A Locksmith’s Best Advice For Keeping Your Home Safe

Locksmiths know a lot about home security. Here is some of their best advice.

Keep your home safe from unwanted intruders with these secrets a locksmith won’t tell you. Read on to learn trade secrets from a locksmith.

Beware of Scam Artists

Many locksmiths in the phone book or online are scam artists. They’ll quote you a great price, but when they get there they’ll say you have a special lock they can’t pick, so they have to drill it open. Then they’ll charge you extra for a replacement lock you can buy at The Home Depot for much less.

Find Reputable Locksmiths

Don’t want to get scammed? The good news is that there is a simple way to check a locksmith’s credibility. Find someone reputable at findalocksmith.com, the official website of the Associated Locksmiths of America.

Go for High Grade

It’s easy to defeat the cheapo locks from big-box stores. Most are mass-produced by reputable manufacturers and made to really low standards. Look for at least a Grade Two lock.

Domestic locked doorKM6064/Getty Images

The Best Lock

The best lock is a deadbolt that’s properly installed. It should have at least a one-inch “throw.” On the “strike side” there should be a security plate with screws at least three inches long that go all the way into the door’s wood frame.

Get a Double Cylinder Lock

If you have a window on or near your door, a thumb-turn deadbolt won’t do much good. It’s too easy to just knock out the glass, stick a hand in and turn the lock. If your door is near a window, get a double cylinder lock that needs a key on the inside.

Don’t Trust “Do Not Duplicate”

Keys stamped “Do not duplicate” are duplicated all the time. If you’re concerned, look into high-security locks with keys that can’t be replicated at the hardware store.

Double-Check

Before simply assuming you’re locked out of your home, at least check the door. There’s no easier job for a locksmith than going to a house to unlock a door and finding it already open (and they’re still going to charge you for the service call.)

Simple Solutions

If your key won’t turn, try WD-40 or silicone spray. Sometimes the pins get jammed up, and 25 to 40 percent of the time that solves the problem.

Don’t Buy a Locked Safe

Think twice before you buy a locked safe at a flea market, estate sale or auction. It’s probably going to cost you $300 or more to open it, and chances are all you’re going to find is mouse poop.

police cop car the lawSchmidt Alex/Shutterstock

Rekey a New Home

When you buy a new house, always have your locks rekeyed. Otherwise there’s probably a master key out there that can easily open your home.

Don’t Spin the Dial Too Fast

Sometimes, people call a locksmith thinking they’ve been locked out of their safe. The reality is they’re making a simple, but big mistake when trying to open it: Spinning the dial too fast, trying to open it before it’s unlocked, and forcing it closed when there’s obviously a problem.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest