Affordable Home Security Tips from the Pros
In the US, there are over 1.65 million home invasions every year. And according to the FBI, over half involve forced entry.
We can never completely remove the risk of a break-in, but we can make our homes much more secure and less of a target for burglars.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to boost your home security without spending a fortune on expensive security systems, so you can feel safe and secure.
Your Home Security Risk Assessment Checklist
As homeowners, it can be difficult to determine what security risks our homes have. We come and go every day, so it’s hard to look at our houses from a burglar’s perspective.
When you’re thinking about what home security upgrades you might need, ask yourself the following questions:
- What might a burglar find attractive about your home?
- Is there good visibility in and out of your property? Are there any major obstacles obscuring walkways or windows?
- Is it difficult to break in through windows and doors? (i.e., are there locks on the windows, glass doors, etc.?).
- Do I already have any security features that need updating?
- Is there anything that is making my home a target for burglars?
Identify Vulnerable Areas
To identify any vulnerabilities in your property, take a walk around the outside of your home. What can you see when you look inside the windows? How easy is it to peer in from the street? Are there any areas where someone could hide from view?
All sidewalks, driveways, entrances, and windows should have good visibility from the inside of your home, too. When you’re looking out, can you spot any areas where someone could conceal themselves?
Likewise, do you have any points of entry that are particularly weak? This could be a glass door, windows without locks, a flat roof near a window, or a fire escape leading to a window.
Evaluate Your Budget
At this point, it’s also important to think about your home security budget. Some home security systems cost thousands of dollars to install and maintain, but that just isn’t in most people’s budgets.
Before you start shopping for cameras, smart doorbells, and flood lights, figure out how much you’re willing to spend on upgrades.
Consider Your Decor
Finally, consider how your house looks when you’re considering safety features. Although security is important, you don’t want to make your house look like a maximum security prison.
Leo from CNC Sourced has some great ideas for blending home security and home aesthetics.
“With a CNC machine, homeowners can now personalize their home security systems in a way that complements their interior decor. By creating decorative covers or enclosures, the security components blend seamlessly with the rest of the home. In doing so, it becomes less noticeable to potential intruders, reducing the likelihood of attracting unwanted attention. Plus, customizing the appearance of security components eliminates concerns about the system’s effect on the overall look and feel of the home, providing peace of mind to homeowners.”
Tips for Securing Your Home on a Budget
If you’re on a budget, pick just one or two of the following tips and implement them as soon as possible. You can always bolster your home security in the future when your budget allows.
Hollow exterior doors are much easier to force open than solid core doors. By replacing your exterior doors with solid wood, fiberglass, or modern uPVC alternatives, you’ll instantly improve your home’s security.
Modern doors tend to come fitted with five-lever mortice deadlocks, which are the most secure option for exterior doors.
If you can update your front door, make sure the glass is obscured (so people can’t see in) and you have a peephole (so you can still see out).
Door and Window Sensors
No matter how sturdy your doors and windows are, some burglars are persistent. If someone does manage to break in, a door or window sensor is one of the best deterrents to stop them from going any further.
Sensors have a magnet and a sensor, which form a magnetic field when close together. Once they’re forced apart, the alarm bells ring. This will alert you if you’re home and scare the burglar off before they steal anything.
All of your exterior doors should also be fitted with deadbolts. These make residential break-ins much more difficult.
If you can’t afford to replace your door, all you need is a single-cylinder deadbolt to make an older door much safer.
If it’s easy to peer in through your windows, you should also consider adding a window film. These are cheap, one-way films that mean you can still see out, but no one can see in.
They act as a one-way mirror, and prevent passers-by from seeing what you’ve got on offer inside your home.
Remember, window film only works in daylight – if you have a light on inside at night, people will be able to see through the film.
Is a Home Security System Worth it?
If you’re seriously concerned about the safety of your home, you might consider installing a full home security system. But are they worth it?
Home security systems can either be monitored or DIY. If you choose a monitored version, you’ll have a security team ready to come to your house if your alarms go off.
If you choose a DIY version, your security system will alert you in the event of a break-in (usually through mobile phone alerts), and it’s up to you to call the police.
Home security systems don’t have to break the bank, and they come with everything you need to keep your home safe, including:
- Video surveillance: wireless cameras connected to an internal storage device. The footage is usually saved to the cloud, which you can access remotely. You can also check on the camera in real-time to make sure your home is safe.
- Door and window sensors: as a last line of defense against burglars.
- Motion sensors: these can be set up in particular areas of your home and alert you when activated. These are usually added to valuable areas, such as near art collections, family heirlooms, or children’s rooms.
“With the help of PCBs, you can have a reliable connection between components that reduce the risk of shorts or other electrical problems that could compromise your security system. By using PCBs in your home security system, you can rest easy knowing that your system is well-built and will provide long-lasting performance. Additionally, PCBs can be customized to fit your specific needs and requirements, allowing you to design a home security system that is tailored to your unique situation.” says Ryan of PadPCB.
Home security systems do come with some added benefits that make them worth the price tag:
- Deter burglars – homes are 300% safer when they have a security camera fitted.
- Reduce insurance costs – premiums are usually lower if you have a home security system.
- Remotely monitor your home – whether you’re at work or on vacation, you can stress less about your home’s security.
- Reduce the risk of large fires – most modern home security systems give alerts when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected, helping prevent the spread of fires.
Implementing Smart Home Technology
Advancements in smart home technology have made it easier to secure every aspect of your home without spending a fortune.
From remotely controlled lights, doorbells, thermostats, and alarms, you can secure and control your home from anywhere in the world.
If you like the idea of a smart home security system, there are a few popular choices on the market:
- ADT – the top-rated home security system.
- Vivint – great for 24/7 monitoring.
- SimpliSafe – Google Assistant compatible.
- Abode – perfect for DIYing your home security.
- Ring – Alexa compatible.
- Cove – easy to use for beginners.
Other Cost-Effective Security Measures
If you’re on a really tight budget, but you’d like to make some simple home security improvements, here are three things you could try:
- Install a motion-sensor exterior light. These are affordable, easy to install, and significantly deter burglars.
- Trim back any hedges, trees, or shrubs that are blocking visibility and making your house easy to sneak up to.
- Join a local neighborhood watch program – there’s safety in numbers!
You deserve to feel safe and secure in your home. Whether you’ve experienced a break-in or just feel uneasy about your current home security, you don’t have to break the bank to make your home more secure.
By implementing just a couple of the safety measures in this guide, you’ll make your home much more secure and less of a target for burglars – all while on a budget.