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As we move into a new season, and kids go back to school, it’s important to take a look at your home security. Before you think about upgrading, though, do housekeeping first. The most advanced security system in the world won’t be as effective if there are weak spots in your house.

First, check your doors. You know right away if they’re loose or not, or if the lock seems to be tricky, but that’s not all you have to check. Instead, check the fittings on the side; if someone tries to kick down your door, it’ll be a lot easier for them if you have one-inch screws in your fittings as opposed to four or even five inch. If you can shake your door and it seems to be loose, check the fittings! Outside doors should either have deadbolts, or a two-lock system.

Following that, it’s a good idea to check all your windows. If you don’t open them often, make sure that they can still open and close easily. This isn’t for burglars, obviously — if there’s a fire or some other dangerous situation in the home, windows can be the best escape route. Always check the locks from the inside, and make sure that they can’t easily be opened from the outside.

Finally, check all your systems, specifically your alarm and smoke alarms. It’s really easy for your alarm system to get dirty, and because it can be a sensitive system, it’s best to make sure that it remains clean. While some recommend cleaning and checking the system monthly, it can seem a bit complex — call your security company if you’re worried, and they can do a full checkup for you. In the same vein as this, clean your smoke alarms, and make sure you get into a habit of changing the batteries yearly.

Once you have everything in order, then yes, upgrade your security system if you think it’ll improve the house. However, a little bit of housekeeping will go a long way to improve an existing security system.