When it comes to protecting your home, we strongly recommend going with a professionally monitored home security system so you know your home is safe, even when you can’t keep an eye on it yourself. But beyond monitored home security, there are things you can do to increase security around your home for minimal to no cost.
These DIY home security hacks will not replace the value of a fully monitored system, but they can give you peace of mind. Most of these home security measures boost your security even with a monitored system in place. Check out our top picks for monitored security systems before diving into our DIY home security hacks.
Scout, a Cheaper Alternative
If you’re hesitant on professionally monitored home security because you don’t like the cost, check out Scout Alarm before you make any decisions. What we like about Scout is their ability to straddle the line between affordable DIY home security and a professionally monitored system. Scout offers the lowest monthly monitoring fees on the market at $9.99/month, with a DIY system you can customize to your home.
Home Security Hacks You Can Do Yourself
Sometimes, whether it’s because of budget or personal preference, you’ve just got to do it yourself. Protecting your home is an important part of being a homeowner and we want to help keep you safe as best we can. Read on to find out some of the best DIY home security hacks you can implement in your home.
Rethink Your “Hide-a-Key”
Okay, let’s be honest, everyone knows the “hide-a-key” trick. You know, the one where you find a spot on your porch to keep your spare key, concealing it under a rock, plant, or welcome mat, just in case you lose your keys or lock them in the house. Burglars know this trick too, and nothing makes their job easier than finding your hide-a-key and simply walking through the front door. It’s the house equivalent of leaving your car keys above the drop-down sun visor of your car. And just like in the movies, action heroes and burglars alike know just where to look to find them.
If you do use a hide-a-key (like one of these from Amazon), we suggest finding a location that isn’t close to the door it unlocks. Instead, find somewhere inconspicuous that’s 30+ feet away from your house. Also, try to avoid using your hide-a-key as much as possible. If a criminal watches your house and notices you have a habit of checking the underbelly of your brick walkway just before you unlock your door, they’ll know exactly where to go to gain easy access to your home.
Every Rose Has its Thorn
Most of the time when I think about landscaping my yard, I think about what kinds of trees or flowers will look nice, but landscaping your home can serve a more practical purpose as well. Everyone always immediately jumps to roses, which are beautiful, but there are a variety of other options to consider as well.
For example, a pyracantha, also known as a firethorn bush, is an easily maintained, versatile evergreen that produces colorful berries and small white flowers in early summertime. Firethorns can grow to between 6-16 feet tall and will snag and scrape anything that gets too close with its sharp, prickly leaves and thorns. Strategically planting large bushes, like firethorns, or roses will help prevent criminals from poking around your windows.
Let There Be Light
Good lighting is one of the best deterrents out there, according to a study by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at UNC Charlotte. Burglars love their hiding spots, and most of these spots are somewhere in the shadows. A well-lit home provides minimal hiding spots for would-be intruders.
- Outdoors: Install automatic or motion-sensor lighting outside your garage, back patio, or other entrances to your home. There is a variety of great, low-cost options such as these solar-powered lights available on Amazon.
- Indoors: A great way to light your home, especially while you’re away on vacation, is to use the old Christmas light timer and connect it to a lamp inside your home. The timer will turn your lamp on and off at appropriate times, giving the appearance that you are home. Here is an example of an
affordable light timer also available on Amazon.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It Security Cameras
Almost as bad as being caught is being caught on tape. Just seeing a security camera will keep most intruders away. No burglar wants to deal with security cameras, and the majority of the time, they will not be able to tell whether the camera is functioning or not. Installing a fake security camera can deter criminals almost as well as a functioning camera; you just won’t get the footage. We recommend using the real deal, just in case. There are all kinds of DIY security camera options available, but our favorite is this CleverLoop system found on Amazon.
Slipping in through the Sliding Door
Sliding glass doors are a burglar’s paradise because they are one of the easiest ways to enter your home because of their simple, easily-picked locking mechanisms. However, they are just as easy to secure by placing a hardwood dowel in the inside track of your sliding door. The dowel should fit snugly into the track. That way, even if the burglar picks your sliding door lock, they can’t open the door with the sliding track blocked. You can find a dowel at any local hardware store for just a few dollars.
Evaluate Your Entries
We really like it when security hacks serve multiple purposes, and applying access sensors to your doors and windows does just that. An access sensor will not only alert you to someone trying to get into your house, but it will also let you know if someone is trying to get out. As a parent, I really like knowing when someone is entering or exiting my home. We recommend trying these Interlogix Micro Crystal access sensors found on Amazon.
Can You See the Signs?
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to scare off would-be intruders is to put security signs up in your yard. Regardless of whether you actually have a home security system installed, criminals will see the sign and think twice before attempting to break into your home. Amazon has some super cheap security decals that should do the trick.
Other signs to consider:
- “Beware of Dog”
- “Neighborhood Watch”
- 24-hour surveillance signs
Of course, we recommend actually having the security to back up the signs you display; however, the signs will work much like a security camera. Their mere presence acts as a deterrent for criminals looking for an easy target.
Most of these DIY home security hacks can be installed in an hour or two, relatively cheaply. Although these hacks can help protect your home from criminals, they are not meant to replace a professionally monitored home security system. Check out our recommended security companies to see which will best fit your home security needs. Our home security hacks are a great added layer of security to any of these systems. Comment below with any home security tips and tricks we may have missed.