Beefing Up Your Home’s Security Factor

These days, it’s important to take all the necessary steps to ensure our homes are well-protected. Many of us have installed alarm systems, and that’s an excellent first move. But you should take a thorough tour of your property to be certain that you aren’t overlooking other factors that are keeping your house and family at unnecessary risk.

For example:

Privacy walls or tall hedges and shrubs look great and afford a nice sense of seclusion from the rest of the world, but they also give intruders the opportunity to break into your home without being noticed. Compensate by installing motion-detector lighting, which experts agree is a reliable deterrent to unwanted visitors. In general, porches and entryways should be well-lit and free from clutter. This includes any trees or shrubbery that could enable an intruder to conceal himself while you are entering or leaving your home.

If you have a free-standing garden or tool shed, keep it locked, particularly if it holds items that a burglar could use to break into your home. The same holds for your garage.

Some homeowners take the precaution of unplugging garage door openers if they are going to be gone for an extended period of time, but it’s better to have an actual physical lock on the door itself, especially if this is an attached garage that allows direct entry into the house. If your door doesn’t have a lockable latch, drill a hole in the track just above one of the rollers and insert a padlock . This will prevent the door from rising.

Don’t keep the garage door opener in your car, even if you keep your vehicle locked; use a key chain remote, instead. Access to your car can often mean easier access to your home. Remember: if a thief should break into your car even when it’s parked miles away, the registration card in your glove compartment provides him with your home address.

If you have an in-window air conditioner, take steps to make sure it’s extra secure. These wall units provide an additional point of entry into your home.

Secure pet doors at night or when you are away on vacation.

If you have a home security system, don’t put a put a sticker on your door or window that advertises the brand of the system you’ve installed. This information can be enough to allow a practiced intruder to disable it. Instead, utilize a generic sticker.

If you’ve recently bought any high-end items like a big screen television or a gaming system, do not allow the discarded boxes to sit out by your curb for an extended period of time awaiting trash pick-up. This signals to passersby that there’s something new and expensive inside the home.

Finally, balance aesthetics with practicality. For example, floor-length windows alongside your front door, especially the stained or leaded-glass kind, are attractive, but they can be smashed to reach the interior doorknob.

If the security-check of your property turns up any areas of concern, remember that you can always contact your local Handyman Matters office for assistance in addressing these issues. Their licensed, bonded and experienced craftsmen can make any adjustments or improvements you desire to ensure your home and family are well-protected. Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME today.

KEEPING YOUR HOUSE SAFE FOR KIDS-AND PETS-DURING THE HOLIDAYS

December tends to be a particularly busy and hectic month with all of its special events and celebrations. Most of us are already aware of a number of the potential dangers that present themselves during holiday preparations, but here are reminders of a few particularly geared towards keeping your children and pets safe.

Pretty decorations are enticing to big and little people alike—and frequently to our four-footed friends, as well. Many are fragile and breakable; some carry the threat of a potential shock or fire hazard; others can be poisonous.

Holly and mistletoe berries resemble candy, but they are toxic. Artificial snow and “flocking” can also look tasty. The fluid inside bubble lights may contain methylene chloride and small children may be tempted to sample the liquid, should one of them break.

“Angel Hair” is a spun glass decoration that looks deceptively soft to the touch, but can cause skin and eye irritation to both kids and to pets—and adults, as well!

Even edible items, left unattended, can be dangerous. Too many cookies or too much fudge or other holiday delights can lead to an upset stomach, or worse. Be sure to clean up immediately after hosting a holiday party. Leftover glasses of alcohol or food that has been sitting out overnight offers temptation to the youngest household members. Remember also that chocolate can be toxic to dogs and should be kept out of their reach.

Children should be warned to stay away from glass-fronted fireplaces and screens in front of a blazing yule log. Likewise, take care when using space heaters. It takes only a second for a burn-related disaster to occur. Remind your kids and any children who might be visiting to keep a safe distance from all of these, and monitor them closely, since—believe it or not—kids don’t always listen to their elders! And when you visit friends or family, keep in mind that other people’s homes may not be as child-friendly as yours.

Inventory your tree and all other decorations to see if any ornaments and other items present particular dangers. Children will naturally want to touch twinkling, flashing or moving objects. Teach them that extension cords and electric lights are no-nos. Burning candles should never be left unattended, especially when investigative youngsters are around.

