Basic Home Security, Are You Covered?

Basic home security; most people think that there is a ‘one-size-fits-all, silver bullet solution’ to basic home security. The reality is that each situation is unique and deserves a complete and individual review to ensure all precautions are taken to protect your home, loved ones and valuables.

A basic home security system certainly is a very good investment to make to protect you, your loved ones and your property. In addition to having the proper security system, don’t over look the other, simple things you can do to deter the casual criminal. Following are some precautions that should be implemented now, regardless of any home security system you have or are contemplating installing.

Your exterior doors are one of the main points of access to your home. If they’re ‘wide open’ or unlocked, someone looking to cause problems will walk through them, almost guaranteed. Locking all exterior doors with a high quality lock will slow down and perhaps even stop the ‘casual criminal’. The more time and effort required to gain access to your home, the more likely the criminal will move on to other, easier targets. Placing as many deterrents as possible in the way of the criminal is one of the basic tenets of home security. It is definitely something you should keep in mind when evaluating your current security system or when shopping for your home security system.

It may sound like a no brainer, but, you’d be surprised at how few of us have deadbolt’s on all exterior doors. It may seem like it is over kill, but standard locks are very easy to bypass. It is incredible how fast and easy it is to gain access to a garage or uninhabited house using nothing more than a cheap ID card, Membership card, or driver’s license. A standard lock just won’t stop someone who is willing to go the extra step to gain access to your home.

Also, if any door has glass in it or right next to it, be sure the deadbolt requires a key on both sides in order to open it. Having a deadbolt with a key on the exterior and a simple turn knob on the inside isn’t much better than having no deadbolt at all. A criminal can break or cut the glass, reach in turn the knob and enter your home. With a proper deadbolt in place, a criminal will either have to be very proficient at picking a 6 tumbler lock, or be able kick your door in.

How should you secure all those windows? They’re great to look out, but they’re not a deterrent from a security standpoint. Not only do they let people look directly into your home, but they’re fragile and easy to break. However, as long as all your windows are closed and locked, a criminal will be forced to destroy your property if they want to gain access to your home. Closing and ensuring all windows are securely locked is a must. You should check every day before you leave the house and every night before you go to bed. Make sure all windows are checked, not just the ground-accessible windows, and make it part of your daily routine.

Home Security Mistakes to Avoid With Your Doors and Windows

Let’s look at the common home security mistakes that people often regarding their doors and windows. Being aware of these is the first step toward better protecting your own home.

Mistake #1: Not securing all your doors

The first mistake is not securing back or side doors as well as the front door.

Burglars don’t care which door they get in through. If one door is well-secured and one isn’t, guess which one they’ll try?

It’s very common for front doors to be solid, but rear and side doors to be flimsy, especially in older homes. A burglar might actually prefer a side or a rear door, because that’s going to be away from the street where they can be less visible.

Any entrance door, wherever it is located should be a sturdy steel door and frame with deadbolts and strike plates.

Don’t forget about your sliding glass doors which typically have notoriously bad locks.

Fortunately, there’s a fantastically easy solution: just lay down a piece of wood, such as a dowel in the track to keep the door from sliding open if the lock is defeated.

Mistake #2: Old or broken locks & windows

The second mistake is not replacing broken or old locks on doors and windows-or even the broken or old doors and windows themselves!

This one may not seem obvious after you think about it a bit-after all, a broken latch or lock might not be visible, but all that really means is that it won’t attract a burglar. You don’t want to make their job easy if they should happen to try to open it.

Several problems fall under this category:

1. Many doors can easily be kicked in.

The experts recommend having a sturdy, reinforced steel door.

They also recommend improving the strike plate on your door (the piece of metal that attaches to the door frame or door jamb where the deadbolts or latch extends into the frame) or installing one if you don’t have one on each outside door. Deadbolts should not extend directly into the wooden frame.

Unfortunately, most strike plates come with relatively short screws, like an inch or so, so make sure the strike plates you have and any new ones have much longer screws. Short screws can pull out with a good kick to the door, ripping the strike plate out of the door frame, and probably shattering the frame-and then the burglar’s in.

2. Make sure you have a deadbolt on every outside door. This is really important. As I’m sure you know, a deadbolt is much harder to defeat than spring-loaded latches, which you should never rely on for outside doors.

3. Change the locks if you didn’t do so when you moved in. Not changing the locks isn’t quite like leaving the place wide open, but it does mean that someone may have the key to your place. And if they didn’t change the locks when they moved in, then someone else may have a key as well.

This can get a little tricky with apartments. Not all landlords are going to be proactive about this. You might need to ask them or even bug them a bit to get them to change locks.

Mistake #3: Unlocked doors and windows

The last mistake on my list: unlocked doors and windows.

How many times have you left your home wide open?

Have you ever gone ever gone over to a neighbor’s house or apartment intending to come right back, only to end up staying much longer? Have you ever gone to run a quick errand and decided not to bother locking up because you’d be back so quickly? Have you ever slept with the window open in the room or a different room?

Or have you mowed the lawn or done other yard work, worked out in the garage, or sat out on the patio leaving doors open that you couldn’t see?

How secure is your home?

Are you making any of these common mistakes at your home? Correct them now and better protect yourself and your home!

DIY Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Tackling home improvement projects yourself can help you save money, but only if you avoid costly mistakes like these:

Trying to do it ALL yourself. Whether to tackle a project yourself or hire a professional depends largely on your skill set and experience with the type of project at hand. Plenty of projects look easier than they really are. With your home value in mind, carefully weigh the pros and cons of DIY versus bringing in the pros prior to taking on a home renovation.

Under budgeting. Home renovations cost more money than initially anticipated almost every time. Setting aside extra funds to account for budgeting discrepancies or unexpected expenses can prevent your renovation from coming to a halt mid-project. Regardless of how well you plan, unexpected expenses can and will most likely come up.

Jumping in without researching. Do you know where electrical wiring is located? Is that wall you are about to remove load bearing? Do you have all the right hand and power tools to complete the task at hand? Ensuring that you are fully prepared to see a job through from start to finish will help protect the value of your home and save you from unnecessary headaches.

Permit oversights. Depending on the scope of your project, one or more permits may be required for remodeling your home. Checking with local permitting offices prior to starting your project can prevent expensive problems and delays down the line. Obtaining the proper permits is important for safety reasons, insurance coverage as well as the resale of your home.

Sacrificing quality. For any home improvement project, the quality of work should be of utmost importance. Quality materials combined with quality workmanship will typically contribute to a higher home value, while cutting corners on either can lead to lost time and money. Renovations of questionable quality can hurt rather than help home value, and incur additional costs if they have to be professionally redone. Even if the cost is higher up front, doing a renovation right the first time is usually the best long term investment.