Deadbolts & Home Security Tips

DIY steps you can take: Lets start with the really simple things to check. Did you have your locks rekeyed when you moved in? Do you know how many keys fit your doors, and who has them? If you answered no to either of these questions, you should contact us for a discussion on key control and/or key control systems. By the way, does your home have Smoke & Fire Alarms with strong batteries?

A single cylinder deadbolt is the most common. A key is used outside to lock or unlock the door, on the inside is a thumb turn. A hardened bolt is projected into the door frame to secure the door.

CAUTION: A double cylinder deadbolt is operated from outside and inside with a key. (Not allowed in some cities) If you consider an emergency, at night, in the dark, with fire and smoke … you get to the door and it is locked! Where is the key? How do you get out quickly and safely? Simply put, single cylinder deadbolts are safer.

If you have glass in your door, or if there is glass adjacent to the door, you might consider a “double cylinder” deadbolt. This is one that requires a key from either side to operate. PLEASE READ THIS: Be aware that there is a fire and life safety issue with double cylinder deadbolt locks. When you are in the home you should have the door locked and leave a key inserted into the inside cylinder. This will act as a thumb turn.

There are special locks available that will “trap“ a key in the inside cylinder, this key can be removed by manipulating the outside cylinder, so you can remove the key when you are away from home. Check with us for availability. You may be restricted by local building codes, or life safety codes from having double cylinder locks. If you cannot have, or do not want “double cylinder” deadbolts, you should consider having the glass in and around the door, replaced with Lexan, or tempered / unbreakable glass.

DEADBOLT GRADES – The strongest deadbolts are Grade 1, which is a Heavy Duty commercial rating. Deep reach screws secure the strike plate to the frame. Grade 2 is a Heavy Duty residential rating. Grade 3 is a Standard Duty residential rating. (Many inexpensive deadbolts sold in the big box hardware stores carry no rating at all)

Both Grade 1 & 2 locks feature a hardened 1-inch bolt paired with a keyed cylinder, protected by a solid trim ring that spins to protect the cylinder from a wrench attack.

We can rekey most compatible Knobs, Levers, Deadbolts and Padlocks to the same key!

As simple as keys are, they can be confusing. If you have knobs and deadbolts that use different keys, or one key for the front door and another for the back, you’ve got too many keys. Now we can add padlocks to the mix and key all your locks to the same key!

As you walk up to your front door, look around the area is there excessive shrubbery that either hides the entry or provides a hiding area for someone? Does your porch light work? Does it project enough light for you to clearly see someone on your porch at night? Are your able to adequately observe the porch area from inside your home, with the door closed, using a door viewer? If you do not have a clear view of these areas, contact us to discuss the available options. A new modern door viewer may be adequate, or possibly a video door bell system or even CCTV may be needed.

Since we are now at the front door, let’s make sure it can be secured. Do you have a deadbolt lock on this door and all other exterior doors? If you do have a deadbolt lock, does the bolt project 1” from the face of the door when thrown? Does it mount to the door securely? Is it constructed of solid or stamped metal? You should also inspect the door jamb, and the strike that receives the bolt. It should be secured to the jamb with at least 3 inch screws that extend into the structural framing of the doorway.

And finally what condition is the door itself in, is the construction material sound, are the hinges secure, does it drag or bind? If the door is not in good condition, the most expensive and secure lock will not be of much use. Next you should check all other exterior doors, they need to be as secure as the front door. If you have an attached garage, pay particular attention to the door leading into the house. If a burglar breaks into your garage, they will have a secured and hidden area in which to work, and may even use your tools to attack this door. Keeping your tools under lock and key may not be a bad idea.

We need check the security of windows and patio doors. If you need a window to be open for ventilation, be sure that the opening is small enough to keep the “bad guys” out, and that is is secured from being opened further. Often window locks do not need to be elaborate, a nail or metal pin, if properly used, may be all that is needed. Patio doors are another weak link, don’t depend only on the installed lock. A tightly fitted broomstick, or other device laid in the inside track, is good insurance. But be sure that it cannot be lifted or dislodged by using a wire from the outside.

Your automatic garage door, could also be a weak link. The newer units use very good transmitter security, but some older units did not. Side doors into your garage also need to be locked.

All of these steps should be viewed as minimum starting points. We will be happy to arrange a free home security survey.

Please see the “Links“ page for links to manufacturers sites and crime prevention sites,  many of which have additional security tips.

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