Kitchens present their own set of challenges. Keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of tables and counters. Individual baking and cooking ingredients should be kept away from curious little hands eager to sample whatever might be available. Frozen meats should be defrosted slowly, in the refrigerator. And when handling raw poultry, remember to disinfect any surface it may come in contact with, including washing your hands thoroughly afterwards. Nothing puts a damper on a holiday celebration quite like a case of food poisoning.

Keep emergency numbers, such as fire department, police and the National Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) posted in convenient, easy-to-reach spots for you and for anyone who might be watching the kids while you are away.

Take that extra step to make sure that your holiday celebrating remains a joyous—and safe—occasion for everyone involved. And remember to take time to step back, relax, and enjoy time with friends and family in the midst of everything happening around you.

Remember, too, that your local Handyman Matters office stands ready to assist with holiday decorating as well as all remodel, restore and repair projects taking place around your home.

5 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

‘Tis the season for having family and friends gather at your home to celebrate what you’re all thankful for. We are here to help you make sure that loving your home is something you’re thankful for.

There are many quick and easy ways to get your home ready for the holidays and ready for entertaining.

  1. Interior Paint: One of the best ways to completely transform the way a room looks is to paint it. You can paint an accent wall, create a nice design or the entire room for that jaw-dropping transformation. Wallpaper is another great way to spruce up your home. Wallpaper is great for bathrooms and to help make small spaces look larger.
  1. Updating Kitchen Backsplash: Your kitchen is the heart of the home and where most people will spend their time when they come over. Why not give your kitchen a quick updated look with a new tile backsplash. There are many options to choose from with mosaics tiles, classic subway tiles, or creating a whole new design with a mix of colors and textures.
  1. Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets: While you’re in the kitchen, why not take the time to refinish those kitchen cabinets while you’re working on the backsplash. There are many colors to choose from to match your style. We can help make sure your style and ideas come together to transform your kitchen into everything you’ve dreamed of.
  1. Renew Your Guest Bathroom: You don’t want your guest bathroom to be drab when you’re hosting a party, so why not take the time to quickly update your space. You can update the paint, add a new mirror or a frame to your existing one, update the faucet and hang some cozy and inviting decorations to the space.
  1. Transform Your Entry Way: The entry way is the first thing your guests will see when entering your home. There are many quick fixes you can do for your home that will make a large impact. Change your entry way light fixture to a beautiful chandiler that will set the tone for the style of your entire house. Update the paint on the walls in your entry way. Or create a gallery of photos to show off your family and style.

Take the time this season to make sure your home is ready for the joy of entertaining. The last thing you want to do is worry about little things you could have done around your home. Take the time now to update, so you can enjoy the holidays worry-free!

Leaving Home for the Holidays? Don’t Forget to Take Care of These Things Before You Go!

If you’re heading out for the holidays this year – especially for an extended period of time – you might want to consider taking the time to do a little pre-work so that your home stays in top condition during your absence. Here are 4 quick to-dos that can help you avoid any serious winter damage during your extended holiday travels.

  1. Turn your heat down. Make sure to double-check the thermostat before you head out on your trip . It’s always smart to turn down the heat, but don’t turn it completely off. If the weather dips too low, your pipes could freeze and burst, causing serious problems when you return. A good rule of thumb is to set the thermostat to 55 or 60 degrees.
  1. Get rid of perishables in the fridge. Take out and throw away any foods that may go bad during your time away. You generally don’t need to empty out your fridge completely, unless you’re heading away for more than a month, then you might want to clean out everything and unplug your refrigerator.
  1. Close and latch all openings. Doors, windows, and fireplace flutes all need to be closed and latched before heading out the door. Depending on winds and weather, outside elements could make their way indoors if your doors and windows aren’t properly closed off.
  1. Disconnect and drain hoses connected to the outside. Any hoses that are connected to faucets outside of your home should be drained and disconnected to prevent any potential freezing and water or ice damage.

Enjoy your time away this holiday season by preparing your home ahead of time. If you’re looking for additional tips and tricks or need help getting your home ready for entertaining this holiday season, look no farther than here. The professionals at Handyman Matters are here to keep your home safe and prepare it for family gatherings.