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The Secrets You Need to Know About Hiding Spare Keys

The Secrets You Need to Know About Hiding Spare Keys

spare key outside home

While no one plans on getting locked out of their homes, this unfortunate situation is always a possibility. As such, having a spare key can come in handy, allowing you to skip the panic and hassle of calling a locksmith. But with this added security comes added risk, especially if you plan on hiding  your spare outside your residence. With some careful planning, however, you can rest assured that your spare key is kept secret, and you’ll always have a fail-safe way to enter your home. 

Why Spare Keys Help

You never know what could happen in the course of a day. Like any other object, your keys can break, get lost, or — in the worst case — stolen. Whatever the reason, should your keys go missing, it’s great to have a spare set you can easily access to let yourself in. Unfortunately, if you plan on stashing your key somewhere on your property,  burglars and other ne’er do wells now have a way to enter your home too. This raises an important question: where should you hide your spare so only you can find it?

spare key

Don't Be Dumb

If you’ve seen that old key-in-a-plastic-rock routine, so have burglars. Yes, they also know about other spare key hotspots like door-ledges, mailboxes, and  porch lights. Leaving your spare keys in obvious spaces leaves you vulnerable to robbery, so if you’re going to outsmart a crook, you’ll need to look beyond doormats and flowerpots, and on to less-likely stash spots.

Clever Places to Hide Your Spare

  1. Disguise it: While fake rocks are cliche and obvious, fear not: you can still hide your key on your property through an assortment of discreet and innovative key-holders disguised as common lawn equipment. Typically found online, these containers include fake drain caps, lawn sprinklers, and even mock electrical outlets. They’re easy to overlook, and would draw quite a lot of suspicion to anyone trying to snoop them out.  
  2. Get experimental: You don’t need to drop money on fake-out key holders to find ingenious hiding spots on your property. This can include any number of places. If you’re confident in your memory, you can stash your key in an empty bottle, bury it in your lawn, and mark the location using a rock that’s unlikely to move. Your door knocker can work too if you glue a magnet to the back and leave enough space to slip your key under. You can even tuck it away in the doghouse. Anything goes, really, as long as you’re thinking of places you’d never look, and then finding ways to store your key there. 
  3. Lockboxes: This may be an obvious method, but it’s perhaps the most secure. Lockboxes are small containers that can only be opened through punching in a code. Real estate agents often attach lockboxes to doorknobs, but you’re better than that. Rather than hanging your container out in the open for all to see, consider stashing it away under a bush, or burying it in a marked spot in your garden.  
  4. Go high: Often, it’s best to keep your spare key someplace out of reach, whether tucked away in a birdhouse, nailed to an inconspicuous part of a tree, or in a noisy bunch of windchimes. It will take a greater deal of effort to retrieve your key from these perches, but it’ll be even more difficult for a thief who doesn’t want to draw attention to themselves. 
  5. Phone a friend: The above methods might be clever, but nothing beats the security of knowing that a close pal has your back. If you have a trusted neighbor or a friend who lives nearby, you can ask them to hold on to your spare, and drop it off to you in case you get locked out. Additionally, if an emergency happens while you’re away, your neighbors would now have a way to enter your home to help mitigate the problem. 
House keys

Your Safety is Our Priority

Everyone deserves to feel secure in their homes, and Pop-A-Lock believes in informing homeowners of any and all measures they can take to ensure their safety. Hiding a spare key is a good first-step, but if you’re in need of a little extra reassurance, call to speak with one of our expert locksmiths, or check out our website to learn more about our rekeying, lock repair, and installation services.

