A recent episode on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank brought garage security to the attention of millions of American viewers. An entrepreneur pitched his product that would stop a garage break in, and displayed a video that showed how easy breaking into a garage can be. The product pitched on the show seems moderately effective at securing a garage door, but it will cost you more money and effort than the steps below, and isn’t currently recommended by any major reputable agencies.
Is it true? Can someone really break in to your garage in under 6 seconds?
The practice of breaking into a garage using a simple metal coat hanger and a block of wood has been commonly discussed in the garage door repair industry for years, but has become an internet sensation on YouTube and on local news stations in recent months.
Ok. Now take a deep breath…..
First of all, despite what many videos and sites suggest, DO NOT USE A ZIP TIE OR CUT OFF THE RED EMERGENCY RELEASE CORD. Yes, it deters a coat hanger from dis-engaging the garage door opener, but it also prevents anyone from being able to get out of the garage in the event of an emergency or garage door opener malfunction/failure. Do you want your family to be digging in drawers looking for scissors in the event of a house fire? Didn’t think so. Installing a zip-tie is the most common solution you’ll read on the internet, but doing this voids any and all warranties from your manufacturer, installation company, and voids most forms of home owner’s insurance coverage on any accidents associated. Federal Law requires emergency release cords to be installed and maintained on all garage door openers. Zip Ties are a simple solution, but they are NOT the best solution.
So what CAN you do to stop this?
- If you have windows, frost or obscure your garage windows to decrease visibility, especially if they are at the top of the garage door.
- Install a garage door monitor on your garage door. Most modern garage door openers have optional accessories that can be installed that can beep, flash, and even send your smart phone an alert every time your garage door opens. You can put them on your night stand, in the living room, or anywhere with an electrical outlet within a 25 foot range.
- Add a motion detecting light on either side of your garage. Thieves often take the path of least resistance.
- Add a Liftmaster 840LM Motion Sensing Light to the ceiling of your garage. A cheap, quick way to add light to your garage without needing an electrician.
- Replace your bulbs on the garage door opener.
- Test your motion sensing function of your garage door opener. If the lights don’t come on when the door opens manually, you need a newer garage door opener.
- Have a security sensor installed by calling your security company. This sensor works just like the ones on your doors (and/or windows) of your home, and is triggered in the event that the garage is opened while the alarm is set. Call them and tell them you’d like to have a garage door contact sensor installed on your garage door, they’ll walk you through the process.
- Keep large landscaping trimmed to a minimum around the garage area, and avoid leaving out “bait” in the driveway such as an easy to grab kids scooter. The last thing you want is for your home to stand out as an easy target.
- Stay organized. Does it look like you would notice if they stole it?
- Keep the garage door closed during the day, even if you’re at home.
- Don’t crack the garage door open for ventilation. Invest in a more insulated garage door, attic, and home to save money. Not only can this let animals and people in, but it’s the most common cause of customers running into their garage door when backing out. In your rear view mirror the door looks closed, but your husband left it cracked all afternoon. You hit the button to leave after loading the kids and spilling the coffee on yourself. You hit the button, put it in reverse, check your iPhone to see how far behind you’re running, and then……bam…….you call Plano Overhead Garage Door because you swore you hit the button (you did, you just needed to do it twice).
- Lock the pass door from your garage to your home. This way they can get into your garage, not your entire home. Treat your pass door of your garage like your front door!
- If you park outside, lock your car, roll your windows all the way up, keep remote controls out of plain sight, and take your keys inside.
- Re-program your remotes, keypads, and automobiles once a year. Did you give that code to the plumber last summer? Did you have a questionable repair company work on your garage door opener a few years ago?
- Add a garage door strut to your top panel. If your garage door is the original on the home, it likely doesn’t have a reinforcing strut at the top that most companies include with installation these days. These struts will prevent flexibility in your top garage door panel, and make it harder to enter your garage.
- If your garage door opener looks like the one from the video, upgrade! The opener in the video is close to 20 years old. Technology on garage door opener carriages has evolved to prevent this exact scenario from happening. The new, spring loaded carriages are much more difficult to dis-engage than the old flip-down plastic carriages from the 1990s and 2000s.
- Install a myQ compatible Liftmaster garage door opener with appropriate accessories so that you can monitor the status of your garage door from your phone, anywhere in the world.
- Buy a garage door opener with a Timer-to-Close feature. This optional Liftmaster feature allows your garage door opener to close automatically after a set period of time. The majority of the thefts we learn about are from garages that were left open.
- Dogs make for great deterrents (but don’t leave them in the garage).
- Stay active in your community and consider a community crime watch effort. Your neighborhood has a reputation, protect it!
If you take the time to follow even just a few of these steps, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of a break-in of your home. It’s National Garage Safety Month, get out there and do it while it’s still on your mind. There is no substitute for peace of mind! Contact Plano Overhead at 972-422-1695 if you would like for us to make your garage more secure!