As part of my poor man’s home security project, I picked up a few door stoppers to reinforce all the exterior-facing entrances to my house. My doors are currently outfitted with 95’ tract home locks, and I don’t have the money at the moment to beef them up properly. The said lack of funds put me in the market for something cheap and easy-to-install, while providing at least a decent extra layer of defense. I settled on a healthy combination of door stoppers and security bars; considering the entire upgrade cost me less than $50, I think I came out pretty well. Here’s the skinny:
Alarm Door Stoppers:
Interestingly, the cheapest way to effectively keep a door open is also the cheapest way to keep it closed; door stoppers. While the standard rubber wedge-style would certainly serve its purpose as an intruder obstacle, it’s only a couple bucks extra for the bells and whistles. GE’s Smart Home Door Stop Alarms not only help prevent easy entry, but they’ll let you know when someone’s knocking…harder than they should be.
When the pressure-sensitive surface of these little tattle-tails are depressed, they let out an obnoxiously loud 120-decibel scream – guaranteed to scare the freakin’ piss out of your dog…and hopefully the d-bag trying to break into your home. I bought three of them; one for my front door, one for the back, and one for the garage door leading into the mudroom.
“Installing” them is as simple as sliding a regular stopper under your door, only in this case, you flip the “on” switch as well. This level of simplicity and portability also makes them a perfect traveling companion for stays in seedy hotels, crack houses, and brothels. They run on 9-Volt batteries, which as I’ve gathered from reviews, generally last a year, and the little red low-battery indicator light makes them lazy idiot-proof.
The bottom is covered with thick rubber padding for traction. I’ve tested it out on all surfaces of my house, and while it still puts up a nice fight on carpet, it grips noticeably better to wood and linoleum floors. Someone with a heavy shoulder who really wants to get in the house will likely realize their goal in under a minute. However, the 120-decibel alarm, effectively screaming, “bad guy!”, should give me the time I need to piss my pajama pants, and pull my gun off the wall. I have Simplisafe entry point sensors on all my doors and windows as well, which will trigger their own blaring alarm in 30 seconds (and call the police), but for less than $10, how could I pass up the instantaneous, in-your-face action these little suckers bring?
Short of receiving them DOA, the only way these might not work for you is if you have minimal clearance under your door. Based on my measurements, your door needs to open about ¼” from the ground. I have pretty standard doors, and I didn’t have any issue at all, even on top of a door mat. Nevertheless, you may want to save yourself a potential hassle, and measure before you pick some up.
Door Security Bar:
The man-door entrance to the outside from my garage was also less-than-secure, and unfortunately, a traditional wedge door stopper can’t fill the void; the entrance is elevated a couple inches off the ground. While I have an entry point alarm sensor on this door as well, I wanted to give it a little something extra.
I applied a nice, cheap layer of additional burglar resistance with a door security bar. I’ve seen these things in a lot of infomercials, and I’ve always kind of thought they look cheap. I didn’t really have any doubts in the effectiveness of the aforementioned wedged door stoppers, as I’ve used them before. Given my circumstances, however, I didn’t really have many options.
The one I settled on is made by Master Lock. It’s gotten some pretty decent reviews, and for $15, it wouldn’t kill me if it failed…well, it could…but I won’t die broke. I was actually pretty surprised when I pulled it out of the package; it’s pretty solid. Its material, twenty gauge steel, is more on par with the Tin Man than the Terminator, however, the construction seems tight and reasonably well put-together.
It’s allegedly rated to withstand 350 lbs of force. I don’t have a disposable door at the moment, otherwise I’d put it to the test with a few good front thrust kicks. I did, however, unlock the door, and gave it a couple forceful pushes, barely budging it. While my pride’s a little shot, I’ll put up with it for the sake of supplementing security.
Installation is as easy as advertised, and the bar can be adjusted to fit any door. You simply expand it to size, where the base is about 12 inches from the door, and the handle is tucked firmly under the knob (heh…knob), and you’re done.
A burglar who successfully foils this obstacle will also have to get through the aforementioned entrance to the mudroom, but I’d prefer if he just gave up before he made it that far. The said 350 lbs of reinforcement the Master Lock offers is nice for $15, but for good measure, I decided to also add a barricade to the door with a wheelbarrow full of rock salt, extension cords, and Christmas lights…if he makes it through, he better clean all that crap up.
While I’m definitely a ways off from fully burglar-proofing my doors, I think I’ve given them a nice upgrade, leaving me a lot more secure than I was a week ago. I’ll let you know if anyone decides to test the effectiveness of the new door stoppers against my will.