Improve Your Home’s Security In 10 Simple Ways

It’s important to guarantee the safety of both your loved ones and your property. With a completely secure home, you can feel total peace-of-mind. Here are ten great tips to protect your home!

The Watchful Eye

Often, something as simple as a mock-CCTV camera can be all it takes to deter any potential burglars from choosing your home as their next target. Despite this, having a fully-functioning security camera can provide many more benefits than fakes for only a little more. In the event that an intrusion does happen, a high-performance security camera can provide you with important details about the trespassers such as their clothing, facial features, or even their vehicles.

See Your Front Door From Wherever You Are

We consider owning a camera system to be the most essential part of a well-established home security system. With our camera systems, you can access your live and recorded video footage from any personal smart device or tablet. This way, you can see anything that goes on at your home, no matter where you may be. Our security systems can also be programmed to send you a text message whenever your cameras detect movement, allowing you to be the first to know if something might be wrong.

Come Into the Light

Brighter environments are proven to make people feel safer than darker ones because of better visibility. This explains why people feel safest in the daytime and why children are afraid of the dark. With a few tweaks to your lighting system, you can be and feel safer than ever. Program your garage and home exterior lights to activate on your arrival to get rid of all those shifty shadows.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

When you come home from work, the only thing on your mind is to relax and unwind. Having a home automation system can help you maximize your leisure by decreasing time spent fiddling with home functions like lighting and the A/C. You can even program your system to automatically lock your front door upon entry and let down the shades at a scheduled hour as the day winds down.


Intruders are much less likely to choose your home if it looks as though someone is inside. Our systems allow you to program settings to turn certain lights on and off throughout the house to make it seem as though someone is home, even if you may be on vacation! With the right settings, you won’t need to worry about potential burglaries when you’re away from home on a lengthy business trip or visiting the tropics. You can go even further by setting the blinds to raise and lower, and the audio to turn on and off.

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

When you hear a knock on the door, it’s hard to guess who may be on the other side. Luckily, a security system can give you a complete visual of your mystery guests. When the doorbell rings, an integrated screen can display the person at the door. If you want to get crafty, you can program your system to play a song, pause your TV, increase patio light brightness, or even rotate the entryway security camera activated by the sound of the doorbell.

Spring Gardening

Did you know that keeping a well-maintained yard helps keep burglars at bay? Overgrown greenery can provide a surplus of shadowy nooks and crannies for thieves to hide in when the sun goes down; you’ll want to make sure any low-hanging tree branches or overgrown bushes stay in check. You may even consider installing outdoor lighting to guarantee that you remove any dark corners where someone could hide.

Lock It Up

Intruders will look for the quietest way to break in, such as an unlocked door for easy entry. To eliminate this possibility, install smart locks around your home which can lock the doors after they’ve been closed for a specified amount of time.

Like a Good Neighbor

Sometimes, the most effective security system is a physical presence. Becoming friends with your neighbors can be a great way to ensure someone is keeping a trustworthy eye on your home while you’re away. If you expect to away from home for a while, let your neighbor know so they can contact the authorities if anything suspicious happens. Of course, you’ll be able to return the favor!

No Free Advertising

One of the most effective ways of making yourself a target for burglars is by leaving out boxes from your new flat screen and speakers in your front yard. Avoid this danger by storing your boxes or cutting them up and taking them to the recycling plant. This way, you can ensure your possessions stay safe!

7 Steps Of A Dedicated Home Theater

There are countless ways and devices to enjoy entertainment these days. From bringing your favorite drama series in your family room with your massive 4K TV to catching a few minutes of that next episode by streaming Netflix from your mobile device – there is a wealth of options to choose from to get you daily dose of entertainment.

What if there was a way to even further enhance your entertainment experience? How much better would it be to experience the big game as if you were actually there, with life-size action and impeccable quality?  What if you could emulate a true cinema-like audio visual experience to enjoy the hottest action and drama movies?

That is exactly what a state-of-the-art dedicated home theater will allow you to experience. The best part is, you have full control as to whether your new additions are top-of-the-line, million-dollar investments or simply transforming an existing room into something great with a modest budget. The choice is all up to you!

Here are 7 of our recommended steps to prepare for your very own dedicated home theater.

Step 1 – Design Your Dream Room

Before you do anything, its first time to plan. In this step, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each installation type, determine your budget and how that will affect some of your decisions. This way, you can come up with a realistic gameplan. While it’s possible for you to complete your dream theater all by yourself, we recommend that you work with an AV expert like Port City if you can to ensure that you don’t miss any important steps along the way. If you’re thinking about a new construction project, the most important thing is to plan with your builder from the very beginning, just like you would with any expert. However, if your plan is more along the lines of remodelling an existing room like an extra bedroom, basement, or attic, you will want to determine the general layout to figure out if any structural adjustments may be necessary.

