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Security Systems

How Can I Make My Home Safer & Smarter This Winter?

Published 12/21/2021 by General Security

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With winter bringing cooler temperatures, harsher weather conditions, and other seasonal changes, it’s important your family, home, and property remain safe and sound. While adding traditional protection measures such as alarm systems and security cameras with 24/7 Central Station Monitoring is a safeguard, you’ll also have additional concerns causing injuries, accidents, costly repairs and upgrades—and possible fatalities—if not properly checked and maintained. 

Failing to inspect and service common home fixtures, such as roofs, gas fireplaces, furnaces and oil burners, pipes, HVAC units, and others, can lead to potential accidents and other unfortunate situations. 


When preparing to safeguard your home this winter, consider pairing protective measures with accompanying smart technologies through the Alarm.com app, such as fire and life safety, energy and wellness, video surveillance, and more. 

 

Below we’ll outline our top tips for safeguarding your family, home, and property this winter. 

 

1. Check & Inspect Gas Fireplaces & Other Appliances

It’s vitally important to ensure these and other gas-fueled appliances, such as stoves and grills, are properly maintained to safeguard against carbon monoxide poisoning

As of March 2021, the CDC reported more than 50,000 hospital emergency room visits annually due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Yearly fatalities have also increased, from 393 in 2015 to 430.

Because this dangerous gas poses such a health risk—especially during cooler winter months—it’s important to also regularly inspect chimneys, gas furnaces, HVAC units, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Directly connect carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to your alarm system’s 24/7 Central Station Monitoring service for real-time alerts and responses. 

 

2. Ensure Working Smoke Alarms &
Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Because smoke and carbon monoxide are  so dangerous, and even fatal, it is imperative fire and life safety devices are regularly checked and inspected. To ensure their proper functionality, listen for any rapid or sparse beeping or chirping sounds—both of which could indicate low battery levels or other malfunctions. 

These can also warn about the presence of carbon monoxide in the home. If so, emergency personnel and first responders must be notified immediately, and all occupants should leave the premises. 

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Regularly inspect and check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and replace batteries during fall and spring Daylight Savings Times. 

With winter bringing cooler temperatures, harsher weather conditions, and other seasonal changes, it’s important your family, home, and property remain safe and sound.

 

3. Maintain & Clean Roofs, Chimneys & Gutters

While pretty to view with their many hues of color, falling leaves can also cause problems when collecting on roofs and gutters. Late fall is usually the best time to clear gutters of leaves and other debris. If ignored, clogs can result in excess moisture and potential flooding.

This is also a good time to check the home’s roof and chimney for issues such as loose shingles, bricks, bird and insect nests, and other problems. 

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP
Check and clean gutters and chimneys each year as a best practice.

 

4. Minimize Window & Door Drafts

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, detecting drafty areas caused by air leaks from windows and doors can provide energy savings of between 10 and 20 percent. These air pockets could also be present near electrical outlets, pipes, floorboards, and other fixtures. To minimize drafts, consider added insulation and weatherstripping specifically around larger areas where heat can easily escape. 

As aforementioned, it’s also important to have HVAC systems regularly serviced and inspected for optimal performance.

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Add smart locks and contact sensors to windows and doors for real-time alerts if they’re left open or ajar.

5. Watch for Leaks & Moisture to Prevent Flood Damage

While leaks and moisture are a year-round concern, extra precautions taken prior to the winter can prevent costly frozen pipe bursts. Turn off all outdoor water sources, such as hoses and garden spigots, and have sprinkler systems blown out and drained to prevent additional damage. You can do this yourself, or have your sprinkler system company conduct this once temperatures drop below freezing.

It’s also recommended to keep interior temperatures at a reasonable level, whether you’re home or away. Shutting heat down or setting thermostats too low can also lead to frozen pipes.

Consider adding the Alarm.com Smart Water Valve + Meter to quickly identify leaks and moisture. This Z-wave water shutoff valve will also automatically provide data and insight on water usage for cost and other efficiencies.

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Add flood and temperature sensors to safeguard your home from possible moisture and water damage. Even when you’re not home, smart technologies will send a real-time warning to your mobile phone, should an issue arise.

 

6. Adjust & Clean HVAC Systems for Safety & Efficiency

Whether your home is heated through gas, oil, or other energy sources, it’s important to maintain furnaces, boilers, and HVAC systems. This includes regular inspections, service and cleaning by a licensed professional. 

Furnace and air conditioning return and supply vents should also be checked regularly to ensure optimal function. If using a central heating and air conditioning system, replacing filters is necessary for air quality and energy efficiency.

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Add smart thermostats to control and schedule your home’s heating and cooling for added energy efficiency and cost savings.

 

7. Secure Patio Furniture & Other Outdoor Equipment

Ensure outdoor furniture, such as tables, chairs, and umbrellas are securely tied down and wrapped, or safely stored in garages or sheds. This includes outdoor kitchens, grills, and other appliances. If using propane or other gas-driven appliances, it’s important to drain and disconnect these to protect against fires, leaks, and other hazards. 

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Consider adding smart stove and grill guards with real-time monitoring and automatic shutoff.

 

8. Ensure Pools Are Winterized & Covered

With homeowners neglecting this step until the spring season, you can avoid issues and challenges with proper maintenance before the cooler months, and throughout the winter. Ensure pools and other water-driven outdoor amenities are securely covered to avoid algae buildup and other debris. 

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Adding contact sensors to outdoor gates, pool decks, and other areas prone to safety issues paired with smart technology will provide real-time alerts should any of these areas become breached or disturbed throughout the winter.

 

9. Utilize Security Cameras for Indoor/Outdoor Monitoring

Aside from deterring thieves, vandals, and other unwanted guests, security cameras can be utilized to monitor activities within and around the home, whether you’re there or not.

This technology can also monitor deliveries, guests, and other visitors. Remote surveillance can help with dangerous weather concerns, and show you in real time any ice, snow, and other winter weather hazards.


SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Download the Alarm.com app to your mobile device for easy check-ins, communication and remote viewing of your home and property when you cannot be there. 

 

10. Create a Winter Safety Checklist & Emergency Kit

Discuss with your family what should be included in your home safety plan and winter emergency kit. This will provide additional leverage in case of an unforeseen situation. 

The Red Cross suggests homeowners include emergency kit staples such as water, non-perishable food items, flashlights, batteries, and other essentials. 

SMART WINTER SAFETY TIP

Download this free Home Safety Checklist from General Security to get started.

 

Keeping Your Family Safe & Secure This Winter

When developing your winter home safety plan, it’s best to work with a reputable services provider, such as General Security, for help and guidance.


General Security provides home safety and security measures for homeowners along the U.S. East Coast. Request a free quote to learn more about these and other tips. 


Request a Quote with General Security

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