By: Eric Janssen
We understand that moving can be physically and emotionally exhausting, with so many details to manage. In fact, moving is one of the top 5 most stressful life events! There seems to be an endless list of “to-do’s” both before you move and once you’re in your new home.
I get it. Over the past five years, my family and I have moved three times! I’ll never forget our first big move, my wife was 8-months pregnant (we’re we crazy?!) and we moved back home to Windsor from our apartment in Toronto.
Moving in to our new place was a whole mix of emotions.
On one hand, we were happy that we had a fresh start. We were moving closer to our relatives, coming ‘back home to Windsor’, and we had a new place to fill with new memories. On the other hand, it was a new neighbourhood, we didn’t know the neighbours, and a quick look at the local crime map was enough to make me lose sleep – even in what was considered a ‘good’ neighbourhood!
If you want to feel safe and secure in your new home, make sure that security is high on your move-in checklist
Something that so commonly gets overlooked in a hectic move is basic home security. Did you know that over 50% of people moving into a new home don’t change their locks? That includes locks on main doors to the house, security codes on garage doors, and padlocks on sheds. You may trust the people who moved out of the home that you’re taking over, but what about their dog-walker, cleaning person or any number of friends or family who might have a spare key?
Here are just a few home security items to add to the top of your checklist:
Change door locks and security codes.
Taking the time to immediately change codes, and replace locks is a worthwhile step toward keeping your new home safe. While you’re at it, be sure that any main doors have dead-bolts. An external door with a simple lock on the doorknob is not secure. The main locks that I focused on changing right away were:
- The main entrance to the house. This was something that I tasked my dad with while I was moving the rest of our things in! Aren’t family members always looking for ways to help out while you’re rushing around directing traffic? Pick up a door lock at your local hardware store and let a few of your ‘helpers’ figure it out!
- Garage doors. Re-program the garage door code. This is a very common one to overlook and often the one that most people have access to.
- Shed padlocks. If you have a separate storage shed outside, pick up a good padlock and change these right away – especially if you store higher-value outdoor lawn and garden equipment in them (eg. lawn mower, leaf blower, trimmer, or bikes).
Check doorjambs and strike plates
Since two-thirds of home break-ins occur through front, side, or back doors, ensuring your entryways are properly maintained could prevent a home break-in. This means checking door frames to ensure they haven’t rotted. Cold weather causes metal and some types of wood to contract and as temperatures dip, door latches, and frames can pull locks and hinges out of alignment. Continued freezing and thawing of old wood frames can weaken them significantly, so installing a strike plate can help reinforce locking mechanisms on your doors.
Inspect window frames and locks
One of the more commonly overlooked ‘maintenance issues’ is inspecting the safety and security of your windows. Burglars will often ‘case’ neighbourhoods before choosing which home to target. Like your doors, window frames and locks can also become damaged. Maintained windows show that your home is cared for and can make your home less appealing to burglars. If a burglar sees window locks or security bars, they know the home is protected and that it will be harder for them to break in.
Check exterior lights
Great exterior lighting makes your home look more beautiful, but they also deter would-be criminals. Check to ensure all exterior lights are in working order, and consider adding simple timers to give the appearance of activity in and around the home while you are away.
Inspect any existing home alarm or home security systems
Last, but certainly not least, if you have an existing alarm or home monitoring system in your new home, the first thing to do is to carefully inspect the hardware and review all of the instruction manuals. After all, you don’t want to accidentally arm it or trigger any existing sensors or alarms. Since you have enough on your plate with unpacking, setting up internet, changing your address, instructing friends and family where to put what, etc., the easiest approach is to call a local home security company to come and check out the existing monitoring system. Depending on the age of the system and whether it has been active or idle for some time, you may be able to re-configure, reprogram or upgrade your system.
Contact security companies in the Chatham/Windsor area
Whether you have an existing system and want to know your options, or you want to install a new alarm or monitoring system, you should contact security companies that specifically serve the Chatham/Windsor area.
To speak with one of our representatives about your smart home and security options? Contact us today.
Do you want more general information on home security system options in Chatham/Windsor?
If you are just getting started thinking about installing a home security system in your new home, you might want to check out our post on How Security Systems Work.