Your home is your safe space and guaranteeing its security is essential for your peace of mind. Any sort of violation or intrusion can take a serious toll on you, not just financially but also mentally and emotionally.
You must do all that you can to safeguard its sanctity and security and to keep intruders and burglars away from your property.
Burglars are opportunists who keep an eye out for vulnerabilities in your home security system, and the first thing that they generally look for is susceptibilities in the locking mechanism of the front door and windows.
The majority of burglars try and sneak in through the front door, and what might come as a shock is that most of the time, they find these doors unlocked, which is a very irresponsible act on the homeowners’ part.
A good lock is the most basic and important defence against such threats and must be your priority in terms of physical security. A compromised one can be a cause of worry and stress by making your property a lucrative target for criminals.
The best way to overcome such vulnerabilities is by always keeping the doors locked and by changing faulty or risky locks to state-of-the-art ones.
Let’s look at how often the locks must be changed and the variety of situations that could cause your existing locks to be compromised.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CHANGE THE LOCKS?
If you have never changed your door locks or did so very long ago that you can’t even remember, you are not alone. Sadly, many people overlook this basic security measure and put their home security at risk.
Door locks, unlike other domestic items, don’t need regular upkeep and maintenance. For instance, you won’t be required to change them as regularly as the filters in your HVAC system or the oil in your car.
It is advised to change your door locks once every seven years, but that depends on several factors. You might even be required to change them way before the seven-year recommended mark, or way after if the locks are rarely used.
Let’s look at the situations that determine how often and when the locks should be changed.
- Lost keys
Keys and locks come in pairs, and of course, if one gets compromised, the entire security system gets compromised. Therefore, if you lose your home keys, it is recommended that you change your door locks as a security measure. Failing to do so leaves your security system in a vulnerable state since you will never know who has access to the lost keys. Changing the locks is the most efficient way to ensure your home security remains intact.
- Outdated or faulty locks
Everything deteriorates over time, even the most secure locks. If you feel like your locks are old, have become difficult to use, or it takes extra effort to lock or unlock the door, it would be a great idea to call a professional locksmith and have the locks replaced ASAP. Faulty locks also increase the chance of a lockout, which is something you would not want to experience.
- Intrusion or break-in
You must immediately change your locks if you experience a break-in, or even an attempted break-in since there’s no way to tell if the burglars made copies of the keys giving them access to your property. Intruders might also tamper with the locks causing them to malfunction and therefore, compromising their effectiveness.
- New home
It is always a good idea to install new locks if you move into a new home. The previous homeowners and their family and friends might have keys and their copies for the existing locks, and you certainly would not want strangers to have access to your home.
- Someone moved out
If your roommate, tenant, or partner has moved out, you might want to get the locks changed. Even if they return their keys, you don’t know if they made copies. Changing the locks will ensure they don’t let themselves in without your permission.
- Someone has your keys
Another instance when changing the locks would be wise is if you gave your keys to someone, such as repairmen and other service providers, and they didn’t return them. Unless you take action and replace the locks, this can give unwanted access to individuals.
There are many ways in which you can upgrade from the traditional lock and key method. For one, if you do not wish to carry a bulky set of keys for every door of the house, you can have one key made that will unlock all the doors of your residential property. Another great and modern way is to switch to a keyless entry system that lets you in by verifying your credentials.
REPLACING VS. REKEYING
There are two methods involved in changing the locks; replacing and rekeying. Both ensure that the old keys can no longer be used to open the locks.
Replacing door locks means removing the existing lock from the door and installing a new one in its place. Rekeying involves leaving the old lock as it is and instead, changing the existing key to a new one.
You can replace your locks if you wish to upgrade them to high-security ones, or if you have locks of different brands around the house and wish to open them all with a single key.
Rekeying, on the other hand, is done when you are happy with your existing lock installation and do not wish to change it. However, it is not only used when you wish to retire old keys but also when you wish to open more than one lock with the same key.
CHOOSING THE BEST LOCKS
If you decide to have your door locks changed, you must choose the best option to ensure the maximum level of security. Before we reveal our top pick, you must understand a very common phenomenon known as lock snapping.
Lock snapping is a very simple, easy, and quiet method that burglars use to “snap” open doors fitted with standard euro-cylinder locks. All it takes is a few seconds, some DIY tools, and a bit of strength.
These locks are used on the majority of UPVC doors and are unfortunately very easy to bypass. Burglars using the lock snapping technique break or snap the standard Euro lock cylinder into two by applying a specific amount of force at the weakest part of the cylinder, and the West Yorkshire Police have reported an increase in the number of burglaries in homes using the aforementioned lock.
The best way to avoid burglars from snapping your locks is by using anti-snap locks.
When a standard lock is snapped, the entire body of the lock breaks off, giving intruders unwanted access into your home. On the other hand, an anti-snap cylinder lock stays intact even when it is snapped. Because the lock is in two parts, the door remains locked even when part of the barrel is broken.
