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Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Home Security |

6 Easy and Cost-Effective Tips To Keep Your Home Secure

6 Easy and Cost-Effective Tips To Keep Your Home Secure

According to recent research conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, American homes are victims of burglary about every 15 seconds. Ideally, a typical homeowner suffers a loss of around $2,000 in property damage or stolen goods. With the national economy moving from bad to worse, insecurity is again becoming rampant, suggests Charles Sczuroski, a former police officer and now senior trainer for the National Crime Prevention Council. Although Americans with high deductibles on their homeowner insurance policies will likely have to pay out of their pockets to replace their stuff, they are advised to make small investments on their homes to make them (homes) more secure in the first place.
Resources:
www.eastvalleylockandkey.com
swissshade.com
homedepot.com

There are a number of efficient and cost-effective ways you can adopt to ensure your home is secure and less appealing to burglary. These include:

Pruning an Overgrown Vegetation

Trees, bushes and shrubs can offer an intruder lucrative places to hide and perfectly plan on how to steal or damage your property. As such, it is important that you trim down any overgrown vegetation so that your home’s doors, windows and porches are visible to passersby and neighbors. “If you think this will cost much of your time, you are wrong,” says Officer Mark Buetow of the Milwaukee Police Department. Although it only needs a few hours of your time, pruning overgrown shrubs, trees or bushes can make a huge difference as far as the security of your home is concerned.

Being sure to have Motion Sensors

Motion DetectorsIt is crucial to have adequate nighttime illumination given that a poorly lit or dark property makes it easy for an intruder to go unseen. According to Glenn Dopfel, exterior lighting merchant at Home Depot, one of the best ways to deter crime and ensure the safety of your home and that of your family is by installing motion sensors. Motion-sensing security lights are automatically activated when motion is detected. This automatic activation creates sudden change from darkness to the bright light, and this can startle buglers as well as provide a visual alert to neighbors and of course, the homeowner.

Setting Timers Doors

According to Sczuroski, using timers, which are hooked up to indoor lights, as well as televisions or radios can really be essential at keeping your home secure. “Setting a timer to switch on about thirty to forty-five minutes before it gets dark makes it appear like someone is really at home,” says Sczuroski. This impression can be even more convincing when it is combined with a TV or radio activating during the day and in the evening. Intruders generally do not desire to be confronted by anyone in a home, and want to slip in and out unnoticed. Therefore, sounds of activity generally keep them at bay, asserts Buetow.

Reinforcing your Entry Points

Sixty percent of all burglaries occur at ground floor windows and doors, suggests Sczuroski. As such, it makes sense to reinforce your entry points. Sczuroski advises Americans to use doors made of solid wood. He also recommends wrapped-wood core doors. Ideally, he is against rickety old wood-panel doors or hollow-core doors because a bugler can kick them and get in easily. Moreover, they do not offer much of a deterrent to burglary. New solid (slab) doors currently cost around $100 although installing them will definitely cost extra cash. Nevertheless, an experienced handyman can carry out the task perfectly with the help of instructions.

Shielding Windows near Doors

If your home has any doors with windows, Buetow advises that you install a protective barrier of quarter-inch Plexiglas over any existing glass. Attached properly, the quarter-inch Plexiglas can prevent buglers from breaking the window and either getting into the house through the opening or opening the door’s lock from the inside.

Installing Deadbolts

deadbolt5According to Melissa Richards, Depot’s safety and security merchant, every exterior entry door should have a deadbolt. Furthermore, she recommends that the bolt features a throw of at least one inch. Most insurance companies and locksmiths advise Americans to install Grade 1 or Grade 2 American National Standards Institute deadbolt locks on their exterior entry doors. Deadbolts are mainly available in two types, and these are single and double cylinder locks. While a single cylinder deadbolt costs around $35 and has a keyed opening on one side and a knob, which can be turned by hand on the other, a double cylinder deadbolt goes at around $45, and is keyed on both sides. According to Richards, a double cylinder deadbolt is suitable for a door located near a window or that with a glass section. “If the glass is broken and buglers try to reach in to open the door, they will not be able to,” she explains.

 

While there are many ways to secure a home, the above 6 tips to keep your home secure are effective. They are easy and most of them are inexpensive yet they will secure your home to the required standards.

