Our top ten home security tips

Your home is your sanctuary, somewhere to feel safe. If you’re thinking about going away or just looking to add some extra security measures, here are our top home security tips.

cameras home security tips
It might seem obvious, but many people don’t have security cameras

Home Security Tip 1 – Install security cameras

For any questions about home security, you can reach our team ‘HERE’

This might seem like an obvious choice for number one on our list! However, many people still do not have any security cameras installed in their homes. It’s easier now than ever with Smart technology that doesn’t cost the earth to install or run. Smart security cameras come with apps to monitor your home from wherever you are. They work with whatever devices you use – smartphone, computer or tablet. You can even get Smart camera doorbells now, allowing you to see and speak to people at your door remotely. This means that even if you’re home you can decide who to let in before you answer. Many of these cameras have motion detectors and recording. They’re a must-have.

Home Security Tip 2 – Garden security lights

Another classic security measure that’s easy to install in your garden or driveway. Motion-activated security lights can help you and your loved ones see and move safely in the dark, but will also deter any intruders with a sudden burst of light. They can be installed in your front and back garden or anywhere where there is access to the property. You don’t even need to wire them in. Some are solar-powered, and some can be plugged into standard sockets. Our Handyperson team can advise on the best type for you.

Tip 3 – Make sure your gates and fences are up to scratch

Making sure your fences are good quality and in good condition is of paramount importance. Any holes, gaps or other damage can allow intruders to gain access or get a good look at your property before entering. Not to mention that fallen fences are easy for someone to climb over. Once your fences are fixed up, consider having some extensions to the top, such as trellis panels. They can also be attached to walls for some extra height, as well as having climbing plants growing up them as an extra deterrent.

Gates should also be well maintained and easy to lock with bolts or padlocks. Check the hinges as well as the condition of the wood or metal frame. if you have a rear gate that adjoins the fencing, make sure the door is at the same height as the fence itself. Ideally you should secure this gate with two different locks so that it can’t be forced open.

strong iron garden gate home security
A gate as high as your bushes and fences will heighten security

Home Security Tip 4 – Keysafes – a secure key storage solution

Keysafes are surprisingly a very safe way to store your keys, outdoors as well as indoors. We only supply the Supra C500, which is one of only a few models that are recommended by the police. If you’re buying your own, make sure you do your homework and find out just how secure it is. We’ll still happily install it for you. Your keysafe will be mounted to the wall in a discreet location, with a cover to hide the combination lock. The Supra C500 is reinforced so that it cannot be broken into. In an emergency they can be a lifesaver – but only give out the code to the emergency services or people you trust.

Tip 5 – Lock down your shed and outdoor buildings

Tools in your shed can be desirable to would-be thieves, so make sure that you have decent locks on your shed door. Even if some of the items aren’t very valuable, remember that they could be used to aid someone breaking into your home. You can lock away tools inside units in the shed or secure things like ladders to posts, racks and walls by using a padlock and chain. For larger sheds and outdoor buildings, you might consider window locks or bars.

rusted shed padlock home security
Rusted old shed bolts and padlocks present a security risk

Tip 6 – Graveled paths and driveways – a surprising deterrent

Keep your gravel paths and drives topped up with gravel – the noise from someone walking on it can alert you to their presence. You’ll need to be sure that there’s enough gravel remaining on the top layer so that it makes as loud a noise as possible under feet. You can also put gravel around plants and shrubs so that there’s nothing for someone to hide behind in the garden without making some noise.

garden gravel home security
Gravel – it’s great for making noise! The more topped up the better

Home Security Tip 7 – Door and window locks, front and rear

Most burglars will try to enter via the rear of the property. This is because it is generally a more vulnerable point. It’s more likely to be neglected and isn’t near the street where someone might see or hear. You should make sure that forced entry into your home is very difficult. You could put a chain or bolt on wooden rear or side doors. For French doors, you can install a patlock, which fits on the internal side handles. A patlock is as much a visual deterrent as a barrier to breaking in and succeeds at both. It releases quickly with no need for a code or key.

Tip 8 – Prickly or thorny plants can also deter burglars

You don’t always need fancy gizmos and gadgets to make your home secure. Certain plants can be very effective at deterring burglars, such as prickly pyracantha or gorse bushes. Dense shrubs and evergreens can be a physical barrier, especially coupled with gravel around them to make noise if someone is pushing against them. Thorny climbers can be grown up trellises and fences to make them much more difficult to climb.

Just remember not to let them overgrow! Not only could they be hazardous to you or any family or guests, but overgrown and overhanging plants and shrubs can block entrances. They also provide the opportunity for unwanted guests to hide behind or underneath them.

Holly garden prickly prickle bush berries
Holly bushes – not just for Christmas! Those prickly leaves will deter any would-be burglars

Tip 9 – Curtains and blinds are still a top home security measure

A curtain or blind might not seem like a substantial security measure, but they help to keep people from seeing into your home from outside. If someone was looking for quick access into your home, an open window is a much less attractive option with noisy blinds to contend with. When windows are covered with a blind or curtain it’s also much harder for someone to know if there is anyone inside the house.

