Keeping your family safe and your home secure is not only necessary but essential.
As cases of insecurity continue to rise, especially in South Africa where, there are daily news reports of armed robberies and violence, installing a home security system cannot be stressed enough.
Not only does the system protect you from external insecurities, but they also protect you from internal ones too. A home security system also helps to avoid fire accidents, smoke, and flooding to your property.
The basic principle of home security systems is to secure entry points and interior spaces. It includes components that are controlled and monitored at a central point by a control panel.
While the security system ensures safety, there are certain weaknesses that prevent it from working properly and pose risks.
These loopholes must be addressed to ensure you continue being secure, and it's pretty easy starting by eliminating the occasional carelessness.
Common Home Security Systems (Equipment & Fixtures)
A home security system includes several components that work in sync to secure your home and keep you safe. The number of components depends on the home owner’s decision to secure their property. Here are some of the major features;
Alarm systems serve to notify you or give you a signal of a threat or an emergency. When your alarm sounds, it could mean that there is an intruder in your home, a smoke leak, fire, or flood.
Alternatively, it could also mean that you forgot to disarm the security system.
Whatever triggers your alarm system, never ignore it. It’s important to check and find out what’s the problem.
Alarm systems can also be connected and installed to notify security firms or law enforcement of any danger.
Detection devices are usually used together with alarm systems. They detect any threat or danger and sound the alarm.
These devices include motion sensors, glass break detectors, door and window sensors and flood, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Motion sensors have varying uses such as setting off alarms, activating your cameras and turning lights on when they detect movement.
Glass break detectors monitor any glass break in your home. In case anyone attempts to break in by shattering glass, these detectors trigger your alarm system.
They are installed on windows and doors that you feel would be used by an intruder to gain entry to your home.
Door and window sensors are installed at the entry points to detect any forced or suspicious entry into your home. When the sensors are armed, they trigger an alarm when a door or window is opened.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors help you to avoid inhaling toxic and dangerous gases.
Lastly, water leak detectors notify you of any leak that can be devastating to your home.
Surveillance systems serve as a deterrent to intruders and burglars while hidden cameras protect your home discreetly.
These cameras also record and allow you to view past videos, especially when conducting investigations.
You can install a surveillance camera outdoors, indoors or both, depending on the areas you want to keep an eye on and protect.
You will be able to see anyone coming, going out, children playing, and all activities taking place in and around your home. Simply keep tabs on all happenings using your smartphone or tablet.
Burglar bars, also known as security bars, are strong and tough grids installed on windows or doors to prevent people from getting into your home through those entry points.
They are fitted close together, not leaving any spaces that someone can squeeze through.
This component of a security system is mostly used in business. However, a homeowner can also install it on glass windows and doors.
Burglar bars are also essential if you live in unsafe neighbourhoods and experience frequent burglary cases.
While they effectively keep intruders at bay, they also hinder quick exits in case of an emergency through the window or door.
Automated gates are used to control vehicles coming in and out of a property. You can install these gates at the main entrance of your home.
An automated gate is powered electrically, and it may be gear-driven or chain-driven.
There are numerous types of automated gates, including the slide gate, swing gate, vertical liftgate, bi-folding gate and barrier arm gate.
You should take extra care and safety precautions when you have an automated gate. They are heavy and can cause serious injuries when not operated properly.
Perimeter Walls & Fences
Perimeter walls and fences are used to secure your residence after you have identified the high-risk areas.
Some people also use these home security components as boundaries. However, low walls and fences do not offer security and are obvious security pitfalls.
When using this home security system component, ensure that you have a high, well-maintain and robust perimeter.
Besides security, it protects your property from snoopers. This is especially important if you live next to a high traffic area or road.
Perimeter walls and fences can also be reinforced using barbed wires and spikes.
Similar to perimeter walls, electric fences prevent access by intruders.
It is a more versatile option than a barbed wire fence because it’s simple to install and remove to install someplace else.
