According to FBI statistics around 70% of burglars enter the home unauthorized via a first floor door so it is imperative external
doors are as secure as possible. In addition, side doors e.g. to a yard and any connecting doors leading to the house from a garage should be accorded the same level of security as your main door. If intruders encounter difficulty, they will invariably move on to an easier target.
Choosing a door lock which will afford the most protection against a break-in is a crucial part of home security planning but given the bewildering selection available at hardware stores and home improvement centres, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As well as seeking advice from a reputable locksmith, bear in mind the following when choosing a robust door lock to help keep you and your property safe.
- Looks Aren’t Everything
While it’s natural to want attractive door hardware that complements the design of your home, the most important feature to consider is the lock’s mechanism. Obviously a lock set which is aesthetically pleasing and also affords superior functionality is going to cost more than one which offers good looks alone, so be prepared to pay more for quality.
- Multi-Lever Deadbolt Locks
A deadbolt requires a key in order to open. Two or more grooves on the key indicate the lock has multiple levers and is therefore much harder for a thief to copy. To that end, a deadbolt lock with seven or more levers made of brass or steel is recommended.
- Saw Resistant Bolts
Some deadbolt locks have anti-saw pins fitted inside so that when a saw is used to try to cut through the bolt, the pins rotate back and forth thus inhibiting the saw’s cutting action.
- Key Controlled Locks
Whereas most keys can be easily duplicated at any hardware store, key controlled locks have keys that can only be copied by certain locksmiths or the lock manufacturer, and thus provide an added safeguard in the event that keys are lost or stolen.
- Anti-drill locks
These are lock sets containing reinforced steel chips within the lock housing that hinder attempts to drill out the lock (a method commonly used by some thieves). As the drill comes into contact with the chips, they tear up the bit hampering progress and damaging the drill.
- Bolt-Assembly Protector
This device is similar to a collar which fits in between the cylinder and the bolt assembly of a deadbolt lock. It covers the lock’s internal parts and provides protection against manipulation from a lock pick.
For deadbolts fitted to external entry points including exterior doors, garage doors and internal doors which connect garages and living spaces, insurance companies and locksmiths alike recommend locks with an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) rating of 1 (the highest level). Some insurance companies also recommend a Grade 1 deadbolt for garage doors even if they aren’t attached to the house.
Locks with an ANSI rating of 1 and 2 are usually found on commercial premises and offer the homeowner an enhanced level of protection against lock picks, key bumping and attempted forced entry by kicking down or prying open the door. They are more usually available from a specialist locksmith.
Grade 3 locks are among the most common in residential use and are generally sold in hardware stores and home improvement centres. Despite their popularity, they offer the lowest protection against break-ins.
Remember: the best door lock can only go so far in protecting your property if the door or its frame is flimsy or in poor condition. The easiest way for a thief to enter your home is by battering down the door, bypassing the locks altogether! To prevent this you should:
- Make sure your door can withstand a beating and replace hollow doors with ones made from a sturdy solid wood core.
- Alternatively, install a metal door which won’t break even with the force of an intruder’s repeated kick.
- Consider reinforcing the door frame with steel stripping behind the interiormoldingto help prevent the door from snapping under sustained pressure.
- Install a heavy duty four-screw strike plate with three inch screws. Not only does this reinforce one of the weakest points of the door, it also ensures the screws are deeply embedded into the steel stripping, providing even greater resistance to prying.
- Ensure door hinges fitted to external doors are in good repair, especially if the door swings outwards. In such instances, the hinge pins are usually exposed on the outside of the house. This creates a security risk whereby an intruder can tap the hinge pins up and out and simply lift the door from its hinges so gaining access to your property. To counteract this, replace existing hinges with those that feature non-removable pins, safety studs or crimped pins. Such hinges can also enhance the security of external doors with hinge pins that face inwards.
Locksmith West Hollywood (323) 306-5221