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    5 common holiday fire hazards and how to prevent them.

    November 22, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Monday, November 22, 2021

    Holiday fire hazards | Schlage

    It’s easy to get distracted by all the fun this time of year, meaning your vigilance, one of the best ways to help prevent house fires, tends to drop.

     

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    It’s that time of year. Candles, space heaters, holiday cooking and decorations make your home feel festive and cozy, but they can also create fire hazards. It’s easy to get distracted by all the fun this time of year, too, meaning your vigilance, one of the best ways to help prevent house fires, tends to drop. Here are five common fire hazards in your home and ways to avoid them this winter.
    Lit candles next to vase of Christmas greenery and holiday ornaments.

    1. Kitchen fires

    According to the Red Cross, most house fires are a result of cooking. A majority of those start on the stovetop. Obviously, you want to avoid leaving your stove unattended regardless of the season. During holiday time, though, it’s important to be extra dedicated, especially when frying traditional favorites like latkes and sufganiyot (doughnuts). If you don’t want to ignore your guests, prepare as much of the meal as possible before they arrive or designate a friend or family member to be the official greeter to let your visitors in and keep them company while you cook.

     

    Before decorating your kitchen for the holidays, do a deep clean. Scrub the stove and oven thoroughly, removing grease and built-up grime that can potentially start a kitchen fire. Don’t forget underneath your range hood. Food splatter can collect up there, but because we don’t usually see it, most of us don’t clean up there as often as we should. Remove dust bunnies from refrigerator coils, which not only reduces risk but also can help your fridge run more efficiently. Once you’re ready to decorate, keep décor away from the stove, microwave and all appliance vents.

    Fire extinguisher in kitchen.

    2. Overloaded electrical outlets

    Old or faulty power cords, overloaded plugs and loose outlets are bad news any time of year. December seems to attract higher risk, though, thanks to extra strings of lights, outdoor inflatables and other décor. When you use an extension cord for long stretches of time, you increase the odds of a short circuit, which can lead to fire. Go ahead and use the extension cord for holiday décor. But first, inspect it for thinning insulation and other damage. Only use the extension cord for short periods and unplug it when not in use. Also, don’t cover it up with rugs, no matter how ugly it is.

     

    You can also look for surge protectors with an automatic shutoff. This feature causes the surge protector to shut down when it reaches maximum capacity, similar to your circuit breaker. If you’re using a surge protector or extension cord outdoors, make sure it’s graded for exterior use.

     

    No one wants to be a slave to turning holiday lights on and off, so consider putting them on a timer or connecting them to a smart outlet. You’ll be more likely to practice good fire safety when it’s convenient (not to mention save on energy).

    Festive home with Christmas lights and blow up santa with reindeer.

    3. Candles

    Candles are part of many holiday traditions – Diwali and Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hannukah, the Nordic St. Lucia Day and New Year’s Eve. They play an important part in ceremonies, décor and sometimes just brighten our moods during long winter nights. It probably seems obvious to not leave the room while a candle is burning, but don’t forget matches and lighters, which can spark unexpectedly or smolder enough to start a fire in the trash. Keep pets and children clear of the flames. And when possible, choose a flameless alternative. Battery-powered LED lights are a safer option for luminaries and lanterns.

     

    If you like to burn holiday candles for the scent, try a simmer pot instead. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange peel to a pot with some water and simmer on low on the stovetop or in the crockpot, replenishing the water regularly as it evaporates. You can also use a wax warmer, decorate with live evergreens and scented pine cones, or bake some cookies for that warm holiday smell without the candles.

    Burning candles with Christmas decorations on wooden tray.

    4. Heat sources

    As the outdoor temperatures drop, you go the extra step with space heaters and fireplaces to stay toastier indoors. Stay safe and keep kids and pets away from them. The same goes for anything else flammable, like stockings, blankets and curtains. And just like your stovetop, don’t leave these heat sources unattended.

     

    If you have a fireplace, check the chimney and remove blockages. This is a great time to hire a pro to do a proper inspection and cleaning. Use a metal or glass grate to prevent sparks and embers from jumping. Lastly, only burn fuel intended for the fireplace. Painted or treated lumber, paper with colored print, particle board, plastics and fire accelerants like kerosene or grill starter fluid should never be burned indoors. The same goes for Christmas trees and other greenery. The resins in evergreen woods burn quickly and pop, increasing the risk of unwanted fire.

    Couple and cat sitting next to wood stove.

    5. Christmas trees

    An old, dried-out tree can catch fire from a hot bulb or spark, such as from a nearby candle or fireplace. Keep the tree’s water reservoir full to help keep it from drying out too quickly and becoming kindling. Use LED bulbs, which emit less heat than traditional incandescent lights. At the end of the season, dispose of it properly during your community’s tree pick-up day or at a recycling center.

    Real Christmas tree with lights at night.

    Now that you’re thinking about it, do you need to tweak your holiday décor to keep your home safe? Get some fresh ideas from Schlage on Pinterest or at our blog. Start with 8 easy steps to the perfect mantel, then brush up on how to keep pets safe this holiday season.

     

    7 (more) ways to secure your smart home for National Crime Prevention Month.

    October 25, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Monday, October 25, 2021

    7 ways to secure your smart home for National Crime Prevention Month. | Schlage

    Here are a few ways to secure your home so you can protect your personal information and home even better.

