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Home Security

What’s the Difference Between Re-Keying a Lock and Changing A Lock?

What’s the Difference Between Re-Keying a Lock and Changing A Lock?Maybe there’s an old key floating out there, in the hands of someone you don’t trust.  Maybe you’ve just moved into a new apartment.  Maybe you’ve had a break-in and are looking for added security.  One way or another, you need to change your lock.  Or perhaps just re-key it?

Both changing a lock and re-keying a lock alter who has access to your home – it means old keys won’t work, and new keys are required.  But what, exactly, is the difference between them?

Re-keying a lock involves adjusting the locking mechanism in your existing lock.  Most door locks work with a sequence of pins – your key enters the lock cylinder, pushes up the appropriate pins, and allows the cylinder to turn.  All a re-key is, essentially, is replacing those pins with new ones, calibrated to work with a different key.  Any existing key won’t have the correct groove pattern to line up the pins properly, and thus won’t allow the lock to be opened.  If your lock is in good working order, and you’re just concerned about other people having access, re-keying is an affordable option.  It’s also a good option if you’re not allowed to replace the locking hardware itself – the locksmith can create a new key that operates the same locking mechanism.

Replacing a lock involves actually taking out the old lock entirely.  If it’s damaged, or old and hardly functional, re-keying a lock won’t give any significant improvement; security requires replacing the lock entirely.  Sometimes, locks simply wear past the point where a rekey can improve its function.  You also might want to replace a lock with something that fits your needs better – an aesthetic choice, or an easier-to-operate handle for someone with a disability, for example.  No amount of re-keying will help there; you’ll need to replace the lock entirely.

If you’re not sure about what you need, a professional locksmith like the experts at The GTA Lockman can help you make that determination.  Our security experts will make sure you get the service you need.  Call us today!

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Home Security

How to Prevent Lock Bumping

How to Prevent Lock BumpingLock bumping, or key bumping, is a key tool in the arsenal of the home invader.  It’s a skill that more and more potential burglars are learning, and it’s a serious problem for you and your home security.

Lock bumping requires a special “bump key”.  It’s designed to force the pin stacks up, with the specially-designed teeth of the bump key transmitting an impact to the bottom pins in your lock.  The forces transmits to the driver pins, bumping them up for just long enough to allow the cylinder to turn, opening the door and defeating the lock.  While each lock requires its own type of bump key, it’s estimated that a simple set of 10 can allow criminals to open 90{98c926ef0b647bd2f23f2b4cdf6120dd587cc3c527db262d4fe5e050408f2853} of the most commonly used locks.  While noisy, the speed and success rate of lock bumping makes it an ideal tool for thieves.

The other problem is that lock bumping leaves very little signs of damage.  Your lock may be very slightly dented from the force of the bump, but the lock itself will work – and you may not even have the minor damage.   Most homeowner’s insurance policies need proof of unauthorized entry to pay out, and lock bumping often doesn’t leave enough of a trace.

How can you avoid this?  Most standard locks today are vulnerable to key bumping, but a high security lock can help avoid the worst-case scenario.  Any lock that doesn’t use pins is inherently bump-proof – an electronic lock, for example.  Security pins inside locks also make bumping significantly more difficult.  Trap pins, shallow drilling, side bars – there are a number of different pieces of tech that can make lock bumping far more difficult, if not impossible.

Your home security is one of the most important things you can invest in.  Spending a little extra money up front on a higher-quality lock can save you pain and anguish later.

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Home Security

Why Should You Change Your Locks When You Move In?

Why Should You Change Your Locks When You Move In?You’ve just purchased that new home of your dreams!  You’re getting all the furniture moved in, setting everything up just the way you like it, and getting your TV and internet hooked up.  You’re all ready to go, right?

Before you finish that moving-in check list, however, make sure you schedule an appointment with your local locksmith.  One of the first things you should do, whenever you move into a new place, is change your locks.

Why?  Simply put, you have no idea who might still have access to your home.

Previous residents are supposed to surrender all keys when they leave a home, be it by sale or rental.  That being said, that doesn’t always happen – sometimes accidentally, with an old spare key turning up after the details have been made final, and sometimes maliciously.  This is a safety issue – as well as a potential insurance issue.  Having an unknown number of people with access to your home is not good news!

It’s not just previous owners who might have keys – former house sitters, neighbors, friends, family and service professionals could conceivably have access to you home.  The previous residents may trust all those people, but you don’t know them at all.  A significant percentage of home break-ins are from people who knew the previous owners.  Changing the locks cuts down on that risk immensely.

When changing locks, make sure you get every lock in the home.  That means don’t just stop at the front door – remember basements, little-used side doors, garage entrances and the like.  Most burglaries don’t happen through the front door, so the more security you can add, the better off you will be.

The only way to ensure no one else has access to your home is to control access to your home yourself.  Whether that’s through an old fashioned deadbolt or a modern keypad lock system, your home security should be your first priority.  The next time you change addresses, change your locks, too.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Home Security

How to Secure Sliding Glass Doors

How to Secure Sliding Glass DoorsYour sliding glass door is a potential weak point in your home security.  While they offer great light and a feeling of spaciousness to your home, they are inherently less secure than a standard door or a wall.  Whether that’s through smashing single-pane glass, tampering with usually simple locks or even simply removing the doors from their tracks, they are often the easiest way for an intruder to enter your home.

That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams of a sliding glass door, however.  There are ways to ensure your security while still having the benefits of a sliding door.

New Locks

Most sliding doors come with latches, but they’re not really designed with top-of-the-line security in mind; they can be brittle and weak.  New locks can be installed in the bottom track, which will prevent entry.  You can even set it up so that it can be locked in a cracked-open position, allowing fresh air to come in while still providing a layer of security.

Stronger Glass

If your door is made of single-pane glass, it’s relatively simple to break into.  There are options to improve this, however – when purchasing a door, look for double-pane or wire-embedded glass; these types are stronger and can withstand more punishment.  You can also look into safety window film; this is an add-on to an existing window or door that can greatly improve its strength and durability.

Better Hardware

Some thieves can simply lift your door off of its tracks and gain entry that way.  To prevent that, keep your door well maintained; tighten any loose screws and make sure your rollers are clean.  You can install self-tapping screws in the top track, as well.  These will allow the doors to open and close, but prevent them from being easily removed without the proper tools.

As always, for all your home security needs, trust the professionals.  Trust GTA Lockman.