Man punching numbers into the keypad on a house alarm

Switcher.ie’s top tips to make your home more secure

It’s Home Security Month, so it’s a good time to think about protecting your home.

The nights are already drawing in and this time of year is when we see a rise in the number of burglaries. It’s also a time when we’re using gas and solid fuel heating more in the home.

As such, it’s a good time to review your security both inside and outside the home, to ensure your household is protected. Last year, An Garda Síochána ran a campaign advising customers to lock up and light up their homes as a burglary prevention tactic, and the advice still rings true.

Lighting up

In terms of lighting, it’s always good to have lights on inside the home to ensure your home looks occupied.

If you know that there are evenings or weekends coming up where you won’t be home, think about using timer plugs to set timers for lamps and give the illusion of someone being home - they stock them in Woodies starting at just €4.49.

In terms of outdoors, a sensor light could be a good idea - these turn on when someone comes into their proximity. Maplin has a sale on for Home Security Month at the moment, and they have a portable Superbright LED Sensor Light for just €19.45. Placing one at the front and back of the house could help to give you some peace of mind.

Get the best locks possible

There’s a reason why home insurance policies offer you a discount for having secure locks - it’s because they reduce the likelihood of you having to claim on the policy. If you have sturdy doors, but don’t have security locks, try contacting a locksmith to see if they can upgrade the cylinders in your doors to improve the locks.

If you have older wooden doors, improving the locks may not make too much of a difference, but you could install security chains and a deadbolt inside to make them more secure.

And don’t forget about your windows, either. Many burglars gain access through open windows, so make sure all windows are closed when you leave the house and at night, and install locks on windows where possible.

Install a house alarm

Apart from locking up and lighting up, installing a house alarm can be a great help in terms of securing your home. The sight of an alarm acts as a deterrent to would-be burglars, and obviously if someone does try to break in, the noise of the alarm should frighten them off, and alert you.

You could opt for a monitored alarm from the likes of Home Secure or Phone Watch. With these systems, you pay the upfront installation, followed by a monthly fee for the monitoring service. For these reasons, they’re more expensive than traditional alarms, but they offer different benefits, including:

  • monitored security with emergency services dispatch 24 hours a day, every day of the year;
  • visual confirmation of a break-in if your alarm has motion sensors with cameras installed; and
  • smoke and carbon monoxide alarm monitoring.

If you don’t need a monitored alarm, you could opt to install your own alarm at home. Maplin has a range of wireless alarms, including pre-owned ones, which start from just €79.95.

Shop for alarms now

Security cameras

In addition to alarms, security cameras both inside and outside the home can act as a deterrent. They’re also a handy way to check what’s going on in your home.

You could think about adding one near your front door and hooking it up to a computer or your TV. That way, if the doorbell rings when you’re not expecting anyone, or you hear some commotion outside, you can quickly take a look at what’s going on outside.

You could also install cameras inside the home that you can link with your smartphone. This way, if you’re away on holidays and want to check up on the house, you can easily do so. Again, there are a variety of cameras and CCTV systems available from hardware stores - and how much you spend is really up to you.

If you want the deterrent, without huge expense, you could simply install a dummy camera in a prominent location at the front of your home.

Security and safety inside your home

When thinking about home security, people often forget about protecting themselves inside the home too.

Don’t forget to install smoke alarms and regularly test them to make sure they’re working. On top of this, make sure you protect yourself against the dangers of Carbon Monoxide by:

  • getting all of your gas appliances serviced and checked on a regular basis;
  • fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm; and
  • making sure your home is well-ventilated.

You can read more about the dangers of carbon monoxide in our dedicated guide.

If you improve home security, contact your home insurance provider

Many home security measures, like having security locks, an alarm and working smoke alarms, can land you a nice discount on your home insurance policy.

If you’ve made any security improvements to your home since you took out your policy, make sure to contact your insurer and let them know, as you could get a reduction on your premium, which would be a nice added bonus.

You can read more about Home Security Month on www.homesecuritymonth.com.