There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to garage doors. Of course, we want them to look beautiful, seeing as a garage door is an essential part of any home’s curb appeal. We also want them to work correctly. What could be worse than coming home in the rain with a trunk full of groceries, only to find your garage door won’t open? If we have children or pets, we want to feel confident that our door’s safety features are up to par, as a malfunctioning garage door can cause significant injury.
But perhaps most importantly, we need our garage doors to be secure.
Consider these statistics from Nationwide Insurance. Around one out of every 10 burglars enters a home through the garage. While that number may seem small when compared to other entry points, a home is broken into every 14.6 seconds!
In other words, it’s crucial that you take garage door security issues seriously. With so many unscrupulous people seeking out easy targets, you should be familiar with the best methods for securing a garage door from burglary.
Does this leave you wondering, “How secure is my garage door?” That’s why we’re putting together this guide on garage door break-in prevention. We’ll cover such issues as garage door security locks, garage security systems, how to lock a garage door from inside and how to lock the garage door opener release.
Whether you’re going to sleep at night or you’re going away on vacation, understanding the full range of security features on your garage door and using them properly is an essential step in your personal home security approach.
Start With a Home Security System
As burglars have become more sophisticated, so too have home security systems. But you’d be surprised how often the garage door is left off of a security system installation. If your garage door has not been included in your security system, now is the time to change that. If you currently don’t have a security system, don’t skimp on features when selecting one.
In fact, newer security systems have pretty exciting connectivity features. Now you can control them with your smartphone. You can even check in on your garage door while you’re away on vacation. Finally, you can integrate your security system into your garage door lift mechanism, giving you incredible control over how you activate your lift. With a simple tap on your phone, you can raise your garage door or, perhaps more importantly, close it if you realize it’s accidentally open!
While you’re at it, you also want to make sure to include the interior garage door — the one that connects your garage to the rest of your home — in your security protocols as well. While it’s tragic to have someone break into your garage, if you secure the interior door, you can put another layer of defense between a burglar and your family.
True, you may suffer property loss if someone breaks into your garage, but it’s likely no one will be sleeping in there. It’s important to protect your property, but your family is priceless.
Be Mindful of Garage Windows
People are taking the interior and exterior designs of their garages more seriously these days. Gone are the dusty, windowless, utilitarian garages of yesteryear.
However, there’s a downside to having rays of natural light entering your garage. All of those windows give would-be burglars a glimpse into what you have stored in your garage.
If you do have exterior windows in your garage, consider adding blinds. These can easily be opened if you’re working in your garage and then closed when you want to hide your belongings from prying eyes.
Don’t forget about any windows actually included in your garage door. While blinds may not be possible for these mostly decorative window panels, you can add treatments that make them opaque. That way, you can keep the attractiveness of this design element while making it impossible for burglars to get a peek at your personal belongings.
Use Motion Detector Lights — Both Inside and Outside of Your Garage
It’s common practice to mount a motion detector light on the outside of your garage door. That way, if anyone approaches your garage door, they will be bathed in light, both startling them and making it hard for them to break in undetected.
However, you should also install motion detector lights inside your garage. These offer a number of benefits. By having a light that always turns on when someone enters your garage, you’ll be making the garage safer for your family. With so many potential hazards often stored in a garage, this is a great way to make sure that a child or other family member doesn’t suffer an accidental injury.
That being said, considering how common exterior motion detector lights are, many burglars are prepared and have come to expect them. However, if they do breach your garage door, another motion detector light within your garage is likely to be more effective. It will give the appearance that the burglar has been detected.
Treat Your Interior Garage Door Like an Exterior Door
We already mentioned that you should include your interior garage door in your larger electronic security system. But you shouldn’t stop there. When you’re making sure your garage is secure, you want to take the same care with this door as you would your front door.
To start, make sure this door is a heavy exterior door. Not only will this improve insulation, but these doors are also much harder to kick in or break down.
You then want to make sure these doors have the same type of heavy-duty deadbolt mechanism you have installed on your front door. And while it’s a mild inconvenience when you’re entering your home from your car, be sure to lock that door with the same consistency as you do your front door.
Finally, make sure the interior door has a wide-angle peep hole. If someone does breach your garage door, but your interior door is well-secured, you may find yourself with the opportunity to investigate the commotion in your garage. You want to have a view of what’s happening without risking contact with a scared burglar. That way, you can be sure you’re the victim of a garage break-in and not a wild-animal intruder before you call 911!
Install a Modern Garage Door Lift Mechanism
While early remote-controlled lift mechanisms were convenient, they had significant security flaws. Remotes could be easily hacked, allowing burglars with a universal remote to open a garage door without ever touching it.
