When you have a home security system installed, there are things to consider aside from the features, options and cost of that system. Security systems are designed to keep intruders from entering your home but there may be times when you want to open windows or doors while you are at home without actually having to turn the system off.
While most homeowners use their security systems to protect their homes while they are away or during the night, many in cities with higher crime rates feel safer when the system runs all the time, even when everyone is at home. Window venting is an important factor to consider when choosing a home alarm system because it allows you to keep the system armed at all times and still open a window when the weather warrants. The concept simply requires an additional magnet to be placed in windows at each opening that you want to vent. In other words, instead of one magnet on the window that will trip the alarm when someone enters that window, you will have two or more depending on how high you want to raise your windows.
If you have already had a system installed, adding window venting is relatively easy. You can contact the company that installed your system and simply ask them to add those additional magnets on all of the windows that you may want to open while your security system is armed. Many companies may ask you when they install your system if you would like window venting. If you have not yet had the system installed, be sure to inquire about venting when the installer comes to put the system in your home.
It is recommended that venting be placed at openings that will not allow intruders to easily enter. This means that windows should open only about six inches which is not wide enough for someone to enter but plenty wide enough for you to enjoy a nice breeze from outside. This relates to windows as well as sliding doors. You may want to vent your sliding doors as well and you can place these additional magnets on them, being sure that you are only opening them a bit and not enough for an intruder to enter without being detected.
Window venting is not at all difficult to install and if you already have a system in place, it will not be terribly expensive to add this feature. If you have not yet chosen a system, look for one that offers venting and ask your installer when he or she shows up if you can have window venting when the system is installed. It is much easier to put into place during the initial installation but again, it is not a difficult feature to add and takes very little time so the cost should be very minimal even if your system has already been installed before you decide to add this feature. You can contact your home security system company to find out more information about this option and whether or not your system allows for it.
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Most people buy a home security system to keep their homes secure from criminals. That’s a great reason – homes with systems are about three times less likely to be targeted by burglars. When customers consider purchasing a system, they weigh the cost of the system against the potential loss from a break-in – the FBI says the average residential burglary results in a loss of more than $2,000. And if your house is broken into, you can have peace of mind that your family and the proper authorities will be notified as soon as possible.
But the truth of the matter is that there are other considerations that should be weighed on the side of purchase. These shouldn’t be overlooked by potential customers.
One is another cost benefit. Installing a security system could help you qualify for big discounts from a number of top insurance providers. The reason? Many home security systems often include a number of extra safety features that could help save your life and protect the people and things you love. Here are just a few ways, besides helping to prevent burglary, your home security system can help keep you safe and avoid costly insurance claims in the long run:
In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to more than 370,000 house fires that resulted in a total of almost $7 billion dollars in property damage. Typically, when you purchase a home security system, you’ll also have the option of installing smoke and heat detectors that could help drastically lower the risk of your home being catastrophically damaged in a fire.
Carbon monoxide detectors
According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to carbon monoxide gas accounts for about 15,000 emergency responses to U.S. homes every year. Installing carbon monoxide detectors with your home security system could help save your life as well as the lives of the people you care about most. Remember, carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is difficult to identify without monitoring equipment.
Medical emergency assistance
Whether your son is home alone and injures himself or an elderly member of the family has a bad fall and needs immediate assistance, your home security system likely offers a way to reach help with the touch of a button. Depending on the type of system you install, your keypad could function as a one-touch call center to notify emergency responders of danger, or it could function as an intercom through which family members can communicate directly with authorities.
These safety devices can help alert you of extreme temperatures that could cause serious consequences such as burst pipes. Once you’re alerted, take the proper precautions in order to help prevent freezing, such as leaving your taps dripping or wrapping exposed pipes in insulating foam.
If you’re not protected by a separate flood insurance policy, rising water could soak your prized possessions and leave your wallet water-logged. Many home security systems include an option to install flood alerts in order to help you take action before too much damage is done. This isn’t just helpful if you live near a lake or river. It also helps give you notice if your dishwasher, refrigerator or water heater fails.