 

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Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Locks And Keys, Locksmith Information |

How to Open Kwikset Smart Key Lock in 10 Seconds

How to Open Kwikset Smart Key Lock in 10 Seconds

Today, several locks can be opened in 10 seconds or even less depending on the type of the lock. If you want to open a lock, you need to have a number of tools, including a couple of paper clips. However, if you are dealing with a more difficult locking system, you will need a modest set of lock picks. This may cost you around $30 and can be ordered online. The set comprise of the following items:
Resources:
Scottsdale Locksmith Pros
homedepot.com
wikipedia.org

Hook Pick

hook pickThis is an important tool when it comes to picking a lock. It is useful for pin at a time lock picking and scrubbing. With this tool, you can reach over the second last pin, especially if the last pin is set low while the second last pin is set high. Hook pick can offer you with a little more control on individual pins.

Torque Wrench

It is simply used to exert pressure on the cylinder. Such tools come in a variety of sizes, but it is advisable to have smaller ones rather than big ones in terms of width. If you are handling more advanced locks, a feather wrench can be more effective.

Snake Pick

Snake pick is designed purposely for scrubbing. Many people prefer this type of pick because it can be used to set more than one pin at once. Additionally, it can open easy locks in less than 10 seconds.

Diamond Pick

diamond pickDiamond pick is ideal for experienced locksmiths who love lock scrubbing. They come in a wide range of sizes, but you will realize that smaller diamond picks with tapered edges are more versatile.

It is worth noting that there are several types of picks to choose from, but with this basic set as well as knowledge, you should be in position to select the right pick for the job.

In order to be an expert at lock picking, you should be a master of your senses. The entire process requires more practice and diligence. A locksmith with vast knowledge in lock picking think of picks as a physical extension of his or her mind. The picks can help you understand certain qualities or features within the lock in question. Once you have identified these qualities, you can use them to thwart the mechanisms of the lock.

How to Open a Kwikset Smart Key Lock in 10 Seconds

Despite the fact that kwikset smart key locks are certified Grade 1 security for commercial and residential use by BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association), they are vulnerable to hacking. In fact, top hackers can open these locks using simple tools such as screwdrivers, wires, and more.

Here are some of the techniques that can be used to compromise kwikset smart key locks:

Inserting a Material With a Sharp End

You can defeat this lock by inserting a piece of blank into the keyway using a hammer, then punch out the cap located on the back of the plug, which is a thin piece of metal. Insert a wire with a looped end into the key hole and turn the tail piece. Remember that the tail piece rotates separately of the plug and thus making the key irrelevant. By employing this method, you can open the lock in 10 seconds without damaging the lock or even leaving any trace. This means that the original key will still work smoothly.

4-inch Screwdriver

With a 4-inch screwdriver at home, you can unlock your kwikset smart key lock by inserting it into the key cavity and hold it with a torque wrench and rotate it to open the lock. According to lock manufacturer, kwikset locks can withstand up to 300 pounds-force-inch of torque. However, you can use only a little more than 100 pounds of torque unlock the lock.

Decoding the lock

Apart from using a 4-inch screwdriver, you can also open the smart key lock by using a variety of keys that are a single depth in order to assess the depth each and every pin within the lock. Decoding the lock can be time consuming since it involves using a series of keys to find the depth of pins inside the lock.

Locks are used by homeowners to secure their property; however, some locks including kwikset locks can be opened without having the original key. The lock design is naturally insecure since it can be cracked in not more than 10 seconds.

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Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Home Security, Locks And Keys, Locksmith Information |

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Replacing A Lock

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Replacing A Lock

Replacing your lock is not always an easy task, keeping in mind the importance of security. Generally, change is good, but if the right procedures are not taken when changing your locks, serious consequences may follow. Here is a sneak peak of what to do and what not to do when changing your locks.
Resources:
greshamlocksmith.org
kwikset.com
lowes.com

