Are Electronic Security Locks Right for Your Home or Business?

 

It seems that everything around is electronic today,  but should the locks on your Dorchester home or business also be electronic? This blog post explores three types of electronic locks, and looks at the pros and cons for each. 

1. App based Access

Also known as wireless access control. These locks work with a key or by an electronic signal. Like everything with technology, the more it is used, the cheaper it becomes. As such, many homes and businesses have locks that are app based.

Are they Good or Bad?

First, there is a difference between wired and wireless. The technology for both is good, but wireless has not completely caught up with electronic locks for wired doors. The second issue with wireless locks is that they are not always in real-time. If there is a problem, access is not immediate. While the idea of wireless locks is appealing, there is still a ways to go before these types of locks become standard. 

2. Keypad Control Access 

The big feature here is that you never have to worry about losing your door key again. All you need to do is remember the access code, and your door opens. Is that a good thing? For many of us yes it is. Because this technology is older, the options for keypads for homes and businesses in the Dorchester or Revere area are affordable. 

Are They Good or Bad?

Yes. These locks are very secure, and they give homeowners many options for placement of the lock pad. Also, the code is easy to share so your mom can get into your house if you are still at work  – simply by calling you. If there is a downside to these locks, it is that the keypad needs to be sheltered from the extreme weather. Otherwise, these locks bring a modern approach and many conveniences to homes and commercial properties. The trick to keeping these locks secure is to safeguard the code. 

Keypad locks work best with a security system. When the locks first appeared, they were easier to crack than they are today. Thieves would simply look at the keypad and see which numbers were used the most, and then try to guess the code. Burglars don’t have that much time to devote to trying to crack the code.  

3. Token Access – Also known as a FOB Locks.

These locks work much like the ones on your car. If you have the FOB in your pocket and you approach the door, then the lock automatically opens. While the idea is appealing, there are potential issues for home use. These locks work well when access to a building is secured through other means, such as a deadbolt lock. For businesses, FOB locks are beneficial and help to segregate access to specific areas. 

Are they Good?

For homes, these locks are not the safest. The car thieves have already figured out how to bypass wireless car door locks to gain access to vehicles. It is just a short jump to bridge the technology to those locks on people’s homes. 

If you are looking for a modern way to secure your home, consider a keypad lock for your doors. If you are unsure what type of locks work the best, reach out to our professionals, and we can walk you through your options. 

Everything You Need To Know About Locksmiths

 

Was there ever a situation that required the help of a locksmith? If not, the chances are good that there will be!

Finding the right locksmith, especially in an emergency situation, isn’t easy.  Follow these guidelines to help choose the right locksmith for your needs.

Never agree to having your lock completely replaced simply because you locked yourself out of your home or business. Talented locksmiths can unlock almost every door without needing to replace a lock. Replacing a lock will force you to spend extra money for no reason.

Research a locksmith prior to hiring them. You do not want to get someone that is untrustworthy. There are less than reputable locksmiths out there who make a habit of making extra copies of keys for themselves, so use caution. Make sure any locksmith you hire will have an id before you schedule an appointment. Ask them while they’re on a phone and say that you’re expecting someone that’s a professional to identify who they are. A good professional should also be in uniform, but at least make sure an id is involved before you accept services from them.

Be wary of locksmiths who increase the quote once they arrive at your location. Some will try and get more money than they deserve. Refuse to work with the individual and continue your search elsewhere.

Always be prepared, regardless of whether you think you’ll ever be locked out or not. Research before you need one and find someone that you can trust. Put a locksmith’s contact number into your cell phone for easy access.

Avoid additional fees by not calling a locksmith after regular business hours. After hours, you can expect locksmith costs to vary quite a bit. For example, finding yourself locked outside of your car during business hours may cost $100 or so, but after hours this can easily double.

Choose a company that is an active participant of their professional community. While this is just a bonus, you can be assured that a locksmith that is a member of an association or earns additional certifications is up on current trends. It can also help you avoid poor locksmiths that take you for all you’ve got!

Before permitting a locksmith in your house, get some references from him. Next, call all of them to make sure he is the real deal. Naturally, you want a skilled technician, but you also need to be able to trust this person. Look at a prospective locksmith’s credentials before allowing them in your home. Cross-reference the address on the listing that you found with the phone number that is given to you. With easy online access, you can double check anyone you want to hire.

