How to perform a home security audit
Over time, we tend to take many things for granted. But home security is one of those things that you simply can’t afford to take for granted. What you want is to ensure that your home is as safe as you can be at all times. And for that, you need to perform a home security audit every now and then. Even if you have the best self install home security system, it is all for naught if you have other security loopholes. A security audit will help you identify any such loopholes and allow you to correct them in due time. In this article, we will provide you with the most important security audit points and explain how to perform the audit itself.
Performing a home security audit
A home security audit is all about trying to identify the “weak points” in the security of your home. One of the ways to approach the audit is from a burglar’s perspective. Go around the property and try to do your best to exploit any vulnerabilities that you see. That is what the burglars will be doing, after all. To make the whole audit a bit more structured, though, you may want to create a list of audit points. Some of these points can apply to pretty much every home but some can be unique to each location. To improve your home security, you will want to carefully go through each and every one of these audit points. If so happens that everything is in perfect order, great! That just means that you are taking your security as you should.
Common security audit points
Here are the most common security audit points, in no particular order:
- Security system
- Access points
- Safety devices
Aside from these audit points, you will also want to ensure that your entire family knows how to keep your home secure. Every member of your family who has unrestricted access to your home needs to know how to lock doors and windows properly, as well as know what to do in case of an emergency. When you perform a home security audit, you may also want to ensure that your house number is clearly visible, as that will make it easier for emergency responders to find your home and will improve your neighborhood safety at the same time. You may also want to consider installing additional house numbers that are closer to the streets.
Now, let’s take a look at how to approach the audit points.
When auditing your home security system, you need to pay attention to several things. First, ensure that the settings are appropriate for your current lifestyle. Second, verify that only the people who are supposed to have the codes have them. And third, verify that all the batteries are fresh and run a full diagnostic of the security system. As there are many different types of home security systems, you may need to consult a professional to run the test. You don’t need to do this every month, of course, but once every six months is a good time to run the tests and perform a home security audit.
You may also want to consider changing all the security system codes every now and then, as well as pairing the system with your smartphone if you haven’t already done so. Most modern security systems have this capability. If your home security system does not, you may want to consider upgrading it sooner rather than later. Being able to control your security system from your smartphone is one of the best ways to improve your overall quality of life.
Next up, you will want to ensure that your locks are “up to snuff”. What this means is that the looks all need to be in good working order and that they provide adequate protection. You may need to get in touch with your local law enforcement and ask for home burglary statistics to see whether you need to upgrade your locks. Depending on the neighborhood, you may find that upgrading to more durable locks is in your best interest.
Pay close attention to any exterior doors and make sure that all of them have the same level of protection. Even a single door without a deadbolt can be a serious security concern.
Most of us keep a spare key somewhere. But, over time, we tend to forget what we did with our spare keys. Or they get misplaced. When you perform a home security audit, you need to establish exactly where the spare keys are, who has access to them and whether their hiding spots are still applicable. If you notice that you simply cannot account for all the spare keys, it might be best to replace or re-key the locks. Even one spare key that is missing presents a significant security concern and can cost you quite a lot. You never know who may have gotten access to it and whether they are planning something malicious.
Next, you need to establish whether your plants are creating hiding spots for potential burglars. If you can’t see much outside your window due to a plant, you may want to consider trimming it down a bit. And if you have a backyard full of greenery, you will want to keep it trimmed at all times. Focus on the plants that are located near any windows, gates, or doors. In fact, you might want to add the task of trimming to your home security maintenance checklist, as this task can be particularly “evasive”. Plants grow slowly, after all, and chances are that you will notice that they present a security concern only when it is too late.
You will also want to make sure that all of the access points into your home are not compromised in any manner. Doors and windows are the “traditional” access points so you might want to start there, but any point that allows access to your home needs to be audited as well. What you want to do is ensure that your doors and windows are in good condition and without any cracks or broken latches. If you want to upgrade your doors and windows, the best thing to do is to install shatter-proof glass. Lastly, you will want to tighten and realign the hinges, just in case.
Another key part of a home security audit is your day-to-day behavior. Go through the things you do during the day and see if there are any security concerns present. For example, do you lock all the doors even when you’re home? Are there any times when you leave the home in a hurry and leave some of the doors open? Are you using all the features of your home security system? How many times do you perform a home security audit per year? The more security questions you ask of yourself, the better. Throughout this process, you may even come up with some ideas for keeping your home safe. And that is a good thing, the more you “obsess” about your home’s security, the better.
Your home security is not all about preventing burglars from stealing your stuff. You also need to make sure that you are well protected from fire and excess smoke. Therefore, a vital component of a home security audit is verifying that your safety devices are in optimal working condition. Go through every room and check whether there is a smoke detector in each one. At the very least, you will want to have a smoke detector in each bedroom, kitchen, and garage. Ideally, every room should have one.
Aside from smoke detectors, you also want to ensure that your first-aid kits are up to date and that your fire extinguishers are in working order. Also, make sure that both the first aid kits and fire extinguishers are located in adequate places.
Lastly, if you have a garage, you will want to ensure that all the locks are working as they should. In the case of attached garages, you will want to install a deadbolt on the entryway if you don’t have one or verify that the deadbolt is still functional if you do. And if your garage is keypad-operated, consider changing the code every time you perform a home security audit. It is rather easy for someone to “snipe” you to enter a code from afar, after all. And if you happen to keep any dangerous chemicals or tools inside your garage, verify that they are well-secured.
If you want to know more about how to improve your home security, about the best home security companies, or anything else related to home security, simply browse the Consumer Opinion Guide. Our articles will provide you with all the information you might require to keep your home as safe as it can possibly be!