Even if all of your doors are set up with deadbolts, bolt-action locks, and chain-locks, it doesn’t mean every entrance is tended to. Windows have the potential to be an easy break-in point. If you have a lot of windows, you could be extending a welcoming hand to unwanted intruders. Luckily, there are ways to help ensure that your windows are secure enough to help prevent any of these uninvited houseguests from getting in.
Windows come in all shapes and sizes, with all levels of security. Some have absolutely no security. Some have minimal switch locks that can be jimmied open; while others have several lock-points that secure a window in its place. The level of security for your windows and doors is primarily up to the owner, so it’s their responsibility to ensure their place is as safe as possible. Here are some tips to help you keep your windows secure:
Check the Integrity
The first thing you should do is inspect all of your windows. Pay closer attention to windows on ground levels or near easily accessible points of entry—like a patio or a porch. Apply pressure on both sides of the window, if you can. You’re looking for firm windows that don’t budge with pressure. The more they budge, the more likely the wood is compromised and/or rotten. At that point, the wood will crack before the glass does. Slide the windows up and down to make sure that they stay on their tracks.
The main goal of this window-walkthrough is to help make sure that your windows are safe and secure. If you find yourself a little uneasy about any of the windows, it would be good to fix them up.
So, maybe your windows are in pretty good shape overall; but the locks have become loose, bent, or their screws have stripped the wood, and they’re just loosely attached to the window. For stripped screw holes, get some toothpicks or matches with the red tips cut off, hammer them into the screw holes and then screw the locks back into place. If your locks are warped or broken, you might consider getting some new ones.
The most secure windows will have a lock that fastens them shut as well as built-in locks on the sliding tracks. Older windows won’t have sliding track locks, but you can purchase stand-alone sliding locks that you can put on the inside of the window for extra security. These are often called “sash stops.” For regular window locks, be sure to invest in a sturdy metal instead of a plastic mechanism, as plastic breaks easily.
Windows on hinges—like French doors—as opposed to windows on sliding tracks, should always be secured to the frame. You’ll probably have a lock mechanism that keeps the window doors shut, but you should also make sure that there is a sash that connects the windows to the frame to help prevent intruders from having an easier time getting in.
When to Get New Windows
If you’re in an older home or apartment, you might consider getting new windows. When you’re doing the walkthrough, if you notice any cracking in either the frame or the glass, it’s a good idea to start shopping around for new windows. When a window frame begins to crack, intruders could get into your house without having to break any glass. Glass is loud when it's shattered, whereas wood makes a duller sound.
You may feel a little overwhelmed during your inspection at first, but it’s far less of a hassle to fix any issues now before something bad could actually happen. If you’re unsure of how to fix certain issues, you might ask a friend for help or maybe hire a contractor. After all, simply discovering that these issues exist is half the battle!