When Should You Replace Your Locks?

Between the number of secure buildings that are part of your life and the multiple doors they have, there are a number of reasons for getting locks replaced, some of which are more obvious than others. In this post we’ll go over replacing locks vs. rekeying, as well as some common scenarios for when you may want to get your locks replaced.

Replacing Locks vs. Rekeying

First, you need to identify whether you want your locks replaced or rekeyed. Replacing a lock requires a full replacement of the locking mechanism and any accompanying knob or handle. Rekeying involves removing the pins and springs in the lock cylinder and replacing them with new ones that operate with a new and different key. 

When to Get Your Locks Replaced

So how often and when should you replace your locks? Let’s look at some scenarios where changing your locks is best for your security and peace of mind.

Misplaced Keys 

Misplacing keys is a common occurrence and one that warrants replacing your locks. You can’t be certain that someone else hasn’t found your key, so changing your locks in this situation is inconvenient. However, it will put your mind at ease.

Stolen Keys

Stolen keys mean that one (or more) people have access to your property. Don’t wait to see if your keys resurface. Move quickly to get your locks replaced.

Worn Out or Rusted Locks

Even the best of locks suffer from wear and tear over time due to heavy and repeated use. Lock stressors can range from stiffness and looseness to rust and tarnish. Old, well-worn locks are easy for criminals to pick while newer, tighter locks are impossible to open without the right key. Replace your old locks and secure your home.

Renting out space or adding a new roommate

Subletting a room or an apartment, or sharing your living space with a roommate, are common reasons for changing out your locks. The tenant receives keys to the property upon rental and returns them upon termination of the lease. Replacing the locks is necessary if this process does not go smoothly or if the tenant distributed copies of keys to other people.

Moving into a new home

Because you can’t be certain who has duplicate keys to your new home, even if it’s a brand-new build, it’s smart to replace your locks. The former owner may have distributed copies to other people, or the home may have had a realtor lockbox, and that key has passed through many pairs of hands. Never assume that the locks on your new residence are tamper proof; replace them and rest easy in your new home.

Home invasion and burglary

Burglary is a horrible invasion of your sense of security. In this scenario, you need to expect the worst: the criminals have your keys and access to your home. Don’t take the chance that your keys haven’t fallen into the wrong hands. Replace your locks after a home invasion and restore your sense of privacy.

House sitting

Consider changing your locks if you’ve had someone watch your house while you’re on vacation. Even if you trust that person, you can’t be sure that someone didn’t get access to a key without the house sitter knowing.

Regardless of your particular scenario, it’s a best practice to upgrade your security by replacing your locks every few years for both better performance and greater security. 

Tips for Protecting Your Master Key

Each day we use keys to secure some of our most prized possessions: buildings, cash, documents, and assets. If you misplace your master key, or if someone copies your key without your knowledge or permission, your business—and everything within it—could be at risk.

The Importance of Protecting Your Master Key

Losing your master key necessitates the need to rekey your entire master key system. This situation can be extremely costly depending on how many doors your business or facility contains. Schools, college campuses, hospitals, gyms, factories, office buildings, hotels and restaurants often have multiple entrances and exits, and rekeying all of them would be incredibly expensive.

Who Needs Access to the Master Key?

Having a master key is beneficial for any business because it allows you to access multiple rooms with the same key, which is critical in various scenarios. High-security areas, such as commercial offices and financial safes, are also examples of where a master key can come in handy. There are various different needs for access to the master key, including but not limited to:

Emergency Personel 

For example, during a fire a master key allows fire departments and emergency personnel to access all parts of the building quickly.

Custodians

Additionally, the master key may be necessary for custodians to use in case of plumbing or electrical accidents.

Landlords

Landlords and building security would benefit from having quick entry to any door on the premises.

Managers

A master key is also helpful in managerial situations, so that store or office managers have admittance to areas of the building that they need to oversee.

Employees

Depending on your business, some employees might need a master key.

Any combination of individuals such as those listed above may need different levels of master key access. For example, a manager may have a master key to access an individual unit, custodians could have a separate key for maintenance and storage doors, and other employees a key for more specific, off-limits areas like swimming pool gates or common rooms.

