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When Should I Rekey My Locks?

The condition of your locks is probably something that rarely crosses your mind, but rekeying your locks is a practice that can significantly improve the security of your home. Key locks provide security for our families and possessions and give us peace of mind, but if we don’t rekey our locks occasionally, the level of protection they provide can diminish.

The Difference Between Changing Locks and Rekeying Locks

Changing locks is pretty self-explanatory: it means you replace the old locks with new ones. For example, you may change your locks if you want to upgrade to an electric lock system, or if you want them to better match the new paint colors or finishes in your home. Rekeying locks is different. When you rekey a lock, you adjust it so that it no longer works with the current set of keys. Once a lock is rekeyed, the keys you  had for it will not be able to open it.

Lock mechanisms contain key pins that correspond to the keys that open a specific lock. When you rekey a lock, you adjust the workings of the key pins so that a new key is needed to open the lock. A locksmith will need the current key in order to rekey a lock. This practice will  improve the security of your home, especially if pins are added.

When To Rekey Your Locks

The following are common reasons to rekey your locks:

  1. Moving Into a New Home: If you buy a home that someone else has previously lived in, it’s a great idea to rekey the locks. You want to be certain that only  people you know and trust have access to your new home. Rekeying locks on a previously owned home helps you ensure that only you and your family members have the keys that can grant access to your home.
  2. Changing Older Locks: If you’ve lived in your home for a while, or if you’ve recently bought an older home, rekeying your locks is a great way to improve security. Lock mechanisms can get dirty and worn down over time, which  leaves them vulnerable to break-ins. Rekeying older locks is a great way to decrease the chances of successful tampering.
  3. You’ve Lost Your Keys: If you’ve lost your keys, rekeying your locks is paramount to the continued safety of your home. There is no  reason to risk a stranger using your keys to enter your home, especially if your keyring had any access or address information on it. Getting rekeyed locks and new keys is the best way to ensure that you and your family remain secure in this situation.

If you have questions about changing locks, rekeying locks, or need assistance determining which option is right for your situation, an experienced Pop-A-Lock locksmith can assist you. Our trained and certified technicians have extensive experience with both replacement and rekeying of locks, and quality work is our priority. Visit the Pop-A-Lock website to find our location nearest you.

I’m Locked Out Of My House, What Do I Do Now?

I’m Locked Out of My Home. What Do I Do Now?

With our busy daily schedules and the frequent distractions of everyday life, it is easy to make common mistakes like locking ourselves out of our own homes. We’re only human, after all.

Locking yourself out of your home can be a minor inconvenience that results in, say, running late to work. However, it can be a much more dangerous situation if young children or pets are locked inside. If you lose your keys or lock them inside your home, don’t panic. You  have many other options for getting back inside quickly and easily without damaging your property by trying to break in through a window or by breaking down a door.

Instead, don’t panic, remain calm, and consider the following options for getting back inside safely.

Call a Friend, Roommate, or Family Member

It’s a great idea to give someone you trust a copy of your key for situations like this. Give a trusted neighbor a copy of your house key for safekeeping. Make sure to choose someone who is responsible and is usually available (not traveling frequently) to help in an emergency.

If you have a roommate, friend, or family member that has a copy of your key, it should be easy to call them and ask if they can let you into the  house. If you don’t have access to your phone to call them, ask to borrow one from a neighbor or a local business.

Locate a Spare Key

Many people hide spare house keys around their homes for situations just like these. While it is not a good idea to hide your key in well-known hiding places like the front doormat or under a potted plant (see our article on Common Home Security Fails for more info on this), there are safer solutions for securely hiding keys like outdoor key safes, fake rocks designed to hold spare keys, and other smarter alternatives.

Double-Check Other Access Points

Is there a chance that a back door, side door, or window was left open? Don’t attempt to get back in by breaking a window, since you could potentially hurt yourself and the repairs can be expensive. Only enter through a window or other door if you’re able to open it from the outside safely.  Does your back door have a doggie door for access for your pets? If you can squeeze through there, you’ll be in!

If you have access to a toolset, you may be able to get inside by removing a doorknob on doors that don’t have deadbolts. Check to see if there are any screws on your doorknob or a plate that can be removed by a screwdriver. Make sure you’re using the right screwdriver for the screws on your doorknob.

Call a Professional Locksmith

If you find yourself in a situation where none of the solutions above will work for you, you can always call Pop-A-Lock for professional locksmith services. Calling a locksmith is often the safest, easiest, and quickest way to regain access to your home or car. The technicians at Pop-A-Lock are certified and trained on the latest locksmith technology, and we’re always here when you need us. Give your local Pop-A-Lock a call, and we’ll have you back inside your home as soon as possible with fast, professional, and reliable service.

10 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe From Burglars

An average of around 3.7 million burglaries occurred each year from 2003-2007, according to the Bureau of Justice.  In about 28% of these burglaries, a household member was home during the burglary.

When a burglary is occurring, almost 30% of thieves enter through an unlocked door or window, and 34% through the front door. 

Home Safety Burglary

Don’t be the next victim!  Our Pop-A-Lock locksmiths have some professional advice on how to keep your home secure and scare off burglars.

1. Install motion-activated outdoor lights

Burglars don’t want to be seen. If they’re creeping around the outside of your property and they trigger a light, odds are they’ll immediately leave the property in hopes no one sees them. They also may think someone is home inside and turned on the light.

2. Leave the TV on

If you’re out running errands or home alone for the night, it’s a good idea to leave a TV on. This makes it appear as if someone is home and awake, and is a good way to deter potential burglars.

