In today’s market of increasing do-it-yourself homeowners, the options for improving your home’s level of safety and security have never been easier. A quick read through our tips and a trip to Home Depot is all you need to start boosting your home security and family safety.
Improving Home Physical Security
The first step in improving your home’s security would be upgrading door and window locks. Older doors using dated hardware can be ridiculously easy to get through. A few good kicks can either shear off screws or rip them from the wooden door frame. Door upgrades begin with a solid core door, preferably metal or metal clad that will not splinter when an intruder tries to force them.
A quality Grade 1 deadbolt should be installed. These locks have strong components and a bolt that will reach at least 1” into the strike plate and door frame. Never rely on a knob lock to secure an exterior door, they can be defeated by simply bowing out the frame with a screwdriver. A stronger strike plate (the metal plate mounted in the frame that the deadbolt slides into) is a must. Use 3 inch screws to mount the plate. These longer screws will reach into the house’s main framing and be more secure. Strike plates that use 4 mounting screws are preferred over 2 screw versions. Metal plates are available in a variety of finishes to mount flush on the door around the locking mechanism. These 3-sided pieces wrap around the locks and door edges to help prevent the use of screwdrivers and crowbars to force the door.
Windows can be secured easily with a secondary locking mechanism. With older wooden windows you can simply drill a hole through the bottom sections stile into the top panel’s stile. Then insert a nail, metal rod or wooden dowel into the hole. Just make sure you can get it back out. Nobody will be able to force the window open without smashing it completely. Newer style vinyl or fiberglass windows typically come with a track lock that can be engaged to prevent the window from sliding along the track. They are an easy addition if your windows do not have them already.
Further reading Security hardware maintenance schedule
Exterior Changes to your Property
It is important to eliminate any possible hiding places an intruder could use. Keep hedges trimmed, both below the level of a window sill and up to 12” from the ground to let you see someone crouching behind them. If you are planning new landscaping, consider using thorny plants around your windows that nobody would want to pass through.
Tree limbs should be trimmed back from the building as well. They give easy access to upper-story windows. Never store your ladder outside and do not build a shed or other improvements that an intruder could use to gain easier access to upper-story windows.
There are a number of simple do-it-yourself projects that will improve your home’s fire safety. For example, appliances can be a fire risk you don’t think about. Simple preventative measures can help reduce the risk.
Water heaters should be regularly inspected. Make sure the area around the water heater is free from dust bunnies and any combustibles such as clothing or rags. Use masking tape or blue painter’s tape to mark out a box on the floor 3 feet around the base of the water heater. This will remind people to keep that area clear.
Clothes dryers develop an increased risk of fire over time due to lint build-up. Remove the back of the dryer and clean any lint from around the drum and interior. Vinyl vent lines should be replaced with metal ducts that have smooth walls. The vinyl vents tend to trap lint where it will build-up until the line is clogged. This lint is highly combustible.
Electrical extension cords should be inspected regularly. Check the rating on the label attached to the extension cord. Cheaper cords are not rated for high power items such as electrical equipment. Immediately replace any extension cords with cracked insulation or any sings of melting or overheating. Never run extension cords under carpets and don’t use them for items like space heaters or small appliances. These should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. It will be cheaper to install a new wall outlet than replace items damaged in a fire.
One of the best upgrades to fire safety is the installation of hard wired smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Many municipalities now require all new smoke detectors to be hardwired. Inspect your detectors and test them often. Even if you have a hard wired detector, check to see if they are interconnected. Interconnected detectors allow them to all be triggered even if only one registers smoke or carbon dioxide. If you don’t know whether they are interconnected, remove one from the wall and count the number of wires connected to it. If there are two wires, your smoke detectors are not interconnected. If there are four wires then you are covered. Interconnecting the detectors is not a difficult project if you have a wiring plan layout done ahead of time.
New smoke detectors will be able to sense carbon monoxide as well as smoke. You will need one detector on each floor, one in any hallway leading to a bedroom, one in each bedroom and one in the kitchen. A rate-of-rise heat detector installed over furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers can be a great early warning system.
Kuna Smart Security System and Outdoor Lighting
Kuna is a smart home security system built into an outdoor lighting fixture that increases family safety. No more fumbling for keys to open the door, or tripping over objects entering your home at night, Kuna has programmable automatic on and off schedules so it goes on when it needs to. That means vital, high traffic areas around home entrances such as the front door, kitchen door and garage doors are illuminated to avoid accidents. You can even enter your location to let Kuna adjust to your area’s sunrise and sunset schedules for even more peace of mind. As an outdoor light, Kuna withstands temperatures from -40 to 130 degrees. It will work year round, no matter where you live.
The Kuna high definition security camera detects movement at your door and sends an alert to your smartphone, allowing you to see and interact with visitors no matter where you are through the built in two way communication system. To use Kuna, prepare by listing entrances to your home including the main door, kitchen, garage entry and patio doors. Each should be covered by a Kuna outdoor security light. Installation is easy, no holes to drill, no wires to pull.
Read more DIY Home Security Tips
These easy do-it-yourself projects will increase your properties safety and your peace-of-mind.
Kuna is a smart camera in an outdoor light that
lets you prevent break-ins instead of waiting for an alarm
We recommend you install Kuna at all major entry points to your home so you’re never caught off guard when someone comes to your door. You can add multiple cameras to the Kuna app and your recordings will show footage from each of these camera.
Smart Security Light
all-in-one light and camera
Toucan Surveillance Kit
retrofits to lights via USB
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