Why You Need to Rekey Your New Home

Why You Need to Rekey Your New Home

painting

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner, or you just moved into your first house (congratulations!), there are always concerns about the security of your family, possessions, and property.  What can you do to help ease this stress? To avoid any issues or complications with latent keys that may be floating around without your knowledge, consider rekeying your home.

old locks

Reasons to Rekey Your New Home

  1. Master keys: In many communities, there are master keys which open every lock in the building or neighborhood, and often belong to construction crews or landlords. This means every lock in that community more than likely has master pins left inside the mechanism, so rekeying in that situation can be a useful solution.
  2. Duplicate keys you may not be aware of: Whether your home is previously owned or newly constructed, there is no way to be sure of just how many people have duplicate keys, giving them access to your home. In the case of previously owned homes, there is a chance that previous owners (even their family and friends) still possess duplicate keys. If your home is newly built, contractors and realtors might have duplicate keys.
  3. Construction mishaps: No new home build is perfect. There are bound to be small mistakes or issues that need to be sorted out. When these issues are with your locks, however, there is a concern of safety and security that arises. The best thing to do is call a locksmith and have your locks checked. From there, you can either rekey or replace the lock.
  4. Lock deterioration: For previously owned houses, rekeying the locks is as much an issue of safety as it is restoration. Locks that have been used for significant amounts of time are bound to be worn down, making them function worse than when they were new.
vintage keys

Rekeying vs. Replacing Locks

When a lock is rekeyed, the locksmith will first examine the lock in order to assess any damage and determine if you are better off with a complete replacement. If rekeying is the best solution for you, the locksmith will remove the existing pins and springs (the components that make your locks fit your keys), and replace them with new ones. This means your lock can now fit a new, different key.

That being said, over time, locks can wear and degrade past the point where a rekey is the correct solution. In this situation, your locksmith will advise you that you will require a complete lock replacement. 

Replacing versus rekeying locks depends on your needs. If the locks in your new home are clearly degraded and worn, consider a lock replacement rather than a rekey. If you are happy with the function of the locks themselves, and are more concerned about duplicate keys, rekeying is the solution for you!

indoor comfort

How Pop-A-Lock Can Help

Pop-A-Lock understands that feeling safe and secure in your new home is a top priority for any homeowner. Whether you are in need of an inspection, replacement, or rekeying, we are happy to help. To schedule an appointment with one of our expert locksmiths, call today!

How to Keep Your Home Secure While on Vacation

house key

While reclining in a hammock, tropical drink in hand, the last thing you want to see is your phone lighting up with a notification from your security system or a frantic neighbor, alerting you that your home was broken into. Vacations are your time to unwind and let go — and pesky criminals have no right to drag you back into reality. 

Luckily, there are ways to protect your abode from afar. If you’re aware of how burglars select their targets, you can take the precautions necessary to protect your home from unwanted attention. And when you know there’s nothing to worry about back home, it’s that much easier to relax on your hard-earned getaway.

Facts on burglaries

Break-ins aren’t random: they’re the result of burglars scoping out a property over the course of days or weeks, looking for security gaps or signs of vacancy. It’s no wonder that burglary rates are highest during the summer months when most families leave their homes to go on vacation. After all, an empty home is a vulnerable one. 

As such, burglars look for certain telltale signs of vacancy, including:

  • Unkempt lawns 
  • Empty driveways 
  • Windows left dark for several days 
  • Overstuffed mailboxes and/or packages left sitting in doorways 

If a burglar picks up on any of these hints — and notices that your home lacks a visible outdoor security system — your home is more likely to be targeted with each passing day.  However, there are certain steps you can take to protect against break-ins while on vacation, though it requires some extra planning on top of your usual packing list. 

home intruder

Tips to keep your home safe

Indoors: 