To address this issue, garage door lift manufacturers have created rolling code technology. Every time you use your remote, the remote and the lift create a brand-new security code. Imagine changing your email password every time you used it. While that would be quite the headache for you, that’s essentially what these new lift remotes are doing.
This is crucial garage security technology, and you should sincerely consider upgrading your garage door lift mechanism to include this feature if your current lift doesn’t have it.
Don’t Leave Your Garage Door Remote in Your Car
While rolling code technology is a great way to ensure your home isn’t vulnerable to universal or hacked remotes, if you have your garage door remote stolen, none of that will matter.
Consider this hypothetical situation. You’re shopping at the grocery store and you forget to lock your car door. A sophisticated burglar notices the garage remote on your sun visor.
By the time you get home and notice your remote is missing, you have too many other things on your plate, so you resolve to call for a replacement later in the week. Unbeknownst to you, as you wait to get a new remote, someone can use it to gain access to your garage without ever picking up a crowbar.
While it may be inconvenient, it’s important that you never leave a remote in your car. Some newer vehicles come with a garage door open button installed near the rear-view mirror. These cannot be stolen and thus are a great feature. If you don’t have that type of feature in your car, you can also opt for a keychain remote rather than the more old-fashioned visor remote. That way, any time you go into your home or a store, you’ll take your garage remote with you!
Put in a Garage Door Security Timer
These security features help ensure that your garage door is always closed and secure, even if you’re a little absent-minded. Door timers automatically close your garage door if it’s left open for an established length of time. That way, if you do drive off for a long weekend and forget to close your garage door, you don’t have to worry about your home being open and exposed all weekend long!
Secure Your Emergency Release
Your garage door lift motor comes with an important feature: the emergency release. This dangling pull-cord, which often features a red handle, allows you to disengage the motor from the garage door. This is essential if you ever lose power and need to lift your garage door by hand. However, this release has also become a security vulnerability.
There are a couple of ways to address this vulnerability. Newer garage door openers often place the release at such an angle that it’s nearly impossible for a burglar to pull it using a wire hook. However, if you don’t want to invest in a new door opener, you can also solve the problem with a more DIY security solution.
By securing the release cord to the body of lift with zip ties, it cannot be pulled using a hook. However, if you need to pull the release in case of an emergency, it’s not difficult to simply break the ties by hand. Instructions on implementing this DIY solution can be found here!
Lock the Manual Garage Door Lock When You’re Away
While locking the manual garage door lock (usually a handle in the center-lower portion of the door) all the time defeats the purpose of an automatic garage door, it’s important that you activate this security feature if you’re ever going away for a long period of time.
If you are planning a vacation, make sure to locate the key to this lock. Because so many homeowners only use this particular lock sparingly, it’s not uncommon for people to lose it. If you do find that you need to have a new key made or you need to have the lock changed, you want to make sure you have time to do so, and are not scrambling the morning you’re supposed to fly to the beach! You will rest easier knowing that your garage door is secure while you’re away on vacation.
Stay Up-to-Date With Maintenance
A poorly maintained garage door is more easily breached. Things like rusting bolts and hinges make it easier for a burglar to physically break through a door’s defenses.
Furthermore, regular maintenance will allow you to implement the latest garage door security features, keeping your door even safer.
Finally, keeping up with regular maintenance is a great way to extend the life of your garage door. Not only does it improve security, but it also increases the overall value of your door.
Invest in a High-Quality Garage Door
If you really want your garage door to be secure, you want to invest in a door that’s made with high-quality materials. A cheap door made out of low-grade aluminum will be easier to break into manually. However, if your door is made with a high-quality wood or metal, it will be much more difficult to pry open.
This investment will also add value to your home that extends far beyond security. Higher-quality doors wear much more gracefully, meaning your investment will last longer and not require costly repairs. A higher-quality door will also go much further in increasing your home’s curb appeal.
Count on King Door
If you’re ready to take steps to either update your current garage door or replace it with a higher-quality and more secure system, look no further than King Door. We have been serving the Bakersfield, California area since 1985. We sell high-quality Clopay® doors, meaning you’ll get unparalleled quality. We take immense pride in our professional and courteous service, meaning regardless of the problem, you’ll be treated with respect and care.
It doesn’t matter how old or how big your home is — we’re always looking for new homeowners to partner with. And considering all that goes into a sophisticated and secure garage door these days, you need a partner with the experience and know-how to make sure your door is working at peak performance from the day it’s installed well into the future.