Step 2 – Pre-wire for Centralized Equipment

To ensure your home theater installation goes as smoothly as possible, ensure that the final product is clean with no exposed cables showing anywhere. Your theater should also should be planned for all of those non-visible wires be centralized in one location for easy access and maintenance if necessary. This clean design also allows a smooth implementation of your theater’s components such as receivers, projectors, speakers, lighting, and whatever else your theater may have.

Step 3 – Choose Right Projector and Projection Screen

Another widely important thing to take into account when building your home theater is that your picture quality is sharp and in high definition. The last thing you want after making substantial investments into your home theater is fuzzy and grainy screen quality. The two pieces of equipment that will be responsible for this are the projector and projector screen. At one point, screen sizes could only be made so large before the picture resolution began to suffer from being overextended. Luckily for you, advancements in screen technology have been making leaps and bounds recently. Other important things to take into account when thinking about your screen quality are how the natural light coming into the room may need to be adjusted or how the room’s dimensions will affect the projector placement and distance from the screen.

Step 4 – Seating: Comfort vs. Function

Whether you’re all cozied up watching our favorite romcom or tense at the edge of your seat enjoying the latest action movie, your seating a definitely a crucial part of your movie-watching experience. And if you want to, you can even outdo your local movie theater in this department. From casual sofa arrangements to leather recliners to high-tech seating with vibrational technology, you can really go all-out while customizing your seating, while also ensuring to keep a perfect balance between comfort and function.

Step 5 – Acoustics and Speaker Selection

Besides video, audio is another important aspect of the theater experience to take into account. This feature is something you don’t want to skimp out on. For specifics, a 5.1 Surround Sound System can do fine for smaller rooms while for larger rooms you might need to look into something more akin to 7.1 or even 7.2. To match your speakers, you need to make sure your receiver/amplifier equipment is high-quality and powerful enough to keep up with the performance you expect. Also be sure to take the acoustics of your theater room into account; for optimal performance, at least half of your room should be covered in sound-absorption material such as a carpet or acoustic panels.

Step 6 – Personalized Theme Decor

To truly make a memorable media room, you’ll want to consider a cohesive theme that really brings everything together. You’ve probably seen a few themes others have gone for with their media rooms – Star Wars themes or Art Deco aesthetics. Choosing the theme for your media room is a fun way to make the media room truly your own. You can customize as much or as little as you’d like, from custom cabinetry to special carpeting; it’s all about what you want for your theater. Just keep in mind that you don’t overdo things to impact the functionality and purpose of the room.

Step 7 – Program Media Controls

Nothing is better than to be able to sit down in your plush new theater and, with the touch of a button, start the movie and adjust the lighting and volume accordingly to your preferences.  Typically, well-thought out dedicated home theaters will have some level of automated control programming that will make the experience much more seamless. An automation system like Crestron would be able to automate the entire audio-video sequence and tie in the perfecting lighting for the desired mood. Pre-programmed remotes can also be implemented to simplify things a little more for even the most non-technologically inclined family member.

Dedicated home theaters are truly a delight to have. If you’re considering building or remodeling to make your very own media center, our highly-trained team at Port City would love to help.

Contact Port City today for a free consultation.

Lutron Smart Lighting & Shade Control

Lighting has always affected us on a deep psychological level. It can influence our emotions, alertness, concentration, and even our stress levels. The most sought-after lighting in homes tends to imitate natural sunlight. The closer to natural sunlight we get, the more comfortable we are in our homes. This is why the amount of actual sunlight that enters our home is an important factor in designing a home. The only downside to natural sunlight is that it can warm up the room and/or fade the color on our expensive furniture and paintings. Luckily, Lutron has developed a fix with its shade control solutions. By regulating the sunlight indoors, they help keep your room comfortable and your heating and cooling costs under control. Lutron has specialized in energy-saving lighting control for over fifty years, focused on creating high convenience products with maximum style so your home can look as good as it feels.

Lutron provides a wide array of options which suit any lifestyle and any need, allowing you control of your home’s natural lighting in the way that you see fit. With options including dimmers, light control systems, occupancy/vacancy sensors, and shading solutions, Lutron can help you to reduce your energy usage and carbon footprint. This investment helps reduce monthly costs even more than the standard products by integrating all your lighting products into a single system. Lutron shading fabrics don’t just look great, they use only sustainable materials and could be the right investment for you and your home.

Xssentials is an official provider of Lutron products. Our showrooms offer a perfect showcase of all products on offer from Lutron. Our friendly salespeople are happy to provide demonstrations or assist with any questions about Lutron products.