Five Star Security: Options For Locks, Keys And Safes

Door Locks 101: Identifying the Parts and How to Replace Them Yourself

Posted by on Nov 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Door Locks 101: Identifying the Parts and How to Replace Them Yourself

At the first sign of trouble with a door lock, most homeowners’ response is to call a locksmith to figure the problem out and fix it. This is usually due to lack of knowledge of the different door lock parts so that even DIY lock fixing tutorials sound like gibberish. Knowing and identifying door lock parts is important and quite simple really. So here are the main door lock parts you need to know and how you can replace them. Strike Plate This is the part of the door lock that is attached to the door frame. It usually has two or more openings to accommodate the latches, which is how the door is closed and/or locked. These openings can be round, square, or flat on one side and rounded on the other, depending on the shape of the latch. Replacing a strike plate is perhaps the easiest task of all the door lock part replacements. It is mounted using only two screws, which you can put in yourself as long as you match the holes in the door frame to those in the strike plate correctly. Note that if you want to replace your strike plate, you will have to buy the entire lockset since it is not usually sold separately. Latches The latch is that part of the door lock that protrudes from the door and extends into the door frame to hold the door shut. It is the round, square or curved metal bit that fits into the strike plate, and when you turn the door handle or key, it goes in and out of the lock. Most door lock problems have to do with an ineffective latch. It could be stuck or broken, causing the door either not to open or shut properly. Stuck latches can be fixed with a little lubrication but broken ones need replacing, which will require you to purchase the entire lockset as latches are not sold individually. Cylinders The cylinder is the internal mechanism of a lock. The intricate interaction between pins, balls, springs and the body of the cylinder determines the kind of key that can be used on that door lock, and whether the door will be locked or unlocked. Most problems with the cylinder have to do with either losing the key or breaking a key inside the lock. For a lost key, it is easier to re-key the cylinder that to replace it completely but a cylinder with a broken key inside it will require replacement. You could do the replacement yourself but it is advisable to call in a professional locksmith to help you with...

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Setting a safe combination you’ll remember

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Setting a safe combination you’ll remember

A safe is only as secure if the combination to access it is not guessable. That can be an issue as you probably won’t often access your safe and will tend to aim for easy to remember numbers such as birthdates and anniversaries, which can be easy to guess. Here are some safer options for choosing your combination. Use an alphanumeric code If you need to choose numbers, but like most people find words easier to remember, you can choose a word to stand in for the numbers you need. The simplest code gives each number in the alphabet its order number (A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on). This means you can choose a word, such as ‘FACE’ that leads to a code of 7135 but is much easier to remember. Choose a date that is harder to guess If you have another significant date in your life that isn’t a family member’s birthday, that can also be good option for a combination code. You could try another date you always remember, such as Bastille Day for a Francophile (July 14 or 1407) or Christmas Day for fans of Santa (December 25 or 2512). You can also take a commonly remembered date in your mind, such as your mother’s birthday, and add 1 to each number (so that 210261 becomes 321372). Choose a pattern If you have a key pad, rather than focusing on the actual number you can remember a pattern such as a diamond or hitting all of the corners. Some people find this muscle memory easier to recall than a code. Choose a larger number Analysis of common passwords released from hacking scandals shows a surprisingly high number of passwords are the same – with 11% of people selecting 1234 as a code! Try to choose one of the least popular codes and you’ll find that it’s substantially harder for untoward types to guess your password. Many of these passwords are at the higher end of the number spectrum and have numbers that do not appear closely together in the number series. Avoiding consecutive numbers and ordered number passwords already places your password at the harder to guess end of the spectrum. In addition to the tips above, make not to store any tips around the safe itself to prompt you in remembering your password. Your safe will only be as secure as the combination you have chosen to lock...

