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Window Security: A Residential Locksmith’s Perspective


These days, where security is very paramount, there are more ways to keep your home safe than just locks on the doors. Windows, often overlooked in the context of home security, are indeed a vulnerable point of entry for potential intruders. So, this article delves into the world of window security through the expert lens of a residential locksmith. Learn the different window types, the security issues that come with each one, and the risks related to residential windows. We will also talk about the various locking systems and upgrades for making these entry points safer. Come with us on a journey to learn more about how important window security is for keeping your home safe.

Common Window Security Threats

Residential windows are important parts of a house because they provide natural light, ventilation, and aesthetic appeal. Yet, these could also be weak spots when it comes to securing homes. Common weaknesses in home windows are the following:

Lack of Window Security Measures

Break-ins are more likely to happen in homes that do not have extra window security measures, like sensors, security bars, or laminated glass.

Inadequate Locking Mechanisms

Intruders may be able to get in through windows more easily if their locks are weak or old. Getting new, sturdy locks, like deadbolts, can make your home safer.

Lack of Reinforcement

Break-ins, bad weather, and accidents can damage windows that are not properly reinforced with things like impact-resistant glass or security screens.

Poor Quality Materials

Windows made from low-quality materials are more likely to break or wear out over time. Low-quality frames and glass can affect window security and durability.

Side-by-side images of a window latch that broke. Quality locks are important for window security

Unsecured Basement Windows

People often forget about their basements and leave the windows there unlocked. However, it is also necessary to reinforce the basement windows.

Window Types and Their Security Challenges

Homeowners who want to make their homes safer need to know about these different window types and the weaknesses that come with them. Here are some common types of residential windows and the security issues that come with each one:

Single-Hung Windows
  • Description: Single-hung windows have two sashes, but only the bottom sash moves or opens. The top sash stays in place. 
  • Security Challenges: Thieves might try to break the glass or force open the bottom sash.
Double-Hung Windows
  • Description: Double-hung windows have two screens that move, allowing for improved ventilation and easy cleaning.
  • Security Challenges: These windows often come with simple latch locks, which can be vulnerable to forced entry if not properly reinforced. Thieves can use the spaces between the sashes or lift the sashes with tools.
Sliding Windows
  • Description: Sliding windows have one or more horizontally moving panes.
  • Security Challenges: If you fail to lock sliding windows, anyone can simply pull them out of their tracks. Poorly maintained or damaged tracks can also make them less secure.
Casement Windows
  • Description: Casement windows open outward on hinges, typically operated with a crank mechanism.
  • Security Challenges: While casement windows let in a lot of fresh air, their crank handles are easy to manipulate and force open. The hinged side may also be vulnerable if you do not secure them properly.
Awning Windows
  • Description: Awning windows hinge at the top and open outward from the bottom.
  • Security Challenges: The outward-opening design of awning windows can pose a challenge, as intruders may attempt to push or pry the window open from the outside.
Picture Windows
  • Description: Picture windows are large, fixed windows that do not open.
  • Security Challenges: While you cannot open picture windows, they are more susceptible to breaking. Reinforced glass or protective films may be necessary to prevent forced entry.
Specialty Windows (Bay, Bow, Skylights, etc.)
  • Description: The designs of specialty windows are more for aesthetic appeal and unique architectural features.
  • Security Challenges: These windows often have irregular shapes and configurations, making them challenging to secure. They may require customized security solutions.

Locking Mechanisms for Window Security

Intruders often get in through windows, so locking them is very important for keeping your home safe. Window locks come in different styles, and each has its benefits and features. Here are some common types of window locking mechanisms:

Sash Locks
  • Description: Sash locks are the most common type of window locks. They have a latch mechanism attached to the window sash, which engages with a strike plate on the frame when the window is closed.
  • Advantages: Simple and cost-effective. They provide basic security for most types of windows.
Keyed Locks
  • Description: Keyed locks, as their name suggests, operate with a key and are perfect for use on double-hung and sliding windows. They offer a higher level of security than sash locks because they require a key for both locking and unlocking.
  • Advantages: Greater security and control over who can open the window.
Mortise Locks
  • Description: By being set into the window frame, mortise locks are more secure. They usually have more than one place to lock and are harder to set up.
  • Advantages: Offer a high level of protection and are hard to manipulate from the outside.
Keyed Patio Bolts
  • Description: These bolts are common on sliding doors and windows. They have a powerful bolt that locks into a strike plate on the frame.
  • Advantages: High security for sliding windows and doors, preventing them from being forced open.
Pin Locks
  • Description: They are small devices that stop sliding or hinged windows from opening. You often use these locks together with other locks.
  • Advantages: Simple and cheap way to add extra security to sliding or hinged windows.
Pin locks and alarms for windows
Window Sensors and Alarms
  • Description: Sensors and alarms are part of a window security system. If someone opens the window and breaks it while the system is on, they set off an alarm.
  • Advantages: Designed to work with a home security system, sensors and alarms on windows offer both security and notification features.
Window Bars and Grilles
  • Description: These are physical barriers that cover the window, making it nearly impossible for intruders to enter. They are best for use on basement windows or windows in high-security areas.
  • Advantages: Very effective at preventing unauthorized entry, but can limit visibility and aesthetics.
Reinforced Glass
  • Description: One type of passive protection is when you have your glasses reinforced or laminated. It comprises several layers of glass and a polymer layer in the middle that makes it harder to break.
  • Advantages: Increases the window’s resistance to forced entry.
Smart Window Locks
  • Description: You can control smart window locks using a smartphone or a home automation system. They offer convenience and the ability to monitor window status.
  • Advantages: Allows for remote control and monitoring of window security, often part of a smart home setup.

Professional Window Security Assessment

Choosing the right window locking mechanisms depends on your specific security needs, the type of windows you have, and your budget. For comprehensive window security, it is advisable to consult with a certified locksmith or a security professional to determine the best combination of locks and security measures for your home.

Locksmith Near Me

Are you looking for a reliable and professional locksmith service in Pittsburgh, PA? Look no further than Sherlock’s Locksmith! Whether you need a new lock installed, a lock repaired, or an emergency service, our team of locksmith Pittsburgh experts is ready to help you 24/7. We also offer a free consultation on window security, one of the most overlooked aspects of home security. Contact Sherlock’s Locksmith today and let us help you protect your home and family from unwanted intruders. Call us at (412) 960-1250 to learn more about our services and special offers.