  • Lights with timers: Even if you’re thousands of miles away — and plan on being so for several weeks — it’s important to still give your home the appearance of being actively lived-in. Well-lit interiors accomplish this, lending the appearance of someone being inside. But you don’t need to worry about skyrocketing electric bills when securing your home: leaving the same lights on at all times can indicate absence too. In reality, it’s best to plug your lights into an automatic timer. These devices are cheap and can be purchased online — just be sure to set the timer to “random” so thieves can’t detect a pattern.
  • Hide valuables: A common error many vacation-goers fall into is leaving their blinds or curtains open while away, effectively giving thieves a sneak-peek to your home’s valuables. To avoid this fatal misstep, be sure to darken your windows and stash any expensive items out of plain view. 
  • Stay off socials: Though it’s tempting to post a “beach vibezzz” snap of your Bhamama vacation unless you want to alert thieves that your house is sitting vacant, it’s best to leave the vacation recap until after you’re home safe. This is especially true if your profile handles use your full name: just like everything in life is now digital, modern thieves have taken to the internet to scope out the whereabouts of their potential targets. Your followers might be closer than you think. 
  • Lock up: This might seem obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check every door, pet door, and window before leaving on vacation. In one survey, 56% of burglars said they entered a residence through the front or back doors, while 22% said they entered through a first-story window. Based on this information, it’s safe to assume that many households leave their doors unlocked out of forgetfulness

Outdoors: 

  • Keep the lawn tidy: As mentioned above, signs of negligence are the biggest giveaways of home vacancy. Your overgrown shrubs, unruly lawn, and wilting hydrangeas all reveal that no one has been around to tend to them for a while. If you’re only leaving for a short trip, consider mowing your grass and trimming up before you leave. But if your trip spans several weeks, it might be best to call on a good buddy or a close neighbor to care for your lawn in your absence. 
  • Take your spare key: Since thieves know all the common hiding spots for spare keys — doormats, potted plants, fake rocks — it’s strongly recommended you either take your spare key with you on vacation or hide it in a secure location inside. However, if you worry the little guy may get lost in the scramble to move luggage from one hotel to another, you could opt for a clever, nondescript stash spot like this
  • Hide mail and packages: Just like unkempt lawns can signal an absence, overflowing mailboxes, and unclaimed packages can show that no one has been around long enough to claim them. As such, it’s probably best to hit up that neighbor once again or have your local post office put a hold on your deliveries until you return.
  • Security camera system: You may have a high-tech alarm system within your home (and, in our opinion, most homes should!) but nothing stops a thief in their tracks more than an outdoor security camera. Cameras not only record evidence and signal that your residence is under watchful surveillance but also alert you to any potential disturbance.
  • Light your home’s exterior: Finally, just as you should keep your home’s interior well-lit, you should keep the surrounding yard lit with outdoor lights as well. Not only does this give your home the appearance of frequent activity, but it also shines a light on potential dark spots, making it all the more difficult for ne’er do wells to hide.
house with lights on

Pop-A-Lock Holds the Key to Security

If you’re still concerned about your home’s safety, or you don’t know where to look for potential weak-spots, Pop-A-Lock’s security experts are here to help. Check out our free security audit checklist to assess your home’s security level on your own, or call to get a free quote on lock repair or installation!

Lock Bumping and How to Prevent It

Lock Bumping and How to Prevent It

unlock with key

After locking up, most of us feel certain our possessions — and our families — are safe behind guarded doors. We think that, in the unlikely event of our home becoming a target for burglars, the only way inside would be through kicking in a door or window. But only 35% of home invasions show signs of forced entry. How are they getting in? It’s not because they’re criminal masterminds: since 2002, lock bumping has become a popular technique used by burglars to bypass the most commonplace door locks. Read up on this method, and what you can do to prevent lock bumping.

What is lock bumping?

Put simply, lock bumping is when a bump key is used to align the pins in a common cylinder lock. From here, a small amount of pressure is applied on the key, effectively “bumping” it and causing the plug to slide open. Once a way for locksmiths to safely disassemble locks, this knowledge has since made its way into criminal circles, and is now one of the most popular lock picking techniques.
Though not all home locks are vulnerable to bumping, the majority are. Cylinder locks, which have the pin tumbler mechanism mentioned above, are standard in homes across the country. Unfortunately, because they’re so commonplace, criminals are able to easily take advantage of this simple and mass-produced locking mechanism

opening lock with key

Should I Be Worried?

