Q. How can I make my front door secure?
A. There are various locks and devices that you can use to make your front door secure. Insurance Companies usually specify exactly what they require, but the following are normally required as standard:
1) A mortice deadlock used in conjunction with a night latch. The deadlock should be certified to BS3621 and be identifiable by the British Standard Kitemark Symbol. This means the locks have been through a series of extensive tests to prove their durability under various forms of attack. These include force, drill, hacksaw and picking.
2) A nightlatch or Yale lock used in conjunction with a mortice deadlock, operated by a key from outside and a lever from the inside. A double locking nightlatch (Yale lock) can be used for extra security, usually where doors have a glass panel fitted. When double locked by turning the key a full turn, the handle cannot be operated and the bolt is deadlocked, requiring the key to unlock it. A double locking nightlatch foils the glass breaking intruder should the mortice deadlock be unlocked.
3) If you are using lever door handles on your front door you would use a mortice sashlock instead of a deadlock and nightlatch. The lever handles operate the latch of the mortice lock and the key operates the deadbolt. This sashlock would also need to be certified to BS3621-2004. It is important to remember that where a sashlock is used, your house would be accessible to an intruder unless you have used the key to operate the deadbolt!
4) A door viewer is a good addition to security as it allows you to identify callers before opening the door. These usually come with two different viewing angles, 160° and 180°. The 160° viewer allows you to see the callers face whereas the 180° viewer allows you to view the caller and the area around them, particularly useful if there was anyone hiding either side of the front door. Viewers are normally fitted in the centre of your front door at eye level height.
5) A door chain is easily fitted and effectively prevents a "foot in the door" forced entry. Always use the door chain if you are unsure of a callers identity!
6) Hinge bolts can be used for added protection on outward opening hinged wooden doors. The hinge bolts protect the hinge from being forced and prevent the door from being removed from the frame.
Remember locks and chains are only as good as the door they are fitted to. Make sure your door and frame are of good solid construction!!
Q. How can I make my back door secure?
A. Back doors usually have lever door handles fitted and so a mortice sashlock certified to BS3621-2004 should be used. This type of lock will be identifiable by the British Standard Kitemark symbol and will have undergone rigorous tests to prove its strength and durability against attack. The handles operate the latch part of the lock and the key operates the deadbolt. Remember the door is only "locked" when the key has been turned and the deadbolt operated! Additional security can be added to your back door by the use of a sliding bolt fitted to the top and bottom of the door.
Q. How can I make my patio doors secure?
A. Patio doors are especially vulnerable to attack and it is advisable to fit patio door locks to both the top and bottom of the sliding door. This increases the protection against forced entry and will also help to prevent the lifting of the patio door off its runners.
Q. How can I make my French doors secure?
A. As well as using a mortice sashlock certified to BS3621-2004, it is advisable to use a mortice or "rack bolt" fitted to the top and bottom of each door. The bolt is hidden from the outside and operated by a key from the inside, so that if the glass in your door is broken, the the bolt cannot be withdrawn by hand - only by use of the key. If the door is outward opening, then hinge bolts should be fitted to protect the hinges from being forced and the door being removed from the frame.
Q. How can I make my windows more secure?
A. Six out of every ten burglaries begin with entry through a window at the back of the house! Windows that are already open can be eased to open further or the glass in closed windows can be smashed. The burglar can then reach in and release the catch. To prevent this from happening you should use the following:
1) A locking casement stay used on outward opening windows. The stay is fixed to the bottom of the opening window and the pins are fitted to the frame. The stay fits over the pins and is locked and released by use of a key.
2) A locking casement fastener used on outward opening windows. The fastener is fitted to the side of the opening window and the wedge or keep is fitted to the frame. The fastener is locked and released by use of a key.
3) Alternatively non-locking stays and fasteners can be used with the addition of a separate key operated lock. The lock should be fitted on the window frame opposite the hinges.
4) Sliding sash windows need a different type of window lock. With these windows it is recommended that sash bolts are fitted to secure the two sliding frames together when closed. These can be used on horizontal or vertical sliding sash windows.
5) Always consider child security for windows. Any windows that are large enough for a child to fall through should be fitted with a security stay. These stays are fitted to the window and frame and restrict the opening distance of the window. Their effectiveness to prevent intruders opening the window is however minimal.
There are many different types and makes of locks available. Ensure that the locks you choose are suitable for your type of window before you purchase.
Q. Do I need to advise my insurance company about any measures I may take to secure my home?
A. It is very advisable to to inform your insurance company about any changes you are considering to make your home secure. They will often specify exactly what they require to keep your home and contents covered under the terms of your policy. Failure to fit British Standard (Kitemarked) and/or insurance rated locks could prove to be a waste of money and even leave your property without full insurance cover.
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