5 Home Security Upgrades for Every Budget
Home is the last place you want to feel insecure.
Your home is your safe haven. Your place to relax with loved ones away from the worries and stress of the world beyond your walls.
When your safe haven is violated, it can be a painful and disorienting experience, especially when your family’s well-being is on the line. That’s why security is a top concern for most homeowners.
Is There More I Can Do to Secure My Home?
Investing in home security can prevent break-ins, theft, and other threats and give you day-to-day peace of mind.
Of course, securing your home is rarely a one-and-done project. It is an ongoing process, which is why homeowners often find themselves wondering if there’s more they can do to strengthen their defenses.
As technology advances and criminals adapt, it’s important to regularly update and upgrade your home security systems and features. But if a brand new full-service alarm and surveillance system or a major security retrofit just aren’t in the budget right now, don’t fear.
Today’s homeowners have a slew of smarter and more convenient security options to choose from. Focus on what you can accomplish now and be sure to reassess your home’s security each year.
Here are five ways you can enhance the security of your home, ranging from easy upgrades to more advanced security retrofits.
5 Ways You Can Strengthen Your Home’s Security
Security Tip #1: Embrace the Smart Home Revolution
Would you like to monitor and control your door locks, lights, cameras, and alarms from your smartphone while you’re at work or on vacation? The Internet of Things has unleashed a wide range of new smart home security products that allow you to do just that and more.
Smart home security systems utilize your home Wi-Fi network so you can remotely interact with various security features through an easy-to-use app. These range from basic protocols like motion detectors and door sensors to comprehensive networks that monitor your garage door, surveillance cameras, smoke detectors, and much more.
One of the most exciting aspects of some smart home security systems is the ability to create “rules” that trigger specific security features when you need them. Imagine if every time motion was detected in your driveway, your lights turned on and a camera started recording the area.
Depending on your needs, you can choose from an array of DIY smart security systems, meaning you install and monitor the system yourself, or pay more for 24/7 professional monitoring. Either way, most kits available are convenient and highly customizable.
With so many options available, you’ll need to do your research before committing to one system.
This review of the best smart home security systems of 2017 is a great place to start.
Security Tip #2: Upgrade Your Door Locks with Keyless Entry
If you can memorize a four-digit code, you may never have to deal with house keys again.
Electronic keypad entry systems are not just for businesses or apartment buildings. More and more homeowners are upgrading to keyless entry for the added security, control, and the convenience it offers.
Keyless, electronic locks can be found at many hardware stores and installed with just a screwdriver. They typically cost between $100 and $300, and come in many styles and finishes to match your home.
Once installed, you can program and reprogram your entry code as often as you like. Assign guests, dog walkers, and babysitters their own codes, track when they have been used, and change them when they no longer need access.
You’ll have to stay on top of replacing batteries and keep your programming guide handy in case the lock loses power or you forget your code. Thankfully most keyless locks have safeguards in place to ensure you never find yourself locked out.
Take a look at some of the best keyless door locks on the market today before heading down to the hardware store to make your selection.
Security Tip #3: Install Motion Sensitive Lighting
In a unique survey of over 400 incarcerated burglars, researchers found that well-lit properties without hiding places were less likely to be targeted for theft.
Light is one of the simplest and most effective deterrents against theft and home invasion.
Consider it your first line of defense because it can prevent criminals from even attempting to burglarize your home.
We’ve come a long way from the days of conspicuous floodlights and unreliable motion sensors. Now you can light up your yard, driveway, pathways, porch, patio, shed, and any other dark corner where a burglar may hide with style and precision.
With so many lighting options to choose from, use these guidelines to ensure you pick effective, high-quality bulbs and sensors:
- Consider investing in solar powered and energy-efficient LED lights, especially where bulbs will be burning for hours on end.
- In places where you only want lights to turn on when someone approaches, look for motion sensors with a detection range of at least 40 feet.
- Make sure your bulbs have a high light output (measured in lumens) so they will flood a wide area.
- Look for water and heatproof lighting products to ensure your outdoor lights don’t short out when you need them most.
Choosing the best lighting products for your property can be a bit overwhelming. Check out this comparison of the best home security light options to get started.
Security Tip #4: Create a Safe Room
Hollywood depictions of safe rooms make them seem like high-tech padded bunkers reserved for the eccentric elite. This is far from reality.
A safe room can look like any normal room in your house, most often a bedroom. You do not need to build a new structure. Nearly any room can be modified to protect you and your loved ones from intruders while you call for help.
It is entirely possible to create a safe room that doesn’t disrupt the design or function of your home.
Make sure you upgrade the room you select with the following safety features to withstand an assault:
- Solid Core Door: Choose an outside door made of steel or solid wood so it can’t easily be kicked in.
- Reinforced Door Frame: Your solid core door will need a bigger, stronger doorframe to keep it firmly in place and secure your door locks.
- Multiple Door Locks: Replace indoor knobs with heavy locking knobs, deadbolts, or even a keyless door lock. Using multiple locks keeps you safe even if one lock fails.
- Shatterproof Glass: If your safe room has windows, replace them with shatterproof glass so they are as difficult as possible to break-in through. If you can’t replace a window, use shatterproof laminate as a next-best defense.
- Permanent Phone: Don’t rely on your cellphone to call for help once you’re inside your safe room. What if you’ve left it on the kitchen counter in your rush to take cover? Install a permanent landline or keep a backup cell phone in your safe room at all times.
At the very least, a safe room can buy you the time you need to reach the police and keep you out of harm’s way during an invasion. In some situations, a protected room may enable you to remain level-headed and plan your next critical move.
If you’re interested in installing an even more robust safe room, check out this guide covering various options for high security safe rooms.
Security Tip #5: Bulletproof Your Walls, Doors, and Windows.
Bulletproof doors, walls, and windows aren’t just for banks and police stations. Increasingly, they’re being installed by homeowners to defend against shooters.
When it comes to stopping bullets, your options range from a DIY sandbag wall to steel panels, Kevlar sheets, and a custom ballistics retrofit.
Some people fortify a single closet (or safe room) with cinder block walls encased in bulletproof steel, then hidden under wood paneling. Others replace windows with bulletproof or bullet resistant glass.
The Minneapolis-based millwork design firm Aaron Carlson is carving out a new niche for itself with bulletproof doors and ballistics solutions for homes and businesses.
Speaking with Twin Cities Business, Jason Horner, owner and president of Aaron Carlson, said
“Where we see the market is in places where people don’t want anyone to know that it’s a ballistic door.” In other words, they’re crafting ballistics products that can blend seamlessly with residential design.
If you want to be safe from bullets, it’s best to consult a professional to make sure your retrofit is effective and well-suited to your overall home design.
Keeping Your Twin City Home Safe
The options available to homeowners are endless as new technologies enter the home and new businesses are being created to meet consumer’s needs of feeling safe. What are some of the things you’ve done at your home to increase your safety? Leave a comment below and let us know.