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. 

Choosing an Access Control System for your Business

Deciding how best to arm your business from unwanted intruders or visitors may induce a bit of head scratching over which security option would be the best fit. One of the more popular and effective varieties is the access control system. 

What is an Access Control System?

Access control systems require credentials in order to open your doors. Whether in the form of keyed in passwords, key fobs, biometric scans or physical or electronic keys, these intelligent access systems ensure that only the people you want moving through your doors are able to. 

Types of Access Control Systems

There are many different options when shopping for an access control system for your business. Which you choose, however, is dependent on your specific needs. Options include:

•Keypad access
•Card readers
•Wireless access
•Free-exit systems
•Buzz in system
•Hardware options

Key Considerations Before Install

Before purchasing an access control system, take time to evaluate what it is you truly need. You don’t want to make the mistake of over-buying and spending unnecessarily on a fully loaded security system if it’s not necessary. 

Level of Control 

Access control systems can provide a high level of management throughout your entire facility such as:

•Logging and time stamping employee IDs at time of access
•Restricting access to off-limits areas
•Creating time frames when access is allowed
•Automatic “open” times where doors are unlocked for free access

Installation Type

Some business owners with minimal security needs can get away with less complicated systems, like smartphone operated systems, which can be installed easily without professional assistance. But, most small businesses will find that a more intelligent security option is the better choice which would require a professional installation. There is still a fair amount of preparation required on the part of the business owner, but the assurance you’ll get that your systems are installed correctly is absolutely worth it. 

Security Needs

We mentioned before that you need to understand what your building actually needs in the way of security before choosing an access control system. Consider not only what you need right now but also what you may require down the road. You’ll want to choose a system that is easy to modify or add to if you foresee a future need.

Make a list or diagram of all the entry ways and exits, a list of all employees and vendors who require access, hours of operation and blackout hours, times in which free access is required, etc. A professional is your best resource here as well. Having installed countless systems, they’ll be able to point out items you may not have considered on your own.

The benefits you receive from an access control system cannot be replicated from a simple keyed system alone. With varying options to select from and price ranges to fit nearly every budget, it’s worth looking into if you’re mulling over upgrading your building security.  

 

How to Choose the Right Door Closer

One of the most important mechanisms installed on your commercial doors is the door closer. Without a proper closer your doors could be slamming shut causing damage to the door and frame or not closing at all letting valuable energy escape and compromising building security.

To ensure you’ve got the proper equipment installed, follow these basic tips before deciding on a door closer.

Questions to Consider

First and foremost, you need to be able to answer these basic questions in order to narrow down your door closer choices:
1) How much traffic does this entrance see?
2) What is the size and weight of the door?
3) What are the backswing requirements?
4) Am I looking to outfit an interior or exterior door?
5) What is my budget?

These will help you determine which direction to start looking in. 

Door Closers Based on Traffic

Some door closers are better for high traffic areas. A durable option is the overhead door closer – best used for medium to heavy traffic – and can be used on either interior or exterior doors. They’re also the most common door closer on the market. The three main types of overhead door closers are:

Regular Arm

Installed on the outside of the door, this door closer juts out from the door frame, never laying flush with the door. However, this is the most power-efficient option available.

Parallel Arm

With an arm that sits parallel with the door when closed, the parallel arm option are most common in schools and commercial buildings as they minimize the opportunity to vandalize doorways. Keep in mind they’re not the most power-efficient.

Top Jamb

If you’ve got a glass or aluminum door frame, a top jamb door closer is your best option. The spring loaded box which enables the door to close on its own is mounted on the face of the doorframe.

Heavy Duty Door Closers

If you’ve got a heavy traffic zone you may consider something a bit more heavy duty in which case a floor-spring or overhead spring closer would be more appropriate. This variety is not visible like the traditional overhead door closer, so if you’re concerned about aesthetics this would also be a good option. 

A floor-spring door closer is great for glass door storefront locations. Installed in the floor, the closer is fitted to the bottom of the door making it less visible. This variety will generally come with an option to leave the door propped open and just provides a more sleek look to your entryways. 

Other Things to Consider

If you have automatic door openers you’ll need to keep these in mind when choosing a door closer. Many automatic door openers have a closing mechanism of their own and installing more hardware on top of that may cause damage to your door.

Building codes will have an impact on the type of door closers you install. Every jurisdiction is different when it comes to building code requirements. Check with the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, American National Standards Institute and the American with Disabilities Act requirements. Each of these resources will keep you within code requirements.  

Don’t forget that just because your doors are now closing perfectly on their own that you still need to install locking mechanisms appropriate for your doors. The doors may be shutting on their own but you’d like them to stay that way!

