Time certainly flies. We’re already more than a month into 2017, which means that spring will start anytime now, and people will be setting their clocks forward for daylight saving once again. Homeowners will be doing some spring cleaning. And if your home has a security system, your pre-springtime routine shouldn’t end there. As the retreating winter signals the arrival of spring, you can subject your home security equipment to some much-needed scrutiny.
With that in mind, here are some home security maintenance checks that you can do before you welcome spring.
Clean your smoke detectors
A lot of experts provide complex alarm system tips but completely overlook the basics. One of these is the importance of wiping dust, pollen or smoke residue off the sensors to make sure you still have a reliable home security equipment. From DIY alarm systems to durable security devices, you always have to check on them every once in a season.
Check your exterior cameras
If you have exterior cameras and live in an area with heavy snowfall, your security devices have been exposed to some seriously harsh conditions. Ice may have built up on the weatherproof housing, weighing down and potentially repositioning the camera. If there are cracks or other breaches in the housing, melting ice or snow could get in and ruin the internal electronics.
Frost buildup on the lenses, if left unchecked, could cause permanent visibility issues. Cables could have come loose because of falling icicles or debris. Any control and monitoring equipment that you use for the cameras could also have issues. There are countless possible problems, which is why you need to check your camera systems at least once every six months.
Test your other security devices
Most car owners do regular checks on fluid levels, tire pressure, and mileage of their car, and but not enough homeowners do similar checks on their home security systems and equipment. Do a tally of all the emergency systems you’ve got installed in your home: smoke alarms, fire alarms, emergency lights, and even flashlights, just to name a few. Then see if they’re still working. If they’re not, you have a problem. The best-case scenario is that a busted bulb, a blown fuse or a battery needs replacing. But catching the more serious problems now will give you time to fix them before an actual emergency.
Find potential home hazards
Many people think of spring cleaning as a seasonal hassle. But if you really think about it, it’s actually an opportunity to do critical security checks. As you scour your residence for areas to clean, you can also evaluate how safe or risky the area is. Is there a loose floorboard or tile that might cause people to fall? What about previously unnoticed entry points for intruders? Any new areas where they might hide—a recently planted bush, for example—and can you eliminate that blind spot? Any fire hazards, like areas with a greater-than-necessary concentration of dry paper close to a heat source? The arrival of a new season is a chance to regard your home with fresh eyes, and those eyes might as well be as critical about safety.
Reset the time on automatic systems
One of the most practical home maintenance tips for people who own smart security systems is actually one of the most basic: don’t forget to re-calibrate your system clock. If you live in a state that requires people to spring forward and you’ve got a smart home system set up, remember to reset the clocks on that as well.
Your home’s smart system may incorporate other automated devices like sprinklers, outside lights, and the like, in which case you should be able to reset the time for all those devices at once. No need to tick them off separately on your list of clocks and timekeeping devices to adjust.
Of course, if your security devices are newly bought and installed, then there’s a chance they’re already set (or can be set) to automatically adjust to DST. To be sure, check your device manual, or contact your provider.
Inspect emergency supplies
Home security doesn’t always involve preventing the worst; sometimes, it’s about being able to deal with it. Maybe you have a disaster shelter stocked with food and emergency lighting equipment. Or maybe you have a bug-out bag, which is essentially a getaway backpack that contains essential supplies.
The boundary between winter and spring is an ideal time to check the items you have stocked up. Is everything still within the expiry date? Do the batteries still work on your headlamps or flashlights? If you have first-aid kits stashed away, you should also inspect their condition; you never know if the medicines inside are already expired. Make sure your supplies are still useable by checking them regularly, at least every three months.
It’s tempting to think of home security devices as “set it and forget it” solutions, but the truth is that they should always be at on top of your mind. There are thousands of things that can happen to upset even the most robust systems: sensors can fail, batteries can run out, fuses can burn, settings can get upset, and so on. So to make sure you don’t get caught unaware and unsafe, the least you can do is perform a seasonal home security maintenance check in your home.