6 Steps to Improve your Home Security

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Steps to improve home security

6  Steps to Improve Your Home Security 

We were so busy this summer with travels & adventures, that we are using this fall as an opportunity to get caught up on some projects done around the house. One of the priorities we have been focusing on the last month is evaluating the ways we keep our home secure. As part of our home preparedness with a family of teen girls, we have been discussing the best steps we can all take on a daily basis as well as things we can update around our home to make it more automatic and have security be a more natural aspect of our home.

Keep Doors & Windows Locked / Secured

Peeking at the dog in the window

This is such an easy way to keep your home secure, but during the summer or mild fall or spring weather, you may be more apt to keep windows open. Even if you enjoy keeping the windows open to bring in fresh air, always make sure to lock your windows at night. If you like to sleep with some fresh air coming into the house, think about keeping a window open on the upstairs floor rather than the downstairs. For extra security, you can buy inexpensive dowel rods at the hardware store & cut those down to fit inside your sliding windows. These also work well as extra protection for your sliding doors, too. {A guard dog helps too – our pup loves to keep watch out the front window for people, but she gets too excited to greet people than do much guarding,  lol!}

Locking up the house before leaving home

Doors should stay locked at all times too, when you are home unless you are coming in & out of the house frequently. My husband grew up in the country so this is still a difficult one for him as they leave their doors locked all the time, but I am always going around locking all the doors (just have to make sure I don’t accidentally lock out him or the kids when they are outside! :) ). As an added security feature, we also have a hotel-style security latch at the top of our front door, which is a nice option to have as well.

Keep Important Documents & Valuable Stored in Home Safe

Safe for home

It’s a good idea to have a fireproof safe well hidden in your home where you keep all of your most important valuables – important items to consider keeping in this safe are passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, copies of credit cards, copy of will, etc. You could also keep any valuable heirloom jewelry, small important family treasures, and more in this safe. This is so important in case of a fire or other emergency, but it’s also a really good idea for keeping your valuables secure.

Purchase a Garage Door Monitor

My husband and I are famous for opening the garage door & forgetting to close it. Thank goodness for kind neighbors who have alerted us the times we have accidentally left it open after dark. If you are someone who worries about leaving the garage door open, a unique idea would be to get a garage door monitor/sensor which would alert you if you ever leave the garage door open. This is something that has been on our list for awhile to provide more peace of mind to make sure that we haven’t left the garage door open on a summer evening when we pulled out the bikes or were busy doing yard work & got distracted.

Good Lighting Outside including Motion Sensor Lights 

Motion sensor light for outdoors

I am always so surprised by all of the homes in our neighborhood that don’t have good lighting outside. Good lighting around your entire home is so critical, as it will help not only you, but your neighbors keep an eye on your home & property, especially when you are away. So, keep those lights on at night so you have a well-lit front door, walkway & driveway. And replace your lightbulbs frequently.

We just recently replaced our outdoor lights by our driveway & doorway & they all have a special light sensor built in to automatically turn on from dusk to dawn. It makes it easy as we don’t have to ever think about turning on the lights or being gone all day & coming home to a dark house – the lights are always on. If you don’t want to invest in new lights, they also have adapters that screw in to the socket that work the same way called photoelectric eye sensors.

In our back/side yard, we also installed a motion sensor light, to illuminate the yard if there is any movement. This is helpful for us – taking out the garbage after dark or keeping an eye on our dog. But it’s more for the fact that it would alert us or our neighbors to any issues, so it helps us feel more secure.

Use a Key Lock Box to Hide your Spare Key

For years & years, we relied on keeping a spare key hidden out in the yard (usually in a fake “rock” which could be hard to explain to someone else where to find – we definitely had a few mishaps where it couldn’t be found fast). But in the last few years, we have started using a key lock box which holds our spare key. This has been the best idea for us! We have it secured on our property & it requires a keypad with combination to unlock it (just make sure to cover when you are using the keypad so others don’t see the combination). It’s perfect for teens, too, as an option if they forget their key, they can use the touchpad to get the spare key. It has worked out well when we have had a dog sitter or needed a neighbor to check in on our dog last minute & we can just give them the keypad combination to get the spare key.

Use a wireless camera to notify you about packages

There are so many affordable & easy to install wireless monitoring systems now that you could get a simple doorbell camera or other monitoring camera for your front porch. They can be set up to send your phone alerts when you receive a package. I can’t tell you how many packages are delivered to our house where they don’t knock on the door & we find it on our porch hours later. It’s best not to leave packages unattended on your porch too long, so by having a camera or monitoring service that can alert you, you can keep your home more secure by keeping it free of packages piling up in front of your door, signaling that someone may not be home. It’s also helpful to consider a wireless camera with live video feed of your front porch at any time, so you can keep an eye on things when you are away from home.

Replace Locks Regularly with High Quality Locks

Leaving the house from front door

Did you know you should replace your locks in your house a minimum of every 7 years? If you are new to your home and just recently moved in, it is so important to replace the locks as well. This will give you a lot of peace of mind to know you are the only ones with the keys. If you have been doing a lot of renovations to your home, too, this is another instance where you might have given your key to someone to use while working on your home, so this is another good opportunity to go ahead & update your locks.

Looking at door locks at the hardware store

It’s important when you do replace the locks in your home that you look for high quality locks & deadbolts that you can depend on & feel secure. It’s a simple step when looking thru the locks in your local hardware store, but when you keep an eye out for BHMA® Certified Secure HomeTM labels on the box, you will know that you are buying a lock that has high standards for safety. You can look at a glance & know the level of security, durability & finish in the locks that you are checking out.

The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA®) makes it easy to choose the locks that meet your needs for what you are looking for. This is the only organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain standards for residential builders’ hardware. Find all of the details on the securehome.org website to learn about their safety standards.

Looking for BMHA logo on locks

When you choose a lock with the BHMA® Certified Secure HomeTM logo, you can be confident that the materials meet required standards and safety regulations to keep your home most secure. Check for the BHMA® Certified Secure HomeTM logo on the back or side of the box when you are debating locks & deadbolts for your home & before you make your purchase.

BMA Secure Home Logo

You will see a rating system showing Good(C), Better(B), Best(A) – this is a quick look for you to know how the lock or deadbolt has performed in each of these specific testing areas. This makes it easier for you to know if the lock or deadbolt is exactly what you are looking for in your home. I like having something so simple to look for that I know I can trust the recommendations from the  BHMA®  without having to do a lot of research on my own to find out if the lock will be a secure & durable option for our home & meets our needs.

Here are the areas they test with the locks & deadbolts:

Look for the label BHMA Infographic

    • Security  – this refers to how well the lock or deadbolt can withstand an impact against the door
    • Durability – measures how long lasting will the lock/deadbolt be with repeated use
    • Finish – measures how well the lock or deadbolt can withstand weather conditions such as rain, snow, cold temps, etc.

Here’s more information about the rating system here:

You can visit securehome.org to learn more about these safety standards & make sure to look for that BHMA® Certified Secure HomeTM label the next time you are looking for locks & deadbolts in your local store. You can be confident you are purchasing a high-quality lock or deadbolt. Find out more on the BHMA Facebook page, too.

What are your best tips for keeping your home more secure?


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