6 Cheap Home Security Hacks That Really Work

Steven Walters
Updated Mar 2, 2021
6 min read

Let’s face it, all the equipment and monitoring that goes along with a professional home security system can break the bank at the best of times. But what if there was an alternative? A way to secure your home with some smart DIY home security hacks that really work to protect your home, your possessions, and your loved ones. You’ll be glad to know there are several.

As you’ll soon learn, you can enjoy a heightened level of safety and security in your own home through a variety of cheap home security hacks that not only save you money, but also work! 

However, you’ll also want to avoid dangerous security hacks that could put you at risk. We spoke with security consultant and expert witness Chris McGoey of CrimeDoctor.com and he recommended avoiding "installing sheet metal screws in sliding glass window frames to prevent ground accessible bedroom windows from sliding open. Sure it makes it harder for burglars to enter but also harder for you to exit in case of fire. It violates fire code in most jurisdictions." He also went on to highlight the danger of "Installing metal bars across exit doors on the inside to prevent the door from being kicked in. It is effective to keep intruders out but delays your exit during an emergency like a fire, earthquake, or gas leak."

Here are some other steps you can take to ensure your safety at a low budget:

DIY Window & Door Alarms

The first place you want to secure are the entrances to your home, namely the doors and windows. If you plan on doing this with a professional security company you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars for all the alarms it takes to cover all the windows and doors in your home. You can save significantly by picking up alarms at your local home improvement store (they cost about $20 each), and installing them yourself (takes about 10 minutes per window/door).

Taking care of these entry points is a critical first step. Not only are windows one of the most common entry points for a burglar, they can also be dangerous if you have small children in the home. Afterwards make sure that your second most important point of entry, the doors in your house are alarmed and set to chime whenever opened so you're aware of anyone entering or exiting the home.

Sliding Door Bars

Speaking of doors and windows, one of the most accessible entries in your home is both a door and a window; I'm referring to sliding glass doors of course, which are the least secure entryway in your home. While an alarm on these is important, you'll need to take extra steps to ensure your sliding glass doors are secure.

With a sliding glass door it is often possible for a criminal to lift it off its tracks and push in, easily gaining access to the home. Fortunately there's a DIY hack that can prevent this and it costs around $15 or far less and won't take you more than a few seconds to install. This fix is a bar or dowel that's placed into the tracks of the sliding door to keep the door from being opened or moved. MasterLock makes a bar for protecting sliding glass doors that is padded on the ends to prevent scratching your door casing, but you could just as easily use a wooden dowel or a cut off broom handle. In fact, I remember just that being used at my grandparent's home when I was a child.

Security Signs and Stickers

One quick and easy DIY home security project that will take you just a couple minutes is to install a fake home security system sign in your front yard. You can add stickers to doors and windows too if you like. These signs and stickers are a warning to potential criminals, and even if they aren't real the criminals will think they are and go looking for an easier target. That's what makes them so effective as a deterrent. You can pick up signs like this for $10-15, which is far less expensive than the monthly costs of a monitored home security solution.

Fake Security Cameras

Another deterrent method that can be used effectively is to set up fake home security cameras. Placing two or three of these around your home can be all that's needed to send criminals off in search of easier pickings. While you might think that criminals will easily notice that these cameras are fake, the truth is they won't stick around long enough to find out.

The most effective fake cameras are the ones with small blinking LED lights that make them look as if they are powered on and actively recording. And unlike the real security cameras that could run several hundred dollars each from a security firm, these decoys are just $10 each.

Doorstop Alarms

Doorstop alarms are a little known, but quick and effective security hack that can be used even on interior doors. It's also useful because you can move the alarm from door to door, or take it with you when you travel. You can pick one up for less than $10 and it can be installed in seconds. As you might guess from the name this alarm is designed as a doorstop. You place it behind a closed door, and if someone tries to open the door an alarm sounds. It also helps to keep the door closed, which can be a slight deterrent as well. When not being used as an alarm the alarm function can be turned off and the doorstop used as an actual doorstop.

Motion Sensing Spotlight

In addition to installing fake cameras outside, you should also spend $15-20 and install a motion sensing spotlight or two. These are easy to install on the outside of your home with screws and it uses batteries so you don't need to worry about electrical wiring. The batteries are also long-lasting so add them to the list of yearly battery changes like your smoke detector.

These are excellent investments because whenever they detect motion outside your home they light up as bright as a flare. You can bet criminals won't appreciate this "spotlight" being placed on them, and they'll try to find a darker home that makes an easier target. 

Too Long, Didn’t Read?

Securing your house doesn’t necessarily mean you need to break your bank. With a few tried and tested security hacks anyone can make sure to protect their property from break ins. Make use of this simple list which highlights some of the most popular methods for securing your house on a budget.

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