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Five Reasons Why You Should Protect Your Business With a Security System Rather Than a Security Guard

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Reasons Why You Should Protect Your Business With a Security System Rather Than a Security Guard

If you are trying to secure your business, you have a few different options. If you are trying to decide between a security guard or an alarm system, there are pros and cons to both options. In particular, however, here are five essential reasons you should choose a security system over a security guard. 1. Constant Protection Security systems can provide constant vigilance against thieves, intruders or vandals. You simply have to turn them on. Security guards can also provide constant protection, but it comes at a price; you have to pay the workers and deal with logistical elements such as scheduling. Additionally, security guards are people, and they can only be in one spot at a time. When a security guard is patrolling the perimeter of a building, he or she leaves parts of it empty and unguarded as he or she checks on the other areas. With security systems, however, you can have cameras, alarms or other pieces of equipment everywhere you want them to be all at the same time. 2. Honesty Assurance Although it is sad to say, some security guards cannot be trusted. They are in the perfect position to let someone into your facility or even to be involved with a theft themselves. A security system, however, is generally incapable of betraying you. 3. Special Licensing and Extra Costs If you hire a security guard rather than using a security system, you will potentially face a range of extra costs or fees. In particular, if you want armed security guards, you may have to pay extra to hire those professionals as they need specialised certification. If you are having one of your own employees act as the security guard, you will also have to get extra training or education for them as well. 4. Liability Unfortunately, if a security guard hired by you shoots someone accidentally, you may be liable for that incident. That can be expensive, and in many cases, businesses may close as a result of a liability case like that. If you opt for an armed guard, make sure the security company carries the liability, or avoid that risk by using a security system. 5. Reliable Record If you hire a security guard, they may eventually be asked to recount the details of a crime or to describe a perpetrator. Unfortunately, they may miss details or make mistakes in their analysis. With a security system, you don’t have to worry. As long as you install cameras as part of your system, you will always have a reliable record of what...

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Common Types of Lock Boxes

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Types of Lock Boxes

Lock boxes used to be solely for real estate agents who had to show houses and needed a convenient way to keep house keys secure without having to worry about carrying the keys wherever they went. But today there are different kinds of lockboxes from companies like Store-It-Safe that aren’t just limited to real estate agents. If you’re looking for a safe place to store keys and other valuables, or you don’t want the hassle of having to remember where you put your house keys, here are the common types of lockboxes you can buy. Biometric Gun Lockbox — Biometric gun lockboxes are designed to hold one standard handgun and a clip. They are typically rectangular-shaped and are a smaller and more compact alternative to buying a gun safe, though you do have space limitations. These types of lockboxes are programmed with your fingerprint and a sensor stores that information. When you want to access the lockbox, you place your finger on the pad and the fingerprint recognition software instantly goes to work, giving you access to the box. Most biometric gun lockboxes allow you to enter multiple fingerprints, which means that others can access your box. There is typically a key backup with these biometric lockboxes in the event that the fingerprint recognition software malfunctions. Wall Mounted Key Lockbox — A wall-mounted key lockbox looks like a large padlock and often features a combination code that gives you access to the box which contains keys. As mentioned, real estate agents often use these types of lockboxes, but they are also ideal for homeowners who want to give their teenage kids access to the house when they get home from school, or homeowners who don’t want to keep track of house keys during the day. Wall mounted lockboxes are usually made of high-grade plastic, but you can also buy ones made from satin nickel, which looks like silver, bronze, or galvanized steel, and which is strong, durable and rust-resistant. Most wall-mounted lockbox key lockboxes provide access through a numerical code similar to the way many safes work. But for additional safety, you can buy a wall-mounted lockbox that only provides entry with the swipe of a keycard or with a digital pad on which a user must enter the access code. Newer wall-mounted lockboxes allow you to gain access by entering the code on a smartphone, which communicates wirelessly with a sensor on the...

