lock types

Best Locks to Secure Your Storage Unit

If you’re thinking about finally getting that storage unit for those extras that just don’t fit in the house, it’s important to think about how you are going to secure it when you’re not around it. It’s a great place to put your belongings when you need a little extra space at home, you’re moving, or you have items that you only use during certain seasons of the year.

By Self Storage (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via  Wikimedia Commons

By Self Storage (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There is no need to hold onto holiday decorations or summertime equipment all year when you could be using the space in your home to function and live. Getting a storage unit can be a really handy way to get things out of one space temporarily and secure nearby, but make sure you are actually secure. Here is a look at the best locks you should consider getting to secure your storage unit from a break-in or vandalism.

Padlock

One of the most common options for locking a storage unit is to use a padlock, which allows you to lock up your unit without having to worry about losing your keys. You can get a keyed option as well, but having the option to use a combination style through a closed-shackle combination lock will make life simple. In addition, the closed-shackle design of it is challenging to break into with a bolt cutter; all you have to do is remember your combination.

If you get a padlock that requires a key, you’ll need it to lock and unlock. You’ll have two keys, allowing you to keep one as a backup in case you lose the other. Be sure to get one of solid quality so that a bolt cutter can’t get through any soft metal casing or poor quality material. Get one with a hardened steel shackle, a 5-pin tumbler, and a double lock.

Combination lock

Next, you could choose a combination lock like the padlock. Combination locks allow you to unlock the unit through a set of numbers rather than a key. You can choose from a single dial lock or a multiple dial lock, depending on if you want several combinations to open the lock.

Single dial locks will be used by operating a single sequence of numbers and lining them up on a single rotating dial. You’ll have to know the sequence to open it, as well as the right order of numbers because there are discs inside that have to line up with the correct sequence. You’ll hear a click when you have the right sequence and a simple tug will open it.

A multiple dial combination lock works where several rotating discs are operating with a pin with teeth that hook into them. You’ll have to align the notches of the lock with the pin’s teeth to open it. This works well for your bike or your luggage, but it’s not recommended for storage units compared to a single dial lock.

Cylinder locks, maximum security padlocks, and general purpose locks

Other great options for your storage unit are cylinder locks if you have the ability to lock it directly to the storage door, general purpose locks since they are made of brass or stainless steel, and maximum security padlocks made from these same materials. These three options are another way to really add security to your storage unit that other locks can’t.

If you are ready for a storage unit but you’re not sure how to ensure your belonging’s security, make sure you check out these best lock options, first.

Adding a Deadbolt Lock for Added Security

Sometimes feeling safe in your home requires you to take some extra steps to make that happen. For many, adding a deadbolt is just the solution they need. A deadbolt lock works by locking your door by turning a knob rather than having a spring involved like a regular lock.

This means that the deadbolt can only be opened through a key or knob, making it very difficult to break-in. Due to their increased likelihood of resisting a forced entry; it’s a popular choice among homeowners and offices. Take a look at your options for adding a deadbolt lock for added security on your property.

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Why deadbolts work so well

Deadbolts are known to be powerful locks that deter thieves that know they can’t break through them. When a robber is trying to break in your front or back door, even the most experienced ones won’t be able to open a door that has a deadbolt locking it in place.

While a kick on the door or other methods of taking down a door can work on a standard lock, it doesn’t work on a durable deadbolt. Deadbolts are considered the reliable option for locking up your property since they require locking and unlocking from the exterior and interior of the property.

Types of deadbolts

You may be wondering what a deadbolt lock is like and if you’ll have to choose between different options. There are actually three main types of deadbolts, making it easy to choose the one that works best for you. You’ll choose between a single cylinder, a double cylinder, and a keyless cylinder.

The single cylinder is the simplest option in which you’ll open from one side through a key while using the thumb piece on the interior side. This is a great option for those with doors that have on breakable glass since an intruder would break the glass and turn the knob to enter.

The double cylinder requires a key to activate it from both sides. This is the option you’ll want if you have breakable glass on the door since the intruder would need a key. You’ll just have to be careful because this type of lock can slow you down if you were to need to exit quickly, such as in the event of a fire.

The third route is the keyless cylinder deadbolt, the easiest to operate of all, allowing you to leave and enter without any key at all. You’ll use a password or fingerprint scan, closing it with a button or knob rather than locking with a key.

The drawbacks of them

While deadbolts are an amazing security feature, there are drawbacks to any route you go. You’ll have to come up with a difficult password to avoid an intruder guessing it and getting inside. The double keyed deadbolt can cause for a panic when trying to get out during an emergency and you could get stuck inside the house if you forget your password. Be sure to get a bump resistant deadbolt because these are susceptible to lock bumping.

Brands and costs to expect

If you’re sold on a deadbolt, expect to pay around $30-$50 or higher depending on what features you want. Brands like Schlage, Kwikset, and Code-a-key all sell deadbolts at a variety of price points.

If you’re looking for the ultimate protection against a break-in, call your professional locksmith to have deadbolts installed on your property today.

Reasons Why You’d Need to Replace Your Door Locks

Have you ever wondered what causes people to change their locks? It seems like one of those things that you would never really need to do unless you moved into a house, right? There are actually many reasons like moving that you’d definitely want to change your locks that you may not have really thought about before.

When you had your neighbor check on your house while you were away that one time, did you ever consider that someone could have gotten a hold of that key afterward? There are many reasons that probably hadn’t crossed your mind to cause a door lock replacement and below you will find a helpful guide to make sure you didn’t neglect to do so during one of these circumstances.

