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Posts Tagged / diy home improvement

  • Jul 08 / 2013
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Home Improvement, Smith Home Security Blog

Is Your Home Hurricane-Proof? – 5 Tips To Protect Your Home

The news is filled with reports concerning hurricane-affected areas and the aftermath of such calamity. In the past, it may be unlikely to hear about hurricane reports one after another, but today, it has become a part of life. With that said, it is smart to take necessary precautions to hurricane-proof your home.

As another storm comes your way, preparing your house for the worst possible events may be the best decision you will ever make. Thankfully, there is a wide variety of available technologies, from hurricane-proof concrete to reinforcements for doors and foundations. Renovating your home and adding hurricane-proof features will help mitigate the potential consequences of these storms. Here are some tips for protecting your home from this calamity.

Protect Your Doors And Windows

The first thing you can do to protect your home from strong winds and heavy rain is to reinforce your windows and doors. You can install impact-resistant glass or shutters which is very effective against high winds. It is also very durable and resistant to flying debris. Durable and resilient materials must be used since hurricane-force winds can hurl debris and objects towards your home.

As an added tip, you can consider installing shutters. If you do not want to make shutters a permanent feature of your home, you can install a track instead which allows for easy installation of shutters when there is an approaching storm. To get the best storm shutter protection, choose products that are approved by the Miami-Dade building code. This is the highest standard that any storm shutter can carry.

Fortify Your Garage

According to the executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association, the garage doors are considered as the weakest link in any property. In fact, about 80% of hurricane damage in a residential home starts with wind entry through the garage door. With that said, once you lose your garage door to a storm, you can consider your home lost as well because the high-speed winds can pressurize the residential building and blow the roof off.

A lot of garage doors are made with lightweight materials which are very affordable; unfortunately, these types of doors are also very vulnerable to high winds. As a tip, you must purchase a garage door with a sticker that provides you with a pressure rating. If you don’t find a sticker, there is a huge chance that you will need to reinforce your doors during a storm.

Consumer Reports also suggest homeowners to purchase garage doors with no windows, and those that are less than 9ft wide. It is also advisable to look for a door that is rated to withstand about 50 pounds of pressure per square foot. In addition, it is also prudent to choose a single door since it has a better chance of surviving strong winds than a double door.

Secure Your Roof

When a hurricane comes your way, the wind may feel like it will rip the roof off your house. The combination of pressurized wind can detach a roof which is not properly secured. If this happens, the walls are left without any support; thus, it will become unsteady. The walls will then collapse outward. But you can prevent this from happening. All you need to do is to secure your roof with some glue to increase its resistance to strong winds.

As a tip, you can use a premium flooring adhesive to secure your roof. You can use a caulking gun and then place a small amount of adhesive to the underside of your roof where it connects with the beams. Make sure to use adhesive that has been thoroughly tested and has a strong rating.

Allow Proper Flow Of Water

Another precaution is to keep your gutters and downspouts clean. Make sure that nothing will block the flowing water in case of a hurricane. This is very important because it allows the water to properly flow during a storm. You have to understand that the water needs to go somewhere. If it is unable to go down and away from your house, your roof and attic will suffer the consequences.

Clean Your Landscape

Lastly, clean your landscape and make sure that there are no fallen debris, branches of trees, and other items that might damage your home. Remember to get rid of any dead branches before the storm hits your area. It is also smart to secure or remove any furniture in your patio or other lose items outdoors since these items and fixtures might get blown around during the storm, causing damages and injuries.
Citations:

Kaitlin.”tree on house”. October 30, 2012. Online Image. Flickr. June 10, 2013

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License: Creative Commons image source

  • May 05 / 2013
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Home Improvement, Smith Home Security Blog

Keep Intruders Out: 5 Vital Security Tips To Make Your Home Safe

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Look around the room you’re in right now – try and think how much all of its contents worth. A few hundred? Several thousand? Perhaps even more? If all of the possessions in your home were cash instead of TVs, laptops and mobile phones then you wouldn’t be lax on keeping such a large amount under lock and key.

But the truth is that for potential burglars, they don’t see your personal possessions – they see potential mounds of cash, just waiting to be slipped out from right under your nose. These five essential home security tips will help you keep everything you hold dear safe – whether it’s your iPad, or just a pot of money you were saving for a holiday.

1. Install CCTV Surveillance In Or Around Your Home
Far from being an expensive luxury that is reserved purely for business, home CCTV systems are becoming incredibly affordable with web-based storage systems offering the lowest costs. A really high end system might cost a few hundred, but will obviously offer the best surveillance for in or around your home.