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Hotel Owners: Secure Your Hotels With These Five Essential Tips

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hotel Owners: Secure Your Hotels With These Five Essential Tips

If you own a hotel, you need to create an atmosphere where your guests feel safe but also where your offices and common areas are safe from both guest vandalism and outside threats. To help you achieve the right balance, take a look at these tips: 1. Avoid card readers with DC ports Most hotels have switched from locks with keys to locks with magnetic cards. If you are putting in new card-based locks, consider avoiding ones with visible DC ports. Although the threat is not currently widespread, hackers have found ways to open these locks using a plug that goes into the DC port and some open-source software. 2. Invest in high quality key cards Unfortunately, key cards are not foolproof either. In one study, cards with magnetic strips carried next to cell phones were demagnetised within three hours. This effect can also happen when magnetised key cards are placed on top of hotel TVs. If your guests’ key cards are demagnetised, it means they have to go to the front desk and ask for a new key card. That wastes their time and energy and also wastes valuable staff payroll hours. Avoid this trend by investing in as high-quality key cards as you can find. To help offset their cost, reduce the number of lost key cards by giving guests a small refund for returning them or consider charging for extra keys. 3. Add internal locks Regardless of what type of lock you use on the outside of each hotel room door, install extra locks on the inside of the doors. Chain locks, dead bolts or other similar options give guests a sense of security in their own rooms. That helps with your image, your brand and guest satisfaction. 4. Use metal plates to protect your doors from lock damage Keep in mind, however, that guests often use some of these locks to prop open their doors while they go to another room or run to the lobby for ice. This can damage the door as the lock rubs against its side. Luckily, you can protect your door by adding a metal plate on the edge of the door where those locks are likely to rub. 5. Find a good emergency locksmith In addition to the issues discussed above, locks are critical to hotels in other aspects as well. For example, you may have a safe where guests can put expensive items, you may have timed locks on the doors of common spaces such as pools or you may have special locks on your office doors. If any of these locks break, you need the help of an emergency locksmith like Hunter Locksmith Services. Similarly, these professionals can help you if you need to get into a room and have lost the keys or codes to that lock. They can also help in emergencies where a criminal has barricaded him or herself in one of your guests rooms and you need to get the door open. To ensure your hotel’s security, make sure you have an emergency locksmith who you know and trust so that you can always get the help you need when you need it....

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Picking the Perfect Safe Lock for You: Questions to Guide You

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Picking the Perfect Safe Lock for You: Questions to Guide You

Deciding what kind of lock you want for your safe isn’t always easy. Different safe smiths have different opinions on which types of locks are the best, but ultimately, the decision is largely a personal one. Use these questions to guide you to the right lock for your safe: 1. Do you want a long lasting lock prone to very few problems? A straightforward mechanical lock with a dial is one of the strongest, most reliable options in the safe locking world. Depending on the brand you buy, you may be able to get a lifetime warranty with a dial lock, and one of the only things that ever goes wrong with them is that the dial ring can come loose, moving the index point to the wrong place so the tumbler cannot line up. However, a service professional can fix that issue easily, making it possible to own this lock forever with just a bit of maintenance. Electronic locks, in contrast, are prone to a number of problems. Battery lead wires can come unattached, door wires can get pinched, the keypad circuit board can short or shorts can cause the battery to drain and die. If any of these elements stop working, they cannot be easily repaired. As a result, a repair person has to drill into the side of the safe so you can access your stuff, and you have to buy a new one. The only easy repair is with the keypad. If the buttons become worn or stop working, you can have someone replace the entire pad. However, in spite of its downfalls, an electronic keypad offers fast and easy access. 2. Do you need to be able to access your safe quickly? If you need quick entry to your safe, an electronic lock with a keypad is considerably faster than a dial. For shoppers who want relative durability and easy access, electronic locks are the right choice. Just be aware that they may not last your entire lifetime. 3. Do you dislike the idea of remembering codes? If you don’t want to remember a code, you may need to stay away from both mechanical dials and electronic keypads. Instead, consider investing in a safe that uses biometric technology to open. The most common option for small business or home safes is a lock that recognises fingerprints. The advantages are that you don’t have to remember a code and you are not susceptible to someone stealing your code and using it. Most of these safes also allow you to program in several users so you can have your family members or employees use the safe as well. To learn more about what safe lock is right for you consult with a safe professional for more information....

