Depending on where you call home, you may find yourself in flip-flops one day and furry boots the next. But there’s no denying that warm, glowing orb that’s suddenly making more frequent appearances: Sun’s out. Spring is coming!
During COVID-19, many of us have already become legit cleaning and disinfecting ninjas — so a little spring cleaning? No sweat! Take advantage of this mindset, and any extra time you have at home, to make your home a more pleasant place to be.
But don’t stop at dusting and power-washing; clean up your home security, too!
Why spring cleaning is the perfect time for a home security check
As stay-at-home orders and state guidelines continue to shift, people everywhere will be pumped to step out into the sunshine. Summer may still not be completely back to normal this year. But overall, we expect the trend of people spending more time away from home during the warmer months will hold true.
Crime often rises after we “spring forward” at Daylight Saving Time.
When temperature rises outdoors, we take more time off, get more active, go on more vacations, and just stay out later. It’s probably no coincidence that home burglary rates increase during summer months, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some spring cleaning tasks can make your home safer.
For some, spring cleaning may be the one time of year you do a thorough deep cleaning and decluttering of your entire home. This is when we address the areas that might often get passed over, which means furniture is getting moved, and doors and windows are being examined. It’s a good opportunity to uncover safety issues, or spots where a burglar might try to break in.
Like anything else in your home, security alarm systems need regular maintenance.
If you have a smart home security system, you’ve probably noticed they do a lot of the thinking for you (that’s the point!). It’s easy to adapt a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. But a little bit of maintenance and regular check-ins go a long way — and milestones like Daylight Savings and the start of spring are great reminders to do just that.
Set yourself up for a safer, more secure spring and summer by making home security part of your spring cleaning ritual.
Check your smoke alarms and CO detectors
Early smoke detection is a major factor in preventing damage from home fires, so put all fire and carbon monoxide detection devices high on your priority list! Every spring cleaning session should include testing your smoke and CO detectors and replacing batteries if needed.
If you have a professionally monitored fire alarm system or monitored CO detection — which we strongly recommend — make sure your security system is disarmed before changing the batteries in your devices.
Guardian customers can simply log in to their customer account to place their systems on Test Mode. This ensures our monitoring team doesn’t accidentally initiate a response from authorities.
You may have other wireless security devices like door contacts and control panels that run on batteries. Make sure you know which devices have batteries and how often they need to be changed. Learn how to change the batteries in your security devices and more.
A few more tips:
- Do you have a fire escape plan for your household? If not, add it to the list. If you already have a plan, run a drill this spring! You should practice it at least twice a year.
- Read our “Hot Takes” series for even more information about home fire safety and prevention.
Do an indoor home security spot-check
Examine your doors and windows.
As you’re cleaning doors and window, check for sturdiness. Think about the age and quality of your front door, your locks, your windows, or any sliding glass doors. Are there loose screws, or broken seals? Are they strong enough to resist a forced entry, or do they need reinforcements?
If it’s that time of year when you put an air conditioning unit in the window, check that it’s safe and secure, and not an invitation to intruders.
If you have monitored home security, look out for sensors. When you’re moving things around, make sure you don’t bump a sensor and knock it off a door or window.
Update smart door lock user codes.
If you have a keyless smart lock on the front door, do a quick inventory of active codes. Schedules often change along with the seasons, so make sure you’ve taken into account any necessary updates. For example, has the babysitter’s schedule changed? Did you give a code to someone who no longer needs it?
Remember that many smart locks allow you to assign temporary codes. You can even assign a code that only works on specifics days and times.
Prevent water damage
Warmer weather marks the start of the rainy season in many regions. Take steps to protect your home from flooding and water damage, including cleaning your gutters and cleaning your roof; sealing your basement; and patching any cracks on windows, doors, ceilings, and walls.
If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, consider a water sensor. It can alert you to the presence of leaks and help prevent costly water damage.
Live somewhere hurricanes and other tropical storms are common? Get some tips on how to prepare and respond to severe weather.
Do an exterior home security spot-check
It’s always important to think about how your home looks to a home invader. Scan your home during spring cleaning for any possible security vulnerabilities.
Try to examine your perimeter through the eyes of a burglar.
Look at your yard, your porch, or even walk-ways behind your home. Are the shrubs overgrown, providing an easy hiding spot for interlopers? Can you see the front door clearly from the street? Are there dark, difficult to see areas that would be safer with outdoor security cameras that record, or motion-triggered lighting?
Check your exterior security cameras.
If you already have security cameras, make sure they are in good working order. Winter can be rough on outdoor security equipment, so make sure snow, ice, and freezing temperatures haven’t disrupted your video feed.
Consider a smart garage door opener.
Your garage is probably going to be open a lot more often when the weather is warm. That makes forgetting to close it way more likely. If you come and go through the garage on a regular basis, consider a smart garage door opener. You can close it from anywhere, right from your smartphone, and even get alerts if you forget to close it.
Home security system steps for spring
If you own a smart home security system, there are a few extra tasks we suggest adding to your checklist:
1. Sanitize your security and home automation equipment.
Some of the equipment you use to control and secure your home may be hands-free — like a motion sensor — and some you might touch every day, like your panel.
From your smart thermostat to your security panel to your cameras, make sure your security and home automation devices are on your spring cleaning list. Too much dust and debris can interfere with how devices like smoke detectors function. Play it safe and keep ’em clean!
2. Set up a schedule to test your system.
If you have professionally monitored security, it’s important to test your system to make sure it’s communicating properly with the monitoring center. It’s simple to do and will give you peace of mind.
We recommend testing once a month, and after making any adjustments in your home that that may impact your system, such as landline, internet, and broadband service changes. If you’re planning to do any remodeling or home renovations, make a note to test your system afterwards. It’s also a good idea to do a test a week before taking a vacation as an extra precaution.
If you don’t set up a schedule immediately after installation, it’s easy to forget. Get back on track now and add a recurring reminder to your calendar so you never miss another month.
When you’re ready, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to test your security system.
3. Update your emergency contacts.
Take a minute to make sure all of your account information is correct, and update your emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts are the people your monitoring team will call if anything goes wrong, and they can’t get in touch with you.
Learn the many benefits of security with 24/7 professional alarm monitoring.
4. Set up your security notifications.
All the bells and whistles that come with a smart home system are amazing, but ultimately, your safety and peace of mind is what it’s all about. Alerts and notifications provide instant awareness anywhere via your smartphone. If you haven’t programmed any alerts or notifications for your system yet, get started now!
There are countless ways you can customize your system to simplify your life, but we recommend setting up alarm alerts and arming reminders first.
- Arming Reminders – Get a notification if you leave your home and forget to arm your system.
- Alarm Alerts – Get a notification anytime an alarm is going off.
Get smart home security for better home protection this spring
A professionally installed and monitored smart home security solution will give you peace of mind and confidence, especially during your warm weather excursions.
Even if you’re still on the fence or aren’t sure what you need in a system, you can learn more about the benefits of a whole home security solutions.