As the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer, now’s the time to start thinking about spring cleaning. While this usually means cleaning out the gutters, clearing the lawn, and giving your home a deep clean, it's also the perfect time to review your home security measures.
Proper upkeep and maintenance play a crucial role in your home’s security. As you stock up on cleaning supplies and hit the broom and dustbuster, you should also prioritize improving home safety. We have created a comprehensive spring cleaning checklist for all your home security needs.
Outdoor Home Security
Home security starts with your property’s exterior. The exterior of your home is the first line of defense against potential intruders or burglars. Therefore, it's essential to have a solid outdoor security measure in place. Consider the following tips when giving your exterior a spring cleaning refresh:
- Check all lighting around the outside of your home. This means double-checking all bulbs and batteries in case you need replacements.
- Ensure the address numbers for your home are properly positioned and painted on your front curb and/or the front of your house. This ensures both are visible for first responders in case of an emergency.
- Examine all outdoor security cameras. If you live in an area with winter weather, inspect all cameras outside your home. Snow and harsh weather conditions may have damaged cameras. Clean all camera lenses with a soft cloth and tighten all mounts.
- Maintain your home’s landscaping. This includes trimming back bushes to eliminate potential hiding spots for intruders. Also, inspect and repair any damage to fences or other outside boundaries. A tidy exterior is a clear indicator to would-be criminals that the home is occupied.
- Lock down your shed. Securing your shed is an important aspect of home security that is often overlooked. Sheds generally contain valuable items such as tools, lawnmowers, and bicycles, making them an attractive target for thieves. Securing your shed prevents burglars from stealing valuable possessions and reduces the risk of them using your tools to break into your home.
Indoor Home Security
Once you’ve secured your home’s exterior, it’s time to prioritize the interior. Indoor home security measures are crucial for maintaining the safety and security of your home and loved ones and should never be overlooked. Here’s everything you should consider when evaluating your indoor home security:
- Inspect your locks. Locks are one of the most effective deterrents against burglars. Check all your locks to ensure they're in good working order. Replace any that are damaged or don't work correctly. If you don't already have deadbolts installed on your doors, consider adding them for extra security.
- Examine Your Doors. While you’re inspecting locks, it’s also important to examine your doors. Check for signs of wear and tear, and replace any that are damaged or have gaps around the edges. Make sure the hinges are secure and not loose, as this can make it easier for someone to kick in the door. Consider adding a door reinforcement kit, which will make it more difficult for someone to break in.
- Check all windows. It’s important to inspect all the windows throughout your home. If any locks seem loose, tighten or replace them. Additionally, clean all windows. The better you can see, the safer you’ll be.
- Clean security equipment. This includes all camera lenses and light fixtures. Not only will you be able to see clearer, dust and dirt can cause equipment operating issues in the future.
- Clear fireplaces. If you have a wood fireplace in your home, discard any ash and clean the grate thoroughly. Additionally, call a chimney cleaner to ensure the flue is clear. Excess debris is a fire hazard and puts your home and family at risk.
- Replace batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, three out of five residential fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Check the batteries for all detectors and replace them as needed. Then, test all detectors by pressing and holding the test button. After a few seconds, you should hear a loud, piercing siren.
- Secure your garage. Your garage is another common entry point for burglars, so it's important to make sure it's secure. Check the door to make sure it locks properly, and consider adding a deadbolt or garage door defender for extra security. If you have windows in your garage, cover them so someone can't look inside.
Home Cleaning Safety
While cleaning supplies are great at removing dirt and grime, they can also be extremely hazardous if used incorrectly or accidentally consumed. It is important to exercise caution when using and storing home cleaning supplies around the house. The last thing you want is for a child or animal to be exposed to harmful chemicals.
Here’s what you can do to ensure safe storage and proper use:
- Never leave cleaning supplies left open and unattended.
- Store leftover cleaning supplies away from children in a high-up or locked cabinet.
- Keep all supplies in their original containers with labels. Read the directions to make sure they are used and stored in the intended way.
- Consider placing monitoring sensors on your cleaning supply cabinet so that you’re immediately alerted when someone accesses it.
- Always read the label and follow the instructions for use and storage, and never mix different cleaning products as this can cause dangerous chemical reactions.
- Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area whenever using cleaning products.
- Do not store cleaning products near sources of heat, flames, or sparks.
- Dispose of empty cleaning products properly and according to local regulations.
- Keep cleaning products away from foods, drinks, and utensils.
- Check the expiration date and dispose of expired products properly.
Spring cleaning presents the opportunity to redecorate with home security in mind. Believe it or not, interior decorating can have an impact on your home’s safety. Whether it’s rearranging a few couches or a complete renovation, here’s how you can keep security top of mind when redecorating:
- Consider locking expensive vases, glassware, and other items within cabinets, instead of leaving them unsecured on a table or dresser.
- Choose the right window coverings. You should be cognizant of what people can from the streets. It’s especially important to keep valuables out of plain sight.
- Make sure furniture changes don’t interfere with your security system. Double-check to ensure furniture doesn’t block cameras or accidentally trigger motion detectors. If you consider making extreme changes to your home’s layout, consider bringing in a security expert to reassess your security system setup.
- If you make expensive new purchases, discretely dispose of the trash. TV, gaming system, electronics, and new furniture boxes left on your curb could make your home a target for burglars. Break down all boxes and conceal them within garbage bags or trash bins instead of leaving them out in the open.
Test Your Home Security System
After you’ve cleaned and inspected your home security features, it’s time to test your system. Testing your home security system ensures it’s functioning properly and providing the protection you need. Regular testing can help you identify any issues or malfunctions in the system, such as dead batteries or faulty sensors before they become a problem.
It also allows you to test different components of the system, such as the alarms and motion detectors, to make sure they are working correctly. In addition, testing your security system can help you become more familiar with how it works, and help you identify any areas that may need additional security measures.
Steps can vary depending on the model and manufacturer of your control panel. Below are general steps to consider:
- At the Home screen, tap Security.
- At the Security screen, tap Menu.
- At the Menu screen, tap Toolbox.
- To access the system test, enter the master user code.
- At the Toolbox screen, tap System Test.
If you own or operate any Vector Security products or are interested in purchasing a security system, we can have our technicians on-site to test your surveillance network to ensure all your security solutions run accordingly.
Partnering with a smart home security provider is a great investment, and can help keep your home and family protected. For more information about Vector Security and the security solutions we provide, feel free to contact us today.