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Home Safes: Choosing the Right Fire Protection for Documents

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Home Safes: Choosing the Right Fire Protection for Documents

If you want to use your home safe to store important documents, such as passports, insurance policies, tax returns and financial papers, it may be worth investing in a fire safe. While a regular security safe helps protect your documents from theft, it may not protect them from a fire in your home.   A fire safe adds an additional level of protection that could save your documents from damage or destruction. These safes have different levels of fire resistance, measured by tested ratings, and it’s important to choose one that has the right protection for your needs. To help choose the right safe, check out its temperature and resistance time ratings. Fire Safe Temperature Ratings Fire safe testing exposes safes to fire to establish how resistant they are to heat. This measures how a fire affects the internal temperature of a safe. Look for the Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, verification mark for the safe. UL ratings show that the safe has passed specific independent heat tests. Typically, a fire safe suitable for paper document storage will have an interior that can keep internal temperatures below 350°F in a fire. For example, if a fire safe has a UL Class 350 rating, its internal temperature did not exceed 350°F in tests, which should make it suitable for safe document storage. You can also check the safe’s documentation or user manual to ensure that it is designed for document storage. Tip: Computer media, such as DVDs and USB drives, damage at lower heats than paper. If you plan on storing these kinds of materials with your documents in a fire safe, look for a specialist product that is verified to protect multimedia and data products. Fire Safe Protection Times Industry standards also measure fire safe resistance in time, and this is another factor you should consider before buying a safe. For example, a safe’s documentation may state that it can protect documents for half an hour, an hour or two hours. A rating of UL Class 350 – 1 hour tells you that the safe’s internal temperature will stay under 350°F for at least an hour. Choose a level of protection time that you think will cover you. According to data from, an average fire typically spends around 20 minutes in a room, so a fire safe with a half hour limit may just give you enough protection. If you’re worried that this is too tight a timescale, or want to plan for a worst case scenario, buy a fire safe with a longer resistance time. Talk to a company like Axcess Locksmiths for...

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Locked Yourself Out? Help Will Soon Just Be a Click Away

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Locked Yourself Out? Help Will Soon Just Be a Click Away

Unless you’re the type of person who regularly locks themselves out, you probably don’t have a regular mobile locksmith. An emergency locksmith is an on-demand service, and if you’ve ever had to call one, you probably hope it will never happen again. Even reasonably priced locksmith services are a financial inconvenience, and of course you have to wait outside your home or vehicle for the service. Soon it will be possible to speed up the process of gaining entry to your locked home utilising smartphone technology. There are a number of pilot schemes underway in the USA, and if these prove to be successful they will probably make their way to Australia before too long. There’s also already a way to use technology to solve the problem of being locked out once and for all. A Flat Rate Service Most locksmiths will charge a fee that covers the call out and the cost of the service. In extreme cases, a new lock will be required, but of course this doesn’t happen so often. A scheme currently being trialled in New York pairs you with a licensed locksmith in your area courtesy of a smartphone app. The app is not particularly cheap, but this covers the cost of the call out and the service fee. This ensures that users know exactly how much they will pay before the locksmith arrives, regardless of the complexity of the job. A Direct Connection It’s not surprising that internet search engines are starting to get into the locksmith game. Again, it’s something that’s only being trialled in certain US cities, but it will no doubt become a global service if successful. You simply need to perform an internet search for locksmiths in your area, and you are then able to send a job request to a number of prescreened providers. The locksmith would then call you back to arrange the details. This is really not so different from looking up the necessary service provider and then calling them, but it streamlines the process. Keyless Entry There’s also a way to unlock your door without a key, provided you have a smartphone and a locksmith who is able to provide the service. You can install a lock that uses a conventional key but that can also be operated electronically via a smartphone app. Your smartphone simply sends a signal and the door unlocks. You can also remotely authorise others to enter your home, which is handy if you have friends visiting. If you decide to install such a lock, make sure that your smartphone is equipped with a firewall and antivirus software. It’s highly unlikely, but if your smartphone was hacked, others might be able to unlock your home. A locksmith can be your best friend when you find yourself locked out. Fortunately, technology is making it possible to find this best friend quickly… when you really need...

