Home Security Hardware

Home Security Tips

  • Remember - An unlocked lock is not a lock. Always lock your doors and windows even when leaving for just a minute.
  • House numbers should be visible from the street. In rural areas a last name or number should be displayed on the mailbox. This is important for law enforcement, fire or medical personnel responding to a call.
  • Never put a first name on a mailbox. Use initials and last name only.
  • Doors, windows and yards should be well lighted at night.
  • Don't leave notes indicating you aren't home or when you will return.
  • Never have a name or license tag attached to your house keys. If keys are lost or stolen you will have an unwelcome visitor very quickly.
  • Never enter your house if you see evidence of a burglary.

If you meet a burglar, let him go! Better to lose money or property than your life!

Hinged Doors

All exterior hinge doors should be of solid-core construction and at least 1 ¾ inches thick. The door frame should also be of solid construction.

Outside hinges

Exterior doors with hinges on the outside provide a burglar with easy access to your home. This situation can be corrected in the following ways:

  1. Have the hinges remounted on the inside of the frame so that the door swings inward.
  2. Install a set of hinges with non-removable hinge pins.
  3. Install a locking pin in the existing hinge plate. Here is how:
    1. Remove the center screws from the plates of each hinge.
    2. Insert a headless screw, bolt or nail into the door jamb through the hole in the hinge plate. Leave ½ inch of the screw, bolt or nail protruding.
    3. Drill a ¾ inch hole through the opening in the opposite hinge plate on the door. Once this is done, as the door closes, the pin in the jamb will penetrate the hole in the door and the door will be held in position even if the hinge pins are removed.

Locks for Hinge Doors

  • Secure all exterior doors with deadbolt locks, having a one inch throw or vertical drop bolt.
  • If there are no windows in or near the door, a single cylinder deadbolt is recommended.
  • If your door has glass panes or if there are windows within forty inches of the lock, a double cylinder deadbolt lock is recommended, so that a key is required from either side of the door.

Caution: Double Cylinder Deadbolt

Many communities prohibit the use of a double cylinder deadbolt lock because it may be hazardous if the door it secures is to be used as a fire emergency exit. Consult your local fire department. If used in your home, a key should be left in the inside cylinder whenever the home is occupied.

  • Whenever installing a deadbolt, attach the strike plate to the door frame with 4 to 6, 3-inch wood screws. The screws should penetrate through to a structural frame.
  • Deadbolt locks (single and double cylinder) should meet the following criteria:
    1. The bolt must extend a minimum of one inch and contain a hardened steel insert.
    2. The deadbolt should contain a cylinder guard to prohibit twisting of the lock with a wrench or pliers. It must be solid metal.
    3. The keyway should contain a five-pin tumbler system to increase the difficulty to pick the lock.
    4. The connecting screws that hold the lock together must be on the inside and made of casehardened steel. Exposed screw heads should not be on the outside.
    5. The connecting screws must be at least ¼ inch in diameter and go into solid metal stock, not screw posts.

Sliding Glass Doors & Windows

To prevent sliding glass doors or windows from being lifted from the track, it is recommended that 1 ¼ inch large head sheet metal screws be inserted into the top of the door frame at both ends and in the middle. These screws should be adjusted so that the door/window barely clears them when it is operated. Supplemental locks or pins can be installed at the top or bottom and/or wooden dowels can be placed in the inside bottom track to prevent the door or window from opening.

Double-Hung Sash Type Windows

To secure these windows, drill a hole that angles slightly downward through a top corner of the bottom window into the bottom corner of the top window on both sides. Then place an eye-bolt or nail into the hole to prevent the window from being opened. Auxiliary latches may also be purchased. The most effective protection for double-hung windows is a key-locking security sash lock. Mount the lock with two inch wood screws.

Garage Doors

The interior door leading from the garage to the house should be considered an entry door. It should be a solid-core door with a good quality deadbolt lock and secured hinge pins. Garage doors should be closed and locked with a good quality padlock. The following description is the minimum standard for an exterior padlock: hardened steel, with at least a 9/32 inch shackle (stainless steel shackles offer the ultimate in padlock security); double locking mechanism - heel and toe; five-pin tumbler; and a key retaining feature. This prevents the key from being removed until the padlock is locked.


Residential burglar alarms are available from electrical and hardware dealers, or entire systems may be leased or purchased from alarm companies. Most residential alarms emit a loud noise from a bell, siren or tone generator. An audible alarm on doors and windows can be an effective deterrent to the amateur burglar.

If you install an audible alarm, inform the Police Department. Make sure that your family and neighbors are knowledgeable about its function and that they know to call your law enforcement agency when they hear the alarm.

Alarm Components

There are many types of alarms on the market. A local company specializing in burglar alarm systems will save you money in service calls. Get several estimates and then decide which alarm is best for your needs. Any alarm system should include:

  • A fail-safe battery backup
  • Fire sensing capability (ionization sensors are best)
  • A horn sounding device installed in the attic through the vent
  • Readout ability to verify the alarm is working properly

Dialer Alarms

Do not install a dialer alarm system which calls the police department. During a major disaster, this type of alarm will completely block incoming phone lines at the police department.

Do not depend solely upon an alarm to protect you, be sure to use the proper locking devices.