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Sponsor: Essential steps to prepare your home for winter

Sponsor: Essential steps to prepare your home for winter

There's a chill in the air that keeps getting colder. It's that change in temperature that lets you know fall is almost over and winter is on its way. Have you noticed it?

It's easy to prepare for those cold winter months by swapping out your mittens for thicker gloves and pulling out your winter coat. But as you take the steps to prepare, don't forget about your home. Failing to do these key things could cost you hundreds, even thousands, in damages.

1. Check your carbon monoxide detector

If you don't already have a carbon monoxide detector, it's time to install one. Did you know that carbon monoxide poisoning instances increase during the winter?

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It has no color, taste or odor to let you know there's a leak. And as the weather becomes colder, our use of portable generators, heaters, fireplaces and gas stoves goes up. These pieces of equipment are some of the leading culprits that release carbon monoxide into your home.

Before the first day of winter on December 21, run a check to make sure that your carbon monoxide detector has a fresh set of batteries and is working properly. If you don't have one installed, we recommend a smart smoke detector from our Sponsor, SimpliSafe.

These smoke detectors go above and beyond. Not only do they detect smoke and carbon monoxide faster than others, they also sound their own internal siren and can trigger your security alarm. This notifies the police, which can connect you with help immediately.

2. Install a security system

Not only is winter a prime time for house fires and carbon monoxide leaks, it's also one of the most popular times for home burglaries. Without a home security system, you're leaving your home vulnerable to break-ins while you travel for the holidays, and even while you're at home with your family. Don't risk it!

One of the main reasons we love SimpliSafe's home security systems is because it offers 24/7 professional monitoring without annual contracts. SimpliSafe has always offered sensors, on-the-go mobile control, SMS text and email alerts, power outage protection, smoke and fire protection, and more. But now, a new product has been added to the SimpliSafe lineup that makes coverage even better: cameras!

Security cameras can now be added onto any SimpliSafe package for just $99. These cameras will help you keep an eye on your home whether you're away on a trip, or just out picking up groceries.

SimpliSafe's new cameras stream in glorious 720p HD video and work seamlessly with the rest of your system. Storage for the footage captured by the cameras is also not a problem. The cameras use what's called "Intelligent Recording," which means they only activate when the system detects activity.

Whenever your system is armed or disarmed, the camera will activate. It will also activate if someone triggers your alarm, so you can catch the intruder in the act. Night vision is also included, so your home is protected even when it's dark out.

You can also live stream the footage if you'd like. Otherwise, anything captured by the cameras will be stored for 30 days with a $4.99 monthly plan.

Because some people are concerned about installing a camera in their home due to personal privacy, SimpliSafe cameras offer "Extreme Privacy Control," which gives the user complete control over when the lens is open and closed.

Click here for more details on SimpliSafe's home security systems, and have peace of mind that your home is protected 24/7.

3. Check and upgrade your existing security system

If you already have a security system, it's a good idea to run a regular check at least once per month. To do this, check the sensors on your system to make sure they're working.

SimpliSafe also has Freeze and Water sensors that can notify you about potential issues that can damage your home. If you don't have these with your current system, we recommend that you upgrade. The freeze sensor will trigger an alarm if the temperature in your home drops below 41 degrees, which can protect your home from damages, such as broken water pipes.

The water sensor triggers the alarm if it ever gets wet, which can save your home from devastating flood damage.

These sensors aren't expensive either. The Freeze Sensor only costs around $30, and the Water Sensor is just $20. Click here and see how a full security system from SimpliSafe protects you from much more than just burglars.

More ways to protect your home:

Traveling checklist to keep burglars out

10 shocking facts about burglars

The best kept secrets in the ultimate home protection plan

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