     

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    Once upon a time, we shared 10 tips for securing your smart home for Crime Prevention Month. We still stand by those suggestions, but here are a few more so you can protect your personal information and home even better.
     

    1. Manage your passwords

    Once you’ve set strong passwords, you might be tempted to write them down so you don’t forget. Don’t use a Post-It that anyone could find. Use an app or other secure cloud-based storage instead. If you do just make a note of it in your phone, at least password-protect your phone or use facial recognition.

    Getting rid of unnecessary passwords is often an overlooked but important part of security. For example, if you’ve created multiple access codes for your smart lock, do a regular inventory to see if they’re all still needed. That code you created for your friends when they visited six months ago? Delete it. The one your neighbor used to water your plants when you were on vacation? Delete that one, too. Just like you don’t want spare keys floating around, you don’t want unnecessary access codes out there, either.

     

    2. Beef up your work-from-home security

    Now that it’s more common to spend at least part of your working life in your home office, make sure you’re taking all the precautions to keep personal and professional information safe. Adopt antivirus software, use a secure VPN when sharing data and be careful what you screenshare during that next Zoom call. Learn more ways to improve your security when working remotely.

    3. Use all available features

    Many smart devices have security features built in. Maybe it’s a way to track and find your phone if it goes missing. Or it could be an alarm and push notifications on your smart lock. Take the time to explore the options on your device and activate those that will improve your overall home security.

     

    4. organize electronic clutter

    There’s something really satisfying about clearing out a closet, but organizing your digital footprint? That’s not usually our first thought come spring cleaning time. Remove unnecessary apps from your phone, unsubscribe from e-newsletters you never read and delete desktop folders that don’t actually help you stay organized. You’ll be able to find what you need more easily, plus have a better handle on where personal information is and how it’s being used. That’s a key factor in beating electronic clutter for security.

    5. Do a home inventory

    If your home is broken into and devices are stolen, a home inventory will help you to know exactly what’s missing. While this can expedite insurance claims in some cases, it will also make it easier for you to know what data might have been stolen along with a device. Of course, it’s not just technology that should go on your home audit. Credit cards, passports and other personal documents that can be used to steal your identity can also be included.

     

    6. talk to your kids about cybersecurity

    Anyone under the age of 30 has no memory of life before the internet. Their ease with technology can be an advantage, but it can also put them at risk if they get too comfortable. Teach your kids what information should and shouldn’t be shared online, encourage them to safely store their devices when they aren’t using them and make sure they know not to divulge other information such as smart lock access codes, even to best friends. And in case you missed it, check out the first part of our Crime Prevention Month series with tips for how kids can help protect your home security.

    7. refresh your online shopping strategy

    The holidays are right around the corner. When you go to snag all those cyber deals, use this guide to stay secure shopping online and prevent package theft. They’ll help protect the financial information you share with stores as well as your purchases when they reach your doorstep.

    Since 1984, the National Crime Prevention Council has declared October as Crime Prevention Month. Since then, they’ve worked with a variety of organizations to improve personal safety and crime prevention in our neighborhoods. Get the answer to “How secure are electronic deadbolts and smart locks?” and learn more about smart home tech at the Schlage blog.

     

    Inexpensive ways you can still trust to protect your home.

    October 13, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, October 13, 2021

    Inexpensive ways you can still trust to protect your home | Schlage

    When you’re wondering how to protect your home for less, try some of these free and budget-friendly security hacks.

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    It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind. The relief you feel knowing that your family and home are safe can’t be measured. While we never recommend cutting corners on your home security – spending a few extra dollars upfront can save you more money and stress down the road – you also don’t have to break the bank every time you make a few improvements. When you’re wondering how to protect your home for less, try some of these free and budget-friendly security hacks.
     

    Free home security ideas

    Lock the locks you got

    Whatever locks you have on your doors and windows, use them. The same goes for alarm systems. Turn them on if you expect them to protect you and your home.

    Keep your yard clean

    By not leaving out big-ticket items – grills, tools, bicycles – you’re removing the temptation for theft. Put things away in your garage or shed so people don’t just walk off with them. Unless you need extra organization or a padlock for your garden shed, this home security hack shouldn’t cost you a dime.

     

     

    Maintain your landscaping

    Overgrown bushes can be an intruder’s best friend in that they provide a cozy hiding spot. Simply trimming your bushes and trees to keep sightlines open is probably a free update. If you don’t have the tools you need, you can rent them inexpensively or maybe even borrow trimmers from a neighbor.

     

     

    Make friends

    Speaking of your neighbors, get to know them so that you can keep an eye on each other’s homes. If they know your family, they’ll be able to tell if the person hanging around your yard is your own teen or someone who doesn’t need to be there. Your neighbors can also be a great resource if you need someone to pick up your mail or check on pets while you’re on vacation. Plus, if you trust them, you can ask them to hang on to a spare key instead of hiding it under a fake rock. That rock isn’t fooling anyone, by the way.

     

     

    Do a home inventory

    This step doesn’t so much prevent crime as much as it makes it easier for you to recover after a home break-in. When you have an up-to-date home inventory, you are better able to tell what was stolen and process insurance claims quicker. Some of the most common ways to do a home inventory include making a video recording of your belongings as you walk from room to room – simply use your smart phone – or writing a list of valuables in a notebook. 