Ask the locksmith how long he or she has worked. If it’s been quite a while, they are likely reliable. A new locksmith isn’t necessarily untrustworthy, but you should proceed with caution.

After the job is complete it is important that the locksmith give you a receipt for the services that were performed. Most locksmiths are of course honest, but there are scam artists out there. Get proof that you paid for the service before the locksmith leaves. Keep your receipt safe and stored in case a problem arises.

A little preparation, and a lot of common sense will protect you and help ensure that you work with the right locksmith. Use these tips to help you find the right one for you!

The 3 Most Common Lock Problems and How to Fix Them

Proper care and maintenance of your door locks can prevent lock replacement further down the road. That said, checking on door locks isn’t always at the top of everyone’s to-do list, and lock problems can slip through the cracks and build up over time.

Call a professional locksmith or replace the lockset completely for serious lock issues. However, smaller problems can be caught and repaired by the homeowner at little cost.

Here are three of the most common lock problems and how to fix them.

1. The door key doesn’t work.

First, make sure that you are using the correct key for the door. Once you do get the door open, try the key again. If the key works quickly and efficiently, then the issue is a deadbolt that is not properly interacting with the strike plate. If the key does not work easily, spray a small amount of graphite onto the key and into the lock. Try the key several times in the lock until it works.

What if the key turns but doesn’t unlock the lock? In this situation, take the lock apart to check that the tang or cam is engaging correctly with the bolt. Make sure to replace any broken parts before reassembling the lock.

What if the key is new? A new key that won’t slide easily into the lock may have some rough edges that should be filed down. To locate the rough spots, hold the key over a candle until it blackens with soot. Turn the key gently in the lock and remove it. The soot will be removed from the rough areas, so file those spots down, and your key should work fine.

2. The door lock works slowly.

Exterior and interior locks can get dirty with use and exposure to the elements over time, but there are some simple remedies to try before you purchase a replacement lock.

Start by inserting graphite into the keyhole. Use the lock mechanism repeatedly to work the graphite in.

Gummy, dirt deposits can also be removed with lock de-icers. If these methods don’t work, disassemble the lock and examine it to see if anything is broken or jammed within it. It’s possible that you can replace the part without having to buy a whole new lockset.

3. The key is broken off in the lock.

Using a set of pliers, attempt to grip the key and pull it straight out. If you are unable to access the key, use a cut coping saw blade to remove it. Point the blade’s teeth outward, insert the saw blade into the keyway, and pull the key part out.

In a worst-case scenario, remove the cylinder. Insert a stiff, hard wire at the back of the cylinder, then push the key out. You can also bring the cylinder to a locksmith if more assistance is necessary.

Always call a professional locksmith for serious lock concerns, but for smaller, more common lock problems, you can try to do it yourself first.

What to Put in Your Home or Business Safe

Having a safe for your home or business is key to protecting essential items necessary for your peace of mind or your company’s well-being. But many people choose to use safe deposit boxes in banks, thinking that method is more secure. However, items in a home or business safe will be covered under homeowner’s or company insurance policies, a benefit you won’t receive from a bank.

What exactly should a homeowner or business owner keep in a safe? Here’s a quick list of the more important items to have securely stored in a safe box.

For the Homeowner’s Safe

In the case of a natural disaster or a fire, homeowners can make a tragic situation more tenable by having their most valuable possessions locked in a safe. Keep these personal items secured in your safe:

Current insurance policies and agent contact information.

This information is critical to have on hand in case of an accident.

Personal, legal documents.

Have passports, original birth certificates, and original Social Security cards for all family members in the safe. These items are frustrating, stressful, and expensive to replace.

Family photo albums.

Even if you scan your photos and make digital copies of them, you will feel much better knowing that copies of irreplaceable family memories are safely preserved.

Copies of relevant legal and investment documents.

You will need this information should you have to suddenly access funds, or to make sure that power of attorney statements and wills are enacted in the manner you deemed fit.

Medical information.

You will want a list of family doctors, prescriptions, and pharmacy contact information so that you can get new medical supplies if needed.