The best anti-snap locks must have a:
- SS312 Diamond Standard rating
- TS007 3-star rating
The charges for our locksmith to come out to change a lock on a domestic property is £62.40 (including VAT). Anti-snap locks start at around £54 (including VAT). The charges for opening a lock for when you’re locked out start from £70 and can go up depending on the lock.
The reason for the price difference is that some locks are easier to open while others are not. If you have a standard Euro cylinder lock, it can easily be snapped open, as discussed above. But if it is the high-security anti-snap kind, it would take a professional a bit of time and expertise to open it.
Other factors that determine the charges include the brand of the lock and the number of locks to open. There might be more than one lock on the door and that would require more skill, expertise, and time.
If you would like more information, please call us on 0800 612 9799 and we’ll be happy to help.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO AVOID FREQUENTLY CHANGING LOCKS
If you find yourself in any of the above-mentioned situations, your first instinct must be to change your locks. If you’re unsure about when it must be done, you can consult with a professional locksmith for expert advice.
Here are a few preventive measures that can be taken to avoid having to change your locks too frequently:
- Keep your keys safe and hidden from others
- Keep a track of the keys and their copies
- Give keys or their copies to only people you trust
- Only older children in the household must be given a key
- Don’t put your address on the keys
- Go for a keyless access system
- Have a professional locksmith install your locks
While spare keys can be very convenient at times, they pose a serious security threat if lost or stolen, or not kept track of.
You must be very careful about how many you make and where you hide them because if they fall in the wrong hands, such as those of burglars or intruders, they can compromise the security of your home.
Be careful when making too many spare keys since each copy of your house key must be accounted for. Having too many house keys can completely defeat the purpose of having a lock in the first place.
If even one person loses their copy, it can put the entire system at risk, in which case, it would become a hassle to change all the locks and provide new keys to everyone.
It is recommended that you only give your keys to responsible people who understand the meaning of accountability. Always remember that most burglaries happen due to neglect or human error.
HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS
A good, sturdy door and a reliable anti-snap lock is the first step to good home security. You must also pair these with other preventive security measures such as burglar alarms, CCTV, and access controls to give your home complete security.
According to statistics, 63% of burglaries happen in homes without a basic security system. Since most burglars closely monitor the area they choose to break into, they make sure there aren’t any deterrents that get in the way of their burglary.
Properties with security alarms, cameras, and security locks lose most of their charm to burglars since they know that such places would be difficult to break into and because the chances of getting caught would be way higher.
Burglar alarms are one of the best defences against burglars and they work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect any unusual activity, notifying the person-in-charge to take necessary action.
An effective burglar alarm system gives you peace of mind that an intruder would not be able to access your home undetected, and it also serves as a very effective deterrent against trying to break in at all.
Since most burglars closely monitor the area they choose to break into, they make sure there aren’t any deterrents that get in the way of their burglary.
Pair the alarm system with professional monitoring services and you’ll get yourself a power pack! Basically, burglar alarm monitoring employs the use of specialized sensors/alarms that are connected to a central monitoring station.
In simple words, in the event of an alarm trigger, a professional alarm monitoring centre would be notified and, in some cases emergency responders such as the police.
A burglar’s main ally is stealth and neglect. CCTV cameras make it nearly impossible to break in without getting noticed, making them one of the biggest deterrents for burglars.
Experts believe that as many as 67% of domestic burglaries could be prevented if people had CCTV monitoring.
CCTV not only serves as an effective deterrent but the recorded footage also helps collect evidence in the unfortunate event of a crime being committed. Suspects can be easily identified with the help of CCTV recordings and there’s a higher chance of the perpetrators being caught.
Access control systems
Access control systems are a keyless door entry system with the main idea to make your house hard to break in to. It offers you control over who enters your home and it effectively eradicates the need for keys that can be lost or stolen.
They are an efficient way to provide access authorisation to people, whose identity is authenticated via identification credentials entered into the system, which is then checked against an access control database saved in the server.
The systems can be operated via intercom, proximity fob or card, keypad, or even a biometric system, offering a very flexible security system that allows you to set access permissions for individuals and track movements in and out of your house.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
You need to be able to trust the locks you have on your home but you also need to be able to trust whoever installs them. You need to know that they are skilled in the task and that they are honest and trustworthy tradesmen.
We at Calder Security are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) since 1976 and can work on a wide range of locking mechanisms.
We are the official suppliers for leading lock brands including Chubb, Yale, Securikey, and Garrison, and can advise you on the best types of lock for your home.
Our qualified locksmiths have an in-depth knowledge of all kinds of locks and can often repair them on site. We can also access locks that have become jammed, including safes, and can respond to your calls quickly, which can be very useful if you’ve locked yourself out.
Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 9799 to talk to our experts right away!