17 Home Security Tips to Keep Your Home Safe Part 1: Doors, Locks, and more
Home security is a basic necessity that everyone should put into practice to keep their home safe from intruders. There are several, simple things you can do to improve the safety and security of your home. In this article we will discuss doors, windows, lights, landscaping and additional security practices.
To start out, every home should have high quality exterior doors built of reinforced steel, fiberglass or solid hardwood. Some doors are hollow and have cardboard cores that will not prevent anyone from forcing entry into your home. If you are not sure what kind of door you have, give it a knock. If you hear a hollow sound, you need to invest in a better door. Don’t forget the back door, the side door or any other entry way. Every entrance should be evaluated for security. Sliding glass doors should be fitted with a wooden dowel, pipe or professional security hardware to keep them from being opened from the outside.
A solid door is key to home security.
Do not overlook the door frame. Door frames are what tend to give way when someone kicks a door in. Make sure your door frame is secured into the studs with several three inch long screws or nails on all sides. It would be a shame to miss something so simple to keep burglars from getting into your home.
To prevent forced entries, replace the original strike plate with a heavy duty, box strike plate with longer screws that will reach into the stud behind the door frame to make it harder to kick in the door.
Exterior doors should be equipped with Grade 1 or at least Grade 2 deadbolt locks with a minimum of one inch length on the deadbolt itself. If a burglar can see from the street that your home is not immediately easy to enter because you have a hefty door and two visible locks—one of them being a deadbolt—that can help dissuade them from targeting your home.
Glass located on or around the door should be at least 40 inches away from the inside locks and knobs. If there is glass within 40 inches of the door locks then you need to install a double cylinder deadbolt lock that requires a key to lock and unlock it from both sides.
A note on double cylinder locks: I have found some concern regarding double cylinder locks and fire safety. Essentially, in the event of a fire, double cylinder locks are bad because they can slow down, and in some instances, prevent escape from a burning building. You decide what is best for you and your family. Find an alternative or work out a system for escape should such a thing occur.
Dead bolt locks are a basic and essential part of home security.
Let’s talk about keys for a moment. If someone wanted to get into your house without trouble where would they look for a spare key? Under the door mat, or the flower pot perhaps? How about above the door jamb, or under that fake rock or really any conspicuous rock? Have I guessed where you hide your key yet? Let’s not hide spare keys outside homes anymore. It’s a poor idea and a great way to get robbed.
Hiding a key under a matt or rock outside the door is risky.
If you don’t already have one, install a wide angle peephole to prevent opening the door to an unwanted surprise. Consider installing a peephole at a lower level for children and wheelchair users so they don’t open the door to the wrong person. It should also be mentioned that you should always use the peephole on your door. Do not answer the door without knowing for certain who is on the other side.
Peephole’s are a great home security feature to add to your door.
Doors installed so that the hinges are on the inside of the house can prevent anyone from opening the door by removing the pins. There is a school of thought that says installing your entry doors so that they swing outward will prevent a successful blunt force entry. However, if your door does open outward take care to use hinges that have proper security features such as non-removable pins, security studs or shear resistant studs to prevent anyone from removing the pins and lifting the door off the hinges. Research what hinge features will be best for your needs.
Did you know you can buy hinges with security features?
Make sure that your house number is in a logical, well lit and visible location on you house and is large enough to be seen easily from the street, preferably with a high contrasting background. In the event of any kind of emergency you want the emergency service personnel to be able to locate your home quickly.
If you have a letter slot on your door take precautions to prevent anyone from attempting to enter your home by fishing your keys from the hall table with a stick. Get a letter box mounted to the door and don’t keep your keys close to the door.