A home is a sanctuary, a refuge from the world, an impenetrable fortress where you feel safe and relaxed and at peace. To ensure that this remains so and keep trouble away from your personal haven, you need to make your home as secure as possible. This is especially important immediately after a relocation, when you are not yet familiar with your new surroundings and don’t know what dangers may be lurking around the corner. In fact, statistics show that a home is almost twice more likely to be burgled in the first year after a residential move than in any other. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you mitigate possible risks and take adequate precautionary measures to prevent property crime and unfortunate accidents as soon as you settle into your new home.
But how to secure a new home? How to ensure good protection against the whims of the weather and the evil intentions of men?
Here are some easy and affordable ways to secure your home shortly after move-in day:
How to secure your home against break-ins
Securing your home against burglars and intruders should be one of the first things to do after moving into a new home:
1) Change the locks
You have no idea how many people have had access to your new property, so it is essential to change the locks immediately after the relocation. This applies to all the exterior locks in your new home – not only the front door, but also windows, garage doors, patio doors, etc. For maximum security, you may want to consider electronic door locks – each person who needs access to your home will have their own entry code (codes can be programmed to work only for a specific period of time, if necessary).
Good to remember: Don’t leave a spare key in the mailbox or under the doormat, or at any other place commonly used for that purpose. It’s best not to leave a spare key on your property at all – just give it to a trusted neighbor who is usually home during the day. If that’s not an option, at least make sure you hide the spare key in a secret spot only your family knows about.
2) Install a home security system
Installing a burglar alarm system is one of the best ways to secure your home. Not only will it immediately warn you (and inform emergency authorities) of any potential dangers, but its mere presence on the property may be enough to discourage an intruder from attempting a break-in.
You are strongly advised to put video cameras at your front door and at several key places around the property (such as the garage, for example), as well as inside the home, to provide an extra layer of security in and around your house.
Sensors installed on windows and doors provide another efficient way of home security monitoring – they can be supervised through a phone, tablet or laptop, and will not only let you know if someone tries to enter your house, but will also alert you of any kind of damage to your property.
It’s a good idea to put a sticker on your door warning eventual intruders that you have home security system. However, make sure it is a generic one – stickers revealing the brand of your security system may provide burglars with enough information on how to disable it.
Good to remember: Keep your home security wires hidden as burglars will look for them in order to cut the lines and disable the security system.
3) Protect doors and windows
To prevent unwanted access to your home you need to secure all possible entrance points:
- Install deadlock bolts on all exterior doors;
- Install metal bars on sliding doors and windows;
- Protect your windows with locks, covers, etc.;
- Use interior door hinges as an intruder can easily remove hinge pins on the outside to gain entry to your home;
- Reinforce doors with plywood or pieces of sheet metal;
- Avoid glass doors or doors which have glass panels near the doorknob;
- Secure pet doors.
4) Add exterior lights
Lighting the area around your home (especially the entrance) will also help keep intruders away. State-of-the-art home security equipment, such as motion sensor floodlight or infrared detectors that automatically turn on when someone is in the area, will effectively deter break-in attempts at night.
5) Keep your outside area in excellent condition
Make it difficult for eventual burglars to enter your property and hide in it:
- make sure your fence is strong and tall enough and keep it in good repair at all times;
- lock away ladders, tools, and other equipment that burglars may use to gain entry into your home;
- avoid tall, thick shrubs around your windows and doors and trim hedges on a regular basis.
Getting a dog is also a good idea when it comes to securing your home against burglary, of course.
All the above home security techniques will help you keep intruders away, but burglar-proofing your property is not enough to fully ensure your new home security. You need to take precautions against adverse weather conditions and household accidents as well.
How to protect your home from natural disasters
When moving into a new home, you’re strongly advised to take some efficient precautionary measures to ensure your and your family’s safety during adverse weather conditions (floods, high winds, violent storms, earthquakes, etc.):
- Ensure proper drainage away from your home – make sure the grading around your house slopes away from the foundations (so that any excess water drains away from the house) and keep gutters and downspout clean of debris that may block them and prevent water from draining from the roof;
- Invest in a sump-pump to reduce the risk of flooding;
- Inspect the plumbing system in your home and maintain it in a good condition;
- Waterproof the roof – inspect the roof and the chimney (pay special attention to the flashing) and make any necessary repairs. Consider adding attic insulation to better weather-proof your home and increase its energy efficiency;
- Water-proof doors and windows – install storm windows to provide an additional layer of protection against rain and snow, use weatherstripping to seal doors and windows that don’t close tightly, etc.;
- Get adequate homeowner’s/renter’s insurance;
- Make a disaster preparedness plan – secure short and safe escape routes out of your home, locate safe areas in the house where you can take shelter during an emergency, prepare an emergency kit that contains all the basic necessities you may need in the aftermath of a natural disaster (first aid supplies, bottled water, non-perishable food, communication devices, copies of important documents, some cash, etc.)
How to prevent home accidents
Safety should be your top priority when moving into a new home, so you need to make every effort to prevent damage to your property and ensure the well-being of your loved ones:
1) Ensure fire safety:
- Check the electrical wiring and fix any problems without delay;
- Install fire alarms and smoke detectors in every room and keep them in good working order (inspect them regularly, replace dead batteries, etc.);
- Supply a fire extinguisher (ABC type) at every level of the house and make sure everyone in your household knows how to use them properly;
- Invest in automatic fire sprinklers (the most efficient fire safety equipment available).
2) Prevent personal injuries:
- Secure stairs, balconies, bathrooms and other places that present a falling hazard – install lights at the top and bottom of stairs, install safety gates, place non-slip pads under area rugs, install grab-bars in your bathroom, place non-skid strips throughout the bathroom floor, etc.;
- Install safety locks on cabinets where cleaners and medicines are kept;
- Childproof your entire home to make it safe for your little angels.
Even if you have moved in a safe and peaceful neighborhood, it’s still advisable to make every effort to improve your home security – feeling safe at home will contribute to your quick and easy adjustment to your new environment and your new life.