Your garage door is the biggest gateway to your home, yet many people do not treat it as such. Your garage is essentially the most vulnerable room in your house; it not only contains many pricey possessions (including vehicles) it is often fairly easy to break into.
Experienced burglars can break into a vulnerable garage in 6 seconds using a stretched-out wire hanger to “fish” for the emergency cord and pull it, causing your door to become manually open-able. Tightly fixing your emergency cord to its pulley with a zip tie can help to mitigate this risk (whilst keeping the emergency release usable) but there are many other things you need to consider when it comes to garage door security.
Here we highlight some of the main ways in which you can improve your garage door security. Nonetheless, when undergoing a garage door repair or installation, be sure to ask your local garage door repair professionals what they recommend for security in your local area.
Keyless Entry Codes
Many modern automatic garage door openers use keyless entry to open. The first generation of these keyless entry code systems was very problematic, as they left garage doors vulnerable to people who had the same remote (i.e. one remote could theoretically open numerous doors of the same type), if you have a first-gen door like this, you should simply install advanced receiver or replace your garage door opener. Consult your local garage door repair and installation company for the best options.
Keyless entry systems like keypad require the garage door owner to program a (usually 4 digit) code that connects their garage door to their keypad and opens it. Many of these doors come with pre-installed factory codes or simple codes set up by the builders of your home or garage. DO NOT stick to these standard and simple codes. “1234” or the number of your house should NEVER be your code, and it’s probably a good idea to avoid birthdays too, as social media makes it pretty easy to find out the birthday of a homeowner. It’s best to use a unique code that has no obvious resemblance to your home or you as a person directly.
Those lucky enough to have contemporary code system will have superior security. The modern garage door openers use encrypted “rolling code” technology whereby your remote and garage door opener use constantly changing codes to communicate with one another. This means that they have over 100 billion codes that they could be using to speak to one another, making it virtually impossible for anyone to hijack your opener’s code and access your door. This is undoubtedly the most secure code system.
Keep hold of your remote
As simple as it sounds, don’t leave your remote control in your car, whether on display or not. Although a remote that is clipped to the visor seems convenient, it leaves your garage (and therefore home) vulnerable if your car gets stolen. Consider taking your remote around with you, or invest in a mini keychain remote that clips onto your keys for added convenience.
Using a manual deadbolt or garage door lock is ultimately the best way to secure your garage door from would-be thieves. The downside? You’ll have to get out of your car and physically lock and unlock your garage door. It’s inconvenient and old-fashioned, but it gets the job done security-wise.
Hear some suspicious noises coming from outside your garage during the middle of the night? Opening the garage door to take a look may leave you vulnerable to thieves or criminals. Instead, consider installing surveillance cameras or a wide-angle peephole similar to those found on many front doors and hotel room doors. This allows you to assess any danger before opening your door and exposing yourself.
Ditch or frost your windows
You don’t leave your valuables on display in a car, so why do it for your garage? Clear windows for a garage can allow thieves to assess what’s in your garage and what they can steal – whether that be your car, tools, or other possessions. Do without windows in your garage and garage door if you don’t want criminals to know what is up-for-grabs in your garage. Alternatively, frost your windows to retain the natural sunlight but keep the nature of your vehicles and belongings obscure and vague.
Emergency cord problems
As we touched on at the start of this article, burglars can easily use a stretched-out wire hanger to fish through your door’s gaps and hook your emergency cord, allowing your door to be easily manually opened. You can use the aforementioned zip tie trick to make your emergency cord harder to pull (i.e. unable to be opened by a flimsy wire hanger) although you may consider removing the cord entirely for the ultimate security measure. If you remove the cord completely, do make sure that you can still realistically activate the release in the case of an actual emergency, however! You don’t want to be calling out the garage door repair specialist because you couldn’t reach your emergency release and you caused damage to your system.
The previous tip about frosting or removing the windows of your garage and garage door can also be very useful for these emergency cord problems, as limiting a criminal’s view into your garage makes it harder for them to guess where your emergency cord is and subsequently fish it open.
Motion sensor lights
Motion sensor lights are an old-school trick that will deter many thieves. When these lights suddenly illuminate, it will draw attention from passersby, which makes thieves nervous about getting caught. You can also consider having floodlights that are always illuminated at night, though motion sensor lights will save you money and are more energy efficient.
Deadbolt the door to your home
If your garage door attaches to your home, be sure to lock and deadbolt the door that connects your garage space to your home. If your garage door becomes compromised, you don’t want your entire home to become compromised too!
Cut the power
Out of town for a while? If you won’t need to use your automatic garage door for a while, consider cutting off its power while you’re away. This will stop it from being operated in your absence, and gives the electrics a well-deserved break!
Invest in a stronger door
As obvious as it seems, you may just have a door that is not very strong. Older and weaker doors can easily be breached and kicked in by criminals or may be vulnerable to certain cutting tools. If you’re thinking about having your door replaced, talk to your local garage door repair and installation specialists about utilizing a door with stronger timbers and metals throughout its design.
Invest in apps
Many people simply forget to close their garage doors behind them, especially if they’re leaving their house in a rush. Luckily garage door openers feature systems such as My-Q Home Bridge or built-in Wi-Fi now exist. These systems connect to dedicated apps on your smartphone and alert you when your garage door is left open, giving you no excuse to forget to close your garage door.
Padlock the inside
This is very useful if you’re going to be away for a while and want to guarantee the security of your garage door. A padlock on the inside of your garage door is a great old-school way to stop thieves from breaking in. Even if they fish your emergency cord, for instance, they won’t be able to enter your garage premises due to the padlock on the inside. You could do this for everyday use too, but it’s not too convenient since you’ll have to operate the lock manually.
When it comes to garage door security, a lot of it boils down to common sense and not leaving your belongings on display. Though our modern automatic entry systems are useful and convenient, they may exhibit security problems and weak points, especially if they are older models or automatic garage door openers.
As well as the tips listed in this article, it may be useful to consult your local garage door repair and installation specialists when fitting your garage door or undergoing garage door repair. After all, your local garage door repair team know the local area well and can advise you about common ways that criminals may try to breach your garage door, allowing you to take the necessary preventative measures.
Remember that your garage door is (often) the largest door that leads to your house, and your garage itself is full of possessions that thieves can easily steal and sell. Treat your garage door security as such, and don’t make it easy or tempting for thieves to invade your home.