Ultimately, a master key improves the flexibility and workflow of business, allows for security and additional control to eliminate unauthorized access and employee theft, and provides ease of entry during emergency situations.

Tips for Keeping Your Master Key Safe

We’ve established the importance of having master keys for your company and what difficulties a lost master key can create. What steps can you take to keep your master key safe and avoid the hassle and expense of rekeying your locks?

Here are ways you can keep your master key from falling into the wrong hands:

Be Selective

Give key access only to people you trust. Although this isn’t necessarily foolproof, it’s one of the best ways to keep the master keys safe.

Keep Track

Keep careful records of anyone who gets a copy of a master key, and check those records regularly especially when turnover occurs within the business or facility.

Create a Label System

Label keys with a code system that is not accessible in case of theft. Don’t label the keys in an obvious fashion, such as by room number.

Store Securely

Keep the master key and any duplicates in a secure location far away from high-traffic or commercial areas.

Use a Key Safe

If you purchase a key safe, make sure that you find one with a fire rating, lock type, size, and security rating that meets the needs of your business.

The master key is at the heart of any business or organization. Make sure that your keys stay safe so that your company is well-protected and secure.

 

Uses & Applications for Exit Devices

Exit devices, also known as panic bars or push bars, are horizontal bars on commercial doors that allow for easy unlocking and exit from a building. You’ve probably used or seen one, as they are standard in many buildings today. There are several  different types of exit devices and alarms as they can serve multiple purposes and be used for various types of buildings. In this post we’ll reiterate the importance of exit devices by going over their various different uses and applications.

Comply with Codes and Laws

Typically, any building in which 50 or more people may gather or assemble is required to have exit devices, per legal and building codes. This is what makes exit devices so important.

Emergency Exiting

One of the chief reasons that exit devices are required by law is because they equip a building for emergencies. Exit devices make it so that a door can be used without much thought — just push and go. This is particularly important in emergency situations in which a large group of people may be panicking and rushing to get out of a building. Since exit devices are required to be at least half the width of the door, pushing against the door by a single person or group of people will cause the door to open.

Fire Safety

One particular emergency that exit devices are catered to is a fire. Not only does an exit device make it easy to get out of a building quickly, but fire rated exit devices will also work to seal off and separate areas of a building to prevent a fire from spreading. Since these doors only open from the inside, re-entry into a building is also sealed off. In fire situations, this helps prevent backdraft caused by the introduction of oxygen into the fire, which can happen if a door is opened or a window is broken. 

Monitor Exits

Exit devices can be used to direct the outgoing traffic for a building. For example, maybe your employees continually go out the back door because it’s closer to their cars, but the building your company rents requires front entry and exit only. This is a way to make sure your employees help your company to stay within your building’s compliance. 

Prevent Theft

Who or what’s exiting a building is sometimes just as (or even more) important than who or what’s entering it. Exit devices that include an alarm system are a great way to prevent theft—whether via shoplifters or employee theft, shoplifting, or people leaving the building who shouldn’t be, such as in childcare centers, nursing homes, or Alzheimer’s centers. By attaching an alarm to an exit device, you will be alerted anytime someone attempts to leave the building through an unauthorized or unmonitored exit.

Keep People Safe

Another scenario for unwanted exits is that of care centers such as daycares, nursing homes, or Alzheimer’s centers. By attaching an alarm to an exit device, you will be alerted anytime someone attempts to leave the building through an unauthorized or unmonitored exit.

Facilitate Traffic

Exit devices also have some more simple uses, such as creating large openings. This is useful for buildings that have high capacity traffic such as concert halls, or that see a lot of large items coming through, such as hospital beds or heavy duty equipment.

While there are many considerations when choosing an exit device for your building, the good news is that they’re an affordable way to add an extra layer of security and safety while complying with building codes and regulations.

4 Important Considerations When Choosing an Exit Device

Updating your doorways’ hardware should always be an item on your building maintenance checklist. After years of repeated use, the mechanisms are bound to need replacing at one point or another. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, consider adding exit devices to your entries if you haven’t already. Modern hardware adds several safety and compliance benefits to your business but not all are best suited for every type of door. Here are some things to consider before committing to an exit device.

