Are You Eazy Pickins? Windows
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Many of the same things that we talked about with doors are equally true with windows. Although, windows, OBVIOUSLY, serve a different purpose than a door does. They are wonderful to sit by and watch the snow fall, a thunderstorm, or the birds & squirrels playing in the TREES.
But while they are not a primary way to enter and exit your home for you, they do make an attractive and EXCELLENT entry and exit point for criminals. Therefore, you have to take precautions with them to ensure that they aren’t an inviting target to one of those ner’do ’wells.
As with doors, you have to check the window panes themselves. Do you have any of them that are cracked or don’t fit properly in the frame? To start with, these are things that you need to focus on, no matter your income level. You can usually go to one of the many social service/charity organizations or the state to get assistance in fixing them. You can’t be intimidated by the amount of paperwork you’ll have to fill out…someone can be assigned to assist you…and this is your home and potential life we’re talking about after all.
As windows get older, much like us fragile humans, they begin to sag and pull apart. You may have gaps in the individual frames and the panes of glass in the window. These can be fixed cheaply enough by some caulking or replacing the window, which, of course, is always preferable, if the financial resources are available for that…no cheap windows either, please.
If your window panes/frames are shrinking it’s because of several conditions where you live. In northern climes, you get cooling and then heating of the glass, even in wintertime. Over time, this heating and cooling – sometimes rapidly – can cause the shrinking of the frames – vinyl, plastic, aluminum, or wood. If you live in the desert, then the extreme heat of Arizona in summer can do it also, although it doesn’t cool that much at night, it can and it only takes a few times a year to damage your frames.
If you simply tape or caulk the gaps, then you may be helping your electric bill, but you’re not providing a deterrent to a criminal. Typically, the older the window, the thinner the pane of glass, and a thin pane don’t make that much noise when breaking. If you have gaps, secure them with tape then they have an easier way to get in without breaking the glass. Even if you caulk it, then it is a simple matter to place a knife in the caulk and begin cutting/pushing it out.
Look at the overall window frame as well. Is it cracked and the window itself not fitting properly any longer? Again, in many older homes, this can create a problem, mainly in your electric bill but in security as well. Just as in the case of your doors, if the frame is cracked, worn, or fitting loosely, then it won’t be much of an issue to get into your home to do whatever it is they want.
While the modern trend is to have windows that are sealed shut or sliding, casement, windows I don’t like them. Yes, they can save your electric bill, in the case of the windows that are sealed. And casement windows are good for those that are weaker and younger children to open to listen to the birds or grab a hand full of snow as it falls silently.
But if you are older and have sealed windows, then how do you get out of the house if there is a fire or other emergency? You may be too weak to pick up a chair and throw it through the window to break it so you can get out. With a sliding one, how can you place a fan in the window to get airflow if the window allows a 3- or 4-foot opening above the fan?
Being an old-fashioned geezer, I prefer to have double-hung windows on a sash as in many older homes. Or the modern equivalent of a window that raises vertically and pulls out to be cleaned by tilting.
Can you effectively secure the window with locks even if it is open? Of course, you can, it just takes a bit of research to figure out the best way. The easiest way is with an old-fashioned twist lock, like on those older windows you’re replacing. As long as you can’t put a knife blade through the 2 parts of the window to ‘jimmy’ it, you’ll be okay.
If you go to your neighborhood hardware store/home improvement box store they can show you a multitude of locks for your windows. From the type that utilizes a side-locking mechanism to a myriad of others. Just don’t take the cheapest one, they usually break more easily, and are easily moved aside, than one a few dollars more.
Another old-fashioned idea, that your grandparents probably used, is don’t forget the broomstick or dowel rod to place above the window to prevent it from being raised as far as you want it. Cut it to size and it makes a great lock for any window – even a sliding window. If you buy a dowel rod, ensure that it is thick enough to prevent someone from pressuring it to snap when they raise the window.
One last option to protect your windows is called Screen Masters. It’s a window screen, that at least in the demonstrations, is impossible to cut or breakthrough. They sit in the same place as a regular screen would, but are made of a solid material so as to defend against an intruder, no matter their strength. The one in the Phoenix area is called “Bulldog Screen Masters”.
The next post will be on a vital element to your security & safety, even if you don’t think so…landscaping.
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