Spring is here and that means it’s time to do some cleaning. Clear out your closets of winter coats, get the lawnmower ready to work and take down the storm windows. But the spring clean is a great time to make sure your house is ready for summer’s uninvited guests as well.
Summer is a prime time for home burglaries. With warmer weather, people are more likely to leave windows open at night, and summer break means more kids out at night looking to cause trouble. But with a home security checkup, you can be prepared for anything.
Doors and windows
Doors are the main way crooks break in. While an unlocked door provides no security, flipping the deadbolt may not be all that more secure. As you switch the storm door to a screen door, take out a screw from the strike plate to see how long it is. If it’s short, that means a criminal could easily kick the door in.
Consider replacing your short screws with 3-inch ones that reach into the framing of your house. These make it much harder for criminals to kick in your door. Also consider checking the screws on your door hinges as well.
Windows are another weak point. Luckily, 3M makes a security film that goes over your windows, making them nearly impossible to smash. Consider putting this on big windows that criminals could climb through.
Also, make sure you close your ground-floor windows at night. A screen could easily be sliced open, letting robbers sneak in silently after you’re asleep. If you have to leave a window open, consider buying a track stop. These keep the window from opening beyond a certain point, leaving openings too narrow for thieves to make their way in.
Update your security company
Maybe when you moved in, you bought a monitored alarm system. As far as you know, it’s been working great. But does the security company know how to reach you if something goes wrong? Maybe you’ve changed jobs, your spouse has a new phone number or your daughter is old enough to get a call if you don’t pick up. Let the security company know you’re latest info now so you’re ready for any home security issues that may arise.
While you’re on the phone, also ask the company how you can test your system without getting the cops called (and risking a potential false-alarm fine). Then, put on your criminal hat and try as many ways as possible to break in. If you can get in without setting off the alarm, consider adding some new sensors to your setup.
Now’s a good time to review your package and make sure it’s right for you too. It might not be a bad time to see if you can add coverage, update your sensors with fresh tech or even switch to a new provider with better options. Check out our system reviews to see how your current provider stacks up.
Prep for emergencies, big and small
With summer fun often comes summer injuries. Now’s a good time to make sure you’re prepared for whatever might happen.
The first stop should be your own medicine chest. Check to make sure you have bandages, antibacterial wipes and other necessities stocked up. Also check expiration dates to make sure you’re not holding on to meds that no longer work as intended.
Now is also a good time to consider what your family should do in bigger emergencies as well. Do you have an exit plan and family meeting spot if there’s a fire? Take time to consider what everyone can do in an emergency.
Check the ‘bones’ of the house
Winter can take a toll on your house. As you prep the lawn, take a look at the perimeter of the house for any potential damage. As you clean your gutters, check the roof for potential leaks. Also get a pro to come look at your chimney if you haven’t had it cleaned in a while.
Inside, check any air filters, smoke alarm batteries and the pressure on your fire extinguisher. Also, as you dust behind appliances, make sure that everything is properly plugged in and wires aren’t fraying.
Also, be sure to pay special attention to places where dust collects against vents. This includes electronics and the power bricks that power them, which can get very hot over time and lead to potential fire hazards if not properly cleared of dust and debris.