Saturday, June 2, 2012

$3 dollar security upgrade

Just a quick blog this weekend, and then I'm busy until next weekend, but I thought I'd share a cheap home security upgrade with everyone.

Most robberies occur when a thief kicks in a door, grabs some valuables and gets back out.  A security alarm is a good way to help detect/prevent this, but if that is out of your price range or you're a renter, there's no reason to not do anything to help protect your stuff.  Ready for a simple upgrade? 

I'll give you a hint...we're messing with this:

 This picture shows the weak part of your door.  Contractors who build houses like building them cheaply.  One way this manifests itself is the screw they use to secure the strike plate of your front door.  The screws pictured are a whole 3/4" long.  That means they secure the strike plate to the jam.

The jam isn't strong enough to withstand a kick from a teenager, much less a criminal who's desperate enough to break into your house to finance his crack habit.  There are lots of elaborate, expensive solutions that could give a dedicated swat team a bit of trouble, but we're talking about cheap and easy here. 

So if the screws only secure the strike plate to the jam, why don't we fix that?  

A 3" screw can actually reach and anchor into the framing boards in the wall.  So instead of kicking against a jam, someone trying to break in has to manage to break the screws themselves or the framing board they're drilled into.

 Not an impossible task by any means, but certainly more difficult than kicking a jam out, wouldn't you agree?  Here's quick pictorial comparison of an old screw with its replacements:

So, what does an upgrade like this cost?  I got these four 3" wood screws for a whole $3 at my local hardware store.  You will need a drill to get them anchored, but if you don't have one I'm sure you can find someone you can borrow an electric drill from.  Its a whole minute and a half of work to swap out the old screws for the new, and you've improved your home security a decent amount.

Not bad for $3!