This post was originally published on September 23, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
As the leaves change colors, so do certain home security needs.
Each season presents its own unique security considerations to keep top of mind. Here are three factors that need extra attention in the fall months.
1. The Heating System
As summer’s warm weather fades, you may find yourself reaching for the thermostat for the first time in months. However, did you know that turning on the heat for the first time each season comes with increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning? According to John Hopkins Medicine, heating systems are associated with some of the highest percentages of fatal, non-fire carbon monoxide poisonings.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas—making it impossible to detect without a designated carbon monoxide monitor. The best home security systems are outfitted with monitors to avoid this type of environmental hazard. Ensure your home is properly equipped.
Utility cost is another concern when using the home’s heating system. Whether gas or oil, heating a home can be expensive. Use technology to cut costs this season by investing in an energy management system.
With an energy management system, you can:
- Create custom schedules. Preset your thermostat to adjust the temperature at different times of the day to eliminate unnecessary energy use.
- Remotely control settings. Adjust your thermostat from a mobile app or set it to automatically adjust when you leave or return home.
- Get real-time alerts. With a smart thermostat or home automation setup, you can be notified whenever your thermostat settings have changed.
2. Longer Nights
While you may dread the shorter days and longer nights that are upon us, thieves celebrate. Longer nights provide greater opportunity for an intruder to commit a crime unseen. Make your home unattractive with the following safeguards:
- Install outdoor lighting. Flood lights, lampposts, step lights and luminary lights are just a few of the outdoor lighting options homeowners can install to prevent break-ins.
- Utilize home automation. Using smart lights and outlets, you can set a schedule for your home lighting, creating the illusion of being home even when you are not.
- Implement an outdoor video surveillance solution. Keep an eye on what matters most with outdoor security cameras. Look for features such as motion sensors and remote capabilities to best secure your home at night.
3. Landscaping Needs
Planted flowers are past their prime and leaves are falling. Autumn creates unique landscaping needs for homeowners, and an unkempt exterior can create unnecessary safety concerns. To keep your yard and home’s exterior safe:
- Regularly clean gutters. Gutters move water from the roof away from the home, preventing flooding and water damage. Excessive buildup of fallen leaves and debris can cause this system to fail and expose your home to potential damage.
- Trim dead branches. Besides being rather unsightly, dead branches can cause a safety risk, as they can fall on you, your car or home.
- Maintain shrubs and bushes. Overgrown shrubbery creates the perfect hiding place for a burglar. Even though the summer season is winding down, keep your yard looking polished to deter thieves.
- Keep pathways clear. Branches, leaves and other debris can find their way onto your property. Discard these items as they appear on pathways to prevent tripping hazards.