Home security maintenance checklist for homeowners
When people think about maintenance, they usually think about vehicles. However, your home security system requires constant maintenance to ensure its optimal functioning, as well. If you fail to maintain your equipment properly, your home might become more vulnerable to potential threats. For example, most professional home security systems include a maintenance contract, where the company will ensure that your system is working as it should. But you don’t need someone else to do your maintenance for you. All you need is a home security maintenance checklist! In this article, we will show you which tasks to do on a weekly, monthly, semi-annual, and yearly basis.
What to include in your home security maintenance checklist?
Before we get to the checklist, it is advisable that you actually create a couple of checklists. You will want to divide your tasks based on the frequency you will be doing them. That will make it a lot easier to organize your time and efforts. While maintaining your home security system, you may also want to consider some of the benefits of investing in your home security, some of which can make it easier to maintain the system. But that is a topic for another time, what you are interested in right now is the checklist. Here are the tasks that you will want to include:
On a weekly basis:
On a monthly basis:
- App updates
- Medical alert devices
- Fire detectors
On a semi-annual basis:
- Other batteries
On an annual basis:
- Vulnerability audit
As you can see, there is a lot to do. Initial maintenance can always seem overwhelming, as you might think that there’s no end to it. But the good news is that maintaining your home security system gets a lot easier as time passes. After a couple of years, all these tasks will require a fraction of the time they initially took. With that in mind, let’s take a more thorough look into some of these tasks.
Weekly home security maintenance checklist
First off, there is not much to do on a weekly basis, which is a good thing. The two tasks that you have involve checking the batteries and cleaning your equipment.
Many home security devices are quite power-hungry. Most equipment brands claim that their devices can last for weeks without recharging/replacing their batteries, the reality is that this is something that you need to check on a weekly basis. Checking the batteries will not take up much of your time, anyway. It is a good habit to adopt early.
Some home security devices may be compromised if you allow too much dust to accumulate on them. You should start by dusting the control panel, followed by lens cleaning. Utilize a microfiber cloth and some glass cleaner for that crystal clear footage. Pay attention not to spray the cleaner on any cloth pieces or directly on the camera lens. Also, using paper towels is a no-go, as they might scratch the lens.
Then you will want to do some digital cleanup, as well. Your cameras are recording live footage 24/7, after all, and your storage space is not limitless. Therefore, once a week, delete the old footage to make room for the new recording.
Monthly home security maintenance checklist
Your monthly tasks might be the easiest or the hardest, depending on your preferences. What you will have to do is make sure that all your apps are updated, that your medical alert devices are functioning properly, and that your fire detectors are working.
The main reason why this may sometimes be an annoying task is the fact that updates have a tendency to “glitch”. Software development comes with a plethora of bugs and glitches, after all, and you may even need to contact customer support from time to time. Luckily, you only need to do this once a month. There are many different types of home security systems, but their apps usually go through either the Apple Store or Google Play. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect to do:
For the Apple store, you will want to open it on your phone, tap your profile icon, find the corresponding app on the list, and simply tap the update button. Most of the time, this should work like a charm. Sometimes, there will be no updates to be had! But at other times, your update might simply fail due to unknown reasons and you may need to spend more time fixing it.
It is much the same for the Google store, where you will open the app on your phone or tablet, tap the profile icon and choose the “My apps & games” option. You then find the home security app, tap the update button, and presto! The process is pretty straightforward when it works. When it doesn’t, you may need to resort to contacting the support team.
Control panel self-diagnostic
Next up, you will want to go to your control panel and run its test mode. By doing so, the control panel will start a self-diagnostic mode, where it finds bugs and squashes them. Do note that doing this for the first time may require some sort of a walkthrough from the customer support team. If you try to do it on your own, you may accidentally trigger an alarm which may prompt emergency services to pay you a visit. Then there are explanations to be done, penalties to pay, etc. You don’t really want to deal with all of that.
But once you know the “drill”, it is rather easy to run the self-diagnostic on your own. For most systems, doing this once a month is perfectly fine. You may want to ask the company who provided you with the equipment for recommendations, though.
