When spring arrives we often spring clean our home, but as summer ends and the nights get longer, we should autumn clean our home security! I’m not talking about just taking a feather duster to the window locks but rather making a fresh start with keeping our homes safe.
This is an excellent time to take stock, clear out the old, and face the new year with greater peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that we’ve made our home safer. We’ve spoken to the security experts at Locksmith Loughborough to help you get your home security spick and span.
Start with a review
When you start to spring clean your home you probably take a step back and think about what needs to be done and where to start. An autumn/winter security check for your home is no different.
Start by taking a look at the measures you already have in place. Are they enough? Have your circumstances changed in such a way that you should consider upping security? Maybe by installing alarms. Have you kept up with new technology to foil attempted break ins?
Think about all the points of entry (doors, windows, gates, garages etc.) into your home and property and consider whether you have secured them all. Once you’ve identified where you need extra security. Get to work on really checking how efficient your current home security measures are. For a professional assessment see if your local locksmith offers a free security audit.
Check your locks
When we think home security the first thing we often think of is locks. Locks on external doors, locks on windows, locks on patio doors, locks on garages. Wherever you have locks check them.
Checking your locks could even save you money, as insurers may offer discounts if you install locks with a higher degree of security. You should be able to see a kitemark somewhere on the lock to confirm that it conforms to British Standards. If you’re still not sure a locksmith will be able to help.
External door locks should be five-lever mortice locks, with those conforming to British Standard 3621 the type recommended by insurance companies. If you live in a modern house, particularly one with modern UPVC or composite doors, you will probably have a multi-point locking system. You’ll see this type of lock move parts at multiple points on the edge of the door as you turn the key with the door open.
If your locks don’t meet these standards you should consider upgrading. Once of the most common forms of attack on modern external doors is lock snapping, as the lock is the weakest point, but it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to have anti-snap locks fitted. These don’t do what they say on the tin, they actually snap off, but they snap without exposing your locks internal mechanism, whereas a normal lock snaps allowing the door to be opened very easily.
Even if your locks do meet the standards recommended, you should also check whether the keys are turning smoothly and that there’s no sticking. Difficulty locking or unlocking a door could be an indication that your keys or lock needs replacing.
Don’t forget window locks. Make sure you know where window lock keys are. Particularly if you generally keep them unlocked. There’s nothing worse that getting ready to go away, over Christmas for example, and not being able to lock your windows because you don’t know where the keys are.
Is there any weather damage?
Damp winters can cause doors and windows to swell and then contract back again in the spring, act before another winter makes things any worse. This in turn can lead to a poor fit between the door or window and the lock, which may compromise the security of the lock. If this is a problem for you a locksmith can help by refitting the locks in the door/frame.
Another problem could be with patio or French doors. For some people their patio doors also double as their back doors and they will be used regularly over the winter. However, for others, for example where the patio doors are in a living room, the doors may not be used for months. Check your patio doors aren’t sticking, and that they are sitting correctly in the frames. Poorly fitting patio doors could provide a weak spot and a convenient point of entry for a burglar.
Think about the garden and any security blind spots
During spring we often take the opportunity to spend more time out in our gardens. However, when its dark and cold we don’t think about the garden, despite the fact break ins usually happen in secluded spots after dark. It pays to spend some time out there checking the security on any sheds or gates, as well as the exterior of the house. People often forget about these, but you should apply the same level of attention them as you do to your house.
Securing gates in particular can deter burglars from entering your property from the rear, which is often less visible to your neighbours and any passers-by, and therefore less secure, than the front of your home. Clearly securing sheds should be a no-brainer as the tools, bikes and equipment are often very valuable in themselves.
If you’re a keen gardener you’ll be looking forward to being able to get back out in the spring. If so why not combine your love of gardening and your desire for improved security, and investigate planting thorny, prickly shrubs, which again can deter intruders.
Check any intruder alarms
If you have an intruder alarm you should make sure that it is regularly serviced by a specialist alarm engineer. Don’t wait for an attempted break-in to discover that your system is not fully functional. If you can’t remember when your alarm was last checked, use your security check up as an opportunity to book a visit from an engineer. Having your alarm checked regularly will also ensure that your home contents insurance remains valid.
Don’t forget cyber security
Once you’ve checked the physical security of your home and made sure it’s up to scratch, turn the attention of your security autumn clean onto your cyber security.
Make sure that you regularly change passwords and ensure that everyone in your home is cybersecurity aware. Also make sure that you’re not tempted to use the same password for multiple accounts. If you struggle to remember lots of different passwords. Why not think about using a password manager, such as LastPass.
These quick tips to spring cleaning your home security are just the start of the steps you take to make your home feel safe. In the same way as you know that keeping your home tidy reduces the need for a massive clear out every year, keeping on top of your home security measures will mean that you’ll have less to do in the future.