Traditional security systems do a bang-up job of protecting your home and loved ones. Window and door sensors, motion sensors, fire alarms, and 24/7 monitoring of the system are common components that go a long way toward ensuring that all is safe and sound. Thanks to advances in home security systems; however, there are a few more tactics you can take, and many involve products not usually associated with home protection. Here are a few ways you can beef up the security at your home – without adding a single new alarm, siren, or sensor.
1 Lights. The lighting in your home can be an effective deterrent to vandalism and burglary, and serve as a beacon for emergency responders. When the lights are tied to a home security system they can flash when certain sensors are tripped, light a pathway to the front door when a smoke alarm is triggered, and snap on when motion is detected in the back yard, for example. They can also be set up to turn on and off in a random pattern to make an unoccupied home looked lived in.
2 Motorized shading. Like lights that turn on and off in a random pattern to give a home a lived-in look, so can motorized window treatments move up and down. Motorized window treatments can also be used to protect your privacy by lowering on command from a keypad or remote, or when a motion sensor detects that you have stepped into a room.
3 Intercoms. The simple act of being able to determine who is knocking at your front door before actually going to the door is a highly effective security measure. Plus, because many intercoms have built-in cameras, you’ll be able to identify the visitor visually. Look for intercoms that can be accessed remotely so you can converse with a guest even when you’re miles away from home.
4 Surveillance cameras. Cameras that allow you to visually inspect areas in and around your house should be one of the first “extras” you buy. They provide peace of mind on their own, but when tied to a home security system, they can be configured to dispatch snapshots of live video to your smartphone, a touchpanel, a TV, or other device whenever motion is detected.
5 Audio system. You bought your audio system for its ability to play music throughout your house, but it can also be used when necessary to protect your home by broadcasting over the same speakers that play music pre-recorded verbal warnings like “leave the premises!” whenever a security sensor detects that someone has entered your property.
6 Heating and cooling system. Reasons to integrate a heating and cooling system with a home security system are for personal safety more so than for the protection of your home and property. In addition to a smoke alarm sounding in the event of a fire, the heating and cooling system can shut off to prevent the spread of smoke throughout your home.
7 Video. A home systems integrator can set up a system that automatically transmits video from surveillance cameras to the screens of any and all TVs. The camera image can be displayed in a picture-in-picture format; by using the same remote that operates the TV you can blow up the image full screen for a better look, and even pan, tilt, and zoom the camera, if the camera has those capabilities.
Lisa Montgomery has been following the home automation industry for almost 20 years, serving most of her time at EH Publishing as the Editor of Electronic House magazine. She has been covering and writing about all facets of the home automation, and specializes in explaining high-tech topics to an audience of homeowners who are looking for advice on how to incorporate smart systems into their homes. Lisa also contributes regularly to CE Pro magazine, and in her spare time you can find her either at the gym or beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Bridgman, Mich., where she was born, raised, and still lives today, working out of a cozy home office along with her sidekick, Major, a rescued Yellow Labrador Retriever.