Improving Your Home Security

Basic Home Security For The First Time Home Buyer

by Clifton Montgomery

You're excited to be moving into your first home. It's a previously-owned home, but it has been kept up in good condition. One of the first tasks you should do as a new homeowner is to evaluate the security of your home. This starts at the locks on all of the exterior doors. As soon as you can, have a locksmith walk around the house with you to inspect the locks. Here is what you need to know about deadbolts and how to make sure that they are effective at protecting your home from a potential break-in.

Deadbolt Construction Makes a Difference

The locksmith can tell you how the deadbolts on your doors were manufactured. Those that were made using a casting process can be shattered by the blow of a hammer or pry bar. Locks that are made of hardened steel resist being broken and the bolts are difficult to cut or saw through. You should replace any cast deadbolts with ANSI Grade 1 quality deadbolts for the best protection.

The Type of Deadbolt Increases Security

If you replace a lock, you'll have a choice of styles:

Single cylinder - This is the common style seen in most homes. It is mounted inside of the door with a steel bolt that extends out from the side of the door into the door frame. To be effective, the bolt must extend into the frame at least one inch. In older homes, a burglar may be able to pry the door away from the frame enough to allow a shorter bolt to be pushed out of the frame. Also, a burglar can pry the door away to get a hacksaw onto the bolt to cut through it.

External mounted - This lock mounts on the surface of the door. The bolt extends into a part of the lock that is mounted onto the wall next to the door. This is called a "jimmy proof" lock because it makes it more difficult to pry the door away enough to allow access to the bolt. The bolt on these locks is also normally larger and thicker than on the single cylinder deadbolts.

Vertical deadbolt - This is a variation of the external mounted deadbolt. The part of the lock mounted on the wall completely encloses the bolt so it can't be accessed no matter how much the door is pried away from the frame.

Installation of Any Lock Adds to the Security

Even the best lock can fail to protect your home if the installation is inadequate. As you inspect the deadbolts with the locksmith, look for these two features to make sure you are getting the most protection from the locks.

Strike plate - This is the rectangular metal plate mounted on the frame through which the bolt on a single cylinder lock passes. The standard plate has a hole in it to allow the bolt to move into the frame. A more secure design is the enhanced strike plate. This plate uses a steel box to hold the bolt instead of letting it pass through into the wooden door frame. This prevents the bolt from being forced through a weak door frame.

Mounting screws - To prevent the strike plate or other lock components from being pried away from the wood, make sure they are installed with extra long hardened steel screws. These screws cannot easily be forced out of the wood, cut or sawed through for extra protection.

For more information, contact a company like ND Security Company.