Keep Your Home Safe by Securing the Windows
Windows are an essential element of every home — from letting in sunlight and fresh air to helping protect your home from the elements. But, windows can also be an entry point for unwelcome visitors.
So, how can you help protect your home? Consider these options for securing your windows.
Install Window Locks
Many windows already come with latches that keep the two window panes (also called sashes) secured together. However, a burglar with a pry bar may be able to break these sash locks fairly easily says, The Family Handyman. Here are some window lock options that can provide added protection:
Hinged Wedge Lock
Installed between the upper and lower window panes of a single- or double-hung window, a hinged lock prevents someone on the outside from opening a window, even with it slightly open, says Better Homes and Gardens. When you’re home, move the lock to the side and the window can be fully opened.
Window Pin Lock
Pin locks can be installed by drilling a small hole or two in the window frame, says The Family Handyman. (Be sure to follow the installation instructions provided with the lock you purchase.) Depending on where you place the holes, you can lock your window in place — either closed or partially open. These can be particularly helpful if you have older, wood-framed windows, according to Angie’s List.
According to Houzz, lock pins can also work on a sliding window by drilling the holes through the window panel and the sides of the slider track. The pin blocks the track so that the window cannot be opened.
SafeHome.org says keyed locks are good way to secure windows. The lock is secured to the side or bottom frame of a single- or double-hung window, and you’ll need a key to open the window.
For sliding windows,close the window completely and then mark where the lock should be placed on the window sill, says Better Homes and Gardens. Drill the bolt hole in the sill at that spot. Repeat this process if you’d also like to lock the window when it’s opened slightly.
With keyed locks, keep in mind that you’ll always need to keep the key nearby in case of an emergency.
Whether it’s a store-bought security bar, sometimes called a “Charley bar,” that adjusts to the size of your window’s track or a wooden rod you’ve cut to fit into the track, this is a simple way to prevent a sliding window from being opened. You can simply prop the bar up when you want to open the window, says Better Homes and Gardens.
Install Additional Barriers
There are also some additional measures you can take to help protect your windows and home. Consider installing these window barriers for added protection:
Window Security Film
Security window films provide another layer of protection by making your window glass impact resistant. The film helps to prevent windows from shattering upon impact, says SafeHome.org. These heavier films can also help keep your windows from shattering during a storm or if a tree branch or other object hits them.
Window Security Screens
Window security screens resemble insect screens but are made of tougher materials, such as steel, to help prevent someone from forcing their way through, according to DoItYourself.com. These screens are permanently mounted so they are required to be hinged on one side, with an interior latch, to allow for emergency exits.
Window Security Bars
Window security bars and gates are available in different sizes and are often adjustable to fit a variety of windows, says Better Homes and Gardens. They can be mounted to the casing (also called molding or trim), the window frame (or jamb) and even to masonry walls surrounding the window. Better Homes and Gardens notes that many window bars can be swung open from the inside in case of an emergency.
Install Security Devices
The Family Handyman suggests adding these security devices to your home to help deter a would-be-thief:
Motion Detector Lights
No burglar wants to be seen, so it may be worth it to add motion-sensor lights around your property. Consider adding these lights near windows, doors and other areas on your property that do not get a lot of light where someone could go undetected. Standard hard-wired motion-detector lights are fairly inexpensive, and there are also solar models available.
Available at most hardware and home improvement stores, these wireless alarms will make a loud noise when the window is opened. The alarm may be enough to scare a thief away before the noise attracts attention.
Home Security System
A professional security system is an option, but there are some good DIY options, too. There are security cameras that will detect motion, alert you through your cellphone and record a video clip. Another option is a DIY security kit that will alert you if a door or window is forced open. You can typically use a smartphone or tablet to control and monitor the system even while you’re away from home.
Keeping your windows secured is an important part of keeping your home and family safe. Thankfully, from basic locks to security systems, there are plenty of options that can help you secure your home.
Originally published on September 15, 2011.