If you’re interested in equipping your doors with automatic door closers, contact a professional to ensure proper installment.  

The Importance of Latch Protection

There are several ways to improve the security of the doors to your home or business. High tech security systems, commercial grade locks and regular spot checking are all ways to further secure your entryways.

However, break-ins are often executed the good old fashioned way, with brute force or door prying. So, how else can you prevent intruders from gaining access to your building by essentially walking through your front door?

Latch Protectors

Chances are you’ve seen latch protectors in your daily life but didn’t realize their purpose. A latch protector is a either a stainless steel or a cold-rolled steel plate that is affixed to the door itself. The plate overlaps with the door jamb which helps prevent prying and jamb spreading. Since it’s affixed to the outside, it also makes it more difficult to kick a door in.

Levels of Security

There are three levels of security offered by latch protectors.
Level 3: Commercial grade security preventing forced entry
Level 2: Includes an anti-spread pin preventing forced entry and door jamb separation
Level 1: Contains 2 anti-spread pins providing an optimum deterrent for forced entry and door jamb separation.

Depending on your needs, you may choose to have the most heavy duty option or the basic latch protector.

Aesthetics

We can never forget about the fact that our doors add a level of aesthetic appeal to our homes and office buildings. Just like with many other security features, latch protectors come in several finishes to match your overall décor scheme. Aluminum, antique brass, chrome, stainless steel, mirrored brass…there are plenty of options to choose from.

Latch protectors are often overlooked by homeowners because they seem a bit too commercially driven. However, if you’ve ever had your home broken into you know that you can never take too many security precautions. With latch protectors coming in so many finish options, it should be simple to choose one that works well with your home’s overall appearance.

Installation

Latch protectors provide additional security for the latch and deadbolt. To be sure you’re not interfering with the door’s other mechanisms, it’s best to seek the advice of a professional locksmith before installation. Installation plans will revolve around several factors such as door type, amount of surface area to cover, how the door swings and ensuring that once it’s installed the door will latch properly. During installation people often find that there are adjustments which need to be made to the door beforehand. A professional locksmith will be able to assist you with any snafus that may appear.

As always, be sure you’re following basic door security tips on a regular basis. No matter how many bells and whistles you have installed on your entryways, if they’re not properly maintained you could be asking for trouble.

Jamb Jackets for Security

When’s the last time you took a good look at the state of your door jambs? If you haven’t paid them much attention recently, take a second on your way out and give it a peek.

Chances are that if you haven’t recently had new doors and jambs installed, they’re looking pretty haggard. If you do notice that they’re a bit worse for wear, consider installing a jamb jacket to provide a higher level of security to your home and office doorways.

At Risk Doors

Wooden doors weaken and become damaged more easily than most other materials. Constant use and weather may cause the wood to soften, splinter or deteriorate, making your doors less secure. Look at the door jamb. If it appears to be worn down or pieces easily splinter off then you need to address the issue sooner rather than later.

Even if your doors are made of another, less soft material, the door jambs will need reinforcing at some point in time. Aluminum and other metals may become dented preventing the door from properly latching.

Concerns with Reinforcing Door Jambs

Often times, people leave their crumbling door jambs as they are because they’re under the impression they’ll need to do a rip and replace of the entire door set or frame to fix the issue. Fortunately, jamb jackets are the perfect solution for someone with this concern. The jamb jacket is installed over the existing door jamb so there’s no need to replace anything.

Another concern is that the jamb jacket will interfere with aesthetics. In actuality, if appearance is something you’re concerned with, jamb jackets can help! They create a smooth, clean surface and are available in a few color options.

Installation can also seem too complicated for the everyday homeowner. If ease of installation is a barrier for you, contacting a professional locksmith to pop one in is a safe bet. Realistically, any time you’re installing new hardware on your doors you’ll want to get a professional to take on the project with you. You can never be too careful when it comes to securing your home or business.

Benefits of Jamb Jackets

The primary benefit of installing a jamb jacket is added security. If your door jambs are weakened from overuse and deterioration, a burglar can easily kick in the door and gain access to your home or business. Even if you’ve installed the most sophisticated high grade lock you could find, a weak door jamb will never hold up to brute force. The disappointing part is that it could have all been easily prevented if properly addressed.

A side benefit is that they truly do streamline the look of your doorway. Also, if you’ve got little ones running around, you could mitigate the risk of some nasty injuries from splintering wood or sharp metal projections.

Talk to your local Boston area locksmith if you see some signs of wear in your door jambs. They’ll be able to make recommendations and help with your new jamb jacket installation.