The following is a guest post by Jay Harris of Home Depot. Thanks, Jay!
Elaborate systems, expensive equipment, professional installation, and extensive third-party monitoring have all been the hallmarks of high-quality home security systems. But these days, it doesn’t require a ton of money or the extensive efforts of a Doomsday Prepper to protect your home and hearth from an invader, but it does require a focus on preparedness.
Fortunately, common sense actions can serve as a baseline for security, and advancements in technology are giving do-it-yourselfers the ability to protect their homes against intruders with a little leg-work and even less cash.
Following are six tips that will keep your home safe on a tight budget.
- Use common sense to secure the house: Simple steps, such as locking doors and windows, set the stage for a safer home. Make sure to double check the locks whenever the house will be unattended for any period of time. Additional precautions include trimming shrubbery around doors and windows so that these entryways aren’t obscured. When leaving town, if possible, set outside lights on a timer to come on in the evening, and consider discontinuing delivery of the newspaper to avoid sending signals that the house is vacant. These simple precautions can prevent break-ins, and they are low cost or free.
- Upgrade existing doors and locks: Like any products on the market, doors and door locks can range in quality. Homeowners can invest in a new door or outfit existing doors and windows with new, high-quality locks to make their home more secure. Not only can these upgrades be purchased on a shoestring, but they can be installed with little trouble.
- Install timers and motion sensors on outdoor lights: Light timers and motion sensors can add another layer of security to a home. Light timers can be programmed to come on at dusk and turn off at dawn, while motion sensors will turn on for a defined period of time if tripped by movement, potentially startling would-be intruders. This may not be foolproof, given that light timers and motion sensors are widely available and inexpensive, but used correctly, they do give the appearance of an inhabited home. This may be all that is needed to scare off a burglar who is targeting your house.
- Install window and door alarms on less visible entry points: There are a number of wireless door and window alarms that are easy to install and even easier to use. An individual sensor can cost as little as $10 and can up the security game in any home if placed at entry points that are obscured from sight and are possible entry points for intruders. If remote monitoring is a must-have, look into more elaborate wired sensors which can be monitored using a smartphone app. It will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of your home wherever you are.
- Install inexpensive cameras to monitor the home: A few strategically placed surveillance cameras allow homeowners to closely monitor both the interior and exterior of the home. And viewing the footage is as easy as owning a smartphone with an app supported by the camera manufacturer. Channel Vision, for instance, provides a smartphone app that gives users remote control over their equipment. Apps like IP Camera Viewer Pro ($3.99) are compatible with a broader range of manufacturers’ products, including Panasonic, Kikvision, and Bluepix cameras, among others. Users can remotely view, control and record from an IP camera, making home security not only inexpensive but easy to monitor from any location.
- Invest in a simple, inexpensive security system: For those seeking broader coverage of their home and property, a security system may be the best fit. Fortunately, technical advancements have lowered the cost of full-fledged security systems in recent years, making it cheaper than ever to own one. Companies like Q-See have developed inexpensive options that can keep the home safe and sound and allow homeowners to arm or disarm the system via a smartphone app. One Q-See option, for $145, includes one main control panel, four magnetic window/door sensor alarms, one wireless infrared motion detector alarm, one magnetic code controller, one wireless indoor lighted siren, and two infrared sensors.
How much security does it take to protect your home? The answer is up to you. When evaluating home security, remember two things: It always pays to be prepared, and any security controls are better than none.
Jay Harris is a Home Depot sales associate and a regular contributor to the Home Depot blog. His interests include providing tips on home automation and solar panel advice, from the full line of Home Depot alternative energy solutions.