As I conducted a recent home-security evaluation, the homeowner informed me he had four outside doors. When I asked if that included the overhead garage door, he replied, “I don't consider the overhead garage door an outside door. "
Don't make the same mistake this homeowner did by assuming the garage door is not an entrance to your home. In fact, it's the largest entry door and needs special care to make sure it's secure at all times.
These doors are fast becoming a preferred method for burglars to gain entry. Unfortunately, homeowners are contributing to this problem by leaving garage door remote controls in their automobiles.
Don't make it easy for an intruder to get into your home by leaving a remote on the visor of your vehicle. Purchase a small key chain remote that attaches to your key ring, assuring your opener is with you at all times.
Make sure your automatic door release (which disconnects the overhead garage door from the belt drive in case of emergency) is secured. This can be done by simply removing the pull cord. Make sure to keep the cord in case you need to disengage the door from the power opener in the event of a power failure or motor breakdown.
Before leaving on vacation, switch off the power to the overhead door opener at the breaker switch, as well as placing a padlock through the spring lock to eliminate outside tampering.
If you are installing a new garage-door opener, make sure you change the factory code settings. Burglars know what the factory settings are, so change them immediately. The same goes for new home-buyers who may have the common sense to re-key their locks, but quite often forget about the overhead garage door.
Don't get caught doing half the job by forgetting to change the codes on your garage door openers; after all, you don't know how many remotes the previous homeowner had.
Check outside for keypad entries to your garage door. These keypads allow entry by pushing in a numbered code.
Most electric garage door openers have instructions on code changes on the unit itself. If you can't find instructions, ask your locksmith when he or she is re-keying your home. Most locksmiths know how to change garage door remotes.
If you are guilty of leaving your garage door open overnight or forget to close your door on the way to work, you should purchase a monitor that senses when your door has been open for a set period of time. After whatever period of time you set the monitor for, the door will automatically close, assuring your home is secure.
This do-it-yourself product takes about 20 minutes to install and costs about $80.
Following these simple tips will help secure your home's first line of defense and give you and your family the peace of mind you deserve.
Frank Fourchalk is widely recognized for his sustained commitment to education in Home and Business security throughout North America as a result of his syndicated newspaper columns. Mr. Fourchalk has written for The Toronto Star, The Vancouver Province, and several other daily newspapsers including the New York Post. For more information on your home security check out http://www.yourhomesecurity.ca