     

    Home security hacks under $50

    Install a new deadbolt

    Replacing a mechanical deadbolt with one that is high quality and made with premium materials is a good way to improve your front door’s security. Schlage locks are certified highest in Security, Durability and Finish by the BHMA – look for the AAA rating on the package to see for yourself. This means our deadbolts were built and tested to stand up to attacks like picking, prying and impact as well as the natural elements.

    Put the screws to intruders

    High-quality locks aren’t the only door hardware that can help secure your home. Your door hinges should be installed on your home’s interior to prevent tampering. Install longer screws to secure the hinges to the door frame more firmly.

     

    You can also use extra-long screws on your strikeplate. (Check out our guide to door hardware terms if you aren’t sure which is the strikeplate.) Screws that are 2-1/2” to 3-1/2” can secure the plate more firmly to the doorjamb. That, in turn, provides extra reinforcement for the bolt to hold if someone tries to kick or hammer at the door.



    A few special notes here, though. If you have a sidelight, you may not be able to install the longer screws without breaking the glass. Also, if your doorjamb is weak or damaged, extra reinforcement from your hardware and stronger locks can only do so much. Make sure the door itself and your frame are in good condition.

    Let Alexa be your guard

    Alexa Guard Plus is a service that uses a compatible Echo device (or a few of them placed throughout your home) to alert you to potential emergencies and make it easier for you to contact an Emergency Helpline. While you’re away from home, Alexa can listen for sounds like footsteps, breaking glass or a closing door, then send you an alert and sound a siren through your Echo. You can also use it to say, “Alexa, call for help” to contact the police, fire department or an ambulance. Try it out for free for one month, after which it’s $4.99 per month or $49 for the whole year on their annual plan.

    Protect your windows

    Windows and glass doors are often some of the weakest points of your home security. To deter intruders from breaking the glass to get in, install devices like this four-pack of GE Personal Security Window Alarms for about $20. How window alarms work depends on the exact device you choose. Some work via motion sensors while others can detect impact and sound to alert you to broken glass.

    Slide into home safely

    Of all the doors in your house, a sliding patio door is often the most susceptible to break-ins. This is partly because they tend to be glass, but also because they don’t use traditional deadbolts like other exterior doors. To address the locking concern, install a security bar in the track. Most on Amazon cost around $25. A piece of PVC pipe can also do the trick and is even more inexpensive at only a few dollars per foot.

     

    Replace your lightbulbs

    Even fancy long-lasting bulbs are relatively inexpensive. When lightbulbs on your front porch, walkway or over your garage burn out, replace them sooner rather than later. Like maintaining your landscaping, a dark and shadowy entryway can give intruders a place to lurk out of sight. 

     

    While you’re replacing the bulbs, take a minute to clean the fixtures. Outdoor lighting accumulates all kinds of dirt and bugs that can make the light seem dull.

     
    Since 1984, the National Crime Prevention Council has declared October as Crime Prevention Month. Since then, they’ve worked with a variety of organizations to improve personal safety and crime prevention in our neighborhoods. You can do the same for your own home. Learn what really makes a lock secure and more at the Schlage blog.

    10 home security lessons to teach your kids now.

    October 05, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, October 5, 2021

    10 home security lessons to teach your kids now. | Schlage

    It’s never too early to start teaching your children some safety rules. Here are 10 ways kids can help protect themselves, their home and the rest of the family.

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    Crime prevention and keeping your home safe is everyone’s responsibility, from the tiniest tot to the most veteran members for your family. It’s never too early to start teaching your children some safety rules. Get them involved with these 10 ways kids can help protect themselves, their home and the rest of the family.
     

    1. Always lock the doors and use alarm systems

    Try to get them in the habit of locking the door behind them. Some kids may understand the need to lock up when they leave, but remind them that using the deadbolt even when they’re home can help protect them from possible intruders. The same goes for alarm or security systems. Make sure they know how to activate it, can remember the codes and impress upon them the need to use it, just like the lock, when they’re home.

    2. Use access codes instead of keys

    Even responsible kids are kids. They lose things completely or simply forget where they left them. Instead of giving them a house key that they can misplace or forget, give them their own smart lock access code. Make the code simple enough that they’ll remember – maybe it’s Mom’s birthday – but not so obvious that someone can guess it. Finally, teach them not to share their code with anyone, even their best friend.

     

    3. Don't answer the door when home alone

    If your kids are old enough to stay home alone, even if it’s just for a few hours after school, give them the tools to stay safe until you return. Tell them not to answer the door when they’re home alone, especially if they aren’t expecting anyone. They shouldn’t let anyone in, even if they claim to be a repair person, someone asking to use the bathroom or needing help to find a dog.

    That being said, you may want them to be able to check who’s at the door before they can make that decision. If Uncle Ed is coming over to hang out with them for a bit until you get home, they need to know if it’s him or a stranger. A video doorbell paired with a device such as a smart phone or monitor can help. Some of those kiddos just might be too short to see through the peephole.

    4. Keep personal information personal

    You want your kids to be friendly and trusting … to a certain extent. Teach them not to answer personal questions about the house and their family’s whereabouts, especially when talking to someone they don’t know well. Saying whether you have an alarm system and how long you’ll be on vacation could be valuable information to someone planning a break-in.

    5. Put tempting toys away

    Just like leaving your garden shed unlocked or your grill sitting out can be a temptation to thieves, bikes laying on the lawn are asking to be swiped. Teach your kids to put their belongings away when they’re done playing. Even if they’re just running inside for a “quick drink,” have them park their bicycle in the garage or out of sight.

