By Emily Peck
It pays to be in the know with garage door security tips to keep your car and belongings safe. A dumping ground of 'stuff' for some, garages can be goldmines for burglars, so putting a little thought into how best to secure your garage to protect the contents is worth going the extra mile for. According to a survey by Easyfit Garage Doors, the average garage burglary results in around £3,000 worth of lost goods, in fact.
Perhaps you’ve converted the garage into a home gym and it’s filled with expensive equipment such as an Echelon bike and Bowflex dumbbells that you don't want touched by anyone but you. Or maybe your garage is now the home office and houses a surprising amount of tech kit. Maybe it's simply used as a space where you park your car and store an array of household has-beens, wine subscription boxes and coveted garden tools. Whatever you use your garage for, keeping its security as tight as your homes is worth the effort.
The good news is that a few tweaks here and there will make a big difference to your garage security. By looking at the best home security systems you can secure your garage and keep in it safe.
Garage door security tips to keep your car and belongings safe this season
1. Install a smart outdoor security camera
Find out who’s approaching your property and garage by fitting a smart outdoor camera that gives you peace of mind - even if it is just the cat you see strolling around and marking their manner.
The best outdoor security cameras pair with your smartphone or tablet to send you real-time notifications when it detects any movement. If you’re on holiday abroad or just popped to the local shops for a pint of milk, a smart camera will alert you to who is coming up your front drive at all times. Your smart device will need to have WiFi or be in range for you to receive the alerts, however.
‘Installing a wide-angle camera with specific zone-detection features is very effective as it monitors a larger field of view, triggering alerts and capturing activity before it’s too late,’ says Maryline Bererd, Security Expert at Netatmo. ‘Having a reassuring view of the garage, driveway or other outbuildings helps to prevent break-ins as you’re always kept informed of movements in these areas.
'If you receive an alert then it’s up to you to call a neighbour, the police or trigger the alarm siren to scare off intruders.’
If you're a confident DIY-er, outdoor security cameras are relatively straightforward to fit on the exterior of your home. They can be bought separately or as part of a bundle package with items such as a smart alarm system, a smart video doorbell and/or indoor security cameras too. Bear in mind, you will need a strong WiFi connection for the wireless cameras to work.
For a wired-in smart security camera solution that gives you a bit more flexibilty, we like the sound of the Swann Enforcer, which can also be controlled via an app on your phone. It even comes with a motion-activated, police-style red and blue flashing lights, spotlight and siren and works with 'True Detect' heat and motion technology.
2. Go for a bespoke security system set up to protect your garage
When thinking about securing a home, call upon the help of a professional installer for a more tailored camera coverage that works as part of an automated system with cameras, lights and alarms working in harmony together.
'The more advanced camera systems feature tech such as number plate recognition, people counting and heat detection,' says home security specialist Michael Glarvey of Birch Security Services. 'The cameras can even be linked to boundary lasers so your camera can pick up and alert you if you someone walks past your garage, for example.'
3. Fit motion-sensor lights to deter intruders
As part of your home security set up you can install a security light outside your garage and in vulnerable places around your home. Many of the latest smart outdoor cameras also have motion-sensor light feature, but you can also buy stand-alone motion sensor and presence detectors separately.
Not only are they great at scaring off potential intruders who step foot on your property - they're great if you're wondering how to make it look like you're home when you're not - but they are handy when you come home late at night or just want to put the bins out when it’s dark. As motion sensor lights have an automatic switch-off feature, they won’t zap too much energy either.
We particularly like the look of Gira’s Cube motion and presence detector, for example, which can be used inside and outside the house – on their own or as part of an automated ‘smart’ home system. While it picks up movement, it also has the ability to detect and respond to changes in ambient light and thermal motion with an adjustable detection angle from 120 to 240 degrees. This means it switches on automatically when a passer-by is detected, without it being sensitive to falling leaves, wind or heavy rain.
This modern light fitting can be installed conventionally for use on its own, but can also be tied into a smart home system and link up to a central control panel and app. This means you can use the app to program specific lighting scenes to suit you that will come into effect when the motion detectors pick up on movement.
4. Choose smart electric garage doors
If you use your garage to store your car and have to manually open and shut it every time you leave or come home you'll know what a faff it can be. Ever done this in the pouring rain? We feel your pain.