When in the wrong hands, bump keys are used to gain illegal entry to a residence — usually with the intention of burglary. While the possibility of your home falling victim to lock bumping may seem far-fetched, this method has been on the rise since 2002, and is so easy to execute a toddler could do it. Let’s look at the facts: 

  • Lock bump keys are extremely cheap ($3 on Amazon). This means anyone with an internet connection and a couple spare bucks can become a lock-picker.
  • Lock bumping is incredibly easy to learn, requiring no special skills or strength to execute.
  • On average, bumping a lock takes only 10 seconds, making it a quick and 
  • It’s a non-destructive lock-picking method. Since most insurance companies need to see some sign of forced entry to approve claims, this method is particularly worrisome for homeowners.
  • About 90% of US homes have cylinder locks that can be bumped

This last statistic is concerning. As someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about locks and how they work, how can you tell if you have one of those cylinder locks mentioned earlier? You don’t need an expert’s help for this. If your door locks are relatively old, came with the house or apartment, and require only one key to operate, it’s a safe bet that you have a cylinder lock. 

keyhole

How to prevent lock bumping

The first step you can take to prevent lock-bumping is finding a method to safeguard your locks against this technique or taking security measures to make your home less appealing to thieves. 

  • High-security locks: The best locks are the ones that can’t be picked. At the moment, there are several bump-resistant locks on the market, most of which come with a UL 437 rating and unique markings near the keyhole. (“UL” stands for “Underwriter Laboratories” which is the most commonly used rating system for mechanical locks in the US). These locks don’t use the tumbler-pin mechanism of cylinder locks, instead using tough-to-pick safety features that protect against picking or excessive force. They’re also patent protected, meaning only one company manufacturers the key and issues it to locksmiths or security companies. When choosing a lock for your home, be sure to ask your locksmith about high-security lock options. 
  • Anti-bump lock guards: If you’re on a budget, purchasing a bump-resistant guard may be the way to go. These devices are available on the internet or in hardware stores, and can be easily installed on your door. The most common bump-proof device is the thumb-turn guard, which latches on to the indoor thumb-turn part of your deadbolt, holding the lock firmly in place. However, there are disadvantages to this method since it prevents the door from unlocking on the outside. 
  • Keyless deadbolt locks: This is a popular method for homeowners looking for added security. Similar to the last method, keyless deadbolt locks can only be turned from the inside, making for less-convenient entry or exit, but they do have the added benefit of being entirely pick-proof from the outside.
  • Home security system: Though lock-picking is a swift and quiet process, burglars will be less-likely to target your home if your yard is well-lit and clear of any convenient hiding spots. The addition of home security systems and or security cameras can be a great defense as well, deterring potential thieves and alerting you to any outside threats.
CCTV Security Camera

Get a locksmith’s advice

If you’re unsure of how secure your home really is, consult one of the  experts at Pop-A-Lock. We’ll offer commercial security audits where we’ll sweep your property in search of potential security risks and provide advice on how to fortify your home. Just give us a call or check out our website for more information. We’re always happy to help a home in need.

Six Tips To Increase The Security of Your Rental Property (Apartments, Condos, Etc.)

Everyone wants to feel safe when staying as a guest at a rental property, whether you are checking into an AirBnB, VRBO property, or a privately-rented home, apartment, or condo.

If you are the owner of a rental property, you want your tenants to feel safe as well. There are many ways to increase the security of a rental property and ensure that your guests have a safe, enjoyable stay.

Below are six tips for deterring criminals and securing your rental property.

  1.     Secure the Main Entrance

If legal in your area, installing a double-cylinder deadbolt is recommended as it’s an upgrade from the usual single-cylinder deadbolt on many doors. If your main entrance is close to a window, a double-cylinder deadbolt can help prevent a thief from reaching through your window and opening the door. Installing a solid wood or metal door can also improve security, while door jammers provide additional protection.

  1.     Hire a Property Manager

If you have a busy schedule or live far away and are unable to visit the property often, you may want to consider hiring a property manager. A property manager can help screen tenants, maintain the property, collect the rent, and perform an array of tasks associated with renting out a property. Having someone monitor the premises regularly would also help deter potential burglars, and will allow for routine inspections of the security features that you put in place.

