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Worry-Free Home Security
December 22, 2012 - Safety
(ARA) - As seasons change, homeowners' routines change along with them. Whether it's children coming in and out of the house more frequently between school and activities, or service workers helping to get home repairs done before the holidays, you want to ensure safe and controlled access when you're not available.

One recent "Key Hiding Habits" survey of homeowners in St. Louis found that respondents hide extra keys for such purposes in all kinds of places, from beneath a flowerpot to under the bushes - yet among those who do, about one fifth don't recall where they hid the key, leading to an opportunity for a lockout situation. In fact, getting locked out of the house happens more than you'd think. Over a 12-month period, a quarter of those polled were locked out at least once and a smaller number twice. Believe it or not, some were locked out five times or more.

To ensure worry-free home security, there are simple things you can do to help ensure that the right people can enter your home, and also deter those you want to keep out of your home. Here are some home security tips:

* Go keyless. Avoid keys entirely by upgrading to an electronic keypad door lock, eliminating any worries about lost keys or the need to keep making replacements. Electronic locks provide keyless entry to a home using secure access codes, so there's no more hiding of keys in places where the wrong person might find them.

For example, Schlage electronic locks can be installed quickly with just a screwdriver and allow you to add, change or delete user codes in seconds, ensuring that the people you want to enter your home can come and go as they please. You can also create a temporary code for someone such as a plumber or pet-sitter who needs to enter and exit while you're away.  To learn more, visit

* Use motion sensors. In the fall and winter months of the year it's especially helpful to have a light on for family members and others who need to leave or come home in the dark. One way is to leave the porch light on, but you can take lighting a step further by installing motion-activated lights. Available in home improvement stores, these lights can be installed at your entry door or by the garage door, and will turn on automatically when a person or car approaches, ensuring a well-lit entry to your home and making it harder for intruders to hide in waiting.  

* Make your home look lived in. If you keep the drapes and shades closed during the day, it can give an unintended signal to burglars that you're not home, so go ahead and leave the windows uncovered as if you were there. Turn down the ringer on your home phone, as well as the volume on the answering machine - while you're away at work, dashing back and forth between activities, or even if you're simply working in the garden or backyard - as these sounds can be a signal to others that no one's inside.        

By making these easy changes, you can add to your home's security and also ensure greater convenience for the entire family.
Maintain Your Home And Save Money
September 01, 2010 - Safety
By Forest Mcbride

Many of us have learned the hard way that if we don't keep our cars, tools, and other things we rely on in good working order, then we end up spending money unnecessarily on repairs. The same is true in regard to our houses, both inside and out. The cost of NOT doing home maintenance can be steep indeed. Besides that, it's always much easier to be proactive than it is to wait until something breaks down.

One typical time to get busy is autumn. If you haven't had to be responsible for a house before, you can find plenty of early winter home maintenance tips online, at the library, at a local extension office, home maintenance chain stores, or in bookstores. Check with your neighbors as well. Some of the areas you should be concerned with are:

Roofs and gutters

Fireplaces and chimneys

Decks and patios

Shutters and siding

Drafty doors and windows

If you let any of these deteriorate, you'll soon learn about the cost of NOT doing home maintenance.

Early winter or fall is not the only time to inspect these aspects of your house. It's a good idea to take a good look at everything at least twice a year. Additionally, if you notice problems at times in between; fix them right away. It will save you money later. By the way, you'll find free home maintenance tips in the same places listed above.

As you travel through various neighborhoods, it's easy to spot the houses whose owners haven't listed any early winter home maintenance tips. They often have peeling paint, stained concrete, rotting wood decks and stairs, and overgrown yards. All too often it's probably because they just got behind and have found out the hard way the cost of NOT doing home maintenance. If you possibly can avoid it, don't let yourself get caught in this trap. Make it your habit to take care of problems before they happen.

Some Specific Areas

Fireplaces and chimneys are especially important to keep functioning well. The cost of NOT doing home maintenance on your fireplaces can be more than just money; it can be lives. Any of your early winter home maintenance tips will remind you to get those chimneys cleaned before you start building cold weather fires. You should also thoroughly clean the layers of soot that collect just inside the fireplace itself. Try Fuller Brush Fullpower Fireplace Cleaner.

With fuel costs on the rise, it's a real plus to have a fireplace to help heat your home. They're also very cozy and conjure up pictures of a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. You may not see these benefits listed on your list of free home maintenance tips, but you know how much you'd miss them if you couldn't build a fire. Make sure your fireplace and chimney is always clean, and you'll be ready for any sudden storm. Taking care of your fireplace is a great way to avoid the cost of NOT doing home maintenance.

It's more than likely that you have some areas in and around your home that are made from concrete. These may include basements, garages, patios, driveways, and sidewalks. In addition to sustaining cracks that will grow if not fixed, concrete can absorb dirt and stains. Again, consult your free home maintenance tips for advice on how to fix any damage. You should also clean these areas to avoid major build-up through the years Try Fuller Brush Concrete Cleaner.

If you spend a few dollars and some elbow grease now on property upkeep, you'll avoid the cost of NOT doing home maintenance. Everyone is busy these days and time seems to fly by. It's easy to put off your chores, but before you know it, six months or a year has gone by. You can avoid this happening to you by making a checklist and posting it where you'll have to look at it. As you do each task, mark the date that you completed it and it will be easy to see when it's time to repeat it.

One more specific area to maintain is any surface made from wood. The most common instance is a deck, but you may also have stairs, railings, or porches that fall into this category. In your early winter home maintenance tips, you're sure to learn that it's important to routinely clean any outdoor wood that you have. (Fuller Brush Pressure Washer Deck Wash)

Wood can rot and fade, so performing maintenance, such as cleaning, painting, and repairs in a timely manner will keep you ahead of the curve. This information is something else that should be on your list of free home maintenance tips.

All of this may sound like just too much work. This is when it's time to think of old sayings like, "It's better to be safe than sorry", and avoid the cost of NOT doing home maintenance.



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