Which Window Types Are the Most Secure?
I don’t want to awaken your inner alarmist, but there’s a good chance your home will be broken into in your lifetime. In 2014, the FBI reported that there was at least one burglary every 18.2 seconds—faster than you can say “there’s no place like home.”
Windows provide the access for a good deal of those incidents. First floor windows are the second most popular entry point for burglars—and many break-ins occur simply because the resident leaves one unlocked. With an average $2,251 of property loss on the line, it’s imperative that you keep your home secured with the right equipment, starting with your windows. Luckily, there’s a whole host of products to help you secure your home—from humble window locks all the way to high-tech window sensors and security systems. Check it out below!
Get Secure with Better Lock Technology
Are you sitting down for this one? Almost a third of all residential burglaries occur through an unlocked entrance. A window or door that’s left unsecured, essentially an invitation that says “rob me.” Always check your ground-floor windows before heading out, especially if you’re leaving your home for several days.
Additionally, you may want to consider retrofitting your windows with more advanced locks, as well. The lag screw locks and latches original to your window are often so flimsy that they’ll break with a hard push from an intruder. A keyed lock, on the other hand, is much harder to crack — just make sure to keep a spare key in a drawer or somewhere accessible to the whole family in case you need to use your windows as an emergency escape.
If you’re the forgetful type (and we all have our moments) you may appreciate some of the new smart locks that are on the market now. In particular, Andersen recently introduced a whole line of windows with open/close sensors that can be monitored and locked directly from your phone. That’s what I call “smart!”
Reinforced Glass: Choosing the Best Option for Your Budget
Career criminals don’t need to hunt around for an unlocked window — they’ll just smash the glass and climb right in. Add some security to this vulnerable part of your home by swapping out your traditional window glazing for a reinforced option. That means adding glass that’s harder to break, and if there’s one things criminals don’t like, it’s hard work.
On the cheaper side, there’s tempered glass, which is fired using a rapid heating and cooling process that makes it stronger and less brittle than conventional window panes. Some manufacturers claim that tempered glass is up to five times stronger than traditional glazing. However, if you want to go the full nine yards, you need to install laminated safety glass. Laminated glass is more expensive; it typically costs between $14 and $30 a square foot—but it has a layer of vinyl sandwiched between its glass pieces, which makes it difficult to smash with a hammer.
If new windows just aren’t in the cards right now, though, another option is to retrofit your existing glass with security film. Installed directly on top of your window panes, security films bond with the glass, making it more difficult to shatter. Films do usually have lower opacity than clear glass, though, so if visuals are important to you, you may want to save up for a full window replacement.
Securing Windows with Break-in Sensors
Technology has given us many gifts over the years, and it’s no different when it comes to your home’s security. A number of residential security systems now come with motion-detection sensors that will alert you when a window has been opened or when there’s someone in your home.
Homes without security systems are 300 percent more likely to become the target of a break-in, so even the most rudimentary setup will help you here. In fact, with more smart security products available for purchase than ever before, it’s much easier to DIY and self-monitor your own security system. All you need is a little patience and some tech know-how, and you can have fully-secured windows in no time.
Still feeling uneasy about your home’s safety? Contact your local police department. Many police offer free security inspection services for residents in their jurisdictions. An official will visit your home and offer pointers for how to improve the security and make yourself less vulnerable to crime. After all, knowing is half the battle!
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