Checking the status of medical alert devices
One of the most important tasks to include in your home security maintenance checklist is to check the status of your medical alert devices. Most of them will have a simple test button, where the device will issue a test call to verify its functioning. If your medical alert devices are handled by a third party, you will want to call them on a monthly basis and have them run status checks for you.
Next up, you will want to verify that every single fire detector in your house is operational. Smart detectors can be tested via the app but others need to be tested manually. You can’t afford to slack on this particular task, as fire is one of the greatest dangers to your home. The estimated average of home structure fires in 2021 was as much as 346,800 cases, according to a report from NFPA. We can only wonder how many of those fires were due to faulty fire detectors but chances are that the number is quite large.
Semi-annual home security maintenance checklist
The tasks that you will want to do every six months include sensor inspection, perimeter check, and checking some of the long-lasting batteries in your equipment.
Sensors are one of those things that are almost “stick and forget“. Most people don’t pay any mind to sensors unless they stop working. But the problem is that you may not know that your sensors are faulty until the worst possible moment. In all honesty, you don’t need to overly concern yourself with your sensors, as they don’t usually require any maintenance. What you do want to do, every six months or so is walk around your home and see whether the sensors are still firmly attached to their original positions.
A lot can happen throughout the year, after all. Sensors can get misplaced, humidity can damage them, pets can “play” with them, etc. Try to set off each sensor at a time, making sure that they are sending proper notifications. Feel free to make your own sensor-check routine, as that can make the whole process a lot more fun.
If your sensors are not working, there’s additional work to be done. Check the connection to the system and the batteries first, after which you will contact the home security system company you got them from. If your devices are under warranty, you may even get them replaced for free!
If you happen to have any home security devices outside of your home building, checking the perimeter is something that you will want to do semi-annually. The first thing to do is verify that your cameras have the optimal activity zone, as well as double-check your privacy zone settings. Your cameras may shift over time, making these adjustments a necessity. Furthermore, check if there is anything that is interfering with your home security system, such as any new outdoor growth. Finish the perimeter check by verifying that all the security lights are working, that there are no dead bulbs, and that the motion sensors are working as they should.
Checking other batteries
We mentioned that some home security system components use up a lot of “juice”. But there are some devices that can go for almost a year without a battery change. This includes smoke detectors, wireless sensors, remotes, etc. Every six months, you will want to make sure that the batteries in all those devices are still working. Replace/recharge as necessary.
Annual home security maintenance checklist
The “once-a-year” tasks are a bit more complicated. You will want to perform a vulnerability audit and check your warranty and contract.
You might want to consider enlisting professional assistance for your yearly vulnerability audit. While you can do it on your own, having a professional around will help point out any areas where your home security system might be lacking. Some areas may need an additional security camera or a motion sensor, or you may want to include a flood or temperature sensor in your system. Some extra lighting is always good to consider, as well.
At this point, you will also want to deal with anything that potential burglars might exploit. For example, you will want to trim any bushes that may provide cover, and tighten any loose screws in chains, knobs, and door hinges. If there are any trees that block your security cameras, make it your business to trim them down as well.
Many contracts for a home security system offer new or upgraded equipment after some time. You will want to check what the contract says every year, as you will most likely forget about it and may fail to reap the potential rewards. Furthermore, you will want to note when your warranty is coming to an end. Before the warranty expires, you will want to perform a thorough check on each device as you are entitled to free repairs/replacement.
Alternatively, you can read the contract/warranty once and make note of the dates and clauses. You can then stick that note somewhere where you look at it every day (fridge doors, for example), and make it easier on yourself.
Of course, you will also want to include any unique equipment on your home security maintenance checklist, as well as any “homemade” security solutions. If, for example, you dug up a hidden trench in your backyard, you will want to make sure that it stays hidden all the time. The alternative, albeit a more costly, option is to simply have your home security system company do all the maintenance for you. You can find all the best home security system companies by exploring the Consumer Opinion Guide. We also have numerous other expert articles on everything that concerns home security, making us your go-to place to get information!