Are window bars dangerous?

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Old 03-23-04, 03:43 PM
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Are window bars dangerous?

When I bought my house, it had bars on the windows and I kept them. I'm worried about their bending and becoming inoperable in an earthquake, but it's nice to leave windows wide open all summer. Are there statistics on whether they're dangerous?

If I go to an alarm system, what is the likelihood of the alarm going off for no reason? What sets them off?
 
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Old 03-23-04, 04:13 PM
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Are you in California? (You mentioned earthquakes). Permanent window bars are illegal here. They have to have some type of release operable from inside the house.

As for alarms, the bars can be alarmed just like a window or door.
 
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Old 03-23-04, 07:36 PM
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If I go to an alarm system, what is the likelihood of the alarm going off for no reason? What sets them off?
Typically Motion Detectors are the biggest culprit of false alarms. If they are installed properly, they can be a big asset to a security system - however, installed improperly and they are nothing but an annoyance.

If you want both - a security system and window bars - take a look at GE's new <a href="http://www.sentrol.com/products/PRD_Det_about.asp?PID=BB&ListID=28">Barrier Bars</a> (not a good picture, but the spec sheets show you how they work.) You get the protection of both a barrier bar and security contact in one.

Hope that helps!
 
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Old 03-23-04, 08:24 PM
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Thanks, what bothers me about bars is the possibility of not being able to get out in an emergency. I don't think attaching an alarm would be of as much help as having bars that would be sure to open when you need them to but not allow intruders in.

The picture you linked to didn't seem to say anything about how to open the bars from the inside, which is my main concern.
 
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Old 03-24-04, 05:22 AM
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Sondra-
You may need to replace the existing bars. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and look for the kind of window bars that can be opened.

They usually consist of a frame that bolts to the house and the bars are attached to the frame with hinges and a release mechanism. Sometimes, the release is actuated by a rod that comes thru the wall to the inside of the house.

What you have right now is definitely not safe since it blocks egress. They should be removed or replaced.
 
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Old 03-24-04, 03:26 PM
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I do have bars that open in the bedrooms. What worries me is that in an earthquake any bars could bend and not be openable. Yes, I'm in California.

I was thinking more of whether an alarm could really replace bars in keeping intruders out, rather than adding an alarm to bars.
 
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Old 03-24-04, 04:00 PM
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Well, you have to weigh the options, you're talking about 2 totally different types of security here - Detection (security system) and Prevention (window bars.)

A security system will <i>detect</i> when an intruder has entered the house, but window bars will <i>prevent</i> an intruder from opening the window or entering the house (depending on the type of bars.)

Really, when it comes down to it, there's no comparison - simply because there's nothing to compare. In the end, the decision is up to you - are you more worried about your family getting out of the house in the case of a fire/earthquake/etc.? Or, are you more worried about keeping intruders out?

Good luck!
 
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Old 03-26-04, 12:18 AM
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Yes, that's the question. I'd thought maybe there was something new in bars, probably not.
 
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Old 04-10-04, 08:56 PM
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I talked to someone from an alarm company who suggested taking out the bars only in the front and putting alarms on both parts of the double hung windows, plus a motion sensor in an interior hallway that has to be set when you go out. I don't know if I like having to set things all the time. It might be a nuisance.

What this would do is make the house look nicer from the front and give a way out of one bedroom through a window if the release for the bars didn't function. I was even thinking of leaving bars on two of the three windows across the front in the two front rooms, with one window alarmed. They charge a little over $20 a month for the alarm to ring in their office, besides making a lot of noise at the window.

Does having a 1/2 and 1/2 house like that make sense?
 
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Old 04-11-04, 05:38 AM
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You're still overlooking the issue of egress in the event of a fire.

You should check with the local building department about this, but most fire codes require a second egress from a room. If a window serves this purpose, this requirement will specify minimum window sizes and height from the floor. These windows must also be unobstructed (i.e fixed bars aren't allowed).
 
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Old 04-11-04, 10:48 AM
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The bedrooms already have releases on the bars on one window. Are you saying most cities require a second window with no bars?
 
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Old 04-11-04, 11:45 AM
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No, I'm saying that (in my experience) any window which serves as an emergency egress cannot be permanetly obstructed. Any kind of permanent obstruction (e.g. fixed bars) would be prohibited.

I've seen acceptable installations where the bars were mounted with hinges in a frame that was bolted to the house. They have a release mechanism operable from inside the room which would allow someone to open the bars and escape thru a window.

If you have release mechanisms for the bars on one window in each room, you should be fine.
 
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Old 05-10-04, 09:03 AM
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The current releases I have are stirrups that you step in, which have cables that run down the inside wall. I want something less ugly, so I'm thinking of a push button release that looks like a doorbell at the height of the middle of the window. This would require screens on the bars to prevent someone from breaking the glass and pushing the button. This sounds pretty ugly and prisonlike, but they wouldn't be in the front of the house and they're better than an ugly room, I guess.

Building and Safety said all types of releases are acceptable. Are push button releases reliable and easy to operate compared to others?
 
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Old 06-04-04, 04:36 PM
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A company just came and replaced the old, unreliable foot release on one window with a pushbutton. I'd thought they were going to do two other windows, but since they didn't have time, I can think about a foot release instead.

After putting up the push button, they showed me something they hadn't mentioned before: since it is only attached at the center of the window and not at the top and bottom like the foot release, the top and bottom of edges of the bars can be pulled at, even with a vertical bar added behind the side that opens, to stabilize it. I don't know how easy it is to go from wiggling the edges to breaking the bars away. Is this something I should be concerned about?
 
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Old 10-07-04, 10:08 PM
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which company did you use to get your security egress bars worked on? i just aquired a building and the housing inspector cited me for 2 windows where teh emergency mechanism (foot pedal) was non-functional.

i prefer to keep with the foot pedal. the idea of not having all 4 corners secured bothers me.

thanks!


btw - i'm near downtown los angeles
 
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