Our expert locksmiths have taken the time to gather your most frequent locksmith questions and provide expert advice.
What are the differences between a residential and a commercial locksmith service? What are the challenges to both?
The fundamental difference between residential and commercial locksmiths is the type of locks they supply. Generally, most good locksmiths will handle both. As a general rule of the thumb, the highest quality durable locks are required for most commercial properties that face heavy traffic coming in and out all day.
Locks are graded 1-3 with number 1 being the strongest. Commercial properties ordinarily need grade 1 locks in order to adequately secure the building and withhold the wear and tear that goes with heavy everyday use. A commercial locksmith will also specialise in installation and repairs of different security systems designed specifically for commercial use such as panic bars, master key systems, safes and filing cabinet locks. A grade 2 or 3 lock is recommended for residential properties with grade 2 recommended for homes with slightly more traffic than usual and also for light commercial use.
How often should the locks be changed in a family home?
Generally household locks do not need to be routinely changed unless there is a problem. If you are having problems with your locks with them malfunctioning or perhaps you just feel it’s time to upgrade the security to your home; then now might be the time to think about calling us and having them changed/upgraded. For the most part, the only other time we strongly recommend to have your locks changed is if you suspect that someone might have access to your home. Perhaps you’ve just had the builders in that had a spare set or you’ve fired the cleaner that had a set or maybe you’ve had your keys stolen. It’s always worth to err on the side of caution and be on the safe side and make sure your property is secure if you ever suspect that someone may have unauthorised access to your property.
How often should the locks be changed in an office?
A few factors will need to be considered when deciding if your office locks need changing. The level of security needed for your office along with the company turnover and what type of lock you have. A standard lock with a regular key that can be easily duplicated will need to be changed more often than if you have a key that is stamped and can’t be duplicated. Digital office door locks are the easiest if an employee leaves or the door code is forgotten; since you only need to change the code. If you have a lot of valuable merchandise on the premises then security will be more of an issue and will need more attention. The same applies if your business has a high turnover of staff.
What is the best way to ensure the security of an office?
A few simple measures can be made to ensure that you have optimal security in place in the office. An alarm system and/or CCTV can be a real asset to any business. Many of them will alert the police where needed in the event of a break in. CCTV enables you to keep an eye on what’s going on at your commercial property no matter where you are. It’s also worth making sure that your locks are up to the job and meet British standard. If you don’t already have locks that are BS 3621 then it’s time to scrap the old ones and think about getting new ones installed, also worthwhile if you want to save money on your insurance premiums. If you keep cash in the office it’s worth investing in a Eurograde safe that is approved by the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) and confidential documents in a locked cabinet.
What is the best deterrent for burglars?
Burglar alarms, CCTV and motion detector lights are probably the best deterrents for keeping burglars at bay. It’s best to do some research and think carefully about what you actually need before splashing out on an alarm system. Some will automatically alert the police if there is a break in and there are also dial up systems that will ring your mobile if an intruder is detected and there are even dummy alarms on the market which won’t do the work 100% but will certainly act as a deterrent. CCTV has become much more affordable these days and there are a lot of IP models on the market that don’t require professional installation and will allow you to monitor what’s going on in your home or business from the convenience of your phone. Motion detector lights are a big turn off for burglars. Burglars don’t want to be seen and a motion detector light snapping on suddenly and putting them in the spotlight can be enough to send them running for cover.
What is the first thing someone should do after being burgled?
The very first thing you should do before anything is call the police. If you discover you’ve been burgled before entering the house, call from outside and make sure you do not touch or move anything inside; since you could contaminate any evidence in place left by the burglars. If you witnessed the burglars, write down a description of the intruders before you forget, unless you have CCTV in place, it will do the work for you. Once the police have arrived make a list of all the items that have been stolen along with their value. As well as possibly trying to retrieve your goods, you will also need these details should you wish to make an insurance claim.
Which do you prefer, digital locks or the traditional lock and key system?
It’s all a matter of preference and some of us will still struggle to get used to placing trust in a digital style lock. The biggest advantage to having a digital lock is you don’t risk either forgetting or losing your keys and you won’t need to cut multiple keys for family members. With digital locks, you can allow anyone you like access into your house without even being there i.e. the cleaner, tradesmen etc. Digital locks are proven to be very reliable, but like most products it has its disadvantages, for example, if you forget the pin, you could find yourself locked out.
What is the best way to maintain locks?
The great thing about locks is that they don’t really need any maintenance. Normal wear and tear will happen over time, but can’t necessarily be prevented. One thing you can do to try and prolong their life span is to avoid using WD40 to lubricate them; since this can do more harm than good.
What does it mean when a lock is up to BS3621 standards?/What is BS3621?
Locks that meet British Standards (BS3621) go through vigorous testing and must meet certain criteria that show they are anti-theft and attack resistant. The lock needs to be a five lever design, be able to withstand drilling and have an anti-pick mechanism in place. Insurance companies will usually ask that your locks meet British Standards in order to give you coverage. If you want to be sure that your lock is compliant with British Standards, look out for the kite mark which is usually engraved on the cylinder.
What is a Rim Cylinder based lock?
The Rim Cylinder lock is the top lock on a wooden door; usually operating a night latch. They are based with five pins with or without a high security key.
What is a Deadlock Mortice?
A Deadlock Mortice lock is usually the bottom lock on a wooden door. If the lock is on an external door in most cases it will have to be British Standard.
What is one common mistake that people make with their locks?
One common mistake that many people make is not taking the keys outside with them and getting locked out. Locks that come with a spring latch bolt lock automatically lock every time the door is closed; making it very easy to get locked out.
What is something that requires locks that people often overlook?
Window locks are often overlooked as something not needed, but the fact is many insurance companies will insist that all ground floor and accessible windows have key operated window locks.