15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer

By Linsey Knerl on 2 February 2015 0 comments

Safety may not be the first thing you daydream about when picturing the home of your dreams. But your ability to insure, resell, or even just live comfortably in your home may be dependent on several safety and security factors. (See also: Must Do Home Maintenance)

Though some major structural flaws may require a larger budget, most home safety hacks can be accomplished with a sensible to-do list and at a modest cost. Here are some of the top tips for making your home more habitable for less money than you think.

Mitigate Mold

Mold, a potentially dangerous uninvited guest, can cause illness and decrease the value of a home quickly. Peter Jacobus, an agent for American Family Insurance, tells homeowners to be proactive in their efforts to keep a home safe from this unwanted affliction.

1. Reduce Humidity

By keeping the level of moisture in your home below 40%, you can often outsmart mold. Avoid excessive dampness by using dehumidifiers in rooms that collect steam. An air-conditioner will perform this role in the summer.

2. Ventilate

In addition to reducing moisture, overall good airflow is key. Your home should have exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathroom, for starters.

3. Paint With Care

By using an inexpensive mold inhibitor mixed into your paint, you can further protect your walls and ceilings against mold growth. (Products cost around $6 per packet and can be found at home home improvement stores.)

4. Skip the Carpet

Per square foot, carpet can be more expensive than other floor coverings and is never appropriate for moisture prone areas — like bathrooms.

Confuse Criminals

While no home can be 100% robbery-proof, some simple changes to your set-up can keep you clear of break-ins. Sadie Cornelius, Security Expert for A Secure Life, recommends some simple precautions and security upgrades.

5. Add Deadbolts

All outside facing windows and doors should have one. They don't have to be fancy — they just need to work!

6. Stash the Spare Key

Just don't put it outside. Fake planters, rocks, or other "in plain sight" hiding places are well-known by career criminals.

7. Invest in Motion Sensors

Just having some outside lights that flick on when they detect a visitor can spook away a thief. Motion lights start around $10, and can be found at most hardware stores.

8. Get a Peephole

They're not just useful for hotel rooms. Knowing who's outside from behind the safety of your door is a good idea!

In addition, you're always wise to keep news of an empty house to yourself.

9. Skip Oversharing on Social

Please, no posts on Facebook about how much you're enjoying your vacation in Hawaii. Wait until you get back to post photos, and turn off location services from any apps that post on your behalf while you're gone.

10. Leave a Light On

Don't keep your home completely dark. Consider investing in a timer for your television to have some activity happening in the home during your prime time viewing hours.

Discourage Slips and Falls

Home safety is important for everyone who lives there, as well as visitors. Keeping injuries to a minimum isn't just important for the health of your family; it can keep insurance premiums low, too. National Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford, host of the nationally-syndicated TV and radio program, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, suggests a couple of fixes.

11. Create No-Slip Surfaces

Stairs, especially concrete entry stairs, can prove dangerous to visitors and family members alike. "It's easy to add a self-adhesive anti-skid strip to the front flat edge of steps to provide traction," says Danny. Concrete porches and decks can benefit from a good paint or stain with some playground quality sand mixed in prior to applying.

12. Secure Handrails

After years of use, it's not uncommon for them to come loose or fall off completely. Using lag bolts or epoxy adhesive to put them back in place makes good sense and can prevent a serious fall.

Organize Maintenance Tasks

Homeownership can feel like a tremendous burden if you try to do all the necessary cleaning and repair tasks at once. Be proactive and lighten the financial load by scheduling safety-related tasks throughout the year.

13. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Do this monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.

14. Clean Lint From Your Clothes Dryer

This should be done at least once a year for the average user. (Our family of eight needs it done at least every few months, due to the number of loads we do, as well as the fact we own pets that shed.) Family Handyman has a great guide for cleaning lint from dryers, and you'll want to be sure to never run your dryer when you are not home!

15. Check Your Garage Door Sensor and Closures

With pets and kids in the house, keeping the heavy weight of a garage door in check is essential. Get tips for how to do this at the International Door Association's safety page.

All of the above tasks, as well as any other household to-dos can be easily planned and tracked with HomeZada's online app. You can track your progress, save photos and notes, as well as store all of your maintenance records in case you ever sell your home.

These are just 15 of many steps you'll likely take in your lifetime to secure your home and practice responsible living. What home safety tip did we forget? Which one is most important to your family?

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