The Do’s

  • BrandsDecide whether you need the same brand of lock or a new one. Determine which lock brand and type you have now, and decide whether you want a new brand or this old one will be okay. If you are going for a new brand, some modifications may need to be done, but if you are going for the same brand, few or nor modifications will be required. For instance, if you are changing from a mortise style lock to a night latch, some modifications will have to be made to allow the new lock to fit well.
  • Ensure that the new lock satisfied the industry security standards. The new lock must satisfy the set standards, or it will compromise your security and insurance plans.
  • Remove the interior knob and the decorative cover with care before installing the new one. Having decided which brand you will go for, you now need to prepare for the replacement itself. Remove the interior knob carefully, then proceed to remove the decorative cover. This should be an easy task, especially if your lock is based on a simple configuration. Disassemble the parts and remove the latch.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t replace the lock yourself if you are not sure of the procedure. Replacing your locks may lead to far-reaching and catastrophic repercussions if it is not done in the right way. This is not a do-it-yourself task that you can do using trial and error methods. It is a serious task that gives a new dimension to the security detail of your house. For this reason, it should be done by professionals.
  • Don’t choose a lower standard of the lock. Locks come in various standards. It is not advisable to replace a lock with another one on a lower standard. Remember the standards of the lock you have normally affects insurance, security level and peace of mind. Go for higher lock standards to be on the safer side.
  • Don’t change the size of the lock. Locks also come in various sizes, and one is advised to stick to the original size, to avoid lock snapping. Check for the sizing descriptions carefully so that you don’t find yourself trying to fit a square peg in a round hole after the replacement.

In summary, the first step in securing your property is having a properly locked door. This explains you need to replace your lock whenever you have lost your keys, you have got a new roommate or your old lock is damaged. It is always good to go for the better options when replacing a lock. For example, if there has been a break-in robbery in your house, you may need to replace the old lock with a new one of a higher standard.

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Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Home Security, Locksmith Information |

How Many People Hold the Keys to Your House?

How Many People Hold the Keys to Your House?

A lock with multiple keys doesn’t make sense, especially if some of those keys are in the hands of strangers. Ironically, the keys to your lock may be with unknown people, without you being aware of the situation. Most buyers who purchase mass-produced locks don’t look into this apparent danger. simply put, the chances of a few others having the keys to a lock produced in multiple quantities can never be ruled out.

Most retailers have only limited quantities of multiple keys for every brand of lock sold. In fact, the number could be as low as below 20 or 10.

For instance, a company makes 30,000 non-identical keys. The firm constantly rotates the several thousand key codes being shipped to retailers. But one is not sure how often the inventory is being rotated by retailers. As a result, it’s quite possible for seven deadbolts to have the same key.
Resources:
Mesa Locksmith Pros
homedepot.com
schlage.com

Key Exchange

Key exchangeFriends often exchange keys among themselves. Having a spare key with another person makes it easier to execute things when you’re not around. For instance, your friend could receive your mail when you are out of town. And you feed the friend’s puppy when your friend is likely to return home late. When you lose your key, you know there is a spare at your friend’s place. While this arrangement works out well as a backup, this form of exchange cannot be taken lightly.

It’s extremely intimate to let another individual into your house when you aren’t around, letting them browse through the exposed stuff. This approach, at times, makes it difficult to keep tab of the number of people holding the keys to your house.

Re-Keying a New House

New House1If you’ve moved into a new house, it’s possible a complete stranger could be awaiting your return home after a day of shopping. The individual may not necessarily be a burglar – he could be the friend of the previous owner who’s not aware his friend doesn’t stay at the place anymore.

This makes it vital to rekey a new house. Because you just don’t know the number of people the ex-owner has handed over the house’s keys to – parents, friends, children, girlfriend, etc. If a property agent was involved in your real estate purchase, multiple copies of the house’s key are possible too. There are also chances of foreclosed owners returning back and taking stuff from existing owners or renters.

The earlier the rekeying, the better. In fact, have the new house rekeyed by a locksmith even before transporting appliances, furniture and other household items into the space. Rekey locks opening up the front door, main entry, back doors, etc. Other entry point locks, if any, must also be rekeyed such as mailbox doors, garage and basement doors.

Safety Recommendations

It is unlikely for a criminal to buy bunches of locks to locate a key matching yours. But consider how many times you handover your keys to neighbors, for car wash, valet, etc.

According to safety experts, it’s recommended to have the house key and car key not tied to each other. If you are willing to spend more for safety, invest in locks that need a custom key and which can’t be duplicated.

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Home Security, Locks And Keys |

Does it make sense to have two locks on the door?

Does it make sense to have two locks on the door?

