How to spruce up your home security

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For many of us, our spring cleaning rituals are well underway. And although clearing away the clutter, shaking dust from rugs, wiping down woodwork and dusting off outdoor furniture can bring much satisfaction, there are other tasks you should be adding to your to-do list. They don’t just make your home look better — they make your home more secure.

Your outdoor checklist
• Make sure your home address numbers are properly positioned or painted on your mailbox, front door or another visible spot. This ensures that first responders can easily find your house in the case of an emergency.
• Maintain your home’s landscaping by trimming back bushes and shrubbery, allowing you to see out all windows and eliminate potential spots for intruders to hide.
• Clear drains and gutters of leaves and debris to prevent flooding.
• Inspect and repair damaged fences or other outside boundaries.
• Check outside lighting around your house and replace bulbs and batteries that aren’t working.
• If you have outdoor security cameras, make sure they haven’t been damaged by snow or harsh winter weather. Check that cameras are plugged in and that the lenses are looking at what you want them to look at. Clean lenses with a microfiber cloth and tighten camera mounts. As summer approaches, you may want to protect your cameras from spider webs and insects that can obscure the view.

Your indoor checklist
• Check that security sensors, motion detectors, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are free of dust and cobwebs by wiping them with a microfiber cloth. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries if necessary. Keep in mind that detectors don’t last forever; most have a life span that ranges from five to seven years, so check expiration dates on the device or consult the device’s manual.
• If you have an alarm system, use the change in seasons to change your access code and remove passcodes you’ve given out to contractors, cleaning people, babysitters or guests who no longer need access to your home. Test your security systems regularly to ensure they are functioning properly and communicating with the central station.
• Flooding is the single largest source of loss for homeowners, so you should install water leak sensors in flood-prone areas. The sensors will detect accumulation of water caused by cracked or broken water pipes, loose pipe connections, inadequate drainage, or flooding. Some sensors connect to larger security systems, some work alone, emitting a loud siren, and some connect to an app on your phone.
• Check window and door locks. If any seem loose or faulty, tighten or replace them.
• If cleaning your windows isn’t already part of your spring cleaning routine, add it. Clean windows will make your home brighter and improve the visibility of your surroundings.

Source: The Washington Post