Fall is a good time to reevaluate your home security. While most homeowners associate the sultry summer with burglary and break-ins, fall is also an ideal time for burglars and thieves to strike. Since a lot of homes are vacant and homeowners are on vacation during the fall, burglars and thieves can make the most of the opportunity to target your home. This is where the need for fall home security tips comes into the picture.
With everyone gearing up for autumn, you, as a homeowner, should start thinking about home security too. It’s time you add these fall home security tips to your to-do list along with prepping for Halloween.
Top 4 Fall Home Security Tips
The Keys to Proper Fireplace and Furnace Maintenance
When cold winds blow outside your home, nothing can be more comforting than your fireplace. However, fireplace and furnace maintenance are important so that necessary repairs can be done in time.
If not adequately maintained, fireplaces and furnaces can lead to house fires. A leading cause of house fires due to improperly maintained fireplaces is creosote build-up. As the creosote levels increase, burning embers and high temperatures can ignite the creosote leading to a fire in the chimney that can spread across the entire house in no time.
Not only this but wood-burning fireplaces can also impact the quality of indoor air. Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), smoke may smell good but it’s not good for your health. The biggest threat from smoke comes from fine particles, also known as PM 2.5 or fine particulate matter. Also, fires consume large quantities of indoor air as they burn; therefore, the outdoor air that is pulled inside to replace the indoor air consumed by the fire can lead to negative pressure inside the house. Gas and oil furnaces can also pull back the indoor air consumed by the fire to release toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide poisoning from gas fireplaces can lead to:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordinatio
Therefore, we recommend getting professional fireplace and furnace maintenance to avoid fire hazards. While it is possible for you to clean your fireplace and furnace, you may not have the required experience or knowledge to find all potential issues during inspection.
Most fireplace and furnace maintenance services include:
- Cleaning and testing all the elements
- Cleaning the fireplace glass
- Cleaning the burner and assessing the burner assembly
- Adjusting airflow to improve combustion and reduce creosote soot build-up
- Testing automated or remote-controlled features, if any
- Inspecting gas leakages
- Inspecting carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
While a chimney sweep log can help reduce this buildup, a good rule of thumb is to have a professional cleaning done after 50 uses or one year. Although furnaces don’t require chimney maintenance, they do require annual furnace inspections, especially if they’re more than 10 years old.
The Importance of a Garage Clean-Out
Most homeowners use the garage only for storage purposes. They rarely use it for cars. Therefore, garages are typically filled with piles of forgotten or unused items that can lead to chaos, clutter, and disorganization. However, with fall and winter around the corner, it’s time you need to get rid of the clutter to make space for items you need for winter maintenance. You’ll probably want to park your vehicles inside the garage too.
As already mentioned above, first things first, get rid of the unwanted clutter in your garage. Assess what you do and don’t need. Now is the time for some thorough cleaning too.
Sweep the floor and get it fixed if bruised or broken. Get rid of the cobwebs and dust. Use a vacuum cleaner or pressure washer for corners that are difficult to reach.
If your garage door is old, broken, or poor-quality, get it replaced or repaired immediately. The weak garage door can expose your home to burglars, thieves, and bad weather.
Thoroughly check the springs and tracks in your garage door. Get them replaced or repaired if you spot any issues. If any parts look rusted, apply a fresh coat of paint to treat them. Also, check the perimeters of the garage door. Fix any extra gaps with new weatherstripping.
If your garage door has a smart lock or security sensors, ensure, ensure they’re working properly. If not, consider getting a smart lock to monitor your garage door using your smartphone and install security sensors. You can integrate the smart lock with your home security system to enhance the safety of your garage and home.
To ensure the sturdiness of your garage, it’s equally important to inspect the foundation and walls. Ensure the foundation and walls do not have cracks or mold build-up. If you spot cracks wider than ¼ inch, get them repaired.
Changing Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Changing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before the fall seasons is another way of ensuring your home is running at its best efficiency.
If you haven’t already, the fall season is a good time to check your smoke detectors and replace their batteries to ensure they’re working properly. When the Daylight Savings Time starts and ends, you should consider changing the batteries of your carbon dioxide and smoke detectors to ensure they don’t fail.
If the smoke detectors are older than 10 years, consider replacing them with new ones. Carbon monoxide detectors have a life expectancy of almost 7 years.
When replacing the batteries, consider using a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt, debris, and dust from internal components of the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Dirt, dust, and other particles can prevent the sensors from spotting smoke or carbon monoxide. Apart from the fall season, consider cleaning the detectors at least once more every year.
Also, check if the fire extinguishers in your home are in working condition and ensure they’re placed in the right locations for emergency use in the event of a fire.
How to Do an Autumn Maintenance Security Check
As we approach the colder months and shorter days, it’s important to do an autumn maintenance security check. Apart from inspecting your fireplace, furnace, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and garage, there’s more that you need to do.
With the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, you can expect at least a few days of harsh weather. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your security cameras are all-weather-ready. Irrespective of strong winds, torrential rains, and heavy snowfall, the security cameras should be well-equipped to provide you with round-the-clock monitoring.
Ensure the security cameras are protected and placed properly to prevent them from getting damaged. Check for loose or damaged cables, and repair them at the earliest.
Outdoor lighting is extremely critical during autumn and winter, especially for security cameras. Fall and winter come with shorter days meaning lower light conditions and better opportunities for burglars and criminals.
If you don’t already have outdoor or security lights, consider installing them now. Infrared (IR) lighting is suitable for CCTV cameras.
Piles of autumn leaves can conceal boundaries or fences around your property, and pave the way for burglars and criminals. Therefore, ensure you clean the areas around your property routinely and check your fences. Low visibility from the street is an ideal situation for a burglar. High grass, fences, shrubs, and trees offer cover for intruders, making it easy for them to hide.
Autumn is also a good time to check the functionality of your security sensors. For instance, a wireless garage door sensor may lose contact with your home security system and may not trigger an alarm if it’s not in a working condition. If you find sensors that are not working properly, get them fixed.
Also, if you have vulnerable doors and windows at home that do not have security sensors, consider installing them. Research shows that 34% of burglars enter via the front door. Therefore, ensure your front door is equipped with a security sensor.
Burglars and criminals love older technology; it is a true advantage for them. Therefore, if your home security system is powered by older technology, consider upgrading it before it’s too late.
These days, you can easily find advanced smart home security systems that come with notable features, such as:
- Smart alarms and sensors
- Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Smart door and windows locks
- Smart thermostats
- Smart lights
- Video verification systems
- And more
Newer technologies support automated home security features that can be managed remotely. They can also be accessed using smartphones so that you can enjoy your fall vacation without worrying about the security of your home. Therefore, upgrading your existing security system to an advanced one can provide you with peace of mind even when you’re away.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 35 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions, and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.