What type of door do you have?

The type of door you have will dictate the type of exit device you choose. Exit devices can be fitted to single or double door openings. If you have a double door, you’re able to fit a mullion (a vertical bar separating the doorway down the center between the two doors) to provide latching points for each door. Decide if you mind having the doorway cut in half by this bar. If you want a completely unobstructed doorway when both doors are opened, you’re able to secure both doors without a mullion by using a vertical rod exit device paired with a mortise exit device.

The materials your existing doors are made of will also play a part when selecting your exit devices. Wood, hollow metal and aluminum are usually compatible with all types of exit devices. If you have an aluminum glass door with a narrow stile you’ll need to consult a locksmith to be sure you’ve chosen the right variety of exit device.

Do you need fire rated devices?

Exit devices are separated into two categories: fire rated and non-fire rated. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, the non-fire rated devices are a good fit. Keep in mind you can only have a fire rated exit device installed if you have a fire rated door. These particular exit devices are manufactured to suit the requirements of fire rated entries. Also, if you’re planning to have electrified dogging you must wire everything through your building’s alarm system that would release the dogging in case of a fire.

Fire rated exit devices are much more secure and provide an added level of protection in case of an emergency. But, if you don’t already have fire rated doors and are not planning to replace existing doors, the non-fire rated devices will get the job done nicely.

Will operational noise be an issue?

If your facility requires a certain level of noise control, you won’t want to purchase a motor operated exit device. Places like dorms, hospitals, doctors offices and educational facilities may find that a motorized mechanism would be too distracting.

Where is the door located?

If your outfitting a doorway that opens to the exterior of the building be sure to purchase an exit device that is weather proof. In cases of extreme weather, mechanisms within an exit device may malfunction. Owning a business in the Boston area, this should be the top priority when making your decision.

There are many variables to consider before purchasing your exit devices and a professional locksmith should always be consulted to ensure you’re making the right choices from the start.

What Are Exit Devices And Why Are They Important?

Every entry and exit to your facility needs to be properly outfitted to allow for ease of access. An important and necessary component is an exit device. There are many options to choose from, some being better suited than others depending on the door location and door type. 

What is an Exit Device?

Exit devices are mounted on the egress side of the door. They’re often called panic bars or push bars and are very important in emergency situations. To activate you simply push the spring loaded bar which unlatches the lock. Exit devices provide a simple, safe way to exit a building so having them installed on all exit doors is a smart move. 

What is the Importance of an Exit Device?

Exit devices serve a few crucial purposes. First, they’re the safest exiting option in emergency situations. Their components are simple lessening the chance of a malfunction and they’re easy for anyone to use. Double check ADA compliance requirements for your area before purchasing an exit device, but most fall under ADA mandate.

Exit devices also supply additional security When installed on exit only doors they ensure the door will remain locked and inaccessible from the outside. They can also be hooked up to your security systems so that your alarms may be activated if the exit device is used. 

Additional Benefits of Exit Devices

Traditional push bars are incredibly affordable. Ranging from about $100 – $300 per exit bar they’re in inexpensive way to add an extra element of safety to your commercial building. Check with your local locksmith if they have preferred vendors for this particular device. A professional will make sure you get the best deal possible.

Adding exit devices to your doors may also give you a break on your insurance rates. Supplementing your building’s security and properly preparing for emergency situations makes you more insurable and will position you for better rates. 

Types of Exit Devices

You have a few choices when it comes to your preferred exit device:

  • Rim Style: this is the most common variety of exit device. A ​​rim style device is surface mounted and has a bolt that fits over surface mounted strike. 
  • Bolt Rim: relatively new, a bolt rim has a deadbolt latching system that extends on top of the strike decreasing the space between the strike and the bolt.
  • Mortise Lock: usually only used on a double door system and installed onto the swinging door. It has a mortise lock in the door pocket in the doors edge and is part of the exit device. 

Installing exit devices should exclusively be done by a professional locksmith. They’ll recommend the best style for your existing doors and insure proper installation. If you’re looking for a professional in the Boston area, contact Kenny’s Locks.