     

    6. Be aware

    A good step for staying safe, whether at home, school or the park, is being aware of your surroundings. Teach kids to be observant. If they notice someone is following them on the way home from school or hanging around the front door, tell them keep moving. Go to a trusted neighbor’s or a friend’s house instead of entering an empty home alone. 

    7. Use a family command center

    Usually when we talk about family command centers, it’s with the goal of getting more organized. You can use this one-stop shop to improve your family’s security, too. With an updated calendar, your kids will know who is supposed to be where and when. If there’s a knock on the door and the guest is claiming to be the TV repairman, they can check the schedule to see if that person is expected. Similarly, if you usually get home by 5:00 but have to stop at the store tonight, a note saying you’ll be a bit late can help keep them from worrying.

    Clearly display emergency contact information in your command center, too. This could be phone numbers for the police and a neighbor, or alternative contact information for you, including your cell phone, desk phone at the office and your company’s receptionist.

     

    8. Make age appropriate accommodations

    Granting older kids more independence is part of helping them grow up to be responsible young adults. Teen safety could mean teaching them about dating violence. How can they protect themselves when a crush or significant other comes over to the house? Set clear rules about whether this even allowed if you’re not home. Make sure they aren’t sharing their smart lock codes with their visitors.

    If you have concerns about when the codes are being used – did your teen make curfew, was the code entered when they should have been in school – track it with the app’s history log. The Schlage® Home app when paired with the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt or Schlage Sense® Smart Deadbolt, for example, will provide the last 100 entries and can even send you a push notification when the code is used.

     

    9. Talk to them about what to do in an emergency

    Even when we take all the best precautions, unfortunate events can still happen. When they do, make sure your child knows how to respond. Who should they call? How, when and why should they dial 911? When do they go in the house and when should they evacuate to a safe place? Set up a family rendezvous point so that if you get separated for any reason, you know where to safely meet and reunite. It can be helpful to practice these scenarios so they’re more comfortable with the steps, even in high-stress situations. 

    10. Reward them for following the safety rules

    Regardless of your child’s age, a reward system can help reinforce their good behavior. Smaller kiddos might respond well to a sticker chart. For example, enough gold star stickers when they remember to lock the door each day could earn them an ice cream at the end of a perfect week. Remembering to check in with you when they get home from school could earn them extra screen time on the weekend. Making curfew could earn them a bonus on their allowance.

    Since 1984, the National Crime Prevention Council has declared October as Crime Prevention Month. Since then, they’ve worked with a variety of organizations to improve personal safety and crime prevention in our neighborhoods. Schlage is proud to do its part in giving you greater peace of mind and the know-how to protect what matters most. Find more home security tips at our blog.

    6 ways to keep your smart lock working its best.

    September 07, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, September 7, 2021

    6 ways to keep your smart lock working its best | Schlage

    Here are six ways to keep your smart lock working at peak performance so you can continue protecting what matters most.

     

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    You can have the best of intentions when it comes to your security – an alarm system, a seat belt, the security PIN on your phone – but if you don’t use them or they aren’t functioning properly, they won’t do much good. The same goes for smart locks. If you want it to help protect your home, you need your smart lock in tip-top shape. Here are six ways to keep your smart lock working at peak performance so you can continue protecting what matters most.
     

    1. Update your firmware

    In most cases, Schlage smart locks will automatically receive firmware updates as long as they are connected to your WiFi or smart home hub. There may be some instances, however, where you would want to manually push a firmware update to your smart lock. For smart locks, as with all technology, updating firmware improves the functionality of the device, often fixing bugs and enhancing security features.

    2. Check the batteries

    Schlage smart locks are battery-operated, which is actually a great thing for your home’s security. Your lock will continue to work, even if you lose power. You can lock and unlock the door at the touchscreen, so there’s no worrying about getting locked out or leaving your house open to strangers during a power outage.

     

     

    To keep your smart lock working properly, make sure to check and replace the batteries regularly. How often you need to do this depends on the lock and how much you use it, and your network. If you use the Schlage® Home app to manage your Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt or Schlage Sense® Smart Deadbolt, the app will show a notification when the lock’s power is running low. Regardless of which lock you have, you’ll also see an indication on the touchscreen, either in the form of a blinking red X or a low battery icon.

     

    If you find your batteries are dying quicker than you’d expect, your lock might be too far from your WiFi router. That brings us to #3.

    3. maintain a strong connection

    You’ll find that you get the best experience with your smart lock when it can easily connect to your WiFi or mesh network. When possible, place your WiFi router or smart home hub close to your lock – about 40 feet assuming there are no metal walls or other obstructions to block the signal. If you can’t move the router or hub, consider a signal extender to improve the connection.

     

    When your lock has a stronger connection to your network, you’ll likely find that your batteries last longer and you can remotely access your lock more quickly. Both of these are important to improving the security of your home with smart locks.

     

    4. use the technology as it's intended

    Schlage offers smart locks that work with a variety of technologies. The Schlage Encode deadbolt connects to your network over WiFi, the Schlage Sense lock uses Bluetooth technology and the Schlage Connect® Smart Deadbolt comes in models that work with either Z-Wave or Zigbee technology. That means if you want remote access for your smart lock, you need a compatible phone or tablet to control them.

