Many homes are equipped with sliding doors nowadays as a way to separate the house from the back yard or balcony. Sliding doors are convenient and aesthetically pleasing, but they can actually act as a security issue for your home. Many sliding doors are incredibly easy to break into, especially when they do not have proper sliding door locks. If you want to keep that setup in your home but do not want your family or property at risk, consider some of the options below.
Why Sliding Doors Carry Inherent Risks
Sliding glass doors may not seem any different than traditional doors, but they are actually much easier to break into than their swinging counterparts. The swinging doors have to be pushed in or out, which means that the locks that hold them are perpendicular to the actual door. If they are tight enough, most people cannot push through them. Sliding doors, however, go to the side when you want to open them. Thus the sliding glass door locks that hold them are parallel to the doors. This is easier to push through, especially if you do not have a good lock setup to begin with.
How to Know When to Change The Locks
You will know that you need to replace your sliding door lock when it starts to become very easy to open. As you pull on the door daily, you begin to stress the internal components of the lock. These weaken over time and eventually stop their grip altogether. If you notice that you do not have to exert much force at all on the door to get it to open, it is time to consider a replacement. A burglar will have just as easy a time getting in the door, as you will in getting out it.
Standard Glass Sliding Door Locks
Most homes that have sliding doors have those made of glass. While this may provide a perfect view to the outdoors, it presents an interesting challenge for lock makers. The lock does not have much room because of the way it is incased in the wooden frame of the door. This is not a problem for swinging doors because of the way the two hook together, but it can be an issue over time for sliding doors. A standard sliding glass door lock is nothing more than a hook that latches down inside the doorframe once the door is slid shut. Overtime though, this loses its hooking power and may cause you to seek replacement.
If you want to replace your sliding lock, you can either look for the identical one that came from the factory or one that is made to fit the same system. If the track to the door is starting to cause problems or the doors themselves are chipped, you may consider replacing the whole unit. New sliding patio doors can be a costly expense though, so weight the benefits before you decide to buy a new set of doors.
Alternative Sliding Locks
There are other options out there for sliding patio door locks that you may not even realize are on the market. A sliding door lock bar is one surefire way to protect your home because there is no way to open the door with this in place. The bar is simple in design, but when it wedges between one of the doors and the doorframe, it provides a barricade so no one can push that door to the side. The same principle is often employed to drive thru windows at fast food restaurants so people do not break in to steal food or money. The wedge system for the lock bar works much like a shower curtain rod, exerting enough pressure on both sides to lock the door in place.
A security system may not be an actual “lock,” but it can act as a secondary source of protection in the event of a break in. You can set up several different systems in your home that would pertain to the door. There are simple door opening signals that go off when the sensor on the door slides out of the range of the sensor on the frame.
There are also glass break sensors that will detect if someone has broken the glass on the door. This is an ideal choice for people with lock bars because many robbers will get frustrated with opening the door and will simply opt to break the glass. There are also motion detectors you can set up in the room that will indicate when someone is moving around. You will not want to use these if you have pets though because they can set off the sensors. Whatever you choose to do, just be aware of the importance of sliding door locks and monitor the effectiveness of the one in your home.
You might also want to check out this articles for information on choosing the right patio door lock for your home.
A key entrance point that is often relatively insecure is the garage door. Further information is available here on buying garage door locks and maintenance advice, and additional protection for your sliding door lock you might want to consider is also listed here.
A great product on the market now by ERA is called a ventilation lock. This allows a door or window to be locked but left slightly ajar. An alternative is the sliding door bar lock which doesn’t typically allow ventilation makes it much harder to force the door open.