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After a break-in

One of the times you may have forgotten to change your locks was in the event that your house was broken into. After a terrible event like a break-in, you handle things with the police and insurance, but did you remember to change your locks?

The burglar could have access to your home again if you don’t change your locks since they could have gotten a hold of keys or they didn’t have a problem picking your old locks. Your locks could also be damaged from the burglary, so be sure to change them considering all of the circumstances.

Changing roommates

Do you rent out a room that has seen different roommates? You need to make sure that if you share a key with someone else and that arrangement ends that you are sure to change your locks. You and current roommates are the only ones that should have access.

Moved into a new house

If you moved into a new house, you’ll definitely want to change the locks for a fresh start and to avoid the last family or anyone associated with the sale to have access to your home. Anyone from the realtor to the inspector could have been given a key and it’s important that you get a fresh lock that only your family has access to.

Your locks are old

Sometimes locks just simply age and don’t work as well anymore. It’s a good sign if you are struggling to get in the door easily and if you don’t remember the last time you changed them. Be sure to keep them changed every few years.

Lost your keys

Did you lose your keys? Even with your copy still available, you don’t know who could have found your keys and could have access to your house. It’s a good idea to get them changed.

Neighbor watched the house while on vacation

When the kind neighbor across the street watches your house from you while you’re away, you have no idea where that key ends up or if anyone else could have made a copy of it. Be sure to change your locks after trusting someone with the key.

After a renovation

Did you renovate your home recently? This means that you’ve likely had several contractors at your house working on everything from plumbing to painting, especially during hours you were away. It’s important that you keep your home safe after a renovation by changing your locks in the event that anyone was able to swipe your key. They know what you own better than anyone.

Post-divorce

If you’ve recently divorced or had a break-up, your partner likely still has access to your home. This is an important time to change those locks, in order to play it on the safe side with your security.

While moving to a new house warrants a new set of locks and keys, don’t forget about these other common situations that could warrant a home security refresher.

Are Smart Locks as Secure as Traditional Locks?

Have you considered getting into the smart lock trend rather than using a traditional lock on your home? Locks on homes to keep them secure have been common for many years, but locks are starting to evolve to incorporate technology into its design.

Home security is more important than ever and sometimes the good old fashioned lock and key doesn’t feel sufficient enough to protect such an expensive investment. Some are making the switch to smart locks to add extra protection that will deter a criminal in seconds. Take a look at how traditional locks work vs. smart locks and why you may want to make the switch.

How traditional locks work

First, to understand smart locks, you need to get a better sense of how the traditional lock works. Traditional locks consist of varieties including rim locks, pin tumbler locks, and mortise locks. Pin-tumbler locks are the most common option for residential homes working as a series of spring-loaded pins loaded into cylinders.

These cylinders consist of pins made up of key pins and driver pins that require the correct key to elevate the key pins to push the drive pins upward. Having the right key in the lock allows the driver pins and key pins to align, allowing the key to turn in order to lock or unlock the mechanism. A wrong key would have misaligned pins blocking the key from being turned.

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While traditional locks are very secure if installed and secured by a professional, the question begs whether or not they are the best measure of securing the home. Many homeowners choose a deadbolt for exterior residential locks, whether it be a single cylinder or double cylinder deadbolt, to provide maximum security for their strength and durability. Traditional locks can always be enhanced with solid metal strike plates, longer deadbolt throws, locks resistant to lock picking, lock bumping, and more.

What is a smart lock and is it better?

Homeowners now have the option to go with a smart lock over the traditional lock option. Just like you are automating other areas of your home, you can now automate your home’s locks and control them remotely with the help of technology.

Rather than opening your door with the turn of a key, you’ll now be controlling and operating your lock from a smart device. You’ll be able to not only control your lock from your phone or tablet, but you’ll be able to monitor when it was opened and add features like cameras.

How does the smart lock work? Just like a traditional lock, you’ll have a professional locksmith handle the installation of your smart lock and it will work differently with any company you work with. Some companies will essentially replace your traditional locks with one that looks just like a typical deadbolt and helps you set it up on your phone to communicate with the lock.

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Other companies will add on to your existing lock for the interior of your door and connect you to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You’ll communicate with the lock with your smartphone or Bluetooth and you can control it remotely with Wi-Fi by sending a notification to the sensor to unlock it. A third option would be with companies that replace your deadbolt with a Wi-Fi enabled camera lock where you’ll get two programmable key fobs and four accounts that get their own digital key.

Security concerns and improvements

While it may seem that smart locks are the way of the future, there may be concerns for hacking over the traditional lock picking concerns. Since it relies on technology, you have to worry about security vulnerabilities from hackers or from the fact that having your Wi-Fi service go down will affect your ability to leave and enter your home.

Even if you blacklisted a key from getting in, they could take down your Wi-Fi and get in through your Bluetooth network. You are relying on being able to talk to the cloud to get in and out of your home, which means you need to have the internet up and running, but you’re also paying premiums to have technology incorporated into your home security. For renters that have electronic keys, losing a key and replacing it is not a cheap process.

In addition to hacking possibilities, a criminal will always have the option to try to break in through the windows or break down your door despite your lock of choice. On the other hand, you’ll deter those that know how to pick locks by throwing them for a loop with your unique lock of choice.

While smart locks warrant consideration, traditional locks still appear to be more secure than smart locks and have years of use to prove their worthiness in the battle between the two. Making modifications to your traditional lock is one of the great ways you can improve your home security, such as adding security pins and making the deadbolt longer. Regardless which type of lock you decide to use, The Professional Locksmith, right here in Chicago, can help you with all your needs.