     

    If you’re using a Bluetooth smart lock, the Bluetooth on your phone needs to be turned on, and you need to be within approximately 30 feet of the lock. Z-Wave and Zigbee smart locks require a hub for smart phone integration. There are plenty of options here, so visit our Works With page for an up-to-date list and information. And if you choose a WiFi lock, your wireless internet needs to remain on to take advantage of all the remote capabilities available.

    5. clean your lock gently

    Keeping high-touch surfaces clean has become an increasing concern in recent times. Clean your door hardware and smart locks on a regular basis to help prevent the spread of germs, but do so gently to avoid damaging the electronics or finish. Gently wipe the surface of your door hardware with a mixture of mild liquid dishwashing detergent and water. Then, using water only, wipe the surfaces again to remove any detergent left behind. Immediately dry all surfaces with a clean towel. Do not spray or immerse the hardware in liquid at any time.

     

    Learn how to clean and disinfect all your door hardware with this guide.

     

     

    6. inspect your door seasonally

    Sometimes keeping your lock working properly has more to do with the door than the deadbolt. As the weather changes – temperatures fluctuate, humidity increases – you might find that your door starts to stick or that you have to tug the door closed while you lock it. Check your door periodically. Repair any cracks or warped surfaces, and make the necessary adjustments if the deadbolt is rubbing.

     

    Maintaining a strong door is just one way to help keep your smart lock safe and secure. You can find more best practices at the Schlage blog or visit our Security Center for even more ways to protect your home.

    Improve your security for working remotely from home.

    August 23, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Monday, August 23, 2021

    Improve your security for working remotely from home.

    Here are some simple yet important ways to keep your personal and professional information secure when working remotely.

     

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    When you work in an office, most employers go to great lengths to keep everything secure. You might have to show or swipe your badge to enter the building and use secure network connections for your computer. There could be greeters in the lobby to monitor who’s coming and going and security cameras to record activity in and around the building. But when you work from home, most of those safety measures are either more relaxed or nonexistent. Here are some simple yet important ways to keep your personal and professional information secure when working remotely.
     

    Cybersecurity strategies for working from home

    In 2020, Malwarebytes surveyed IT and cybersecurity leaders about whether their companies were prepared for remote work during the coronavirus pandemic. Forty-five percent of those respondents said that devices being more exposed at home, where non-employees may have access and inadvertently compromise those devices, was their biggest cybersecurity concern. So how can you make sure you’re keeping your laptop and other devices safe at home?

    First, talk to your employer about the security requirements and resources available to you for free. There’s a good chance your company already has access to some of the cybersecurity features you’ll need most:
    • Antivirus and internet security software that helps prevent malware, spyware and other attacks

    • Operating system and software updates to provide the most current patches that fix bugs and security gaps

    • A secure VPN to safely share information across shared or public networks – like your home WiFi – as if you were connected directly to your employer’s private network

    • Centralized storage or cloud access for backing up documents
     

    Second, make sure your WiFi router is secure. If you’re still using the default password that came with the router, change it to something unique and hard to guess now. While you’re in there changing the password, update the name of your network, or SSID, too. Choose something that can’t be traced back to your home.

     

    Enable network encryption, too. There are a few methods available, but WPA2 is the strongest. You can change this through the WiFi settings on your router’s management page.

     

    Not only is securing your WiFi good for protecting your work data, but it also helps protect anything else you have on your network. Alexa, your smart TV, personal tablets – any device connected to the Internet of Things – is more secure when your router is password protected and encrypted.

     

    Perhaps the best line of defense against breaches in cybersecurity is you, not all the malware software and password managers and whatnot. Take the time to learn about phishing and email scams. Know how to identify them and report them to your employer.

    Safe sightlines for remote work

    You also want to keep prying eyes away from sensitive or confidential documents. With the rise in videoconferencing, be aware of what you’re screensharing. There may be “for your eyes only” information in a document without you thinking about it. You don’t want to flash that up for everyone on your Zoom meeting to see.

     

    On a similar note, invest in a sliding webcam cover. While it doesn’t affect what others can see on your screen, it can help keep them from peeping something around your home office they shouldn’t. It could be a physical copy of an important document on your desk, or it could simply be a family photo in the background you’d rather not share with coworkers or third-party vendors.

    Securing your home office

    What if the prying eyes are in your own home? We doubt your family is trying to steal sensitive information, but you still need to take extra steps to keep them away from work devices and documents. Lock your computer and phone when you step away from your desk. Better yet, turn on the automatic locking function.

     

    Don’t let your kids or others use your work devices and be diligent about keeping work-related materials off personal devices. At best, it’s embarrassing if your kiddo accidentally emails your boss. But worst-case scenario, they send confidential information to someone or delete it altogether.

     

    If you need to keep a closer eye on who enters your home office, consider a secure lock on the door. Typically, we think of deadbolts and smart locks for the front door and other exterior entrances. But an electronic lock like the Schlage Touch® Keyless Touchscreen Lever or Schlage keypad lever is ideal for a home office that requires an extra level of security.

     

    Finally, whether it’s for your keypad lock, phone or computer, set secure passwords. Check out this article for how to create secure access codes.

     

     

    Sound privacy when you work from home

    When we talk about white noise machines for the home, it’s usually as a way to get better sleep. They work great for home offices, too, though. If you want to keep others from hearing your phone calls, try a device like the Sound+Sleep. It has 10 audio programs to fit any kind of work mood you’re in and dynamically adjusts the volume based on other noises in the room.

