Choosing The Right Safe - Understanding Burglar And Fire Ratings

If you want your home to be as secure as possible, then it is wise to speak with a locksmith about the security of your home locks and whether or not replacements are needed. If you are still concerned about your valuables, then the locksmith can help with the installation or purchase of a home safe. Before you choose a safe that merely looks like it can keep your jewelry, cash, and important documents out of the hands of criminals, consider the following ratings.

Burglar Rating

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a safe is how secure it is against break-ins, and this means looking at the safe's burglar rating. The burglar rating is a reference guide to help you figure out the safe you need in relation to the value of the belongings placed inside. Ratings also take into account whether or not you have a burglar alarm, since an alarm will place specific time constraints on burglars who want to get into your safe. For example, if you do not have an alarm system in your home and if you merely want to keep important documents and a few pieces of jewelry in your safe, then one with a B rating my work for you. 

However, safes are given a B rating no matter what as long as they are made from steel and feature a lock on the front. You can invest in a B/C or C rated safe instead. Testing is not required before these ratings are given, but a B/C rated safe must have sides constructed out of steel that are one-quarter of an inch thick and the door must be one-half an inch thick. C rated safes must have one-half inch thick steel sides and a one inch thick door. 

Highly Secure Safes

If your valuables are worth $100,000 or more and you have no burglar alarm, then you need a much more secure safe. Not only will this provide you with peace of mind, but your home insurance policy may not cover the full amount of stolen items if the safe is not rated high enough. Contact your home insurance company to see which rating is needed.

If your insurance company says your safe rating should match the value of the belongings and cash placed inside, then a UL TL-15 safe may be a good choice. This type of safe is rated based on a series of standardized tests. The safe has to be at least 750 pounds and it must withstand 50,000 pounds per square inch of pressure against the walls. The safe must also be secure against break-in tactics used by professionals for at least 15 minutes. A UL TL-30 safe takes a professional 30 minutes to get into, so choose this model if you want even more security. 

Fire Ratings

Once you have decided on the burglar rating for the safe you want, you need to look at the fire rating as well. This rating helps to protect items inside the safe from fire and heat damage when an accidental fire breaks out in the home. Fire ratings are separate from burglar ratings, so make sure the rating is up to par with the type of protection you need. These ratings are provided in hours and indicate how long the contents within the safe will stay at or below 350 degrees Fahrenheit when the exterior is exposed to 1700 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.

Usually, you can find one, two, and three hour safes. Three hour safes offer the most protection and these ratings are typical if you purchase a UL TL-15 or UL TL-30 safe. However, you may be able to locate a safe with a B, B/C, C, or a slightly higher burglar rating with a three hour burglar rating. These types of safes are ideal if you live in an area that is prone to forest fires but you do not intend on keeping many valuables in your safe. 

For the best results, work with an experienced locksmith as you make your decision. Click here for more information on these services in your area.