Regularly maintaining your locks will ensure everything is working correctly. Whether you own a home or a business, keeping your security in check is important – after all, nobody wants to have to experience the aftermath of a break-in, nor will they want to be locked out because of a malfunctioning fixture that wasn’t cared for accordingly.
For these reasons, we’re taking the time to tell you some of the basic lock maintenance checks you can do yourself – and a how a locksmith can help you enhance your overall security.
1) For keyless entry systems: Only use brand-name batteries
You might think you’re saving money by purchasing off-brand batteries but, in the long term, that’s not true at all. Cheaper batteries have a shorter life span, so you’ll have to replace them more often, while brand-name batteries are designed to go the extra mile. In other words, invest in a good branded battery to save you the hassle of changing these more frequently.
2) For your standard locks: Don’t close the door by tugging the key
Basically, the higher the stress on your locks, the faster its insides will become worn out. One of the simplest ways to avoid this is to ensure the lock is used only for its main function – to latch or release the door. Don’t open or close a door by tugging at the key, and try not to use heavy keyrings with multiple chains and fobs (that alone can cause a bit of unnecessary stress too).
3) Check that everything is fitted correctly
Did you know that a badly fitted door can affect your locking mechanisms? A hanging or sagging door can weigh the locks down, which could easily cause them to backfire on you. With that in mind, check that the door is properly hung – it shouldn’t bind or sag, and the gap between the door and its frame should be even on all sides. Make sure to look at the hinges, too: ideally, you should be able to see 3-inch screws fitted onto them (these will prevent sagging as well as making your door much more resistant).
4) Inspect your deadbolts and dead latches
Every property owner who has deadbolts installed will know that these are an invaluable protective feature. In order for these to do their job, though, you need to ensure that the hole in the door jamb is large enough to accommodate them. Deadbolts need to be fully extended to be activated – if you need to push, pull or lift the door to get them in the right position, you might need to get these refitted.
For those unfamiliar with dead latches, these are the small plungers on a door’s flattest side. Make sure these line up with the strike plate as you close the door. The dead latch shouldn’t fall into the strike plate itself, as this will lead to a lock malfunction.
5) Look for signs of wear and tear
This tends to be the most common reason for needing to have some locks replaced. Over time, your security mechanisms are likely to become worn and torn due to stress and aging. If you fail to replace your lock in a timely manner, you’re likely to get locked out of your home or commercial building. If your key is sticking to the lock, or your locks aren’t operating as smoothly as they used to, ask your local lock and key expert to inspect your components for you.
6) Make sure your locks are lubricated
An important part of maintenance that is regularly overlooked by all property owners. You should be oiling up your locks yearly, with Teflon-based grease or any other dry lubricant option you can find. Graphite lubricants can be a good option as well, and we strongly advise against using petroleum-based products for this task. Spray a small amount of grease into the keyway, and run the key in and out of the lock to spread it around. As you remove the key from the lock, clean up any debris before inserting it back in.
What if you need someone to inspect, repair or replace your locks?
As we mentioned previously, neglected lock malfunctions can cause some unnecessary headaches. Getting the help that you need, as soon as you need it, is simple enough: Just in get in touch with a locally-based locksmith who specializes in the repairs you’re looking for. Most lock and key services providers offer an array of reasonably priced solutions, and would be more than happy to inspect your security components as needed. Locally-based experts will not charge you extra for travel expenses, will likely be able to provide you with after-hours assistance if you do end up locked out of your property, and will promptly assist whenever anyone needs some urgent repairs after a break-in.
Ask around for recommendations, and select 2-3 businesses to talk to. Remember, not all locksmiths are created equal, so check if the ones you are talking to offer residential and/or commercial solutions. Other things to keep in mind when hiring a credible expert include:
– To really get a good feeling of a business’s reputation, read up on online reviews (Angie’s List is a good place to start) and ask the locksmith for a list client references in the area.
– Never hire a locksmith without verifiable contact details, including an address, phone number and full company name. If needed, cross-examine the business through the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been set against them.
– Always get a full price quote for repairs, and be wary of a locksmith that changes their cost estimate on the day of the repairs.
– While partial deposits are a legitimate procedure, full payment upfront isn’t. On that note, also be on guard if a locksmith asks for cash payments.
– Most locksmiths won’t charge for initial consultations and price quotes – so make sure to talk to an expert, inquire about their services closely, and only hire someone you are feeling truly confident about. Don’t forget to check up on license and insurance information too.
Aurora Master Locksmith is always available to help everyone in Aurora, CO who needs to take care of their property’s locks. Simply consult with one of our licensed and insured professionals, either in person or over the phone, and we’ll help you find the right solutions for your lock issues. If you live elsewhere, you can expect your local locksmith to provide you with great value for money too!