How To Secure Your Windows Against Break-Ins

There are two commonly used ways to break into your home – doors and windows. In this article I’ll show you the best way to secure your windows from intruders without detracting from their appearance at all.

By now you’re already familiar with the suretyCAM D Fence philosophy so you know to detect the threat before you delay the threat. By detecting the intrusion first and then delaying the intrusion you put the intruder into en extremely undesirable situation where the alarm is sounding and he knows the police are on their way yet it’s still going to take some time before he can even step foot in your house. This is enough to make most intruders run away and move on to an easier target. We’ll detect the threat first by turning the exterior window screen into a security sensor and then we’ll delay the threat by reinforcing the window with invisible security film that prevents the glass from shattering. The combination of detecting the threat with a security sensor screen and then delaying the threat with invisible security laminate film makes your windows extremely secure yet they still look as beautiful as ever.

Detect The Threat: Turn Your Window Screen Into a Security Alarm Sensor

The way security alarm companies typically attempt to secure your windows is by putting a regular open/close magnetic contact on each window to detect when an intruder pries it open. They might also install a glass break sound detector to detect when an intruder smashes the glass. This method is certainly better than nothing but it has a couple inherent flaws. 1) The intrusion isn’t detected until after the perimeter has been breached. 2) Glass break detectors have reliability problems because they are difficult to test and prove they are working correctly, it’s extremely rare for a homeowner to test their glass break detectors regularly. The recent trend has been to use motion detectors instead of open/close contacts and glass break detectors. Motion detectors are generally more reliable and more cost effective but motion detectors don’t detect the intrusion until after the intruder has already entered your home.

The better alternative is to turn your existing exterior window screen into an alarm sensor and detect the intrusion as soon as the burglar removes or cuts the screen, before they have even started attempting to break through the glass window. This buys you time, and in security time is everything. There are several advantages to protecting your windows with exterior security screen sensors instead of interior contacts, glass break or motion detectors. 1) The intrusion is detected at the earliest time possible which buys you and the police the most time to react. 2) The alarm is sounding when the burglar is still outside your home with the barrier between you and them (the window) still in tact. 3) The alarm is sounding when the intruder has done nothing but removed or cut your security screen, before they have caused physical damage to your window and window frame, which will often save you an expensive window repair.

To make your screens into security sensors we will take your existing window screens and reuse the frame but replace the existing screen mesh with a special mesh that has security sensor wire woven in which detects when the screen has been cut. In addition, the screen frame itself will be fitted with a tamper switch to detect if the screen is simply removed from the window. The result is a window screen that is armed and ready to detect break-ins and sound your alarm. Furthermore these sensors continue working to protect you even when your windows are open during the warmer months in Columbus Ohio.

suretyCAM is your provider of security alarms in Columbus OH, central Ohio and the surrounding areas including Cincinnati and Cleveland, as well as DIY Alarm.com security systems across the United States.

Delay The Threat: Shatter-Proof Your Windows With Invisible Security Film

We’ve gone to all that trouble to turn your screens into security sensors and now the goal is to delay the intrusion as much as possible after your security screen detects the intrusion. This is accomplished by reinforcing your glass windows with invisible security window film that makes them virtually shatter-proof. It’s not impossible to get through a laminate reinforced window but it’s very difficult. You can’t just shatter the glass and crawl through because the film holds the glass in place even after it breaks. The glass will spider much like a car windshield but the glass won’t shatter and fall out. Breaking through a reinforced window is time consuming and like I said before “in security time is everything”. Burglars choose the path of least resistance and a laminate reinforced window is definitely not the path of least resistance.

Some windows are made of tempered glass, which means the glass has been heated to the point of almost melting and then quickly cooled. Usually glass doors, windows near the floor and windows next to a doorway are made of tempered glass. Tempered glass is harder to break than regular glass so there is a security benefit to using it but it’s a double edged sword because when tempered glass is broken it doesn’t shatter into large shards that would potentially cut the intruder, instead the whole window beads into many small pieces and falls to the ground. Glass is tempered for your own safety to prevent you from being cut on large shards of glass if you accidentally break the window, it is not designed for security purposes. Don’t think that because you have tempered glass you don’t need security film, your tempered glass will make it harder for the burglar to break but when it does break it will fall out completely and create a big gaping hole for the burglar to enter through without even worrying about cutting themselves.

In addition applying security film to the glass, we can further reinforce windows by applying bead of special adhesive around the edges to bond the film to the window frame. No matter how well the film is installed there is always a small gap between the edge of the film and the window frame – which is not reinforced. This is especially important for tempered glass windows because the break-out nature of tempered glass makes it prone to the entire reinforced pane breaking around the edges and falling out.

Now that we have exterior security screens as alarm sensors and reinforced windows behind the sensors we can detect the threat before we delay the threat and we’re correctly following those aspects of the suretyCAM D Fence philosophy. Of course you still have to remember to discourage and document the threat so hopefully you’ll never need to disable the threat.

There are physically stronger ways to secure windows that do change their physical appearance such as installing steel security bars, replacing your window panes with glass block or permanently screwing your windows shut. Those methods have serious drawbacks that make them more trouble than they’re worth for a typical window. You can’t see through glass block so we only recommend it for small basement windows and if you install steel security bars you’ll reduce your property value and probably upset your neighbors, unless you live in a neighborhood where security bars on windows are the norm. If you screw your windows permanently shut you lose the ability to open them which is a large part of why we have windows in the first place and even then the glass can still be broken.

In conclusion the best way to secure your windows without reducing their aesthetic appeal or functionality is to turn your window screens into security alarm sensors and reinforce the glass with security laminate film. If you do that you’ll have the safest normal-looking windows on the block.

Ryan Boder

About the Author:

Ryan Boder founded suretyCAM with a single goal – to shake up the security industry and show customers that it can be done differently, that it can be done better. The security industry needs a shot in the arm. Ryan brings a fresh perspective that is based on common sense as well as advanced engineering. His background as a software, electrical and computer engineer developing top secret military systems has given him the ideal technical foundation on which to build the next generation of security and automation services. suretyCAM is not a sales organization, it is a security engineering firm owned and managed by engineers. Our mission is to help you protect yourself by providing you with the tools and the knowledge to do so. Ryan’s experience in home security includes designing and installing custom security systems for the high-end residences of the rich and famous. Millionaires and even billionaires have trusted Ryan to design their home security systems and now he’s applying those same concepts to your home. Receiving a B.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from Carnegie Mellon University and a M.S. degree in Computer Engineering, from Ohio State University, Ryan’s work has been featured in the United States Army and Navy systems as well as Israeli, French, South Korean and Italian defense systems. Ryan’s areas of expertise are security and automation systems, the cohesive integration of heterogeneous devices, QoS in wireless networks, instrumentation radar and motion control, distributed system design, real-time operating systems, reliable embedded systems, discrete event simulators, Internet and web based software, and project management.
  Related Posts

Comments

  1. Replacement Windows Houston  February 19, 2013

    Thanks for your excellent post. One of the best way is to replace your old windows with new strong one to increase the safety of the home.

    reply
  2. Michelle  March 7, 2014

    Hi Ryan,
    I have been working in the security industry for some time now and have never heard these innovative suggestions for protecting your windows! This should be really helpful to those who are willing to go the extra mile in the name of home safety. We are also trying to help and put together a simple illustration of where to consider placement of sensors, security cameras and motion detectors in this handy infographic: http://www.asecurelife.com/home-security-equipment-infographic/ Feel free to share it with your readers by using our embed code if you’d like. All the best and keep spreading the good word! Good luck to you all.

    reply

Add a Comment