The ins and outs of worry-free home security

As seasons change, homeowners’ routines change along with them. Whether it’s children coming in and out of the house more frequently between school and activities, or service workers helping to get home repairs done before the holidays, you want to ensure safe and controlled access when you’re not available.

One recent “Key Hiding Habits” survey of homeowners in St. Louis found that respondents hide extra keys for such purposes in all kinds of places, from beneath a flowerpot to under the bushes – yet among those who do, about one fifth don’t recall where they hid the key, leading to an opportunity for a lockout situation. In fact, getting locked out of the house happens more than you’d think. Over a 12-month period, a quarter of those polled were locked out at least once and a smaller number twice. Believe it or not, some were locked out five times or more.

To ensure worry-free home security, there are simple things you can do to help ensure that the right people can enter your home, and also deter those you want to keep out of your home. Here are some home security tips:

* Go keyless. Avoid keys entirely by upgrading to an electronic keypad door lock, eliminating any worries about lost keys or the need to keep making replacements. Electronic locks provide keyless entry to a home using secure access codes, so there’s no more hiding of keys in places where the wrong person might find them.

For example, Schlage electronic locks can be installed quickly with just a screwdriver and allow you to add, change or delete user codes in seconds, ensuring that the people you want to enter your home can come and go as they please. You can also create a temporary code for someone such as a plumber or pet-sitter who needs to enter and exit while you’re away. To learn more, visit

* Use motion sensors. In the fall and winter months of the year it’s especially helpful to have a light on for family members and others who need to leave or come home in the dark. One way is to leave the porch light on, but you can take lighting a step further by installing motion-activated lights. Available in home improvement stores, these lights can be installed at your entry door or by the garage door, and will turn on automatically when a person or car approaches, ensuring a well-lit entry to your home and making it harder for intruders to hide in waiting.

* Make your home look lived in. If you keep the drapes and shades closed during the day, it can give an unintended signal to burglars that you’re not home, so go ahead and leave the windows uncovered as if you were there. Turn down the ringer on your home phone, as well as the volume on the answering machine – while you’re away at work, dashing back and forth between activities, or even if you’re simply working in the garden or backyard – as these sounds can be a signal to others that no one’s inside.

By making these easy changes, you can add to your home’s security and also ensure greater convenience for the entire family.