Safety deposit box keys.

Copies of these keys will be needed to allow you access to your safety deposit box in an emergency situation.
Information on outstanding debts, payment due dates, and contact information. It’s critical that you know the state of your debt and protect your credit, even in an emergency.

For the Business Owner’s Safe

Similar to a homeowner’s situation, a smart business owner will prepare for any situation or circumstance by protecting the information and possessions most important to the business, employees, and customers. After all, companies want to be trustworthy and reliable to clientele. These are the items that should be in a business owner’s safe.

Credit card information.

In the case of emergency, the business may need access to its lines of credit to get back on its feet as soon as possible.

Confidential information about services and products.

Copies of any information about the company’s goods or services should be kept in the safe for the good of the business. This scenario may also apply to customers’ information from orders to financial dealings.

Contracts.

Whether contracts apply to employees or customers, or both, you will want copies safely preserved in case of a natural disaster.
Stock and bond certificates. A business owner may need quick access to this information in stressful circumstances, so having it on hand in the safe is a good idea.

Financial documents.

Any and all financial documents about the efficacy and heart of the company should be kept in the safe.

Electronics.

Any electronics such as laptops or tablets which contain sensitive company or customer information belong in the safe to keep this information out of the wrong hands.

Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, keeping vital information in a safe is the smartest move you can make.

 

How to Choose an Electric Strike Lock

The electric strike lock may not be a colorful component in a locking system, but it is one of the most important. This type of lock is not only cost-effective, but also a better alternative than electrified lock mechanisms in some circumstances.

Reasons for an Electric Strike Lock

Electric strikes are devices installed on doors to allow entry via an access system or remote release system. 

Unlike a magnetic lock, a strike does not secure a door; that’s the responsibility of the door handle or lockset. The electric strike allows access to a secured door with a key card, pass, etc., without the need for a key to the lockset.

Types of Electric Strike Locks

There are two styles of electric strike lock:

Fail-Safe Locks

Fail-safe locks (also called fail-open) operate as a magnetic lock would. A direct electric current is applied to the strike, causing the door to lock. In a power failure, the door can be pushed or pulled open.

Fail-secure locks

Fail-secure locks (also called non-fail safe or fail-locked) open when an electric current is applied to them. In a power failure, this kind of lock will remain locked, although the mechanical can still be used to open the door from the inside.

An electric strike lock is useful on any door where high traffic occurs and requires monitoring or where items need to be secured and safeguarded. It also regulates employee access and helps prevent employee theft.

Choosing an Electric Strike Lock

Choosing the right kind of electric strike lock depends on the kind of door you have. The door material, and whether the door is internal or external, double or single, determines which electric strike lock is best. Strikes are available for nearly all door styles and of various material types, like aluminum and timber.

Security and Monitoring Requirements

The level of security desired will impact the type of strike that is best for your doors and circumstance.

For example, a low-security situation with no defined holding force may only require a low-cost electric strike. However, in a high-security environment, a strike with a maximum holding force of 1,500 pounds or more may be necessary. 

Most electric strike manufacturers produce strikes with or without a monitoring facility. Door state monitoring should involve the use of a separate reed switch on the door or frame. 

Type of Lockset

Your electric strike lock must be compatible with the type of lockset on your door. Use the lockset manufacturer’s compatibility chart to determine if your electric strike works with the lockset in question.

Latch Bolt Dimensions

Similar to a lockset, your choice of electric strike lock will need to accommodate the type of lock bolt sizes. Make sure that the centerline location of the latch bolt is correctly positioned around the centerline of the lockset to ensure that the lock will work as desired.

Power Needs

Most electric strike locks are 24 VDC, although 12 and 24 VAC options are also available. Choosing AC or DC power is critical because each strike application is different. Consider regulated or filtered power sources where practical as these sources will extend life to the strike’s operating capacity.

Code Compliance

Fail-secure electric strike locks must be used on fire-rated doors so that the door automatically goes into a locked position when the power is turned off. Because fail-safe locks go into an unlocked state when no power is applied, they do not meet code requirements for fire doors.

Consult a locksmith if you are uncertain about what kind of electric strike lock you need for your building or office.