With homes in North America being broken into by the minute, protection is a real concern. There are a variety of ways to keep your home windows secure. We look into window locks and find out more about added protection and deterrents.
Criminals have to move fast, so if there’s a deterrent of any kind, they’ll likely look elsewhere. Though it’s not pretty, having a visible deterrent (bars, a stick, alarm company window sticker) can really make a difference.
Sliding windows and doors are fairly easy to force open if not reinforced with added security. Options include:
Grips, which attach to the window track and that are tightened into place by a thumb screw. These allow you to secure the window tightly closed, or give it a couple of inches of space to be opened.
Window bars fit snugly against the window/door panel and the jamb; some are also equipped with an alarm that goes off if breached.
Wireless alarms can be installed to the top of the window or door. These go off if the door/window is opened, though do nothing to immobilize the window or door.
You can make your own by cutting down a piece of dowel, tubing, or an old hockey stick. Simply cut the stick 1/4 inch shorter than the distance between the window/door panel and the jamb.
Another way to help prevent break-ins is to get to know your neighbours and watch out for each other. Agree to watch each other’s property when away – bring in newspapers, mail, and even park a car in the driveway.
A well-lit house (interior and exterior) is a great deterrent. Infrared motion sensor lighting is a great option since it only turns on if someone passes by, reducing energy costs and light pollution.
Hiding a key is not a terribly great idea, but it does come in handy when you don’t have yours or one of your kids needs to get in. However, burglars are on to the good hiding spots so instead of hiding one, give one to your neighbour for added security.
We tested five different methods of securing windows and had a home security expert inspect and rate each:
- Defender Sliding Window Lock: $4.00
- Intermatic Wireless Alarm: $7.00
- Master Lock Security Bar: $20.00
- Window Stick Lock and Alarm: $24.99
- Wooden Stick (cut down an old hockey stick): “free”
The Defender was too small so it didn’t act well as a visual deterrent despite the fact that it secured the window; if they’re determined they could probably get past it.
The Intermatic Wireless Alarm wasn’t visible at all from the outside, so also offered no deterrent. If the window was forced open the not-so-loud alarm would only alert you if you were home – otherwise the burglar would be free to go about his business. The double sided tape that secured the alarm to the top of the window kept losing its adhesive due to moisture on the window.
The Master Lock was a great visual deterrent and locked the window tight. The only way someone could enter would be to break the window. However, it was difficult to remove, which can be dangerous if you need to remove it quickly in case of a fire emergency. (Though breaking the window is an option in that case.)
The Window Stick got points from our security expert as a good visual deterrent as well as a complete window immobilizer. We thought the instructions were unclear, which was frustrating. Once it had been installed for a few days, the alarm would just go off for no apparent reason in the middle of the night, which was somewhat unnerving.
The cut-to-size hockey stick was a visual deterrent and immobilized the window. It was also easy to remove.
OUR TOP PICK
The cut-to-size hockey stick was tops for us as far as security. It doesn’t have an alarm, but we’re not so sure alarms are the way to go. Plus, it was “free”, so you can’t beat that price! If you don’t have old hockey sticks available, wooden dowling or 1 x 2” pieces of lumber work well too. Some hardware stores will even cut them to size for you if you bring in the measurements.