Home security - "burglar bars"...

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  #1  
Old 10-20-12, 01:00 PM
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Home security - "burglar bars"...

My wife inherited a home in a not-so-great neighborhood. There have been break-ins, and many homes have what I believe are called "burglar bars" (the wrought iron bars you see on homes and busineess that covers the windows).

Her father currently lives in the house and there are concerns for him of course. I have a few questions concerning these bars:

Is it possible to install these bars on the INSIDE of the house? It seems to me that you're creating a fire hazard if you install them on the outside (i.e. you're elminating a possible escape route in case of fire).

Is this something we could do ourselves, or is it best left to professionals?

Are there companies that will custom build them to fit a given window?

Are there burglar bars that can be used on a sliding door (e.g. a door going out to a deck) that would still allow the sliding door to be functional?

Thanks,

Andy
 
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Old 10-20-12, 01:11 PM
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The only bars that meet code (at least 5 yrs ago) have to a have a simple release mechanism accessible only from the inside..no keys or other devices required to open. They can't be reached from the outside.

The type you often see are made by a local iron fence company.

For sliding doors....very few options. I've seen the steel security doors installed but they do not meet code unless they have a thumb turn deadbolt...which defeats the purpose. Plenty of other ways to secure a slider. If they are going to break the glass...well, nothing will really help....but double pane tempered glass (required in patio doors...thanks in part to Della Reese IIRC) is tougher than people think.
 
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Old 10-20-12, 10:14 PM
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This is more of a rhetorical question, but why wouldn't a double-cylinder lock be legal on a sliding security door? They've got to be legal in some fashion for swinging doors as they are sold in stores...

Depending on costs, those rolling shutters are seemingly effective, and there are electric versions. Bedrooms have to have a manual way of opening, so bedrooms still have a hand crank, but the rest of the windows could all be on one electric circuit to close and open them as a group when one is home during the day.
 
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Old 10-20-12, 11:29 PM
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... why wouldn't a double-cylinder lock be legal on a sliding security door? They've got to be legal in some fashion for swinging doors as they are sold in stores...
Just because something is sold in the store does not mean it is legal to be used. Double cylinder locks are contrary to life-safety codes when installed on egress doors.

Just my opinion but nothing screams "Money Here" louder than external burglar bars. The city where I used to live had a house that I still pass by periodically that had every external window covered in burglar bars along with a barred door over the entrance and a chain link fence surrounding the yard. I noticed a few years ago the house was for sale and after it sold the burglar bars disappeared. Now it doesn't look any different from the rest of the surrounding houses.
 
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Old 10-21-12, 07:07 AM
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The problem with burglar bars if they are good is they slow down the time it takes for the fire department to rescue you if you are incapacitated by fumes from the fire. Think, cyanide, phosphine and a whole lot of toxic or anesthetic like gases generated when plastics burn. Of course that only applies to adults not children who try to hide from fire in a closet or under a bed, or infants that don't have the capability to escape.
 
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Old 10-21-12, 02:31 PM
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Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Bars on the windows do affect safety in the event of fire. This has to be weighed against the risk of intrusion or burglary. Which is the greater risk? I can't say there is one right answer for everyone in every situation. Sometimes you have to pick protection against intruders over escape in case of fire and sometimes the opposite is the better choice.
 
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Old 10-23-12, 06:54 PM
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Thanks for that info Gunguy.

To address some other comments, in our case, it is a balance. The house will be unoccupied at some point in the future (until it can be sold), and since we live out of state, we need some piece of mind. If you were to drive through the neighborhood, you would quickly see it is a lower middle-class neighborhood with MANY homes having bars on the windows. In this case, it screams "this house is in a rotten neighborhood" It's a sad statement of our times, but it's the reality.

We're also considering installing a burglar alarm, but given that the phone line is not buried, but instead comes up the side of the house, that is probably a pointless thing to do.
 
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Old 10-23-12, 09:55 PM
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I think that some modern security systems can use the cellular data networks if the landline is cut, and just as often the loud shrieking siren will be enough to get the neighbors to call the police just to get the infernal thing turned off.

As to the original fabrication question, wrought iron companies can make just about anything in any style to fit any opening. It'll just cost you and in our experience, you have to keep on the vendor. We were going to put a $2000 security screen door on the front of the house because my wife didn't want a double-cylinder lock and the sidelite windows are stained glass and probably extra easy to break in through to unlock the door from the inside, but the vendor kept screwing up the door. After the third screwup they and we mutually agreed to end it, they gave us our money back and I filled in all of the holes and the like that they made in the process.

We just ended up putting the double-cylinder on. Since we're getting new dual-pane windows everywhere else shortly I'll probably spend a weekend removing the sidelite windows, cutting the thick wood frames to allow for an extra panel of security glass, installing it, then installing the sidelite windows again.

As for windows, they can do wonderful things with laminated glass these days. I don't know if there are any single-pane, new-glass-in-existing-frame options that are practical, but there are whole window frame-out replacements with security lamination and other options so that one doesn't need bars.
 
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Old 10-24-12, 01:28 AM
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Windows can be coated with a plastic film that makes them virtually impossible to break through. The glass WILL break but it will be held together by the film. This coating is done by security companies but I don't know the cost. One brand is Armorcoat. Solar Gard Armorcoat safety window films

Almost all alarm systems installed these days can be connected to the monitoring station via a cellular connection. Truth is, the old dial-up system using land-lines is rarely used for just the reason you have stated, it is too easy to cut the phone line.
 
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Old 10-24-12, 07:59 PM
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T-W-W / Furd, thanks for the info on the security systems and glass options. I'll have to do more research on that. If it's as tough as you say, that would definitely be the way to go.

Andy
 
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