House Security and Safety
No matter how beautiful your house is and no matter how well it fits your lifestyle, without a sense of safety and security there, your enjoyment of it will be less. A coordinated safety and security plan will not only make you more comfortable, it may very well save you money by reducing your Insurance premiums.
Some basic (and inexpensive) security measures that
every house should be equipped with:
Dead bolt locks on all exterior doors (including those leading to basements and garages). Cost: $20-$50 per lock, self installed.
Photoelectric or motion detector security lights on the exterior of the house. Photoelectric lights turn on at dusk and off at dawn. Motion detector lights turn on whenever motion is sensed in the light’s range. Usually one in the front and one in the rear is sufficient. Depending on coverage, though, you may want to light the side yard(s). Cost: $20-$75 per light, self installed.
Window locks come in several varieties, depending on the type of window to be protected. They make entry through a window much more difficult. Cost: $5-$10 per lock, self installed.
More extensive security options: Alarms
Alarm systems can provide 3 benefits:
1) Protect your home from intruders
2) Provide you with additional peace of mind
3) May lower your insurance premiums
When considering a security system for your house, you will want to get at least three different estimates, since costs can vary a good deal. Make certain that any comparisons are for the same type of coverage: all doors and windows and with or without motion detection. Compare the total cost, which includes the installation and set-up cost as well as the monthly maintenance fees. It is a good idea to ask for at least 2 references of other homeowners from each company who gives you an estimate. Call the references and see how the installation quality was as well as the service that has been offered.
Maintaining a safe home
Inexpensive but effective safety measures
Smoke Detectors can save the life of you and your family. They should be installed on every floor of your home and their operation checked frequently. A sensible maintenance plan for battery operated smoke detectors is to replace the battery every 6 months. Cost: $8-40.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors are similar in appearance to Smoke Detectors but instead of detecting smoke in the air, detect the presence of carbon monoxide, which is a deadly (and odorless) gas. Especially important in any house that is heated with a fossil fuel–gas, oil or coal–that can give off carbon monoxide due to improper fuel burning. Cost: $35-$80.
Fire Extinguishers can prevent a minor fire from becoming a catastrophe. At a minimum, placement should be in the kitchen and near any fireplace or woodstove. Have each member of the family get familiar with the location and operation of any fire extinguishers in the home. Can be purchased in both rechargeable and disposable versions. Cost: Variable.