Deciding where to install your home safe isn’t always an easy decision to make. You must compromise on several different fronts based on convenience, security, and protection from threats. On one hand you want your jewelry, documents, and home defense weapons close at hand, but on the other hand you want to make sure your valuables are as protected from danger as possible. We’ll explore the best places to install your safe based on the three biggest threats: burglary, fire, and flood. Then you can decide what makes the most sense for your home and needs. We’ll also tell you the worst place to install your safe.
With more than 6 million home burglaries every year, the biggest risk to your property is theft. To protect your valuables from burglary attacks, we have to step into the mind of a criminal. First, they scope out your home from the outside, possibly peering in the front doors or windows, planning their method of entry and route through your home. Next they break in through your front door or maybe the sliding glass door. Once inside, a burglar’s first stop is almost always the master suite. They ransack the master bedroom, closet, and bathroom hunting for jewelry, medication, guns, and cash. If they find a safe, they know that’s where the high value items are and will work hard to open it or get it out of your home.
If you are concerned about burglary attacks, invest in a safe with a UL burglary rating and ask to have your safe installed somewhere other than the master bedroom closet (the most popular spot to install a safe). Great alternatives are a coat closet or a guest bedroom closet. Low-traffic areas, hidden from plain view, and out of the master suite are your best bets for burglary defense. If you are like most people, you prefer the convenience of keeping your safe in the master suite. We highly recommend that you bolt down your safe and if you can, try to conceal it in some way. For example, if you have a closet system, look for a place where you can install your safe and build walls or cabinetry around it so that it blends in with the rest of your closet.
Although the risk of burglary is 5 times the risk of fire for the typical homeowner, fire is the second biggest threat to your valuables. There is no such thing as a truly fire proof safe. If a fire burns hot enough or long enough your safe and its contents will be destroyed. Home fires overwhelmingly start in the kitchen, fireplaces, and garages. Installing your safe away from these areas offers your safe its best chance of survival.
For fire protection, we recommend installing your safe on the inside corner of two exterior walls. These walls will stay the coolest in the event of a fire. You should also keep your safe on the first floor for two big reasons. Heat rises, so if your safe is on the top floor it will be exposed to higher temperatures. Also, a heavy safe installed upstairs may crash down to the level below if the fire is severe enough. If you live in a condo or must install your safe upstairs, look into installing a sprinkler above your safe.
Flooding can be a problem in some southwest Florida areas. To avoid flood damage to your safe, the higher you can get your safe off the ground the better. If you live in an area that floods often you may want to build a concrete or steel base to keep your safe elevated off the ground a foot or two. While you are building a base, you could add a vapor barrier for ultimate moisture protection. If you have important documents, photos, or electronics, you could always store them in a watertight container inside of your safe.
The Worst Place
The absolute worst place to keep your safe is in the garage. It is at a high risk for burglary, fire, flooding, and humidity. When your garage door is open, which probably occurs several times a day, strangers may be able to see your safe from the street. Even a safe that is very heavy is not much of a challenge when a burglar backs into your garage, hooks your safe up to a tow hitch and drags it out. Fires often originate or grow out of control in garages where gas, lawnmowers, cars, and highly flammable chemicals are stored. Most garages are built slightly below the elevation of the rest of your home, meaning the garage is the first to see the damaging effects of flooding. Especially in southwest Florida, high humidity in your garage and temperature fluctuations can damage the contents of your safe. We understand that sometimes your garage is the only option for installing your safe, so if you do store it there, please bolt it down and conceal it from plain view with cabinetry or even a safe cloak (call and we can order a safe cloak for you). Also install an electric dehumidifier rod (available at our shop) to reduce the humidity and temperature fluctuations inside your safe.
The Best Place
There’s no “best” place to install a safe, it is an important decision that you will need to make based on your concerns and convenience needs. We hope this article helps you protect your valuables and maximizes the effectiveness of your safe. To talk to a trained “A” Locksmith safe expert stop by the best place to buy a safe, our store across from Mercato in Naples.