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Safety Tips for Your House

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Safety Tips for Your House

When you look to increase the overall safety of your house, the best person to ask is an experienced locksmith. However, most people either don’t have the time to contact one, or simply don’t know anyone who could provide them with such information. Here’s where this article comes in handy. Keep reading for a list of the four most important tips that you could follow in order to safeguard your home. When buying a new home, replace the locks Whenever you buy a new piece of property, the first thing you should do to greatly increase the safety of your family is to replace the old locks. You have to keep in mind that, when you buy a new property, there’s a possibility of the old owner having a set of spare keys. It’s also entirely possible that the old owners have given away copies of their keys to friends, family, and maybe even neighbours. As a result, any of those people can come into your house at any time, for any reason, which is not something you want to happen, right? A locksmith can change all of the locks on your home to protect your investment.  If you are unwilling to invest in changing all the locks, at least talk to a locksmith and have them rekey the lock for you. This is a cheaper alternative that provides less security than a lock replacement, but it still won’t let people use their old keys to get into your house. Install deadbolt locks for maximum house security If you want even more safety, consider replacing the old locks of the house with deadbolts. Deadbolt locks provide top of the line security for your house, but you have to make sure that they have been properly installed by professionals. The primary reason why deadbolts are more secure than regular locks is that the deadbolt can’t be moved to their “open” position unless the lock cylinder is rotated with the right key. If the deadbolt is not installed properly by a certified locksmith, the deadbolt itself won’t move, but a thief may be able to break down your door by completely ripping apart the wood pieces that hold the lock together. Consider installing window locks as well If you followed the previous advice and have decided to install a set of deadbolt locks for your doors, you should also take into account the locks for your windows. Not many thieves would go through the trouble of trying to get past a deadbolt lock when they can just open your window and get access to your house. To fix that, you can install a double cylinder window lock that requires a key to open and close the windows. Most thieves would rather pick an easier target than try and go through the trouble of breaking into a well secured...

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Why Have a Locksmith Sell and Install a New Safe for Your Home?

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Have a Locksmith Sell and Install a New Safe for Your Home?

Buying a new safe for your home isn’t necessarily a complicated affair; you can purchase a simple box safe that works with a combination or a key and set it up in a corner of a closet and be done with it. However, if you do this on your own you may be missing out on some features offered by certain safes and may wind up choosing the wrong one for your needs. You may also find that it doesn’t fit your home as readily as you assumed. Locksmiths often sell and install safes and there are some good reasons to have such a professional work with you when you’re ready to invest in a quality safe for your home. The following are two of those reasons. 1. Safe features Safes may vary in their features that can affect the amount of protection they offer you for your valuables, and if you don’t understand these features, you may buy the cheapest safe that is easy to break into or which doesn’t hold up in a fire. A locksmith will understand how safes are rated when it comes to fire safety, water resistance, and overall security. Rather than buying the cheapest safe you find and assuming it will work as well as any expensive model, a locksmith can note if your home is at higher risk of fire or flood, or if the valuables you’re storing may deserve a safe that is more difficult to break into with a lock that is harder to pick. A locksmith can work with you to determine your needs in particular and then recommend the best choice. 2. Installation Installing a safe also isn’t as easy as many homeowners assume. While you can put a box safe in a closet and leave it there, this doesn’t do much to hide it from burglars and intruders. It’s often best to have a safe hidden away so that if someone should break into your home, they won’t be tempted to steal the safe and try to break into it later on. This installation can include having the safe put into a wall or floor, but here too a locksmith is a better choice than trying to do this on your own. When installing a safe in a wall, you need to ensure that it’s properly supported so it doesn’t put extra pressure on the studs and cause the plaster or drywall to crack. When putting the safe in a floor, you need to ensure that it doesn’t jut out past the floorboards and cause a tripping hazard. For all these reasons, it’s best to have a locksmith install your home safe for...

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