Looking through just about any home security advice will probably mention windows as the most vulnerable access point in almost every home. Statistics show that windows are used for home invasions nearly 43% of the time. Even criminals regularly admit that they will try windows before a door. Both unlocked windows and locked first-floor windows are the primary targets. If you are wondering what you can do to keep yourself out of those statistics, then stick around.
What is the Best Way to Secure Your Windows? There are several ways to secure home windows. Both ground floor windows and harder to reach windows are often prime targets for criminals that want to enter your home. Just because a window does not seem convenient to get to, does not mean it is not vulnerable. Securing your windows can be a simple way to improve the security of your home. There are probably some ways that will work better for your home than others, but some of the best options are:
- Door and Window Alarms
- Grills and Gates
- Security or Safety Glass
- Security Screens [FAVE]
- Security Film
- Upgraded Window Locks
- Lighting and Landscaping
These are just a few of the possibilities to add security to your window. Stick around and we’ll explore each of these in more detail to help you decide if they may be options for you.
Solutions for Secure Windows
Securing your windows should be at the top of your to-do list, and there are both easy and not-so-easy options that can help you protect your home. Regardless of the size or location of your home, you should consider the levels of your home’s security as a priority. Often people who think they could not be a target are proven wrong.
Door and Window Alarms
Many security systems come with door and window sensors and can easily be expanded to allow you to place sensors on every window if you want. If a window gets opened when the alarm is set, the sensor will send a signal to the main control panel. The main control panel will immediately set off the alarm.
The sensors for windows generally come with 2 pieces that go on each side of the window. Most of these sensors do not require any extra tools. For maximum protection, you should put a sensor on every window. Most security alarm sensors come with a certain number of sensors, but you can usually purchase additional sensors.
Even if you do not have a home security system you can get the same benefit. Many discount stores carry inexpensive versions of a door/window sensor. They are usually operated by a cheap battery and feature a simple on/off switch. However, even the cheap ones emit a loud alarm when they are triggered. When you must go with an inexpensive option, these are surprisingly effective.
Grills and Gates
Window grills and gates can be an elegant way to secure your home. Window grills are usually a hard metal, iron or something one would not be able to break or bend. Grills and gates are usually screwed into the window frame or around the window frame. Grills and gates can often be installed without a professional. If you choose to do so, make sure to get extra-long security screws to attach them. They will not do much good if they can easily be removed.
Safety glass is just like normal glass but has special features that make it almost impossible to break, and when broken will not fall away, reducing or eliminating the threat. There are different types of safety glass, including toughened glass, tempered glass, laminated glass, wire mesh glass, and even engraved glass. Safety glass is made with multiple glass layers molded together sandwiching the safety element between them. When safety glass is broken, it breaks into pebble-like pieces, instead of shards. You can install safety glass in any window, for a simple security upgrade.
Security screens are typically made from steel, aluminum, or a metal alloy. Steel would be the strongest of these components. Security screens are made to be able to protect against the strongest weapons. Security screens should be flush mounted, it looks more natural and provides a better seal reducing the gap which means more protection.
Security screens can even be painted to match the exterior of your home. However, if you are wanting to paint your security screens, you should use a powder coating instead of regular paint to help it stand up against extreme heat. Alternatively, you can also hire a professional to install your security screens.
Security Film may be unknown to many though it is a fantastic option for securing windows in a fairly simple way. Security film works in much the same way as safety glass, except it can be applied to any window glass. The film makes even the strongest intruder slow way down. Most intruders will give up before taking the time to work through the window.
Upgraded Window Locks
There are several types of window locks that can be installed to increase the security of the window. They usually depend on the type of window they can secure. Pin locks are sliding bar locks that prevent a window from being lifted. Some locks feature keys.
Sliding windows and patio doors can be secured with special locks that will not allow them to slide open. There are two types of these locks. One is installed on the moving window and features a bolt lock that when engaged prevents it from sliding open. Another lock design is essentially a long solid lock that is placed in the track on the side that prevents the window from opening.
Double-hung windows provide a bigger challenge. Tow options are hinged wedge locks and sash locks.
Hinged wedge locks secure both sections of the window and can allow the window to be opened a little depending on where on the casing it is installed. Sash locks secure the window to the sash, however, can allow the window to easily be opened when not engaged.
Lighting can be used to secure windows in almost a sneaky way. Using lights with windows (and shadows) can make your home appear more active than it may really be. Smart bulbs are a great way to achieve this and can be an inexpensive way to add some extra security.
A more obvious lighting option is to install bright floodlights that illuminate the exterior of your home. When you focus light on a window it makes it less likely to be a target to a break-in. No criminal wants to be in the spotlight. The best option is to use lights with motion sensors, this will give you added security with an element of surprise.
A unique way to increase the security of your windows is to make the area in front of your windows less attractive. Some options include planting thorny bushes or trees in front of your most vulnerable windows. Any heavy objects, such as concrete decorations that limit the access are also great options for helping to secure windows.
Motions sensors can secure multiple windows as well as the entire room. Most motion sensors will easily detect when a window is opened, broken, and many times even if there is movement close to the window. Using motion sensors effectively may even significantly reduce the number of other devices you may need to install. Motion sensors can also be used on the exterior of your home as we mentioned in lighting.
Visible Security Cameras
Security Cameras are a great way to deter a break-in, one way to add an extra level of security to your windows is to make sure that the exterior of your home has a visible security camera. You can also use indoor cameras, most intruders will look in a window before attempting to enter, seeing a camera will likely stop them in their tracks.
An unlikely idea for securing windows is to cover them. Window treatments that keep visibility through a window limited will help prevent a break-in. Intruders are less likely to enter a home if they cannot see what they are getting into. That includes not only whether there are people in the home, but also the worry of an object or furniture just inside the window. They are likely trying to avoid the unknown whenever possible.
What Not to Do with Your Windows
There are a few things that several homeowners do, often without even thinking about it, that can drastically decrease your home security. This is especially important since windows are such a naturally vulnerable access point for intruders. Some are going to be obvious, others may be a bit surprising.
- Leaving Them Open – this means both while you are at home and away. Unless the window is within view, go ahead and close it, you never know when someone may be lurking, trying to get a glimpse, and they do not have to be close. An open window usually also means that the curtains or blinds are also open. Technology can allow someone to see through an opened window from a significant difference.
- Hiring a Window Washer – you may have windows that are very difficult to reach and clean. Hiring someone to wash those windows opens you up to being vulnerable. That does not necessarily mean who you hired is the risk, but people talk about what they think are unimportant things. All it takes is the wrong person to hear an innocent comment about something they saw, and you then become a target.
- Don’t Throw Away the Security Decals – The window decals that come with your security system are a surprisingly effective tool to help deter intruders. Make them visible, especially on windows that face the primary access points of your property. If you want more, contact your security company.
Taking extra precautions to secure your windows throughout your home may likely be one of the most important components in your home security. As we mentioned, windows are by far the most common area for criminals to attempt to enter your home. We understand that you may not be able to implement all the things we have suggested but using even just one or two of these suggestions will provide extra security, and maybe just enough to deter a would-be criminal. Stay safe and take care of your own home.