Keeping your belongings safe has never been harder. Although in-house security (safes and locked up items) is not as important as preventative home security, having good internal protection is always a good idea. You can look at chains for desktop computers, locking mounts for TVs, etc., but what about the small things like jewelry or the titles to your car? A home safe is an effective and affordable option for storing these goods. So, which safe features can help you maximize your home security?
The feature most consumers are looking for is fire resistance. While many people believe they are safe from house fires, there is actually a 1 in 4 chance of a household reporting a fire within an average lifetime. The fire department responds to house fire reports every 19 seconds nation wide. Investing in a fire resistant safe may be appropriate if you have valuable documentation, data backups, electronics, or other temperature sensitive goods.
No safe is completely fireproof, however. While some can outlast a house fire, most consumer level safes will last less than an hour at temperatures of 350 F. Houses can reach 1200 F in around 30 minutes of full on fire. However, avoiding external penetration does not mean your belongings aren’t damaged inside the safe. Possibly the most important factor to consider when picking out a fireproof home safe is how hot the safe gets on the inside. Safes range from 325 F to 125 F as an internal max temperature. Paper documents can easily be damaged above 300 degrees, and electronics above 150 degrees. Be sure to review these numbers before purchasing and storing your valuables.
While keeping your valuables safe during a home fire is important, the main reason people purchase home safes is to protect against theft. Around 7% of homes are broken into every year, and the cost of the average burglary is an astounding $2,000. Investing in a safe is definitely worthwhile, especially for small, valuable items like jewelry.
The most important security feature on a safe is the lock. There are four main lock types: key locks, combination locks, digital keypads, and biometric locks. Even lock experts don’t agree on which is the best, although they generally agree that key locks are at the bottom of the list. Biometric locks open when a user scans his or her fingerprint, while digital locks open with a number or letter code. Biometric locks are the most accessible, followed by digital locks.
Many people think that digital locks are more prone to hacking than the traditional combination lock. This, however, is not true. Digital locks are built to resist hacking, or at least prolong the process to where a burglar would not have enough time to complete a break-in. The rating system for safes comes from break-in attempts made by professionals in the factory: TL-15 means it will take a professional 15 minutes to open the safe, TL-20 means it takes 20 minutes, etc. If your safe takes more than 20 minutes to break into, it is unlikely that a burglar will try. Burglars tend to target items they can run out with quickly.
In Home Safe Alternatives
Probably the best alternative to a home safe is a safe deposit box at a bank. These provide maximum security and are available for rent on annual or monthly contracts. The downside, however, is accessibility. Note that cash or other monies kept in a safe deposit box is not ensured by the FDIC. Also note that a court order is needed to retrieve a safe deposit box if you are not the owner.
Maximizing internal home security is very important for protecting your valuables. A good home safe can be an immense help in keeping your hard earned belongings safe. Safes are certainly a worthwhile investment. It is definitely worth it to research the different brands, features, and performance metrics before you buy.
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