Keeping your loved ones, home, and possessions safe is a high priority, and so ensuring you’ve got the right protection with the right home security is an important step to take. Especially given that research shows that burglary rates increase in the winter months.
Installing a security system or taking steps to making your home more secure can offer peace of mind whether you’re at home or away.
In this guide, and in support of National Home Security Month 2021, the annual campaign from UK security specialist, Yale, we take a look at the best tips to keeping your home secure, including the different types of security systems you can invest in, and how to install them.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Secure
There are many steps to take to improve the security of your home, from locking doors and windows when you’re not in, to installing alarm systems. Here are our top ways to keep your home safe
- Fit windows, doors and locks with ‘Secured by Design’ approval
- Upgrade your windows to GrabLock
- Upgrade from single glazing – find out more about changing windows in your home.
- Try Keyless locks
- Install a burglar alarm
- Install cameras and CCTV
- Put lights on a timer in the evening if you’re going to be out
Do I Need to Install a Home Security System?
Home security systems are not a must, but they can certainly offer peace of mind and an extra level of security for your home. In fact, the Office of National Statistics showed that 70% of homes burgled in 2018 did not have an intruder alarm installed.
These systems are not just for capturing footage if something was to go wrong, but they act as deterrents to keep burglars at bay.
If you’re unsure that you need a full set-up, why not invest in something small and once you see the value in it, you can introduce other means later down the line. You can even pick up dummy alarms to install on the front of your house as a preventative measure for crime.
Should I Invest in a Security Alarm System?
Some systems are more expensive than others, and so could be seen as more of an investment. However, there are plenty of affordable options on the market that offer peace of mind from home intrusion.
In either case, it can be argued that you can’t put a price on your safety and so it would be worth the investment, whatever the price as long as you can afford it.
Keeping Your Home Safe When You’re Away
If you’re going on holiday, or are going to be away from home overnight, you want peace of mind knowing that your home and valuables are safe. As we move into autumn/winter and crime increases, it’s important to take measures to deter buglers as much as possible. You can do that by:
- Using time sensors so your lights still turn on in the evening.
- If you can, leave your car or a friend’s car on your drive while you’re away. Even better if you can get a house sitter.
- Don’t let mail and parcels pile up at your door; ask a neighbour to collect your mail as often as they can.
- If you have a garage accessible from inside your home, pack up the car while it’s out of site in the garage, so passers by can’t see that you’re obviously going away.
- If you’re going to be away for a prolonged period, let your insurer know.
- Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
- Double-check all doors and windows are locked.
- Invest in a video doorbell that you can monitor from your smartphone to keep your eye on your property.
- Set the alarm.
Would My Pet Set Off My Security Alarm System?
We’d encourage you not to be put off on purchasing a home alarm system for your home just because you have pets; there is a range of security systems still available to you.
While a lot are sensor-based, meaning that any movement in your home could set the alarm off, some modern systems have been designed with the household in mind and can therefore reduce the likelihood of being triggered by a pet.
Are Safety-Store Boxes Safe to Leave my Key?
Gone are the days of leaving your key under the mat because now there are multiple key safe boxes available on the market where you can stow a spare key. These compact units are usually combination locked so only though who know the access code can get inside.
These types of safe storage boxes can be hidden in your garden for when you’re locked out, a neighbour needs access to your home while you’re away, or a fire-safe place to store your backup keys.
These types of units are not easy to break into and are usually made from a thick, rust-proof material that is mounted on a wall.
A digital key safe is another option that can keep keys secure in a safeguarded lock mechanism, only accessible to those that have the pin.
If, for whatever reason, the safety of your home is compromised, don’t forget to update the pin on your key-safe box too.
Are Smart-Video Doorbells Worth it?
Offering a way to monitor who comes to your home from your smartphone with instant alerts and two-way voice activation, smart-video doorbells are, for the most part, worth it.
Available for as little as £30, although for more secure models expect to pay up to £200. Installation is required if you opt to connect to your electrics – and for this, we would advise a qualified electrician – but if you’d prefer to use battery-operated video doorbells, this is an option to remove installation costs and reduce your home’s energy bills but be sure to pick up rechargeable batteries as you can use up batteries quick on this device as it’s always on.
Another outlay for these devices is subscription costs for video storage. As with all camera devices, you will be able to live stream (and perhaps capture the moment movement is caught), but to store all the footage, you will be looking at an annual or monthly fee to get the most out of your video-doorbell device.
Do Security Systems, Home CCTV and Smart Security Devices Increase my Energy Bills?
Ultimately, if you’ve got additional devices plugged in at home, via electricity and Wi-Fi, then you’re likely to see a slight increase in your energy bills – especially as these will be running full time, day and night. Though it might not be as much as you may think; even a full surveillance system running 24/7 may only bump up your energy bills by a few pounds a month, if that.
However, as we’ve mentioned, you can’t put a price on feeling safe and secure in your home.
If I Purchase a Camera, is the Footage Stored?
Depending on which brand and model you’ve bought, some of them can store the footage that they record. You may need to purchase additional cards or cloud storage to do so, but these can easily be added on after completing of purchase.
If you’ve not opted for the storage option, then it’s highly likely that you will not be able to save any of the footage. However, some cameras that offer motion detection, will capture the moment – and the following seconds – of the moment that sets the alarm off.
Can my Home Camera be Hacked if Connected to the Internet?
A common query for those who are dubious about having cameras and CCTV equipment in their home is whether the camera can be hacked through their broadband.
The chances of your home security system being hacked is slim, but taking precautions is still important. When installing camera systems, it’s important that you connect to a secure network, use strong passwords when setting up your camera, and update your security and protection software regularly.
Does Installing a Security System Impact my Home Insurance Premiums?
Whilst it’s always important to check with your provider, securing your home by installing a security system could in fact help to lower your premiums.
Insurers take into consideration burglar alarms, monitored security systems and additional security locks that could deter thieves so make sure that you update your policy when you make a change to the security of your home.
How do I Install Safety and Security Devices?
These days, installing a smart security device or other home security option is not the complicated process it used to be with most being able to be installed using their supplied instructions.
However, some may require a professional to come and install it for you, or perhaps you’d prefer peace of mind knowing an expert has installed it.
How Much Does a Home Security System Cost?
The cost of a home security system varies and depends on which approach you have chosen. There is also the option for pay monthly schemes which can help break up the payments if you’ve opted for a complete, top of the range system.
There are also monthly payment options available for storage and firmware if required. In addition, some may need installation and activation fees, as well as regularly replacement batteries, if not connected to the mains.
All in all, the peace of mind that surveillance of security systems can offer is priceless and is not worth the risk of not having one.