Electric fences are powered by an electric fence energizer that produces an electrical charge from the main supply.
When installing an electric fence, choose an energizer that will charge the entire length of your fence.
You also an option to include a switch if you don’t need the electric fence to constantly operate.
Home Security System Weaknesses (Pitfalls)
Many times burglars cut your power so that your alarm and sensors don’t function.
Also, when there is a blackout and your home security doesn’t have a backup, it becomes a weakness that can be exploited.
Exposed and loose hinges are like an invitation to a burglar. An intruder will simply remove the hinges and gain entry to your home.
Also, if your door frames are not strong enough, it might be easily kicked in.
Unprotected Glass Windows and Doors
Unless you have bulletproof glass, other glass panels used in windows and doors are delicate and easily breakable.
Although such windows and doors allow in natural light, they also pose a risk because they offer intruders easy access.
One of the major blunders people make is taking home security lightly. For instance, forgetting to arm your alarm system or ignoring alarms assuming they are false alarms.
Neglecting warning signs and notifications poses a risk to your home security.
Neglected or Poor Maintenance
No matter how efficient or useful your home security system is, you still need to maintain it.
Ignoring maintenance will make it vulnerable, and it can be exploited. Even smart home security systems can fall prey to intruders when not maintained.
Failure to Upgrade
There are constant technological changes and new threats that your home will experience.
Without an upgrade, your home security system will not be able to deal with the latest threats and dangers.
Tips To Bolster Your Home Security
Upgrade your system
An upgrade will enable your home security system to deal with new threats and make it difficult for intruders and burglars to hack it. It will keep them guessing and protect your home.
Reinforce Door Hinges
Ensure your doors are installed in such a way that the hinges are not exposed and are protected.
Reinforce them using security studs that prevent the door from being removed even if a burglar pulls the hinges.
Install Burglar Bars on Windows and Doors
For those with large glass windows and doors, installing security bars will prevent intruders from entering your home if they break the glass. The bars should be installed on the inside.
Conduct Regular Maintenance
This includes cleaning and regular inspection and testing of the home security system to ensure it works properly.
Any component that needs fixing or replacing, should be addressed immediately.
Power Backup and Batteries
To counter power outages, install a power backup that kicks in immediately when your power goes off.
Long-lasting batteries also help and ensures your home security system is on every time.
TIP: Always ensure your home security system is armed. Do not ignore any alarms, best to check and confirm that your home is safe. Leave nothing to chance and ensure you take all the necessary safety precautions.
Home Security Systems Maintenance & Care
Your home security system is effective when maintained regularly and properly.
Since it’s an entire system, you need to inspect each component independently and ensure that they communicate with each other.
• Conduct weekly and monthly inspections of your home security system components.
• Perform periodic testing of the entire system, including sensors, detectors and the alarm system
• Ensure your system is clean. This will help prevent false alarms and ensure they are working efficiently.
• Inspect locks, doors, windows, perimeter fences and walls. You can also check the sensors on the entry points and their batteries.
• Get a professional to conduct annual testing of your entire home security system.
• Inspect your exterior lighting and ensure they function correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Monitor My Own Home Security System?
Yes. You can monitor your home security system using your smartphone, laptop or tablet. Your system can send you notifications and alerts when there is an attempted breach or triggered sensors.
How Do Burglars Disable Alarms?
A burglar can disable your alarm system by cutting the power source, connecting cords or phone lines. They can also disable your alarm when they break in and destroy the alarm physically.
Can Burglars Disable WIFI Security Systems?
Burglars can disable WIFI security systems by using a WIFI jamming device or by gaining entry into your home and smashing the control panel.
Good home security is essential if you want to protect your valuables, and you’re your family safe.
By knowing the components and their weaknesses, you will be able to improve your security.
Also, as technology changes, you need to respond and continuously update and improve your home security system to tackle new threats and dangers.