     

    Other ways to control sound in your home office are improved insulation, soundboards to keep noise from traveling through the walls and rugs or carpets. You might find that white noise machines and sound dampeners not only improve privacy but help you focus as well.

     

    Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean that your home shouldn’t still feel like a haven. In fact, it’s probably even more important to make your home comfortable when you spend so much time there. Get more tips for working from home at the Schlage blog. Once you’ve created your home office, you might check out our 10 WFH upgrades or learn more about how to move your home office outdoors.

     

     

    3 reasons smart locks are your best move when moving.

    August 13, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Friday, August 13, 2021

    schlage encode smart wifi deadbolt and century handleset on blue front door

    See how a smart lock can make your home more attractive to potential buyers and add convenience to the home selling process.

     

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    There are a lot of things to think about when buying a home or putting yours up for sale. But have you considered getting a smart lock? As a new homeowner, you’ll want to replace your locks right away for security, so why not choose one that also makes your life more convenient. And as a seller, electronic locks can make your home more attractive to buyers, too.
     

    1. trusted security

    You have so many new house ideas, like what colors to the paint the walls, how you’re going to decorate your new movie room, getting the kids settled and more. One of the first things to do when moving, however, is replacing the locks on your new home. You never know who might still have a key – the previous owner, their cleaning lady, some stranger who picked it up after their kid lost it on the walk home from school.

     

    Secure your home with a new smart lock or one that you brought with you from your old house. If you’re using a lock from your previous home, you’ll need to complete the programming and pairing process again at the new place. Either way, the addition of new door hardware – electronic locks or mechanical deadbolts – is the smart choice for security and style.

    2. People in and out of your home

    When you’re selling a home, people are coming and going constantly. Whether it’s the realtor showing prospective buyers around or service providers coming to make repairs or clean, it’s impossible for you to be home every time someone needs to get in. Instead of leaving your door unlocked or hiding a key under a plant, install a smart lock to keep your house secure while still allowing access to those you trust. Instead of a lockbox on the door, ask your realtor about using access codes instead.

     

    You can use an app to program new access codes into the lock, even setting schedules for when those codes can be used. And because you’re notified when they are used, you can keep a better eye on who is in your house and when. It’s an easy way to grant secure access to those service providers, not to mention see when people are viewing your home and preventing the realtor from showing your house during certain times of the day.

     

     

    3. What buyers look for

    Smart home devices are becoming more in demand and expected for buyers. In a 2018 survey, Coldwell Banker Real Estate found that smart home devices and other technology are integral to helping homes sell faster and for more money. A vast majority of the survey’s respondents said they expect certain smart devices to be pre-installed before even moving in. Topping the list were smart thermostats (77%) and fire detectors (75%). Sixty-three percent of respondents expected smart locks to be pre-installed.

     

    And by the way, The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found in 2018 that three out of four millennials – the largest generational group of home buyers – were willing to pay $1,500 to $4,000 to make their homes smarter. Think how that investment can pay off for you.

     

    Finally, as we move beyond 2020, consider the idea that many people may be looking for touchless technology in greater numbers. Not only is it convenient for those times when your hands are full, but it can also be more sanitary when you’re trying to keep hands clean and germ-free.

    4. Curb appeal

    The first impression is sometimes the only impression when it comes to deciding to make a home purchase. While there are plenty of major upgrades that will increase your curb appeal, updating front door hardware is one of the easiest and most noticeable improvements you can make. Use the product selector to find the perfect door hardware for your home and refresh the front of your house in minutes.

    Whether you’re buying your first home or your forever home, use this moving checklist for a smooth transition and, of course, check out Smart Lock Selector to see which smart lock works best for you.

     

     

    Smart devices to help you stay safe on vacation.

    May 21, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Friday, May 21, 2021

    Smart devices while on vacation | Schlage

    Try these smart devices and gadgets to help protect your home while you’re away or tuck them in your bag to stay safer when you’re on the move.

     

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    Whether hitting the road for the long Memorial Day weekend or traveling farther afield for a few weeks, you want to make sure that your belongings are safe. Try these smart devices and gadgets to help protect your home while you’re away or tuck them in your bag to stay safer when you’re on the move.
    Family enjoying the beach while on vacation.

    Get the lived-in look

    One of the biggest deterrents to thieves is human activity. If it looks like you’re home, most intruders will go elsewhere. These smart devices can give your home that lived-in look, even when you’re chilling on the beach.

    Modern white home at night with lighting.

    Lights

    A house that’s perpetually dark – or with too many lights on in the middle of the day – can signal that the house is empty. Smart bulbs or lamps plugged in to a smart outlet can help. Some allow you to set a timer to turn lights on and off at certain times of the day, while others will do so randomly. For external lighting, you might add motion sensors. Someone lurking will often turn the other direction in a hurry when startled by an unexpected light.

    Sounds

    Noise coming from the house can have the same effect as lights. You could have Alexa play music periodically to make it sound as if you’re having a great party. There are also playlists available with everyday sounds – pots and pans banging while cooking, dogs barking, TV show dialogue – you can use.

    Sprinklers

    Dead grass could be a dead giveaway that you’ve left town for a few weeks. Make it look like you’re still around, tending your garden, with a smart irrigation system. Many of them you can set and forget, such as by putting them on a timer. Others, when connected to your home network or smart hub, can adjust based on local weather reports, only watering when the lawn needs it and not right before it rains.