 

  1.     Install a Security System

Installing a security system is one of the most active and effective security measures you can implement. Many modern security systems can be integrated with your smart lock for extra protection and convenience. Making things even more convenient, many systems can be remotely accessible through an app on a smartphone. There are a variety of security systems out there, so look for the one that best fits your needs and your budget. Make sure the one you choose has everything you need, such as door and window sensors and motion-detecting lights. If you’re not willing to spend the money on a sophisticated security system for a rental property, you can always potentially deter intruders by posting “Security Cameras in Use” decals around the property.

  1.     Add Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to deter burglars. Having proper lighting indoors and outdoors can make your rental property more secure. With indoor lights, make sure all hallways and stairwells are well lit. These lights need to always be on. For outdoor lights, make sure there is lighting in front and back of the property. You can either keep the lights on or make them motion activated, or a mix of both.

 

  1.     Secure Windows

Because criminals don’t always enter a property through a door, you should make sure all windows are secure as well. All windows should have working locks; it is critical that all the locks work so an intruder can’t enter through the fire escape. You could install window sensors that will sound an alarm if the window is tampered with. You may even want to consider installing security bars to windows on the first floor.

 

  1.   Keep Blinds and Curtains Down 

In addition to comprising your tenants’ privacy, curtains and blinds that are always open give potential criminals a view of the valuables contained inside. Keep the blinds and curtains down during a non-lease period, and when you have tenants, recommend that they do the same. When burglars can’t see through the windows, they don’t know whether anyone’s home, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., which is when most burglaries occur.

Call Pop-A-Lock for Help Securing Your Rental Home

Following these six tips should significantly increase the security of your rental home. If you’re interested in upgrading your security system or implementing additional features, contact a security specialist at Pop-A-Lock today. Want to identify threats to your guests’ security and safety right away? Download our FREE Home Security Audit packet online here and find out how to evaluate your rental property from a security-focused perspective.

Why You Should Re-Key Your New House

There’s no question that every homeowner wants to keep their home (and family) safe and secure. However, you may be especially concerned if you are in a home that recently changed ownership. To feel 100% safe, you will want to have all of the existing locks rekeyed so you can ensure you are the only person with working keys to your locks.

Rekeying your locks is one of the best ways to improve home security. By making this simple upgrade, you will instantly solve the problem of not knowing how many “extra” keys are out there, ensuring that you are the only one with access to your home. Plus, you can save money by having them rekeyed to a single key, which is cheaper than replacing all the locks individually.

New Builds Follow the Same Rules

Even a newly built home should be rekeyed. When a house is under construction, the locks often use a master-key system. Many don’t realize that while the new owner receives unique keys, sometimes master pins have been left in the lock. If this happens, the lock can still be opened with double the number of keys for each master pin that remains in the lock. But rekeying allows the locksmith to remove those master pins so that only a single key will unlock it.

Current Residents Can Still Benefit

Rekeying makes sense for new homeowners, but it also can benefit people who have lived in the same residence for years. Over time, just about every homeowner has loaned a spare key or two to family and friends, neighbors, or even workers. However, keys you lent temporarily to someone can be easily copied, meaning they can remain in the hands of people you don’t want in your home. If you are unsure if any spare keys to your home are floating around, rekeying all the exterior doors to a single new  key solves this problem instantly. Once you rekey your home, you can control your key inventory and better control who has access to your home.

Rekey Your Home

Trust Pop-A-Lock

Pop-A-Lock is a professional locksmith franchise with over 8,500 locations in the United States and Canada. We train all our technicians in the latest locksmith technologies to ensure you get the best service possible. All of our technicians wear easily identifiable uniforms and drive marked vehicles, so you can be sure you are getting locksmith services from a professional.

To rekey a lock, we remove the pins and springs in the lock cylinder and replace them with pins and springs that work only with a specific new key. This means you do not need to replace the locks themselves, but instead you can be assured all your locks work with a single key that you control. Additionally, the professional locksmiths at Pop-a-Lock will also carefully examine all your locks to check their condition and replace any worn parts. We will lubricate your rekeyed lock to help it function smoothly and replace any locks that are too worn to be rekeyed.

