Home security checklist: 7 tips to keep your home as secure as possible
Whether you live alone or with your family, there is nothing more important than keeping your home safe. In some cases, if you are unaware of your home maintenance, you could even put yourself and your loved ones at risk. Fortunately, you can maintain a safer, healthier home by doing a few simple home security tasks.
From replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors to looking for signs of black mold, it’s important to stay in control of your home’s maintenance to avoid costly repairs or safety hazards. Below is a comprehensive home security checklist to help you take control of these critical issues and keep your family safe.
Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Inside your home, smoke andare essential for your safety. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, you’re 55% less likely to die in a home fire if you have a working smoke detector.
These types of devices can identify the first signs of danger and alert you if something goes wrong, but they will only work if you take good care of them. The US Fire Administration recommends testing your batteries every month and replacing them once or twice a year. You should also replace the entire device every 10 years (or sooner if you have problems during testing).
Inspect your extinguishers
Even though the number of household fires has been halved since 1980, the risk of death in the event of a fire has remained the same. To prevent a fire from spiraling out of control, experts recommend having at least onein your house.
But again, your fire extinguisher is only effective if it is properly maintained. At least once a year, you should check that it hasn’t expired and make sure that the safety pin remains intact. You should also keep it clean and damage free and make sure the nozzle is still working. Finally, you will need to replace the extinguisher every 10 to 12 years.
Look for signs of black mold
Black mold is commonly found in hot, humid areas of the home, including bathrooms and basements. If you have mold inside your home, it can trigger symptoms like itchy eyes, wheezing, fever, or shortness of breath. For children, black mold can even contribute to the development of asthma.
It is important to inspect your home regularly for any signs of mold. Here’s how to do it:
Look for mold spots or clumps, especially in damp rooms or areas where you have had a water leak or damage.
If you find any, put on protective gear, open your windows and doors, and throw out any moldy items.
Remove and replace surfaces covered with mold (such as carpet or ceiling tiles) and treat the area with bleach.
Let everything dry completely. If a leak has caused mold, be sure to fix it.
While you’re at it, look for evidence of water and termite damage
Water damage and termite damage can both contribute to structural damage to your home, which could lead to costly repairs or significant losses in property value. For water damage, check under sinks, in basements, and under and behind appliances. Also, keep an eye on your ceilings: Leaks in the roof, around skylights or pipes can be slow enough that you notice discoloration before you notice water pouring out the top.
Termites are another risk to the structural integrity of your home. Especially if you live in less populated areas, termites could burrow into the wooden supports in your home and seriously damage them over time. If you have wood floors, make sure they don’t “blister” anywhere – which can be a sign of water damage or termites underneath. Also keep an eye out for mud tunnels at the base of your exterior walls and termite droppings, which look like small wooden pellets, near interior or exterior walls.
Install a video doorbell or sensors
More than 1.1 million burglaries took place in the United States in 2019, with residential burglaries accounting for 63% of them. To reduce the risk of break-in and deter thieves, many homeowners and tenants choose to installand window / door sensors in their properties.
Doorbell cameras from companies likeand allow you to see who is coming and going from your home, providing an additional line of defense against intruders. They are also affordable and , so you can be up and running within hours.
Schedule an annual chimney sweep
If you have a fireplace at home, having it professionally cleaned every year is essential to remove debris and make sure everything is in working order. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, you should have it checked every year to make sure there are no animals living inside.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimneys should be cleaned when there is more than an eighth of an inch of soot accumulated. Your chimney sweep will let you know whether or not you need cleaning during your annual appointment. You can use the CSIA website to find a certified professional in your area.
Confirm that your house number is visible from the road
This might not be the most obvious home safety tip, but making sure your house number is easy to read from the street is imperative. In an emergency, first responders should be able to read your house number to know they are in the right place.
Set up large, legible numbers in a well-lit area so emergency personnel can locate your home at any time of the day or night. If necessary, use reflective material or add a light above the numbers for better visibility.
No matter how many safety measures or precautions you take, accidents and mistakes can still happen in the home. However, there are several things you can do to prepare your home and reduce the risk of damage or serious injury.
Plus, with the continued development of smart home technology (like do-it-yourself doorbells, sensors, and home security systems), you can take a more proactive approach to security.
For more information on home security and smart home devices, check out these CNET articles: