 - Enter Time
in 24-hour/military format- for example, 1 PM is entered as 13:00 [HH:MM]
Step 4 - Enter Date [MM:DD:YY]
Step 5 - Enter [#]

Please note that for DSC, there is only ONE code that is designated as the Master Code-if this code is not used, the procedure will not work!

The power is on, but my system still indicates "Trouble", Why?

The answer depends upon the type of system- intrusion or fire- and the type of trouble.

For intrusion/security alarm systems, trouble can be caused by the loss of the system's clock time- see how to fix this. For Digital Security Controls systems, press the "star" key followed by "2" to view detailed information about the trouble condition

Other common causes for system trouble include:

  • The system tried to call/communicate with the monitoring station and failed- this could be because of a phone system problem or phone wiring problem
  • The system has a low battery, either the main system battery or if the system has wireless devices, one of the wireless devices has a low battery
  • For systems equipped with a cellular radio to send alarm signals to the monitoring station, the cellular signal strength may have dropped below the minimum required for a short time or the cellular network was experiencing an outage. Please contact us if this continues
  • There might be a wiring problem- the system continually checks the wiring. If a wire going to a door, window, motion detector or other sensor is broken, this will cause trouble to be indicated.

In addition to the causes above, for Fire Alarm systems or systems equipped with smoke and heat detectors, other causes for trouble may include:

  • Smoke detectors removed from the base that contains the wiring
  • A dirty or faulty smoke detector, as some systems have the capability to send their sensitivity to the main control panel
  • A smoke detector or zone that has been disabled, either with a front-panel switch or with a user programming command
  • A bell or horn circuit that has been disabled by a switch or programing command
  • The system silence switch left in the "Silence" postion after all other switches have been returned to normal
  • Low temperature, as some systems have the ability to have the smoke detectors report a temperature near freezing to the main control panel to prevent freezing of sprinkler pipes
  • A fire sprinkler system with a closed valve or low system air pressure that is monitored by the fire alarm system. Building Controls does not service fire sprinkler systems- if there is a problem with your sprinkler system, please contact your fire sprinkler company for assistance

Why choose Building Controls?

We are a local, Maine-owned and operated company, based in Lewiston Maine. We do business honestly, ethically and up front. We choose not to use the fine print so common with those other "alarm companies". Our written customer agreements have no fine print, asterisks, or other gotchas. We don't like gotchas and we're pretty sure you don't like them either (Can you really read all the small print that flashes across the screen in the TV ads of those other guys?).

We believe in providing quality products and services that represent a great value. We want you to be pleased with your choice of system and service provider. We don't offer free systems- is there any such thing? Add up the cost of the long-term contract that is a mandatory part of the "free" system and you'll see that a free system can be pretty expensive. We don't offer system packages because your home or business doesn't fit into someone else's idea of security. We will provide a system that fits your needs, not some marketing manager's idea of what you should have.

We work with you to find a solution to your intrusion, fire detection, video surveillance, access control, telephone entry,  intercom, nurse/personal emergency call, or environmental monitoring requirements that is cost-effective, can be expanded as your needs change and solves your unique challenge. We love this stuff!

  • No long-term contracts
  • No fine print
  • Local service from people you know
  • Custom solutions for unique situations our specialty