5 Must Haves for Home Security

Almost everyone I know thinks about home security in one way or another.  Whether it’s the spouse who travels and wants to know their family is safe back home while they’re away, or when on vacation, knowing that the house is safe and secure, you want peace of mind.  That’s why I’ve put together my 5 must haves for home security.

We’re currently in the process of renovating our home, and when you’re doing a complete renovation like we are, it really opens up to door to the options you can do.

Included in this is building in the security features you want.  We live in a safe neighborhood, but we’re in a dense area. There are still certain elements of security we’d like to have.

We’ve spent a lot of time researching many of the great features and options that are available, and from this, here are my top five.

Alarm system with window and door switches

It’s a good piece of mind having a security system for your home.  If you’ve got window and door switches, and you set your alarm, you’ll never have to worry about whether you left a window open.  And at night, you can set it, and not have to worry about any break-ins while you sleep.

There are many companies out there that can do the complete installation and monitoring for you.  You probably recognize names like ADT and Simplisafe, but any of these companies can provide a robust, turn key system, to protect your home.

You can also build your own, taking more of an a la carte approach. We’re now in the process of designing a security system for our home, and we’re using this guide to help us plan: TIps for Building for Home Security System

Alarm monitoring

Depending on how close you are to the neighbors, and where the speaker for your security system is installed, if it goes off, it may not be heard. If it’s during the day, and all of your neighbors are at work too, who’s going to hear it?  That’s why you should have monitoring on your system.

If you have monitoring, when the alarm goes off, a dispatcher is notified.  They will typically try to call you to make sure it’s not a false alarm, while in parallel they will proceed to notify the police.

Most monitoring now is done via cellular. Instead of the systems that used to be wired to your telephone line.  So now, thieves can’t get around the monitoring by cutting the phone line.

Some people don’t like having the monthly expense of monitoring, but it’s a critical element of the home security system.

Video security

Video security is a relatively new top feature for home security.  This is primarily because of the growth of online shopping and Amazon.  Thieves love stealing packages off of porches, so if you’re not home during the day, how do you prevent this from happening?

The easiest way is to have a visible camera system set up.  Having one that captures the detail around your porch, and another that captures the detail in your driveway, or even the of the street in front of your home, can be a huge deterrent.

Unfortunately, it’s just a deterrent, not a fail-safe.  Thieves may still try to steal packages from your porch, and if that happens, at least you have video.  Having a good physical description of the thief, or a shot of the vehicle and license plate, can be very helpful to the police for identifying a suspect and making an arrest.

It may not get your package back, but at least you get one more criminal off of the street.

If you’re doing more and more online shopping, like most people, a video camera is a wise investment.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Do you have a gas furnace or water heater in your home?  If so, did you know that any sort of ventilation issue could potentially lead to carbon monoxide poisoning?

If the vent for your appliance get blocked somehow, it can force the exhaust gas from your appliance to flow into your home.  One of the elements from this is carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that when inhaled starves your body of oxygen.  Unfortunately, this can be deadly for families when this occurs.  Scary stuff.

It’s very easy to protect yourself and your family from this.  Having your appliances inspected periodically is one way, but an even easier way is to have a carbon monoxide detector.  Similar to a smoke detector, if carbon monoxide is detected, it will set off an alarm.  Once the alarm goes off, you can open windows to bring in fresh air until you can get a service person to fix the issue.

Most alarm monitoring systems can include the carbon monoxide detector, providing an extra layer of protection.  When talking about home security, this may not be something most people think of, but it’s important to protecting your loved ones.

Well kept lawn and manicured shrubbery

Have you ever heard of the broken window theory? Simply, it’s that signs of disrepair, like a broken window, tend to invite further problems, like crime.  Applied to your home, an un-mowed lawn, or an overflowing mailbox can be a big red flag for criminals.

If you’re going on vacation, have someone take care of the lawn, or shovel the sidewalks if it’s winter.  Get a neighbor to grab your mail, or have the post office put it on hold.

Do the things that make it look like you’re home even when you’re not so that your house doesn’t stand out to thieves.  Remember, most property crime is based on opportunity.  Don’t make it easy for the criminals to recognize the opportunity of your home.

Also, certain types of shrubs and bushes placed in front of windows can be a big deterrant to criminals.  It’s a lot harder to break into windows if there’s a big pointy or prickly bush right in front of it.

Home security doesn’t have to be complicated

As you can see, there are some simple solutions out there to better secure your home.  While not an exclusive list, use the five top items above to help you determine what additional steps you can take to protect your family.

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