Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series of articles on tips to secure your home
Keeping our family safe is something that every one of us innately does. We teach our kids about “stranger danger” and we teach our teens about staying a safe distance away from the car in front of them. Yes, keeping our family members aware of their surroundings helps protect them in public; but what can we do at home to keep our families safe? We checked with our security experts here at Resideo, and following are some simple ways to help safeguard our homes:
- Lighten up the exterior. Survey your home’s exterior for hidden, dark spots that could benefit from some added spot lighting. While the average weekend warrior could do this, hire a licensed electrician to install a motion sensing LED floodlight to not only help you see where you’re going in your driveway, but to bring light when someone is approaching your home. If you choose not to hire a professional, be sure to turn off the electricity main before beginning.
- Bring your home to life when you’re gone. Make sure your home looks lived-in. While you can certainly use mechanical timers, connected light bulbs and Z-wave electrical outlets and switches can be controlled via app on your smartphone. Randomize your schedule to make your house look lived-in while you’re on vacation, at work, running errands or even when you’re at home.
- Lower the risk, harden the target. If last year’s home-winterizing included putting that storm door on, well done! If not, consider it. For added security in addition to warmth, use a storm door as an added layer of protection. For example, when someone rings your doorbell, you can open the main door with confidence knowing the storm door is locked and whoever is there can’t force their way into your home. If you have cars parked in your driveway, be sure to keep them locked and any garage door openers tucked out of sight. Also, ensure the interior door of your garage has a deadbolt and it is locked.
- Stop the mail. Intruders look for small signs that someone is away from their home, such as flyers piled up by your front porch or in your mailbox, or a snowy driveway. Don’t let it build up while you’re gone – ask a neighbor to keep your front porch clean, or ask your postal carrier to stop your mail. Also, resist the urge to announce to your friends that you’ve left the harsh cold for an exotic destination. Wait until you’re home to post those pictures.
- Install a whole-home system. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that most residential break-ins happen when the home is unoccupied Monday through Friday – during the middle of the day. So, the best approach is to hire someone to keep an eye on your home when you’re not there. Contact your local security professional to install a whole-home security and home automation system. They’ll sit down with you to understand your needs, walk around your home and identify potential issues to address. They’ll install the equipment and will monitor it while you’re away so you are confident that if you have a fire or a break-in, the appropriate emergency personnel will respond.
These are some simple steps you can take yourself to help keep your home more secure. In part two of this series, we’ll cover what to expect from a home security professional when they come to your home. And in part three, we’ll highlight several reasons why having a system that is monitored by professionals is so important.
Burglars love it when seasons change: in the fall and winter, they do their best work in the dark (though February’s colder temps make it the least likely month for an intrusion). In the Spring and Summer, they like when windows are open during the day, or garage doors are open during yardwork. So, it’s important to safeguard your home year-round.