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One of the major factors for homeowners to consider when to replace existing windows with modern double glazing is the several security features that these technologically advanced windows provide in protecting the home from intruders.
When choosing double glazing it is important to look out for several key security aspects in the manufacturing of the frame, locking system and glass.
Frame – it is extremely important that the windows are glazed from the inside and not the outside where the intruder can remove the glass by prizing out the external beading and subsequently remove the glass without breaking it thus gaining entry.
Air vents can also be added to the majority of standard frames which allow fresh air to be circulated throughout the room without the security risk of opening a window.
Locking system – In basic terms the greater number of locking points on a window the higher the security and the less likely an intruder can target any ‘weak’ area of the window. Double glazed window locking systems should be fitted at the time of manufacture. A general rule to follow is that the handle should not be the only means of keeping the window closed. The locking system should be fitted within the framework and the handle is used as a means of throwing or engaging the internal locking system. Espagnolette multi-point locking systems are becoming increasingly popular throughout the industry which are bolts set into the window and located into locking points in the frame when the handle is turned. The bolts should be mushroom headed so that they can engage behind the locking point, thus enabling the window to resist being forced apart from the frame.
A large number of burglaries, around 15% (About 100,000 each year), involve no forced entry at all. The thief just walks through an open door or climbs through an open window, an event particularly prevalent in the summer months when many of us leave windows and doors open for ventilation. Look out for windows that have restricted opening locking mechanisms or ‘night vents’ which allow windows to be securely locked in a fixed position, allowing air to freely circulate from outside to in but remaining a solid locked window to any potential external intruder.
Glass – The majority of standard double glazed windows are made with float or plate glass which although not difficult to break do make a considerable noise when broken and increase the danger of injury to the intruder which are in themselves deterrents. Most intruders are significantly deterred by the prospect of having to break the glass (the only alternative left for windows furnished with secure frames and locking systems [see above]) not only because of the increased risk of detection through noise and risk of injury but also by the added factors of added time at the scene and enhanced risk of detection through forensic evidence.
There is a glass however that does offer greater resistance to breakage. Laminated glass is now available for the domestic market (originally developed as a ‘safety glass’ because of its resistance to conventional splintering) and is usually 6.4mm thick, consisting of two sheets of float glass with an interlayer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or Ethylene and Vinyl Acetate copolymer (EVA). These protective layers not only make the glass substantially more difficult to break but also hold the glass together when broken making it specifically useful for security
If you are intending to replace your windows then please ask the company for ones that are certificated to BS 7950. These windows will have undergone a large number of tests to ensure that they keep the bad weather and the burglars out.
In addition to this, the company that manufactures them will have been inspected by a government approved independent third party to make sure that the windows are being made to the correct standard and that the company itself is adhering to a quality management system of production.
BS 7950 windows especially those fitted with laminated glass, will be more expensive to purchase, but their design characteristics WILL provide considerably more security than those that do not reach this standard.
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