    Lawnmower

    Overgrown grass can have the same ill effects as a brown lawn. A smart mower like WORX Landroid can help. If you’re worried about keeping the mower locked up while you’re out of town, though, you might just pay the neighbor kid to do your landscaping for you.

    Enjoy peace of mind

    Keep an eye on things even while you’re away. It’ll be much easier to relax and unwind when you trust that everything is as it should be back home.

    Woman looking at Schlage Home app on mobile phone.

    Smart lock

    You’re at the airport and you’ve checked that you have your passport for the 100th time, your phone is fully charged, you have a full stash of beach reads … but did you lock the door when you left home? With a connected smart lock like Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, you can check from anywhere using a compatible app. And if you did forget, no worries. Simply use the same app to lock the door and go catch your flight.

     

    Maybe you’ve left a pet at home or are worried about your beloved new houseplants surviving while you’re away. Create a unique access code for a pet sitter or plant waterer. There’s no need to exchange a key and you can see when they’ve used their code. You’ll have better peace of mind knowing everyone is taken care of.

    Video doorbell

    One of the many great things about the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt is that it works with the Ring Video Doorbell. All from one app, you can see who’s on your porch, speak to them and unlock the door if you need. Again, it’s a great way to provide easy and secure access to a house sitter or see if someone is poking their nose around things when they shouldn’t be.

    Furbo

    We love the idea of a pet camera, especially for those short trips. Our cats are pretty self-sufficient, so they’re fine while we leave for the weekend. But we still like to see and talk to them. Regardless of how long you’re away, treat yourself and your pet with the comfort of this technology.

    Robot vacuum

    This is admittedly less about home safety and more about mental sanity. Come home to a clean house, especially if those fur babies are really, really furry, with a robot vacuum.

    Take it with you

    You want to be smart on the road, too. These portable smart devices can help you protect your travel gear and enjoy your trip more.

    Traveler rolling suitcase out of airport.

    Luggage tracker

    Slip a luggage tracker like one from Trackdot or a Tile key tracker in your suitcase, daypack, purse or even wet bag. It will make it easier to locate your gear, whether it’s somewhere in the airport, still in the back of your Uber driver’s car or overboard on that rafting trip.

    Baby monitor

    Maybe your vacation is less rafting and more baby-friendly. Tuck a portable baby monitor that works with a smartphone app in your bag, so you can keep an eye on your little one at the Airbnb. Everyone will rest easier. And remember these tips for booking a safe vacation rental.

    Clothes

    Yes, your clothing can be smart. Cooler and more stylish than a bucket hat, the Neviano swimsuit has a built-in sensor that monitors UV levels and tells you when to seek some shade. There’s also the Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard jacket that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, as well as other shirts and jackets that can help keep you extra warm using battery packs or infrared light.

    UV sanitizer

    A portable sanitizer that uses UV light to help disinfect small items can help you stay healthy while traveling. This one from Homedics is small enough to fit in your purse or pocket, great for cleaning your phone, keys and other small items on the road.

    Your home should feel like a haven, but we know sometimes you just have to get away for a bit. When you do, follow these steps to keep your home safe before leaving on vacation.

     

    Smart devices for a safe vacation.

     

    Choosing the right security grade for your exterior deadbolts and locks.

    May 04, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, May 4, 2021

    Right security grades for deadbolt locks | Schlage

    Here's what you need to know to choose the most secure, and stylish, deadbolts and locks for each door of your home.

     

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    When it comes to exterior door hardware, quality matters for both security and style. You need to choose a lock you can trust to help keep your belongings and loved ones safe. A great bonus is if it happens to enhance the curb appeal of your home, too. Here's what you need to know to choose the most secure, and stylish, deadbolts and locks for each door of your home.
    Young girl unlocking front door with Schlage Encode wifi smart lock.

    What are door hardware grades?

    The grades from door hardware testing are a great way to determine if a lock meets your security needs. Look for hardware that has been tested against the highest industry standards, like the BHMA residential grading system.

     

    BHMA is a group of industry experts that grades residential door hardware performance in the categories of Security, Durability and Finish. A grade of ‘C’ is good, ‘B’ is better and ‘A’ is best. When you see something is AAA, that means it received the best grade possible in all three categories.

    Residential door hardware security grades
    Now that you understand how to find the best possible grade (AAA) for deadbolts and locks, you can start to figure out what the best exterior door hardware is for each of your home's doors and for your lifestyle.

    Front door

    Yellow front door with Schlage Custom Handleset.

    Most break-ins – 34 percent, according to some reports – happen at the front door. That means improving security at your front entry is a good step toward improving the security of your home overall. Choose a deadbolt that’s been tested for quality against bumping, picking and forced entry and received the highest BHMA rating in Security.

     

    The front door is also your opportunity to make a lasting first impression. Greeting your guests with a chipped or faded handleset might cause them to think that other details in the home will be neglected. Instead, choose a deadbolt and handleset with a style and finish you love and that will last.

     

    Do both these features – security and style – come in one neat package? They certainly can. Schlage mechanical deadbolts and F-series handlesets are graded AAA in residential Security, Durability and Finish. When you want to make your home your sanctuary, someplace you feel both secure and comfortable in all ways possible, you know you can turn to Schlage.

    Back and side doors

    Schlage Encode Wifi Smart Lock in Bright Chrome on back door.

