Find out about hidden wall safes.
A hidden wall safe can be an important tool in safeguarding valuables at home. Because breaking into a wall safe requires an intruder to spend time not only attempting to open it but also discovering its location, wall safes are considered by many experts to be more secure than traditional, free-standing safes. In addition to its theft-deterrent benefits, a wall safe's ability to withstand fire is equally important. Many home safes can protect valuables from temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Wall safes are available in a variety of styles, and many can be installed directly by the consumer.
The best place to install a hidden wall safe is within a closet wall. Most safes are between 6 and 10 inches deep, so the homeowner should make sure that enough space is available to contain a safe this size. The homeowner should also ensure there is no electrical, plumbing or ductwork that runs through the wall at the selected site. The owner's manual for the safe should contain detailed installation instructions for the particular model purchased.
Generally, a wall safe should be installed between two studs, marked with vertical lines on the wall. The homeowner can then create a template of the safe by tracing the outer edges of the safe onto the wall between the stud lines. Four holes should be drilled inside the corners of this template. Using a jigsaw, the installer can cut out the template, taking care that the saw blade does not penetrate the back wall. If the safe must extend beyond the backside of the wall, the installer should use the jigsaw to carefully cut out and discard that portion of the wall as well. Because most in-wall safes have a flanged face, smooth finishing cuts are not necessary.
The installer should shim the studs to accommodate the width of the safe. Pre-drilling holes in the shimming material will help prevent splitting when attaching the safe to the studs. After installation is completed, the area should be wiped down thoroughly and covered with a painting, photo or similar piece of artwork to hide the safe.
Hidden wall safes are available in a variety of price ranges, based on options, dealer and rating. While many safes still feature combination locks, modern safes offer options like keypad entry, biometric entry, fingerprint recognition and remote control entry. Online dealers may offer better prices, but many security experts recommend comparing different wall safe models in person to ensure that the safe is compatible with the consumer's needs.
When comparing types of wall safes, consumers should also make note of the safe's Underwriters Laboratories rating. These ratings consist of the following:
These ratings apply to paper documents; storing electronic media may require a more specialized wall safe. Safes tested by Underwriters Laboratories are subjected to an extremely harsh series of destruction and lock-breaking tests, including drilling, blasting and a three-story drop onto concrete blocks. According to Underwriters Laboratories, safes that survive their rigorous battery of testing are very likely to foil even the most professional of burglars.
If a traditional hidden wall safe is out of budget, a hidden wall safe that looks like a wall power outlet, also known as a wall socket safe, is another option for hiding a few pieces of jewelry or other small valuables. These devices allow homeowners to hide items inside the wall, concealed by a safe door that looks exactly like other electrical outlets in the room. These units are far less expensive than traditional wall safes and can conceal items up to seven inches long.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), one property crime occurs in the United States every 3.1 seconds. Though many property insurance companies will provide discounts of 15 percent or more for installation of other security devices, such as home alarms or alarm systems, insurers may be disinclined to provide special discounts for hidden wall safes since these devices still have the potential to be discovered, removed and opened at a thief's leisure. Consumers should check with their particular insurance company on whether they offer special property insurance discounts for wall safes.