Tag Archives: safes

Putting a Safe or Gun Safe in a Garage, Part 2

If you need to put your safe or gun safe in the garage here are the steps you should take:

  • Invest in a heavier, higher quality vault, preferably TL-rated like American Security’s RF series gun safe.
  • Conceal the safe the best you can. Build a cabinet around it or drape a blanket or something over it.  American Security sells what they call a “Safe Cloak” for gun safes which is a fabric cover that makes your safe look like a cheap storage cabinet.  It attaches to you gun safe with a magnet across the top and hangs down to ground level.  If possible, put the safe in a back room or around a corner.
  • Don’t allow service people or delivery personnel to go through your garage.
  • Keep your garage door locked at all times to keep people out.
  • Increase the perceived risk to a burglar — put up a sign stating that the house and garage are monitored. It helps to install a very conspicuous camera, even if it is fake.
  • Anchor your safe to the concrete floor using high grade anchor bolts.   Most fire safes are light enough to be picked up.  If you don’t have the right tools or skills, hire someone who does.
  • Don’t keep pry tools, sledge hammers, torches, etc. in the same area – keep them locked up in the house.

To avoid problems from cold and fluctuating temperatures in northern states:

  • Use a dehumidifier rod (heat bar) inside the safe to keep temps as stable as possible.
  • There can be a problem in those first warm humid days of spring when the ground is still very cold. The cold floor will keep pulling warmth from the safe causing condensation, making the safe sweat, which encourages rust.  Antique safes are especially prone to rust.  It is best, therefore, to have a small amount of contact with the floor.  Thin squares of wood or plastic at the corners will minimize the problem.  We usually use pieces of the plastic shims used to install windows and doors.  Important Note:  Don’t raise the safe too far off the ground; the bigger the gap there is between the floor and the safe, the easier it is for someone to move the unit.  A big gap makes anchoring less effective too.
  • Battery life in electronic locks will be shorter in cold situations. I would guess that electronic locks themselves would have shorter lives, but that is just speculation.  Dial locks are less affected by cold.

Keeping your gun safe in the garage is less than ideal.  Minimize risk by taking proper precautions.

Putting a Safe or Gun Safe in the Garage

Customers regularly ask if putting their safe in a garage or pole building, as opposed to inside the house, creates any potential problems.

A safe or gun safe in the garage is typically not as secure, for the following reasons:

  • Depending on placement, it might be that every time you open the garage door the safe is visible to whoever is driving or walking past the home.
  • It is likely to be seen by delivery or service people like UPS, FedEx, the gardener, maintenance personnel, etc., people who have legitimate reasons to go into the garage.
  • A safe may be seen by neighborhood kids who enter the garage looking to steal bicycles, beer, etc.
  • Everyone has heard stories of the ATM or safe that was stolen when burglars put a chain around it and dragged it off. In a garage or pole building, burglars could open the overhead door and back a truck right in so they could easily do the chain trick.
  • Many older safes are on wheels which allows someone to just roll them outside.
  • With a safe or gun safe in the garage, you could even be in the house watching TV or sleeping while someone is working to open it with quiet tools like torches.
  • Many garages are loaded with tools that burglars would find useful in opening your safe.

Aside from security issues, temperature variations in northern states can cause problems for safes in garages.  Rust and lock problems are not uncommon.

The next post will cover how to protect your safe or gun safe from these issues.