    Like many homeowners, you may find that your back door or side entrance are the most frequently used. Finish and security still matter here, but you may want to look for a lock that also adds greater levels of convenience. A smart lock or electronic deadbolt at the back door ensures that trusted family, friends and service providers who need access to the home have it without you needing to hide a spare that can be easily found by intruders.

     

    If you’re looking for a smart lock with a AAA grade, you’ll want the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, Schlage Sense® Smart Deadbolt or Schlage Connect® Smart Deadbolt with alarm.

    Interior and exterior garage doors

    Teal garage door with Schlage Keypad lever door lock.

    Convenience definitely matters for garage doors, whether interior or exterior. As we get closer to summer, we often find ourselves coming and going more frequently. Our outdoor DIY project list is growing and summer activities are picking up. Make it easy to get out the door to start the fun or get tools from the garage by choosing a AAA-rated keyless lock that adds convenience and an extra layer of security.

     

    The Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen deadbolt and lever are perfect for garage doors and are rated AAA in Security, Durability and Finish.

     

    For more information about door hardware grading and finding the most secure deadbolts, visit the Schlage Security Center.

     

    How to improve home security while boosting curb appeal.

    May 03, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Monday, May 3, 2021

    Home security and curb appeal | Schlage

    We’ve put together a list of things that you can do to improve both your curb appeal and your home’s security.

     

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    Making a good first impression is important. Whether it’s family and friends, neighbors or potential buyers, your home’s curb appeal is the first thing that people will notice as they pull up the drive. Just as important as looking good, though, is making sure that your home is safe. So, we’ve put together a list of things that you can do to improve both your curb appeal and your home’s security.
     
    Four easy ways to improve home security while boosting curb appeal | Schlage

    Landscape

    Landscaping is probably the first thing on everyone’s list when thinking of ways to improve curb appeal. There are a lot of ways to update your landscape and improve the look of your house, ranging from fast and inexpensive to big projects that can take time and possibly the help of a professional. Some of our favorite, smaller projects to quickly improve your garden area are these Better Homes and Gardens suggestions for re-edging your garden plots and creating a new container garden.

     

    While you’re at it, there are also a couple of things that you can do to your landscape to make your home safer. For starters, trim your hedges so they aren’t blocking the sight line to your windows or door. This reduces hiding spaces for potential intruders. Another thing you can do, especially if you are planning on going out of town, is to make sure that your lawn is maintained. An unkempt lawn can be an invitation to thieves. Hire a neighbor kid to mow the grass or schedule lawncare pros to stop by while you’re away.

     

    Take time to inspect your trees, too. Remove branches that can fall on your home or car during storms, take care of any insect infestations and make sure the roots aren’t causing structural damage to sidewalks or your home. This might be a good job for an arborist or other professional.

    Garage

    Fixing up your garage may not be the top priority when it comes to updating the exterior of your home, but it is a great way to increase your home’s security. Older garage doors may be easier to break into or open from the outside, and some states have standards for garage doors to make sure that they are able to stand up to the weather. If you’ve never replaced it, your garage door might not be up to current safety standards.

     

    Remember that a garage door upgrade is one of the best home improvement projects you can tackle to improve the resale value of your home. According to the Remodeling 2020 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), homeowners recoup an average of 94.5 percent of the cost of a garage door replacement when they sell their home.

     

    There are some easy and affordable projects that you can do for your garage to give it a whole new, more welcoming look. One of our favorites is this faux wood garage door stain from Domestically Speaking.

     

    Also consider adding a Schlage Touch® Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt to the door going from your garage into your house. The keyless lock adds another layer of security to your home without adding an extra key onto your ring.

    Door

    Having a welcoming entrance may be the most important aspect of your home’s curb appeal. Your front door can make or break someone’s impression of your home, so updating it is a quick way to drastically improve your style.

     

    You don’t have to get a new front door to make it feel like new, though. A coat of paint can do wonders. We suggest painting the door a contrasting color to your house like Shavonda Gardner did for her front door. The coral paint color pops against the darker walls and serves as the perfect backdrop for the Matte Black Schlage Connect® Smart Deadbolt and other accessories. Replacing your house numbers, mailbox if it’s on your door or porch, and light fixtures can add some extra personality to your front entrance.

     

    If you aren’t sure where to start, use this guide for choosing an exterior paint color and then get tips for painting doors and trims.

     

    To both improve the look of your home and increase security, we recommend replacing the hardware on your front door. Smart locks like the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt are easy to install and use. They not only make carrying your house keys around unnecessary, but many also come with a built-in alarm and smart app notifications so you can keep a better eye on who’s coming and going.

    Lights

    Once you’ve done all the work to improve your home’s curb appeal, it would be a waste if guests could only see it in the daylight. Outdoor lighting can help to highlight all the best features of your house and yard. Get some outdoor lighting ideas from the DIY Network.

     

    Maybe you don’t have a lot of evening guests or you aren’t all that worried about making sure that people see your landscaping at night. Before dismissing outdoor lighting completely, consider that a well-lit house is also a deterrent for thieves. Landscape lighting can get rid of the dark areas in your yard that could hide an intruder. Looked at a different way, a well-lit porch, especially when you can see house numbers clearly, can help first responders find your home in the event of an emergency.

    Find more DIY curb appeal projects on the Schlage blog. And if you need more tips for protecting your home and what matters most to your family, visit our Security Center.

     

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