The last thing you ever want to imagine is arriving from a trip to a burgled home with some of your precious belongings stolen or topsy-turvy. So, before you leave for the airport or train station, you make sure everything is secure and that when you return from your journey, you can come back to your ‘home sweet home’ and sink your tired body into the comfy couch.
But what most holiday goers often overlook is that garage door can be a potential weak point in the security of their home -- and that could depend on the kind of door in the home have and what security measures you’ve put in place.
If you’ve got all your baggage and documents ready for that long anticipated trip for either work or leisure, you probably have got yourself familiar with all the ‘tips on protecting your home while on vacation.’ To lock everything, to leave the spare keys out, to have someone mow the lawn or shovel the driveway, to stop the mails, to be careful of how you use the social media, to install timers on your electronics, and to ask a neighbour to kindly help keep an eye on things… and the rest of the drill.
And, oh, of course, to keep the garage door locked. This one is often the last on the list, but should it really be? Truth is, if you haven't given much thought to the security of your garage door before now, you should start thinking about it now.
Among some of the most surprising home burglary stats and facts is that the average burglar typically avoids homes with good security systems, and that 30% of them will break into a home from an unclosed door or window.
Thankfully, there is good technology available to help deal with many of the security issues that doors – in this case, garage doors – had in the past. And one of the most important garage door features you should be concerned about is the opener, and whether it is of the latest technology.
The latest automatic garage door openers technology are engineered with a feature called a rolling code. With this improvement, every time you press your remote, a new security code will be transmitted. This has drastically reduced the likelihood of code grabbing by thieves and burglars, as there are billions of codes. Next time you want to buy a garage door, check to make sure it has this security feature.
If your garage door does not have the latest security features, you might be wondering if you should have it replaced. Older garage door openers did not come with keypads that would allow the owners open the garage door with a code. If yours is one of those, you may be able to purchase a keypad to install with it. However, if it is not possible to do so, it might be better to consider upgrading the entire system. You can even get one with fingerprint detection if you fancy that.
Expert tips to keep your garage secure and prevent break-ins
Even with the best security system, you must be careful to make sure that you don't leave any loopholes that can be exploited by malicious parties while you’re on trip away from home.
Jamie, a home security expert from Neighborhood Garage Door Service advice that: “When you have to leave town, make sure you secure your garage door by padlocking the throw latch.
“If your garage door does not have a manual lock, you can still use a c-clamp to lock down the door by tightening down on each side of the door track. If you have ever used a small window track lock for your interior windows, you’ll find that this isn't much different.”
He further suggests that to better protect yourself and your family when you’re home or travelling for a holiday:
Clip your keys to a keychain remote opener rather than attaching your remote to your visor.
Leaving the garage door remote in your car is a mistake because if a thief breaks into the car, they can grab the remote and then gain easy access to your house.
While most people focus on the garage door itself, the door between your house and garage is equally important. Be sure to put a deadbolt on it for extra security.
Even before you install a deadbolt, make sure the door between your house and your garage is as solid as your front door. You want to have a sturdy door made of reinforced steel or solid core wood. Even more, you can have an anti-kick device installed.
Secure the emergency release of your garage door. You can have it retain its intended function even if you throw some zip-ties on it.
Cover your garage windows or frost them so no one gets the liberty of being able to look into your garage and know when your car is not there. Windows can also be a hazard for a thief that is bold enough to attempt fishing as it will make it easier for them to see what they are doing. Next time you go shopping for garage doors, buy one that doesn't have windows.
Have a wide-angle peephole installed in the door between your garage and your house. That way, if you hear a strange noise in the garage, you don't have to open the door to find out what is causing it.
Some people tend to leave their garage doors open for whatever reason. If you are guilty of this, stop it now.
Listen to your door and watch it closely from time to time. You’ll want to know when there are any signs of corrosion and when the mechanical parts need maintenance. There is also the door connecting your house and your garage to think about. Be sure to check any replaceable items like hinges, locks, and frames.
Some garage door openers have a release mechanism that has to be pulled straight down and will remain locked if someone tugs the cord at an angle toward the door. Look out for doors with such a mechanism as they are more difficult for criminals to fish.
One last bit…
When you are buying a garage door, be sure to ask about all the security features. Do some extra research on your own to learn about how certain features of a garage door could be weak points. Even if you are not ready to replace your garage doors, do the best you can to keep your current one secure.