When it comes to home security, your choices range from simple, easy and inexpensive to complex, costly cyberspace.
Those high-quality keyed door locks you have on your home’s doors are a great deterrent to would-be intruders, but there’s so much more you can do to protect your family and property.
For starters, you should arm your windows. My friends in the home security business say the home’s entire “perimeter”, every window and door in the house, even upstairs windows and the garage door, should be locked.
Next, add deadbolt locks to all of your doors. Coupled with the lock on your doorknob, they provide an added level of security. If your doors don’t have any glass parts, a single-sided deadbolt is enough; if part of the door is a window, you’re better off with a double-sided deadbolt.
If you want to take it up a notch, consider replacing those keyed locks with electronic locks. They allow you to unlock your home using a password instead of a key (although they typically allow you to use a key if you want to). Most of them let you change the password as often as you want to, and some accept multiple and temporary passwords so you can give a pet-sitter or contractor access to your home on a given day and then cancel the code.
Plus, having a password means you never have to hide a key under the mat or leave the door unlocked for someone who doesn’t have a key, and that’s one less chance an intruder has of finding an easy way into your home.
Some electronic locks even keep track of which codes were used and at what time, so you can monitor who’s coming and going. And the latest generation even lets you lock and unlock them by sending a signal via the Internet from your cell phone or computer.
If you’re ready to switch to an electronic security system at your house, consider:
- Securing every door and window in the house.
- Backing up your locks with a second form of protection like motion detectors or glass-break sensors that trigger lights and an alarm. Those sensors also can be wired to notify a monitoring service, which will call you or the police if the alarm goes off. Monitoring services typically charge a monthly subscription fee.
- Adding smoke and heat detectors that will alert your monitoring service in case of a fire.
- Covering any emergency medical equipment you have in the home so if it fails, the monitoring service can let you know or call an ambulance.
- Adding cameras if you need to monitor your yard or want to see inside your home, which you can do by logging onto a Web site that shows you what the camera is recording, while you’re away. This can add another fee.
Different families need or feel comfortable with different levels of security. Consider your lifestyle and your budget, and talk to a security professional, who can show you all of your options before you invest in expensive security equipment.