Ways to keep your vacant, unfinished house safe

Wednesday May 27 2020

Get someone to live in your house if you are

Get someone to live in your house if you are not yet ready to move in. Photo by Shabibah Nakirigya. 


Some people build houses but for one reason or the other, end up living somewhere else. If you are not living in your house, here is how you can keep it safe.

House keeper
Samuel Mugerwa, a property manager, says if you have built your house but not ready to stay in it, you can look for a house keeper. This helps to avoid damages that may occur when no one is around. He says having someone living in your house makes it firm. That is why dormant houses fade within a short period of time.
“Housekeepers can help you maintain your house indoor and outdoor on regular basis and you can arrange regular visits to see what is really taking place and if there is need for repair, you can do it immediately,” he says.
Mugerwa adds that if you are very far from your property, you can ask a relative who is close to your property to drop by as often as possible and keep you up to date with what is going on.

Using active security systems
Mugerwa says if you have failed to get a house keeper, you can opt to use an active security system to keep your house safe from intruders.
“Make sure that all the doors and windows are locked very well and if possible, install an alarm so that when the property is tempered with, you can receive an alert on what is happening,” he says
Mugerwa adds that before leaving your house, you have to double check all access points to ensure they are properly locked. Do not leave spare keys behind, and if you must, not in obvious places such as under the flower pot or near the door.
“Even if you have housekeepers, an active security system is an additional advantage and this helps to prevent a break-in, you can opt for motion detector lights so that if any one walks around the property, they can be detected,” he advises.
Mugerwa adds that active security can also help you know when your water pipes, electricity lines, and roof tiles have been tampered with.

Turn off utilities
Sheilah Namwanje, a property manager, says if you are not sure of when you will occupy the house, make sure you do not activate utilities like water in order to avoid risks of paying for services you do not use.
“It’s advisable to turn off utilities if you have already installed them but check on them regularly especially, the water system. You might lock the metre when the pipe is leaking and still pay for water that you are not using,” she says.

Use electricity home devices
Namwanje says advanced technology has helped people to keep their houses safe by using smart devices such as finger print and passwords systems.
“Some of these electric devices can send notifications to the owner that someone is tampering with your property. The most advanced models can be installed with shut-off valves, which automatically turn off when there is a danger,”she says
Namwanje adds that there are some home security systems that offer enhanced exterior lights that join together with security devices and can alert you incase of any problem.

Perimeter wall
Namwanja says, it is better to have a perimeter wall even if the house is not finished.
Although intruders can climb a wall, it is not as easy as it would be if there was no wall.
“Make sure your fence is high enough and has barbed wires to prevent intruders from easily accessing your house. The neighbours might be spot them as they try to get in,” she says.
Namwanje adds that if you do not have a fence, intruders may have the leeway to inspect your house during day and plan on how to break in without raising an alarm.
“You should make sure your fence has different features, which can send signals when someone attempts to access it like sensors and security cameras, these can send you information of what is happening around your house,” she says.

Safeguard windows and doors
Namwanje says you have to make sure your doors and windows are well secured. You can even add extra frames and tint to the windows to make it difficult for thieves to break in.
If your house is unfinished, Namwanje says: “You should also keep away your valuable items such as building materials out of sight.”

Insurance company
Jimmy Mutaawe, who has a house in Nsangi, says it took him two years to finish his house. He decided to register with an insurance company because he was not sure if his property was safe.
He says insurance is safer because one can be compensated if anything goes wrong.
“An Insurance company can look after your property. If something happens, you do not incur more costs because apart from intruders, other accidents can happen like fire outbreak and natural disasters,” he says.
Mutaawe, however, adds that your compensation depends of what is covered in your insurance policy.


How motion sensor lights work

The “motion sensing” feature on most lights (and security systems) is a passive system that detects infrared energy. These sensors are therefore known as PIR (passive infrared) detectors or pyroelectric sensors. In order to make a sensor that can detect a human being, you need to make the sensor sensitive to the temperature of a human body. Humans, having a skin temperature of about 93 degrees F, radiate infrared energy with a wavelength between 9 and 10 micrometers. Therefore, the sensors are typically sensitive in the range of 8 to 12 micrometers. The devices themselves are simple electronic components not unlike a photosensor. The infrared light bumps electrons off a substrate, and these electrons can be detected and amplified into a signal.