Just like cleaning your furnace or replacing your air filters, periodic rekeying is an essential part of home maintenance. But since rekeying protects the security of your family and possessions, the team at Pop-A-Lock recommends doing this every few years. We will send our professional locksmith to your home to make sure every lock works with a single key, so you know that your family is safe in your home.

Garage Door Safety Tips

Nine Tips to Increase The Security of Your Garage

In terms of residential security, the garage is an area that is often overlooked. While securing your doors and windows should be a priority, the garage should never be neglected in the process. This part of your home serves as a major entry and exit point and is often used to store expensive items such as vehicles,  tools and exercise equipment.

Many people don’t realize that the garage is one of the most vulnerable areas of a residence. Homeowners typically do not take appropriate measures to secure the garage, frequently leaving the door unlocked or open while they are home. This is a mistake, as after trying other major points of entry (front door, back door and first-floor windows), criminals are likely to break in using the garage door.

However, don’t fear! There are many steps you can take to protect your residence from a garage break-in. Check out Pop-A-Lock’s tips below for securing your garage, as these practices will make your home a safer place to live.

Garage Security Tips

  1. Keep Your PIN a Secret: Many garage doors are equipped with an electronic keypad that serves to open and close the door when a specific code is entered. In terms of home security, it’s very important to keep this PIN a secret, only giving it to residents or those who you trust. Minimizing the number of people who know the PIN code reduces your risk of having an untrusted individual use the code to get inside. If children know this code, be sure to communicate the importance of not sharing this information with friends or strangers.
  2. Check Locks on Exterior Doors: Some garages have side entrances, with doors that lead to outdoor yard areas. When evaluating your garage’s security, be sure to check the functionality of these door locks. Do the doors close and lock with ease? If not, it may be time to have a new lock installed.
  3. Consider a Garage Door Alarm Sensor: Garage door alarm sensors can be integrated into your home’s security system. These sensors monitor when the garage is opened or closed and can be a valuable tool in making sure the door has not accidentally been left open.
  4. Invest In a Garage Door Lock: Overhead garage door locks can be used to increase the security of your home. These locks prevent the door from being lifted with brute force and are a great idea if you store expensive vehicles or other valuables in the space. These locks can be placed on the interior or exterior of the garage door, and are unlocked using a key.
  5. Keep The Exterior Of Your Home Well Lit: Entrances to your home, including the garage, should always be well-lit. Thieves and other criminals avoid brightly lit areas of the home, as it makes their actions visible from the street. If your home does not have lighting in these areas, consider having new lights installed for your safety.
  6. Be Mindful About Garage Door Openers: A newer method used by criminals to gain entry into your home is breaking into your car (or stealing your car) and taking the garage door opener. Although it may seem inconvenient, it’s recommended not to leave your garage door opener in the car. If you leave your car with a parking attendant or valet service, be sure to take the opener with you.
  7. Double-Check that the Door Closed, Every Time: When you leave your home, always double-check that the garage door actually closed behind you. Occasionally, garage doors are left open when the sensor malfunctions, causing the system to reverse. The last thing you want is to have this area open and exposed while no one is home.
  8. Always Lock Doors Leading to the Interior of the Home:  If your garage contains an entrance to your home, always lock this door before you leave. Having the garage door closed may create a sense of security that justifies leaving the door unlocked, but for your safety, the door should always be secured. This practice creates another deterrent, should an individual with bad intentions gain access inside the garage.
  9. Educate Children on Garage Door Safety: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS),  hospital emergency departments treat more than 15,000 injuries from garage doors per year in the United States. If you have small children, talk with them about the importance of garage door safety.  Consider creating a list of rules relating to garage door use, such as no riding on the door and staying away from panels while the door opens or closes.

Pop-A-Lock Can Help!

Trusted locksmiths at companies such as Pop-A-Lock can help you with concerns regarding garage security. Our locksmithing professionals can open malfunctioning garage door locks, helping you gain access back inside. We can also rekey or replace these locks efficiently, and with no damage. Our technicians do not mind helping out with programming garage door openers and are always available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about this feature of your home.