From a security point of view, two locks can be more helpful than one, although it is advisable to begin by selecting a security-rated model that comes with increased security. In deed, some insurance companies insist that you should look for a security-rated model before insuring the house. It is not enough to have two security-rated locks without making sure that they are properly installed. Thanks to Phoenix Locksmith Pros In Phoenix Arizona for the information.

 

Convenience

 

locked outWhen it comes to the convenience of using your house, having two locks can be tricky, especially if you have the type where a lock is in the knob. In this case you just need to close the door and it automatically locks without need for using a key. It means you can easily lock yourself out by pushing the door behind you or let’s just say due to winds, and when that happens, it is more difficult to deal with two locks instead of one. Whether you have to break in yourself or call a professional key cutter, it means double efforts and double costs.

 

In addition, knobsets are hard to work with when there are kids around because it is even easier to lock themselves out.

 

Due to the ease of locking oneself out with the above system, installing a deadbolt can be a better alternative. With a deadbolt, you require a key on hand to lock the door, thus it is more difficult to lock yourself out. Some also see installing a single deadbolt as a more secure alternative than having a lock because the former penetrates way deeper into the door and is firm. A key-in-knob lockset is screwed onto the door. It is easy to remove these screws and hence a deadknob does a better job. However, a key-in-knob is easier and quicker to deal with than a deadbolt in case you lose the key. Dealing with a deadbolt may come with additional damages on the door if not properly done.

 

Level of security in the area

 

People also react to the situation depending on how secure the area is. For instance, in an area of very low security, two locks are advisable. Others use a key-in-knob lockset and a deadbolt. You could also chose a deadbolt that has removable thumbturns so that it is more difficult for thieves to open the door even if they break in through the window. Again, it makes it hard for them to carry away bulk items from the house since they will still need to get out through the window. Doors on houses with window sidelites are easier to break because buglers simply break sidelites and easily unlock the door.

 

Revisiting the issue of costs, many people choose to have two locks only on the outermost door instead of having it on every door in the house. However, when it comes to sincere security, you might need to have someone look out for the house if the neighborhood isn’t secure at all. Again, if there is someone or a trusted neighbor or someone watching your property, then having slightly less secure option is worth. For instance, you can have a single lock instead of two.

 

Door stability

 

front doorThe other reason you might consider a second lock has to do with stability of the door. Thieves do not actually have to destroy the lock: they can choose to break in by hitting it open. If you have a single point lock on a door, it allows to twist from the top or bottom ends. Even if there are no thieves involved, these twists can occur when the door is exposed to other forces – for instance kids playing with the door. The twists increase the chances of having the door lock failing prematurely. The problem worsens with UPVC and composite doors. You will need to spend more money on replacements in the long run. This problem is tackled by having multipoint locks. The brutal attack force is distributed evenly around the whole door and frame, making it hard to break in.

 

You can install more locks on a wooden door to achieve the same advantage. Fitting two door locks can be easier if the door is composite or UPVC type. One can be installed on the lower half and the other on the upper half. A recommendation is to install a two deadlocks this way and then have a rim lock at the center. You can also use only a night latch in the middle.

 

Ease of replacement and repair

 

Locks, like any other door part, are susceptible to breakage and malfunctioning. It can be very inconvenient when it happens: for instance consider the lock of the outerdoor or gate breaks or malfuntions at night. Hence having two locks can be helpful in that you will still secure your house and home with one of them in case the other one breaks.

 

Other precautionary measures that can help with installation of two key-in-locks include ensuring that you use 6″ screws to attach it to the door instead of using screws of shortest size. Continued maintenance of the locks also helps in this regard. For instance, rekeying the lock is a cost effective mechanism that will see them perform their role optimally without the need to replace them.

 

Regulations

 

When installing deadbolts, it is also advisable to check the regulations in your area. In some cases, installing double cylinder deadbolts where you can use a key on both sides to open the door, is restricted. This is because these types of locks make it hard for people to flee the house in case of an emergency, say fire. This is a usual practice in rental properties. However, it is fine to use them on private property in many cases.

 

 

The bottomline is that whether or not you want to install an additional lock depends on your needs. Consider how secure the surrounding is and if or not you have someone watching the house. If the security is tight, you might want to include other needs such as how convenient it sounds to you to work with two door locks.

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