Standard curtains are fine, but a net curtain also adds an extra layer of privacy. A handyperson can easily install one for you, as well as sort out any curtain poles that might be coming away from the wall. Many people opt for blinds nowadays. Depending on the type they can be a very stylish addition to your home. Remote operated electric blinds have come down in price in the last few years, making them more accessible to more homeowners regardless of their income and ability.

stylish security blinds living room home security
Stylish blinds can add a lot to a home, and not just in terms of extra privacy

Home Security Tip 10 – Be smart when you’re going on holiday

It should go without saying, but make sure all doors and windows are locked, including your shed. If you’ve got a security alarm then definitely set it before you leave. It’s important to cancel deliveries coming to your home, particularly if you have milk or papers delivered. You might ask a friend or neighbour to come around now and then to pick up your mail or any parcels. This also makes it look like someone is still at the house. You could even ask your neighbour to use your driveway a few times during the week. Your lights can also be put on timers to come on at night.

It’s a good idea to think about getting a safe to store away any of your valuables. You might also take photographs of your valuables and mark them with your postcode and house number. This will help the police to identify and potentially recover your items if they are stolen. Photos also help if you are making an insurance claim.

Perhaps most importantly though – try not to share that you’re on holiday on social media. If your posts and profile are public then you are advertising that you are on holiday! So save the snaps for when you return safely.

Ask us for advice

If there’s any aspect of home security that you need some help with or advice on, contact our Customer Service team for an obligation-free chat. We Care about your security.






    The Learning Disabilities Assistive Technology Project

    Evaluation Summary Report

    The purpose of the project

    Below you will find a link to the full evaluation summary of The Learning Disabilities Assitistive Technology Project.

    The project involved work with up to 100 individuals with a learning disability (LD) living in the city of Bristol, to assess for and install assistive technology (AT) solutions and to measure the outcomes.

    The three key predefined outcomes of the project were to:

    • Promote independence choice and control for individuals: support people with LD to
      live as independently as possible with the right care and support.
    • Reduce and Prevent adults with LD entering inappropriate services: support adults (and
      carers of) with learning disabilities who require urgent housing and are at risk of entering
      inappropriate services such as inpatient and registered care services for learning disabilities.
    • Mainstream the use of assistive technology in the learning disabilities and housing
      pathway: increase the total number of adults with LD supported to live in their own home
      specifically people with complex needs/challenging behaviors.






      Keeping your home warm in the winter

      It’s so important to keep your home warm in the winter, when the temperature is much colder and the frost has set in. Here are some helpful tips for keeping nice and toasty all winter long.

      It might seem obvious, but it really is so important. Older people are more vulnerable to illness during the winter because the cold suppresses the immune system. That means it’s easier to contract heavy colds and the flu and increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks.

      This guide will give you some quick ideas on how to keep you and your home warm in the winter months, so you are healthy and hearty until the spring finally arrives.

      keep home warm in the winter older person slippers socks fire
      Keep warm this winter – it’s as simple as putting on slippers and checking your radiators!

      Be smart about your heating

      Set your heating to at least 20 – 21C, and close off rooms that you aren’t using to keep the heat locked into where you are going to be. You should shut doors to rooms where the radiators are on so that you are keeping the heat in where it’s needed. A smart thermostat can help you control the level of heat from wherever you are, so you can turn it down if you’ll be out for a while or plan ahead for when you’ll arrive back.

      Radiators – reflect heat and bleed when necessary

      Your radiators are so important – they need to be working properly so that they are effectively heating your home. If your radiators have cold spots and don’t heat up evenly then they need bleeding. This can be done with a radiator key or flat head screwdriver, but you might want to get a handyperson in to take care of it for you, just in case there are any further issues.

      You can buy reflective radiator foil to keep our rooms warm and cut down on the heating bills. The reflective foil helps by reflecting the heat back into your rooms instead of it being lost through the walls. This is best for radiators on walls that are not adjoining inside rooms and face outside. Your handyperson can give you some solid advice on where they will be most effective in your home.

      Don’t lose heat through the cracks

      Make sure that your house isn’t losing heat through the windows, doors and floors. Floorboards are not great at retaining heat, especially if they are older boards and have gaps in them. Even laminate flooring can get very cold when winter comes, so think about getting a rug to stop cold air coming in and heat going out. Decent socks and slippers will also keep you feeling very toasty too.

      You should also consider getting a draft excluder for your doors, and even for windows. Rolled up towels can also work as a stopgap. Decent curtains with a lining will help retain heat – the heavier the curtain the better for this. Keep curtains closed when you are out and close them when it gets dark to retain the heat for as long as possible. Conversely, open them in the daytime as the sun will heat the room for you, for free!

      Draught excluder door keep warm winter
      Draught excluders can be bought from most home furnishing stores, or we can source one for you

      Lining your loft keeps you home warm in the winter and beyond

      Proper insulation in your loft ensures that there is minimal heat being lost from the top of your home. There are a couple of types of insulation, such as loft boards or loft insulation rolls. They are all designed to stop warm air from escaping from the attic space. It’s good to get a professional in to do this for you, as some of the materials can be irritating and difficult to lay properly.