Undoubtedly, the standout benefit of your system is home security. But you get a lot more than that with most purchases. Work with your home security and home insurance providers to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the benefits your security system offers your home and family.
This article was contributed by Kelly McMurtrie, a writer for HomeInsurance.com. Kelly has been writing content for HomeInsurance.com and other major brands since 2011 after graduating from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Media Arts.
Part of the knowing your way around good home security is knowing how the mind of a burglar works. Of course, we all know that the first lesson thieves teach themselves is: don’t get caught. Therefore, as smart homeowners, what we need to do is find ways to make it easier for them to get caught. Burglars avoid capture by avoiding detection in the first place, so it follows that you should find ways to easily detect them, if ever they happen to come across your territory.
Although a lot of robbery occurs in broad daylight, night time still provides a good cover for many would-be intruders out there. Thus, you have to fix your lighting, both indoors and outdoors to deal with this possible threat. Doing this is not just about shedding some light on your home area so you can easily spot somebody who is attempting to break in. It’s also about trying to minimizing the appearance of vacancy in your home. Robbers are particularly good at monitoring homes which stay vacant most of the time, since they have better chances at getting away with whatever they do.
Proper home security involves establishing a routine and sticking with it. Use a timer to set the lights on and off at certain times during both morning and evening, especially when you’re not around. If you do, possible burglars will have difficulty trying to decide whether you’re not around or if you’re just spending some overtime hours at work.
When it comes to the outdoors, visibility should be your main concern. The immediate area surrounding your house serves as your first line of defense. Yard lights are good while solar lights are not much help with security matters. You can opt to place 120-volt lights or better at significant points such as entries and pathways. Possible hiding spots like a cluster of bushes or a huge tree should also be well-lit. If you want to save on energy or the electricity bill, you can hook up these kinds of lights to motion detectors so that they only work whenever they are needed to.
If, however, the burglar manages to reach your front door without being detected, you still have one last shot at preventing him from the entering the house. This means installing precautions at the point of entry: the door, or the windows. For home security, windows should have locks and burglar-proof glass is a good investment, even though it might seem costly when you buy it.
Door locks are particularly more complex. Thieves have two major ways on entering through doors: kicking it open or disabling the lock. You should choose your equipment carefully to make sure that both possibilities can be addressed. First, the door must be made of either solid wood or metal, so it holds. Next, make sure your strike plate is the heavy duty kind, secured by thick, preferably 3-inch screws. Lastly, the lock should be a deadbolt or a knob-in kind of lock with a dead latch. This is to prevent burglars from using the “loiding” method, which is when they slip a plastic credit card under the latch tongue of the door to depress it. Make sure that there isn’t enough space between the door and its frame to accommodate a hacksaw or other power tools—otherwise, your deadbolt will not serve its purpose.
Home security simply deals with finding out weaknesses in your home and correcting them. If you find it hard to memorize all of these, you can try “burglarizing” your home. You might be surprised to find certain weaknesses, and then you can act from there.
When you’re going away on a trip or vacation, home security should be on the list of important things to consider. It’s not just about protecting yourself from intruders: it’s also about preparing yourself from mechanical problems that could easily develop in a house which is left empty for some time. The worst part about these problems is that nobody will take notice of them until you return. That is, of course unless you hire a house sitter. But if that’s not your style, you should read about these tips right now on how to minimize possible problems so you can rest easy on your trip, knowing that your house will be okay.
First, the main water valve must be shut off. This is usually located on the front side of the house, facing the street. If you encounter any problems you can always ask a plumber for help. This includes installing a bypass valve so your plants continue to be watered, especially if the irrigation line is connected to the main valve.
Also turn off your water heater, either through the large breaker at the main electrical panel or by turning off the valve completely (if your water heater runs on gas). Consequently turn off all non-essential electric circuit breakers to minimize the risk of electrical fires. If you have difficulty doing this, trace the wiring and label them with colored tape to differentiate the essential from the non-essential ones. Essential lines are connected to your security system and indoor/outdoor lighting.