Contact Your Local Pop-A-Lock Today!

Pop-A-Lock prides itself on providing high-quality professional locksmithing services across the country. All of our locksmiths are certified, highly trained, and ready to help you find the best possible solution for your security concerns. You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!

Do You Need A Deadbolt Lock?

Do I Need A Deadbolt Lock?

If you are concerned about your home’s security, you may be wondering if you need a deadbolt lock. The short answer is: yes! This article will discuss the key advantages of having one installed in your home. If you need help installing a deadbolt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Pop-A-Lock today. The experienced locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock can install a deadbolt quickly and affordably.

Deadbolts offer specific advantages that standard locks do not have. A deadbolt, with its solid steel bar, makes it more difficult for a burglar to break into your home. There are three main types of deadbolt locks: single cylinder, dual cylinder, and keyless cylinder. The most common used is the single-cylinder deadbolt, which is operated by a twist knob on the inside and a key on the outside of the door. The double-cylinder deadbolt requires a key on both the inside and outside for operation. Keyless cylinder deadbolt locks use a password or fingerprint scan to open the door.

Keep in mind that a single cylinder door can still be breached if you have glass panels or windows, as a burglar could break through the glass, reach in, and turn the knob. A double cylinder protects against this type of break-in, because a key has to be used on the inside to unlock.

When installing the lock, the deadbolt must extend fully into the hole on the door jamb for it to function properly. It’s essential that the hole is reinforced with a metal strike plate. If the deadbolt does not extend all the way into the hole, or if a metal strike plate is not used, the lock and door frame can be compromised during a break-in.

Standard locks can be pried open with objects such as a knife because of the spring mechanism. They can also be broken open by crowbars. Because a hardened steel deadbolt is stronger, forcing or sliding them open is nearly impossible.  Deadbolts take longer than standard locks to break open, meaning a burglar is less able to get in and out promptly and, therefore, is more likely to be caught.

Often, when a burglar kicks in a door, it’s the door frame, rather than the door, that breaks. Some locksmiths recommend using a 3-inch screw to reinforce the strike plate and make sure it’s securely attached to the studs of the frame of your home or apartment.

Another advantage of deadbolts is that their simple mechanisms make them extremely affordable. Expect to pay between $30 and $50 for a deadbolt – a cost much less than installing a home alarm system. You may not even need a sophisticated alarm system once you install a deadbolt. While no lock is 100% guaranteed to keep out intruders, installing a deadbolt, as opposed to just having a standard lock, will significantly increase the security of your home.

Contact Us

Having a deadbolt installed by the trained home and residential lock installation professionals at Pop-A-Lock will ensure it’s proper and secure performance. If you’re interested in learning more about deadbolts, or you would like a professional locksmith to come to your home to install one, call Pop-A-Lock today. We will make sure you have the right lock for your home that will keep you, your family, and your belongings safe from harm.

Home Security Tips For While You Vacation or Travel

Taking a vacation from work with the family or traveling for any reason at all can be fun and exciting. But the planning, preparation, packing and everything else leading up to the trip can be stressful. Then, when you’re finally gone, worrying about the security of your home can put a damper on the vacation. Don’t let stress ruin your adventure!

Fortunately, the residential security experts at Pop-A-Lock have a list of tips and tricks to help relieve this stress and ensure your home’s security while you’re gone!

Before You Go

In addition to trip research and packing, your pre-vacation to-do list should include security measures for your home. Below are a number of things you can do before you leave for your trip to keep your home secure so you can rest easy while you’re away.