Alternatively, cheap wireless IP cameras can be found for roughly a tenth of the cost of a fully-fledged home CCTV system. Connected to your home’s wireless internet, they can be hooked up to motion sensors and placed around your front or back doors to capture criminals in the act and store the footage securely online.

2. Keep Some Valuables In Your Kitchen
Research has shown that the kitchen is the last place burglars will typically go, as there’s rarely anything of worth in this room; they’re tight on time and your George Foreman Grill is hardly going to be worth stealing over cash or jewellery. Store car keys or pots of cash in washed-out soup cans or old cereal boxes to avoid detection, and keep them inside a cupboard rather than a shelf.

Chances are that, even if your home is broken into, valuables kept in your kitchen will escape the criminal’s clutches.

3. Ensure Entrances Are Fully Secure
Every door and window in your home is an access point for criminals looking to rummage through your home and take away whatever they fancy. Poorly installed doors or windows, as well as cheap, ineffective locks, are all chinks in your home security’s armour.

When it comes to new doors and windows in your home, or upgrading the locks, this is an area where you simply can’t skimp on quality. Premium locks or window designs might cost more in the short term, but they can prevent thieves getting easy access to your home and will save you the cost of replacing all your possessions.

4. Be Careful What You Throw Away
Not all thieves are opportunists – career criminals, whether amateurs or pros, will often ‘case’ a property to ensure that it’s worth breaking into. Casually throwing away the box for your new cooker or that big 40” flatscreen TV might not seem like a risk, but it’s a huge advert to potential burglars letting them know that you’ve got some really great, expensive equipment in your home – and there’s likely to be more inside.

Pack down boxes into recycling bins or make sure you recycle the packaging yourself, rather than leaving it on the street by your bins.

5. Timers Are Your Friend
Timer switches are a great, affordable way to improve your home’s security without spending loads of money. For the same price as the cheapest IP surveillance camera you can buy around 10 timer switches to place throughout your home.

These can be set to power devices on and off at set times of the day to make it appear like someone is home – something that potential thieves will hate. You can use them for everything from lamps to radios and TVs – whatever devices will make your home look occupied. Be sure to change the times on a regular basis so it’s hard to spot a timed pattern. Unable to tell the difference between a timed lamp and someone manually turning, intruders will be deterred and leave your house alone.

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License: Creative Commons image source

  • Apr 02 / 2013
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Home Improvement, Smith Home Security Blog

Home Improvement: How Can I Save Money On My Monthly Bills?

We all go through the same horrible experience each month. The utility bill arrives and we are filled with dread as we open the envelope. Once it is open, the dread is replaced by a quick onset of depression as we face the consequences of our previous month’s energy usage. You might not empathise with this situation entirely, as many bills are sent electronically nowadays. But that feeling of dread is certainly universal. However, it does not have to be that way. There are a lot of improvements that can be made to a home that will instantly make it more efficient, and help save you money regularly. Here are some basic home improvements that you can make to help you save money.

Eliminate Drafts
Have you ever noticed that certain areas of your house are colder than others? Or that you can feel a slight breeze when you sit by a particular window or door? These cold areas are not just inconvenient, but they are actually costing you money. The good news is that they can be easily fixed. Some simple, low-tech solutions for drafts include buying draft stoppers for cracks underneath your door, or just stopping the gap with a blanket. Buy or make thick curtains for all of your windows, and consider double glazing. Also check for cracks and gaps around the windows, as well as in other places in your house that are exposed to the outside air. If your roof is not properly insulated, now is the time to do it.

Home Automation
There is some amazing new technology around that is made specifically to save you money at home. Automating your home is one of the best ways to save on your monthly energy bill. Some useful home automation gadgets include an energy monitor, an automatic thermostat, and remote controlled lighting. Home technology specialists Vivint will combine all of these things, allowing you to control most aspects of your home using an app on your iPhone. This gives you added control, which helps for security as well as energy reasons.

Energy Star Appliances
The Environmental Protection Agency has created a list of Energy Star appliances and other products that will use energy in the most efficient ways possible. You can view the list on their website. This means that when it comes to buying a new dishwasher for example, you can weigh up the cost of the machine with what it will cost you in the long run. Another way to save money on your appliances is to purchase a smart energy strip. These are relatively cheap, but they will monitor appliances and prevent energy “vampires” by switching off any unused appliances.

Preventative Measures
The last way to improve your monthly bill is to take certain preventative measures around your house. A lot of large repair bills can be avoided this way. Some things that you should do include cleaning your gutters regularly, checking for mold, fixing leaks in your roof, and checking for any cracks in foundation or walls. All of these tings will be easy to repair now, but might cost you much more later.

About the Author: Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specializes in the latest social and technology trends, specifically involving home automation advancements. She is currently acting as a consultant to Vivint. Follow them on Twitter here.

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