3. Install break proof laminate on windows

Laminated windows seriously slow down burglars. Again, anything that forces them to be on your property for longer will be a deterrent, and if they do stick around their chances of being caught go up.

4. Consider a dog – if you don’t already have one

You don’t need – or want –  a mean dog. But if you have a friendly dog who goes crazy when they see or hear people in the yard, you’ll have a good warning if someone is approaching, and the person outside won’t know whether or not the dog is friendly.

5. Put indoor lights on automatic timers

Allowing your lights to turn on and off – even if you’re not home or asleep – can make it look like you’re home and deter burglars from targeting your house. And if you vary the schedule it will throw them off even more.

6. Vary your schedule

And with the above point, we want to add that varying your schedule in general can deter burglars from targeting your house. If someone is patrolling your neighborhood looking for homes to break into, they likely won’t choose yours if they can’t tell whether or not you’re home at specific times of day.

7. Install a security system

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, installing an indoor or outdoor (or both) security system is a great way to keep an eye on your house and know if a burglar is trying to get in.

8. Always lock your doors and windows

It may seem obvious, but as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, almost 30% of burglars enter homes through an unlocked door or window. Check that all your doors and windows are locked before bed each night, and before you leave the house for any amount of time.

9. Keep your garage closed

A garage is just another entrance to your home for burglars. Always check that it’s closed before you leave the house or go to bed.

10. Make your house look lived in

When you’re out of town or away from your home for any extended period of time, put your mail on hold, schedule someone to come mow the lawn, ask neighbors to park in your driveway occasionally. Anything to make it look lived in and not empty will help ensure burglars don’t target your home.

Approximately 4,800 burglaries happen every day in the US. That’s a startling number. The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to keep your home and family safe from burglars.

Our locksmithing experts have created a free home security audit. The checklist can help you create a safe environment for you and your family – while you’re home and away.

If you’re interested in re-keying your home or upgrading your home’s locks, contact your local Pop-A-Lock today!

How Can I Increase The Security of My Home?

Feeling safe in your home is a top priority for most people. But how do you get this safety? Taking measures like using a high-end security system to not letting your mailbox overflow can increase home security. Below are eight suggested ways you can increase the security of your home no matter the type of house or budget.

Make it Look Like You’re Home, Even if You’re Not

Most robbers are going to be looking for a house they know is empty. They don’t want an altercation, they want an empty house to ransack and leave. Whether you’re leaving for a vacation or just out for the day, there are a few ways you can make it look like you’re home, even if you’re not.

1. Install Motion-Activated Lights 

Robbers don’t like to be seen. Motion-activated lights can be a great way to scare off someone looking to enter your home. When the lights come on, the thief is at risk of a neighbor seeing them. They also could believe someone is home and turned the lights on from inside.

2. Put Lights on Timers

Having smart light bulbs is a quick and easy way to make someone on the outside believe you’re home. Set the lights on random timers so some are always turned on. That way crooks can’t tell if you’re away running errands or on vacation. They also won’t be able to pick up on any recurring schedules such as being gone for work.

3. Don’t Leave Mail in the Mailbox or Packages on the Porch

An overflowing mailbox or unattended packages are signs to crooks that no one is home. If you’re going away on vacation, ask a neighbor or a friend to empty your mailbox and gather packages while you’re away. Even if you’re only at work or out for the day, ask delivery people to leave packages in a backyard or private area if you can.

Secure Home Mail

4. Trim Your Bushes and Grass

As with the mail and packages, an unkempt yard can be a sign to a crook that you’re not home, and haven’t been in a while. This can make them feel more comfortable scoping out your home and robbing it. On top of that, overflowing bushes and grass can make it easier for thieves to stay out of site from neighbors. It’s best to keep your bushes and grass as tidy and trimmed as possible.

Security Gadgets For Round-The-Clock Safety

In addition to making it look like you’re home when you’re not, there are also security measure you can take to provide safety when you are home. Below are some suggested tips and tools to keep you and your family safe inside your home.

1. Rekey Your Home

There are a lot of ways our house keys can get out in the world. Giving a spare to a neighbor or child off at college, for example. But, sometimes – for whatever reason – someone who once needed a key no longer does. Every once in a while you should rekey your home so you can know exactly who has copies of your key. This also lets you make sure no one has access who you don’t want to have access.

2. Install Smart Locks

A lot of robbers don’t force entry into a house, but instead find one with an unlocked door and walk right in. Installing smart locks that automatically lock behind you will make sure this isn’t an option. It will also stop the dreaded “did I lock the door behind me?” feeling miles down the road.

Pop-A-Lock Smart Locks

3. Have Locks and/or Stops on All Windows:

Many crooks know that most people keep their doors locked these days. But not everyone keeps their windows locked. Installing locks on your windows can help you sleep easy at night knowing every port of entry into the house is inaccessible. There are also window stops, preventing windows from opening more than six inches. This is great for getting some fresh air but keeping unwanted robbers out.

4. Have a Security Camera

If you want to have high security, you can install a security camera outside (or inside) your home. You can also install an alarm that goes off when doors or windows open. A camera will likely frighten away any robbers. It also can give you peace of mind by allowing you to keep an eye on your house when you’re not home. An alarm system will alert both you and the security company if someone enters your home.

Security camera on a home for added security

There are a lot of ways you can increase the security of your home. Whether it be something simple like making sure your mailbox isn’t overflowing, or something bigger like installing smart locks or a security camera. Depending on your budget, the overall safety of your neighborhood, and more, there is a solution out there for you!

Check out our free home security audit and contact one of our professionals today to schedule a visit for your home.