15 Things to Know to Keep Your Home Safe

See also: Planning and Organising Skills

Whether you're going out of town for a vacation or just want to feel as protected as possible in your home, you should take measures to keep your house and household safe. You never know when crime could strike, so to protect your house and everything and everyone in it, you should follow certain guidelines to ensure the security of your home.

Try these easy tricks to feel more secure, whether you're at home or away.

1. Test the Locks

Always keep your house locked. If you're in a more populated area, you should lock your doors even when you're at home. You can lock a screen door if you want to let light in but still want the security of a closed-off home. Always make sure your windows are locked after you close them, and never leave them open when you leave home.

2. Don't Give Out Spare Keys

The only people that should have keys to your house are people who frequently visit that you can trust or people who live there. The more you give out your keys, the more people have copies of them. Make sure all of your immediate family members have a key but think carefully before giving a spare key to anyone else. You can always loan them one for a bit if they're watching the house, then get it back from them once you return.

If you think that you have too many copies of your key out there, it might be time to change the locks. It shouldn't be challenging to find a locksmith and get copies made for everyone in your household. Consider only giving out a spare key in emergencies and try always to get them back after you've let someone borrow them. Keeping your household safe is the most important thing.

3. Don't Leave the House While Doing Laundry

Over 15,000 home fires each year are due to the dryer, many of them resulting from dust or fiber that hasn't been cleaned out properly. When you aren't home to monitor your laundry, don't wash and dry your clothes. You never know when a faulty cord can cause an issue, and it's best to be home to keep an eye on things if you can potentially stop a fire in its tracks.

4. Install Outdoor Lights

Dark houses make great opportunities for thieves. If you want to deter all crime, consider having ample lights around your home. Make sure to light every corner of your front and backyard, so nobody has the opportunity to hide. Motion-activated lights can be a great deterrent, and they could signal to would-be criminals that you already know they're there.

5. Keep Up with Garage Door Maintenance

Even garage doors need some love. They need regular maintenance to ensure that they're not faulty. A faulty garage door could be someone's access into your home. To prevent that, you can limit the amount of garage door openers you give out, or create a code for the garage door that not many people know about.

Also, if your garage door has started to sag, it's time to brace it up yourself or have someone inspect it. In the end, you should make a choice you feel most comfortable with, whether that's implementing a DIY solution or buying a new garage door.

6. Secure Your Wi-Fi

You don't want just anyone using your Wi-Fi. Your family and guests may know the password, but you don't want to make it so easy that anyone can guess it. A secure Wi-Fi network means that your activity is protected. Make sure the password is unique and something that most people can't guess. You can use a password randomizer to give you the strongest password possible.

7. Check Your Detectors

Your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors could save your life. You should never have to take the batteries out of your detectors without replacing them, as they're vital parts of your home. If a natural disaster or gas leak strikes your home, your detectors are the first line of defense so you know to get out of your home and call someone for help. Without them, you risk injuring yourself and your family members on top of any potential damage to your home.

8. Cover Your Windows

An open window might invite a burglary. If you have windows facing the street, have thick curtains or blinds covering them. You can always open them to let a little light in when you are home, but when you are away, curtains or blinds can protect your home in case someone approaches it. It can be a deterrent to burglary, as no one will be able to see inside your home from the street.

9. Replace Weatherstripping

Have you felt a chill or noticed that your energy bill has increased? Your weatherstripping could be to blame. Check around your windows and doors. If your weatherstripping has rotted or appears too old, you can replace it yourself to create a better seal. That way, your home stays regulated at the temperature you want, and you don't have to worry about losing money every month.

10. Hide Your Valuables

Whenever guests are over, you may feel the need to hide your valuable items. While they might be pretty on display, some people could consider it unbecoming to have your valuables out where anyone can see them. You don't want to feel like you're boasting by showing off your blessings and the items you're grateful for, so you must find a happy medium between displaying the things you love and keeping them tucked away.

Putting your valuables away can also help deter crime. If potential burglars can't see your valuables through your windows, they won't think of your home as a hotspot to steal from. You should also be careful of who you allow in your house. Make sure that your valuable jewelry and other items are put away whenever you have someone over that you don't know well.

11. Eliminate Dangers

This tip is convenient if you have elderly adults in your home. Make sure to eliminate any falling or tripping hazards that can hurt someone. If one walkway doesn't have enough space, move some furniture around to accommodate people who might walk through. Make sure to secure all rugs to the ground. If they're not necessary, it's better to get rid of a rug if you're worried about someone slipping on it. Install carpet on your floors if you want the soft feeling of a rug or need it for family members.

12. Change Your Air Filters

Like the one before it, this tip is more about protecting the people who live in your house rather than the items you store in it. Your household deserves to breathe clean air. A dirty air filter that hasn't been replaced can make it harder on your heating and cooling system, which wastes your money. They also work well to pull allergens and bacteria out of the air, so they're worth keeping up with.

You should aim to change your air filters a couple of times per year. If you have pets, you might need to change them more often to eliminate the fur and dander that the filter may pick up. Check on them periodically. If you forget that your filters are there, you might be allowing allergens to take over your home.

13. Install an Alarm System

Alarm systems are the best way to prevent unwanted crime. You can set it both before bed and before you leave the house so your brain feels more at ease. The alarm system will go off as soon as a door or window is opened, but you have nothing to fear if you know the code to disarm it. Many alarm systems will automatically notify the police after a while of no code being entered.

Smart alarm systems can be armed and disarmed from your phone, giving you an extra layer of security when you're away from home. If you want to move toward a smart home, choosing an alarm system that you can control from anywhere is a great start. You won't have to worry about wondering whether you turned the alarm on before leaving.

14. Be Mindful About Social Media

Social media is as much a curse as it is a blessing. While you may want to share that you've bought a new house with your loved ones, showing off your key is not the way to do so. People can copy a key just from its image, so taking a picture of the key and the front of your house can make it easy for burglars online to target you.

You should also be wary of who you share your vacation details with. You should make sure your house is taken care of whenever you're away from home. Showing vacation photos on social media signals to everyone that you're not at home at the moment. Be aware of what you're sharing when, and have someone watch your house if you can.

15. Rely on Cameras

Cameras on your property can give you peace of mind when you can't be there to watch over it. Some people may not like cameras surveying every inch of their yard, so many choose to compromise by getting a video doorbell. These doorbells typically allow for two-way communication, so you can talk to them without opening the door if you see someone on the camera. This can keep your household safe from anyone who wishes you harm.

Though useful, camera doorbells aren't without their issues. Since they're connected to the internet, someone can attempt to hack and breach them. Still, many companies are working toward making these cameras safer for the people who use them. You may not even have to worry about your camera doorbell being hacked, and since it's on the outside of your home, it might be worth the risk.

Stay Safe with These Sage Tips

Some tips are hard to hear. Nobody wants to know that they've been safeguarding their home the wrong way. Still, it's better to know how to keep your home as safe as possible now than never. Look out for your home and household, and the people who live there will thank you.

You may not be able to deter all crime, but with most of your house working with you, you can significantly reduce your chance of being burglarized.

About the Author

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.