      Dress and cover yourself for warmth in your home this winter

      Don’t forget to look after yourself by dressing warmly this winter, even if you are staying in the house. Slippers and socks are important of course but also use blankets when you are lounging on the sofa. Wear pyjamas to bed, and underwear underneath if you feel you need it. A blanket on top of your duvet is also a great idea as your temperature fluctuates during the night when you sleep.

      Make sure you are eating right, because the right amount of fat for your BMI helps you keep warm too. Alcohol makes you lose body heat so drink it in moderation, or not at all.

      Keeping you and your home warm – we can help

      We are happy to give you all the help and advice you need to prepare yourself for the colder months. Our handyperson team can assist with lots of smaller tasks that will soon add up in the warmth stakes. If you need help with insulation, our project management team are well equipped to assess what needs to be done and arrange the repairs as soon as possible. Drop us a message for an obligation free chat!






        How do you fix a leaking gutter?

        If your gutters have sprung a leak you’ll want to get them repaired as soon as you can. In order to fix a leaking gutter you need to know what the root cause of the problem is.

        Gutters should allow any rainwater to flow away freely. If the water is pooling and overflowing from gutter pipes it can saturate the walls below it. This can cause some serious structural damage to your house in the long term. That’s why you should fix a leaking gutter as soon as you can. In order to do that, you need to know what’s causing the problem first.

        fix leaking gutter repair

        What causes gutters to leak?

        There are lots of things that can cause a gutter to leak. There are three main areas where you are likely to have a leak: the downpipe joint, the gutter joint or along the gutter length.

        If there is an obstruction in the downpipe of the gutter itself then you’ll notice overflowing water. This is more than just an annoyance with the dripping or gushing water spilling onto people below. It can be a trip hazard as well as cause structural damage in the long run. You should aim to get your gutters and downpipes cleaned or cleared at least twice a year to avoid blockages.

        Dirt and grit can also get stuck in the seal between joints. This happens when pipes contract during cold weather, trapping small debris inside as it shrinks. This creates a small gap for water to escape from, making it doubly important to keep the gutters clean throughout the year.

        How gutter wear and tear happens

        Gutters will expand and contract throughout the year with the change in the seasons and the weather. If they aren’t cut to the right length then expansion and contraction can expose the seals or not have enough pressure between the seals to seal tightly enough. Most modern guttering systems are made to handle the changes in temperature, but older ones will be subject to serious wear and tear over time.

        Even things like snow falling from your roof or sustained weight upon the gutters can cause repetitive damage. A heavy impact from a ladder if you are having roof repairs can do a lot more damage than you think, weakening it before the elements get to it or exacerbating an existing problem. Loose gutters or downpipes may be missing connecting bolts or clips.

        Quickly fixing a leaking downpipe or downpipe joint

        First, if the water is overflowing from the hopper head at the top you should check to see if there is a blockage in your downpipe. You may be able to use a garden hose to blast out a simple blockage caused by leaves or small debris. To do this, cover the drain the turn on the water, aiming the hose up the pipe. You can also dislodge slightly tougher obstructions using a wire placed into the top of the downpipe. For lower down blockages you can take the section of pipe off and insert a wire or drain rod into that section directly.

        For a leaking downpipe joint, first clean the area to remove any dirt, loose paint or rust. You can purchase repair tape to wrap around the joint. Overlap the ends of the length of tape then squeezing tightly to mould the tape to the shape of the joint. Once it’s dried, you can use your garden hose or a bucket of water to flush some water down the pipe to check it is fixed.

        fix leaking gutter downpipe

        Using sealant for cracks and holes in gutters

        Roof and gutter sealant might be more appropriate for the joints of metal pipework, and also cracks or holes. Again, you’ll need to clean the area around the crack or the joint. Also scrape off any excess rust if it’s metal. You’ll need to fill the cavity with just enough sealant, making sure to smooth it down with your finger (use gloves!) or a sealant smoothing tool.

        For cracks and holes, first seal the inside area, wait for the sealant to dry, then seal the outside. You’ll still need to smooth the sealant down and test that the hole is repaired once it’s dried by flushing water down the gutter or pipe. Weatherproof tape is sometimes a good option for gutter cracks too. However, you may find it harder to seal the area properly compared to using sealant.

        Replacement parts for leaking guttering

        If you have older gutters or metal ones, you may find it difficult to source the exact parts you need. Luckily, some gutter parts from different manufacturers are interchangeable. You’d just need to know the width of the opening at the top of the gutter, the shape, and the type of material it’s made from. Generally, downpipes are easier to replace as they are usually either just round or square-shaped. However, if you’re finding any of this difficult it’s much easier to call a local handyperson with gutter repair experience. They can do the hard work for you.

        How We Care Home Improvements can help

        Our trading standards approved service and award-winning handypeople can tackle a multitude of jobs in your home and garden. Our local, friendly and trusted tradespeople are more than just typical handypeople. As well as knowing how to fix a leaking gutter they include experienced plumbers and carpenters.

        Whatever job you need a helping hand with at home, we can send someone out to do the best quality work that you can rely on, for a competitive price. Contact us today for a quote or some obligation-free advice.