To maximize your home security, set up timers to make the lights go on and off at certain times in the day. This will deter would be burglars from choosing your home as a target, because doing this creates an illusion of occupancy. Next, try as much as possible to never broadcast that you are away. Avoid posting “I’m on a long vacation” or similar messages like that online, because you don’t know who is going to read that and take advantage of it. Also adjust your phone’s ringing volume beforehand to the lowest volume, or better yet turn the ringer off. Burglars know that an unanswered phone means an empty house.
Next, leave some blinds and curtains in their usual positions as much as possible, while taking care to never display any valuables within view. Secure these from theft in a safety deposit box or a home safe. Likewise, if your computer contains any personal information, make sure it is turned off and disconnected from the Internet. You should also dispose of any bills and receipts that could possibly lead to identity theft.
Of course, one of the most important things you shouldn’t forget is to activate your security system and notify your home security company of your intent to go on a trip. Next, never forget to lock all doors and windows. This actually sounds like common sense you don’t need to think about, but it is actually a tip that most homeowners forget to do. A lot of burglars simply walk in an empty house because a door or window is ajar.
If you follow these home security tips, you will surely enjoy your trip or vacation a lot more, because you rest at ease knowing that your home is safe.
For a safe and secure dwelling, a smart homeowner needs to be aware of a few basic home security tips to deter thieves and burglars from entering one’s house. During most robberies, the victims are taken by surprise because they believe they have carried out all the necessary security measures: installed alarm systems, locks, dogs and window bars. The big problem is that every home still has a weak point, and seasoned burglars know how to take advantage of a weakness when they see one. Fortunately, these problems are nothing that can’t be remedied. All you have to consider are a few more installations and behavior modifications to make your home a less appealing target for intruders.
First off, you can start with the obvious alarm system installation. We all know how they work. They are installed, activated, trusted people are given the password, and the rest trigger the blaring sound. But there lies the little problem which alarm companies don’t draw much attention to. All of the blaring sounds occur only after somebody has broken in, and maybe dashed off with some valuables closest to the door. Of course, it’s a good thing that the sound alerts people including cops to the scene of the crime. But it doesn’t change the fact that the criminal might already have gotten away with some of your stuff.
That’s why if you want your alarm to really protect you from intruders, they have to know that it is there. You have to display that alarm company notice right outside your house where anybody who passes by can see it. If criminals know that you have an alarm system installed, it automatically makes you a less appealing target. The only thing you have to hide about alarm systems is the wires, so that more daring thieves will have a difficult time finding and disconnecting the wires.
The next tip deals with home security while you’re away. Firstly, as much as possible you should avoid broadcasting any vacation plans on social networking sites, unless the information is shared only to the inboxes of a few select people. Because you cannot be 100% about who gets to read your Facebook status about that trip to Paris, or that tweet about your upcoming Caribbean cruise, a possible robber could realize that your home is the perfect target. He’s going to know that nobody will be there to interrupt his breaking in.
If any travel plans you have happen to be publicized through the newspaper, a wedding or a funeral perhaps, ask your neighbors for help or hire a house sitter. Your neighbors can use your garbage cans while you’re away, and adjust your telephone ring to the lowest volume. Smart burglars will immediately notice an unanswered phone as one sign that nobody is in the house.
Next, you should think about where to keep your house key, or the spare key. Forget that doormat, door frame and flowerpot; they’re probably within the first five places anybody will check. You might be thinking that putting your key in an obvious place makes it more convenient on your part, but you’re also increasing the chance that you will be robbed. For better home security, leave your spare key with a trusted neighbor. If you don’t have one nearby or if you’d still prefer hiding it, be creative. Wrap your key in a piece of foil or put it in a 35 mm film can before burying it somewhere on the grounds.
These are just very few examples of how you can improve your home security, and deter possible burglars from targeting your house. It might seem like a load of additional work, but being safe is always better than being sorry.