One way to make coming home and leaving the house easier is to upgrade your routine with a smart garage door. As the garage door can be controlled remotely, a bit like securing a sliding glass door, you won't need to stress about forgetting to close it either. Simply check in from your smartphone when you're away from home. You can simply close and lock it from your smartphone if you've forgotten.
The electric roller garage doors from Somfy, for example, can be opened via voice command within 500m from the house, from your smartphone or via a separate control panel. Somfy also sells roller, sectional, sliding or tilting garage door designs to match your preference.
Another pro to an electric garage door is when you have a delivery and you're not at home. In this instance, you can automatically open the garage door from your smartphone and let the package be safely placed inside your garage. This does come down to a matter of trust however, but if it's your regular postie or Amazon Prime delivery person you're onto a winner.
It's worth taking extra measures, however. 'Bear in mind that all automatic garage doors come with an emergency release lever as an essential safety feature in case you need to open the door manually,' says Marc Husband, purchase director at Leader Doors. 'Unfortunately, burglars often try to use this to break in by pushing the garage door to create a small gap. They then use a hook to fish for that emergency release to open the door. You can avoid this by installing a shield or securing it with a tie. These methods will still allow you to open the door from the inside when needed.'
5. Check external and internal garage doors before you leave the house
Being safe isn't just about how to protect your home with smart security. There are simpler things to remember, too. When it comes to locking up and shutting windows, the garage can often be the one place that gets forgotten. If your garage is attached to the house, it's important that you double lock the internal door linking the garage and house.
‘Check all doors and windows, including garage doors and rear entrances each time you leave the house,’ says Steffan George, managing director at the Master Locksmiths Association.
‘Make sure all locks are correctly fitted by a professional and work as they should. For a list of rigorously tested security products you can visit Sold Secure. This isn’t only important for a good level of security, but it’s important for insurance purposes too. An expert locksmith, such as an MLA approved company, will be able to check locks and upgrade them if necessary.'
6. Secure the perimeter of your home
Before anyone can get to your garage door, they’ll need to get through your front gate or garage, of course. This is why for the best home and garage security it's important to secure the perimeters of your home.
Check the hinges and locks of your gates and fences, which should be galvanised to provide added protection against rust. 'Your home should be protected by a robust, secure perimeter fence and gate that is sufficiently sturdy,' says Leigh Barnes from Jacksons Fencing. 'The fence should withstand any attempts to push it over, remove any panels or parts, kick it through or climb over it.
'Timber fencing is easily compromised if the posts securing the panels are rotten, so always seek out a fence that offers a long lifetime guarantee.'
7. Keep track of your car
There are various gadgets you can buy online to protect your car should anyone break into your garage. These include a steering wheel lock and security tire clamp. If you have a keyless car, you can also keep your keys hidden in a Faraday pouch at night to block anyone trying to highjack your car key fob signal and steal your car.
A device we think is particularly nifty is the Mini Enforcer: Covert Magnetic tracker. This is great for use on your car, campervan or bike to track its whereabouts at all times and to locate it instantly should someone steal it. Simply attach the GPS tracker to the outside of the car - on the underside of the vehicle on the chassis beam - or inside it if you prefer and you can use the dedicated app to locate your car.
The app gives you instant updates on the location of your vehicle, so you can notify the police should you be away from home and need assistance.
How can I make my garage door more secure?
To secure your garage you can fit one of the best smart locks or a garage door blocker, which prevents up and over doors from opening. It bolts to the floor and locks in place. You can also invest in smart security cameras and a smart alarm system that alerts you on your smartphone should someone come too close.
The Master Locksmiths Association also recommends:
1. A Sold Secure approved security/parking post used in front of a roller garage door to protect against theft of a car, but it would not prevent access to the garage itself and the theft of smaller items
2. Lockable bolts on each corner of the door (usually on the internal side) would be a considerable security upgrad
3. An approved ground anchor within the garage to allow the secure fixing of items such as bicycles, mowers etc.
How can I prevent a garage break in?
Think like a burglar and you'll stay one step ahead of keeping your garage and its contents secure at all times. If you're doing a spot of DIY on a Saturday afternoon, remember not to leave the garage door open so a burglar can walk past and assess all your goodies.
If there are any vulnerable windows in your garage on display, cover them up so a burglar can't see in. Also make sure you don't leave your automatic garage door opening control clipped to the visor in your car. Most burglars will suss out that if they can get into your car, it will be even easier to get into your garage.
One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.
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