  • Set your lights on timers. Having lights turn on and off automatically can make it look like someone is home, even if they’re not. This is a great way to deter potential thieves from entering your home.
  • Take all spare keys inside. If you typically keep any keys in a lock box, under a rock, in the mailbox  – anywhere outside you home – take them inside. Don’t give thieves any temptation.
  • Have exterior lighting. A well-lit exterior – particularly with motion-sensored lights – will likely scare off anyone creeping around your property.
  • Don’t post publicly that you’ll be away. A tell-tale status update can flag to someone creeping online that your house is going to be empty.
  • Unplug non-essential electronics, like computers and TVs. Apart from the threat of someone breaking into your home, there’s also the possibility of a power surge. Unplugging extra electronics will help minimize damage and the threat of an electricity fire while you’re away.

While You’re Away

Now that you’ve done all the prep work and it’s finally time to leave on your trip, there are a few more security measures that we suggest having in place while you’re away.

  • Hire a company to keep your lawn mowed and landscaping kept up. Overgrown grass and bushes can signify to crooks that the home has been vacant for some time and tempt them to go inside.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail for you. Or, if you’ll be gone long enough, put a temporary stop on your mail. Like the grass, an overflowing mailbox is another signal to crooks that the house has been empty.
  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house. Neighbors can make for great eyes and ears while you’re gone. They’re already in the neighborhood, and can keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around your home. If they know you’re gone and aren’t expecting anyone to be at your home, they’ll know something is wrong and can call the police.

Proactivity Will Keep Your Home Secure

It can be nerve-wracking to leave your home for any extended period of time. But there are a number of things you can do to increase your home’s security and alleviate that stress!

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!

Home Security Fails: What You Absolutely Shouldn’t Do

Your home is your nest, your place to escape the world outside,  a place to be comfortable and safe, where you can raise your family. With so much at stake,  don’t skimp on security. If it’s important to you to keep your family and valuables safe, be sure to evaluate your safety standards on a routine basis and make sure that you are not guilty of  these common home security mistakes that others frequently make.

Common home security mistakes

When looking for  homes to break into or vandalize, burglars and vandals choose places that seem to be easy targets. When surveilling a neighborhood, they look for homes with predictable patterns of when people come and go. They look for well-maintained homes with nice cars in the driveway. They also look for easy ways to get into your home–such as open windows, unlocked doors, or open garages.

You don’t want your home to be a target, whether you are at home or when you are gone. Here are some common mistakes that people make  that can threaten the security of their homes:

  • Hiding your spare key under a rock/doormat/flower pot–Many people have a spare key outside their front door for when they accidentally get locked out, or when a neighbor or family member needs to drop by when you aren’t home. Just don’t hide it in a conspicuous place.
  • Leaving windows and doors unlocked–unlocked windows or doors are an invitation to burglars to enter your house, either at night or when you are gone. Make sure all the doors and windows are locked when you leave the house.

Pop-A-Lock’s Home Security Services

  • Letting mail pile up–Everyone knows that a collection of mail or newspapers signal to any passersby that you are out of town. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail or newspapers when you are gone–or ask the post office to pause your mail delivery temporarily.
  • Having outdated or non-functioning alarm systems–Keeping your alarm system working and up to date is essential. Otherwise, why have an alarm system at all? If your home security system isn’t working correctly, we can help.
  • Not having a  deadbolt lock–Burglars can break into your house even through a locked door–if the door doesn’t have proper safety locks.
  • Failing to  rekey locks upon getting a new home–If you have just moved into a new house, you don’t know who has a copy of the keys. Previous tenants, realtors, construction workers, or handymen could all have keys that would allow them entry. Or maybe you have lived in your house for several years now. 
  • Think about how many people might have had access to your keys in the past, including neighbors, dog walkers, former roommates, cleaning staff, handymen, other family members. Anyone who has had your keys in the past could easily make or distribute copies. It’s essential to rekey your locks so that you can control who has access to your keys and entry into your house.

Here at Pop-A-Lock, we provide several valuable home security services to homeowners and renters alike. 

Our specialized  home security audit will help you identify the areas in your home that might be weak points to home security, inviting burglars into your home. Our home security professionals will walk through your home to review your windows, doors, and other potential entry points to your house. We will check the locks, doors, and windows, evaluate them for safety and give you sound advice and recommendations for improving any  areas that are not secure.