Maintaining a secure and safe home is paramount for any and all homeowners seeking to improve their home safety. While best security practices encompass an entire home, having a window replacement done with energy efficient and secure home windows can play a pivotal and essential role since they are by their nature more vulnerable than a wall.
Home window safety begins with selecting specific window styles and glazing types and extends into a possible investment in advanced security features. Regular maintenance and window upkeep are also essential to keeping your home safe. However, homeowners often neglect the state of their house windows’ security until something unfortunate — or even tragic — happens. Recent statistics are sobering:
- In 2017, the FBI reported 1.4 million offenses of burglary in the US.
- More than two in every three burglaries (67.2 percent) took place at a residential property.
- The average monetary cost per offense was $2,416.
Of course, burglaries do more than cost money. They cost peace of mind, diminish the comforts of safety, and deny you some of the foundational values of having a home in the first place. Don’t wait for the unthinkable to occur. The security of your window, like that of your home, is comprised of many layers, products, and best practices—both one-time measures and timeless behaviors and habits. Below, learn how to make your home’s windows are as safe as possible.
Shop For Windows With Security In Mind
If you’re replacing, upgrading, or installing new windows in your home, consider options with built-in security features. Your windows contractor is a good source for finding the right style of windows for your needs, your house, and your budget. Consult them thoroughly and be as transparent about your concerns as possible to ensure they have all the information they need to find the perfect fit for you.
Casement windows are popular in contemporary homes. Hinged at the side of the window frame, casement windows have hand-operated locks that can only be leveraged from inside. These hook-shaped locks are a core component of the window’s frame, making them extremely difficult to break. Casement windows are not ideal for every home. For example, homes with a lot of outdoor, dense foliage may not make the best candidates for this style, as there is not enough clearance space for the windows to open properly.
With two independently adjustable sashes, these are the most popular windows in residential homes. As such, these windows for flexible and high standards when it comes to safety, from easy-to-use balance that lets you operate them easily to extensive pressure that keeps them in place at any given spot along the rail.
Other types of windows include:
- Bay windows. These project from the house’s exterior at an angle and greatly enhance architectural and design elements.
- Bow windows. These likewise project away from the house to enhance views of surrounding areas from the inside.
- Picture windows. Static, stationary, and non-openable windows are again focused on views and aesthetic but are inflexible.
- Hopper windows. These are typically only used in basements and crawlspaces.
Proper installation is vital for all type of windows. If the window does not open or close smoothly, the security of the sash could be compromised. If this is the case, contact your window contractor.
Choose Impact-Resistant Windows — They’re for Everyone
As the name implies, impact-resistant windows are designed to withstand the impact of various weather, debris, and elements. They are most commonly found in hurricane-prone areas of the country. The window is constructed of impact-resistant glass mounted within a heavy-duty frame, which is then securely anchored within the window’s interior frame.
While no window is completely impenetrable, rather than shattering, the impact-resistant glass will splinter (but still hold) after impact. Burglars strive for swiftness and stealth, so impact-resistant windows often deter burglars from their sinister efforts. Ask your contractor about securing your windows in this style or a similar one.
A common feature of impact-resistant windows is their glaze. An impact-resistant film could also be placed over each pane of glass. While not as sturdy as the inner membrane of the laminate, it similarly helps keep shards of broken glass in place should the window shatter. How well the window film functions depends on the stability of the window glazing and the window frame.
Secure Your Home’s Existing Windows
Of course, you don’t have to replace or upgrade your windows to secure them. There are options to secure your home’s windows with locks, alarms, and other technological and analog additions and improvements.
Like anything you protect, the ageless lock is always a deterrent to theft. While ordinary window locks like deadbolts are excellent, deterrence works best by locks that make a statement. Big, hefty, bulky, and intimidating, window pin locks, vinyl window locks, and window sash locks not only achieve the safety they’re designed for, they might even keep potential burglaries from being attempted in the first place.
Iron bars look impenetrable. On top of facing the glass of your new or improved windows, a burglar must now navigate around the prohibitive natures of bars, themselves iron-clad and uninviting. While they certainly cost aesthetically, they could save you in the long run, functionally. And there are companies out there whose expertise is ensuring window bars are attractive and unobtrusive. Consult your contractor on your options, your stylistic goals, and your budget to find suitable options.
You can enhance the security of your windows by focusing primarily on the glass itself. Laminated glass, for example, is made with double-paned glass, which is comprised of an inner impact-resistant membrane situated between the panes. The glazing film is available in assorted tint styles that also work to regulate UV rays and lessen fading due to the sun. If stray debris — or a crowbar — strikes the window, it should be able to withstand the trauma. And while the glass itself may shatter, the reinforced frame is designed to hold the shattered pieces together.
An experienced contractor will be able to advise you on any of these options and alert you to any issues that installing them might entail, or recommendations thereof.
Play it Safe With Timeless Tips to Secure Your Home
Finally, windows aren’t the only deterrent to theft and burglary, nor are other components of your home. There are steps you can take yourself to ensure your home is as secure as possible that cost nothing at all, except maybe a fresh-baked pie or a few minutes of your time.
- Always lock doors and windows before leaving. This is easy and will eventually become a force of habit. Having your family and friends keep at it might be challenging at first, but stay vigilant and you’ll find frequent visitors will know to treat your home with respect to safety.
- Keep your valuables out of sight. What burglars can’t see, they might not consider. While hiding everything away won’t stop someone from trying to break in, advertising high-priced valuables in plain sight might lure them to try. Install blinds and curtains when necessary to maintain privacy in your home.
- Walk around your home’s perimeter regularly. From attempted break-ins to naturally occurring deterioration to fencing, keeping a watchful eye over the areas surrounding your home will keep you updated on their status and shape. And if you see something you’re not sure about, be in touch with a home improvement contractor to conduct a thorough evaluation and recommend next steps.
- Eliminate hiding and blind spots. In becoming more aware of your home’s perimeter, you will inevitably learn its weak spots, allowing you to reinforce and ultimately eliminate them.
- Lean into technology. Motion sensors, security cameras, and alarms are a formidable way to automate your home’s safety. From reports to alerts, you’ll have an easy, convenient, and endless stream of information about your home security.
- Get to know your neighbors. Old-school and personable, your relationship with your neighbors could be a saving grace during times of turmoil, whether theft-induced or otherwise. Get to know them and keep them updated of long trips and other long-term home situations so they can advise you about irregular activities.
Most of all, be sure you don’t try to take on your home security all alone. From the expertise of local contractors to seeking tips from family and friends, you could gain a lot of insight from the mistakes and smart choices other people have made in maintaining a safe home.