(571) 888-3230

Security Systems for Beginners: Why Your Security System Needs Maintenance

Your security system can keep you protected from break-ins, burglary, and even fires, but only if you use it properly. This means activating your security system daily but also performing frequent maintenance checks. After all, if you’ve turned your system on but it fails to communicate with your monitoring provider, it completely defeats the purpose. Follow these tips to keep your security system in good shape and make sure you are protected at all times.

Check The Cameras

If your security system has cameras included, be sure to inspect them frequently. Be sure the cameras themselves are working and that the images or videos are being recorded in the security system.

Also be sure that no trees, bushes, or other objects are obstructing the camera’s view. Trees and bushes can also make an easy place for burglars to hide. Make sure your lawn is well maintained and that your address is not obstructed for emergency services to locate your home.

If your cameras are battery operated, make sure the batteries are fully charged.

Test the Control Panel

Every sensor’s signal passes through your security systems control panel. From here, it interprets each signal to determine whether to activate the alarm. 

Every panel should have a test mode that runs a self-diagnostic test to make sure everything is working properly. Some security systems may require you to notify your monitoring service before running a diagnostic test. If your monitoring service requires this and you fail to do so, emergency services will be sent to your home.

Check Your Sensors Frequently

Walk your premises once a week to check your doors and windows. Be sure the sensors are in place. Most of them use an adhesive that needs to be adjusted or replaced over time. Also, check the frame of the door and make sure there is no rotting, warping, or wearing of insulation that could make the door easier to break down.

As you check that your sensors are in place, make sure they are clear of dust and debris. Keeping your alarm sensors clean will ensure your system is working properly and improve its longevity. This is especially important if your security system has a motion detector sensor. A dusty, clouded motion sensor is more likely to falsely activate than a clear motion sensor.

Lastly, check that all the locks are working on your doors and windows. If you have electronic locks, check the batteries and replace them as needed.

Test Communication with Your Monitoring Service

It’s important to make sure that your sensors and cameras are connected to your security system but even more vital to check that your equipment is communicating with your monitoring service provider’s central station. Otherwise, nobody will know when to contact emergency services.

You’ll need to contact your monitoring services provider before beginning this process and ask them to put your security system in testing mode. If you don’t contact them first, they will think it’s a real emergency.

Press the panic button to make sure the alarm sounds. You can also open any doors or windows that have sensors to make sure they are working properly. Then, contact your monitoring provider to make sure your system is communicating with their central station.

Overall Safety Checks

Check the lighting outside your home. You should have lighting around the whole perimeter of the house. Replace any missing light bulbs and make sure any motion detector lights are functioning properly.

Test your fire alarm to make sure it’s working properly and replace any batteries that are running low. Your fire alarm probably has a carbon monoxide detector built in, but if you have a separate device for this, check that it is also working properly.

Keep fire extinguishers on every level of the home, being sure to keep one in the kitchen. Inspect these extinguishers every month and get them serviced if the pressure gauge reads low.

Lastly, Explain safety procedures to any children in the house, such as fire escape plans. Review house rules with any children in the house. This may include never letting strangers into the house or never giving strangers personal information. 

Keeping your security system up to date is one of the most important things you can do to stay safe in your home. If your system isn’t communicating with the sensors and cameras throughout your house, it serves more as decoration than protection. Even more importantly, if your system isn’t communicating with your monitoring provider, no one will know to contact emergency services.

At Pop-A-Lock, your safety is our number one priority. Click here to learn our top tips on smart security systems.


Residential Doors: Different Types and What to Know About Them

Doors are everywhere – your home, your car, your workplace. As frequently as we open doors, we often disregard the details. You may be surprised to learn about the various material and style options available for residential doors. 

Some are best designed for durability, others mainly for style. Regardless, the right kind of door is out there for you. Keep reading to learn about the different types of residential doors and what you should know about them.

Residential Door Materials

There are a variety of different materials to use for residential doors. Among the most common are wood, steel, and fiberglass.

Wood is the most traditional material for a residential door whether it’s a front door or inside the home. It is highly customizable and comes in a variety of finishes – from custom paint colors to varnishes that enhance the wood’s natural beauty. Wood can also be easily cut to fit a custom frame. Wood is fairly durable but requires periodic maintenance because the finish can easily fade, peel, or warp when exposed to the elements.

Solid-core wood doors are the most durable and are less likely to warp over time. Hollow wood doors should only be used inside the home as they can be easily kicked in.

Metal doors can be made of steel, aluminum, and iron. Hollow metal doors can come in varying degrees of thickness or gages. Solid metal doors have a range of options for the door core such as honeycomb or insulated cores. Steel doors often have a polyurethane core as solid steel would be too heavy for the hinges of a door. Steel doors are the most common type of metal door because they are very secure and durable. However, metal doors can dent and rust, unlike wood doors. Steel doors are also not as versatile as wood doors because it is harder to cut. 

Fiberglass doors are strong and durable and require little maintenance. Some fiberglass doors come with wood grain-mimicking finishes that are beautiful and realistic. They work well in almost any climate, even in extremely cold and damp conditions. Unlike wood, fiberglass doors do not warp, crack, or rot. And unlike steel, the doors don’t rust, scratch, or corrode. 

Styles of Residential Doors

You’ve probably seen more hinge doors than you can count. Hinge doors are also known as passage doors and these are, by far, the most common residential doors. However, there are also a lot of additional styles you may not be familiar with.

Dutch doors are rare but offer a very unique feature. These doors are split in half so the top and bottom open separately. These doors are very convenient for letting fresh air into the home without fully opening the door. The top half, more or less, acts as a window. This type of door goes great in the kitchen to air out after cooking.

French doors are double doors that open inward. They appear luxurious and spacious and can be designed for interior use or as a front door. 

Sliding doors roll along a track and typically open from one side or the other. Sliding doors may be wood or glass. They are most often found as an exit to a patio or the entrance to a closet.

Pocket doors also slide on a rail but they disappear into the wall when opened. The name comes from the fact that they hide in the “pocket “ of the wall. These types of doors are commonly used for powder rooms, bathrooms, closets, and pantries. They’re a great space saver and offer a sleek design. 

Barn doors have a lot of character and have acquired increasing popularity over the years. This type of door slides on a track on the outside of the room. Unlike the sliding door or pocket door, a barn door hangs from the track and glides freely at the bottom. Barn doors are common for bedrooms, bathrooms, or just about anywhere inside the home.

Which Door is Best for You?

Deciding which door is best for you depends on what you value most in a door – safety, style, or longevity.

If you’re opting for safety, steel doors will prevent any unwanted visitors from entering your home. A steel door is virtually impossible to kick in. For ultimate safety, opt for a steel door with a polyeurtheane core as hollow doors are not as secure.

If you’re searching for something affordable and durable, a fiberglass door will be your best option. The material is resistant to dents, warping, rusting, and corroding. With realistic wood-grain finishing, a fiberglass door is beautiful and does not sacrifice longevity.

Whether you prefer a sleek design or something a bit more worn on the edges, there are stylistic choices for everyone. French doors may be the best choice for you if you’re looking for something luxurious with a classic feel. Barn doors will suit you better if you prefer a rustic, down-to-earth feel, but are primarily used for the interior of your home.

Dutch doors take the cake in terms of uniqueness. They offer functional and stylistic benefits. If you have young children or pets, opening the top half of a dutch door can let fresh air and sunshine in without your little ones running away from you.

If you upgrade your front door and need new locks installed, your local Pop-A-Lock will be happy to help. Our expert technicians can install new locks in minimal time at an affordable price.