Your home's doors and windows may be well-protected against burglars, but the garage door remains a weak point in many cases. According to recent statistics, 9 percent of burglars choose the garage as their point of access during a break-in. To prevent a burglary from happening to your home, it's important to take the safety tips found below into serious consideration.
Change Those Standard Codes
Most garage door openers are initially programmed with a set of standard access codes that provide access via remote control. Using the standard factory codes can leave your home vulnerable, as anyone with the same brand of remote control can easily open the garage door and gain access to your home.
It's usually a good idea to change the standard factory code as soon as you have your garage door opener installed and tested. If you haven't done so just yet, you'll want to get started as soon as you're able to. Some models let you use the included keypad to input the desired code, while others require you to toggle a set of switches inside of the remote as well as in the opener itself.
Keep in mind that a number of garage door openers utilize rolling-code technology to randomize the access codes, ensuring that no two codes are used to open your garage door more than once.
Place Your Garage Door Opener on Lockdown
If you plan on being away from home for a long period of time, then you'll want to consider the following options for making your garage door more secure:
- Take your garage door opener off-line – It's the easiest and, for some models, the only way to ensure better security while you're away. In most cases, it's as simple as unplugging the unit or cutting off power to the unit at the circuit breaker switch.
- Use your garage door opener's vacation lock – Some moderate to high-end garage door openers have keypads that activate a "vacation lock" feature. This feature provides extra security by disabling the garage door opener altogether after the remote has been used once. From there on out, the garage door opener only works from the keypad from within the garage.
Pay Attention to Your Emergency Release Lever
Although the emergency release lever is designed to help you open your garage door in the event of an opener failure, burglars can also use it as a quick way of gaining entry into your home. All it takes is a wire hanger snaked through a garage door seal. Once the hanger hooks onto the emergency release lever, burglars can simply pull the lever and open the door.
There are many ways to defeat this simple yet frighteningly effective trick. Most solutions involve placing a protective barrier around the lever to prevent the mechanism from being triggered via wire hanger. Others use strong, but otherwise breakable objects like zip ties to stymie wire hanger break-ins.
Keep Tabs on Your Remote
Your garage door opener's remote control is small, relatively concealable and all-too-easy to lose. For this reason, you'll want to treat it the same way you treat your house keys - by knowing where it is at all times.
It's a good idea to keep your remote on your person instead of leaving it out in the open in your car or leaving it with someone else. This includes the ever-popular remove opener clipped onto your vehicle's driver-side sun visor. You'll want to ditch that in favor of a keychain remote opener.
If you do manage to lose your remote, you'll want to have the security codes changed as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the shorter the window of opportunity becomes for burglars to break into your home through the garage door. For more information, see a website such as http://www.planooverhead.com.