Home Security Locks

Your home is at risk of being illegally entered by an intruder. You can minimize this risk in several areas, but one of the most effective ways is to have good quality home security locks fitted to exterior doors and also to opening windows.

However, some locks are better and more secure than others and even those that are secure are still at risk from intruders that are armed with the right tools to get past them. This is why it is often a good idea to have two or more different types of locks fitted to exterior doors.

door locksIt may not prevent the most determined intruder, but will deter opportunist thieves, of which most crimes involving house breaking are perpetrated by.

There are three main types of house door locks. These are the rim locks which are typified by the Yale brand of lock, the deadbolt which is similar to a rim lock except there is the addition of the locking bolt and the mortise lock, typified by the Chubb lock which is the most secure of the three.

Rim Door Locks

While the vast majority of homes still have only a rim lock to protect them, it is advisable to have a minimum of a deadbolt lock and better to also have ad additional mortise lock fitted lower down the door, preferably in the center to help prevent the door being kicked open.

These are the simplest form of secure door lock and are typically Yale type locks that are opened with a key from the outside and a latch on the inside. They are the also the easiest to break into so are not recommended by insurance companies as the only means of securing an exterior door.

Deadbolt Door Locks

The deadbolt door lock is fast becoming a more popular choice of security lock for the exterior doors on a home and insurance companies recommend they be fitted in place of the older style rim locks which are so much more easily broken into by intruders (see additional point about lock bumping below).

There are also double dead bolt locks which are much harder for intruders to get past to gain entry to the home. These locks prevent intruders being able to simply knock out glass that is in or by a door lock then reach in to unlock the door.

They work by requiring a key to open the door from the inside as well as from the outside. The problem with these types of locks is if a fire or other hazard makes getting out impossible if the key gets misplaced.

There is a type of lock called captured key that has a mechanism like a double deadbolt when the house is empty, but allows the occupier to escape easily when still home.

Mortise Door Locks

The most secure type of door lock is the mortise lock. As with the double deadlock, a mortise lock can only be opened with a key from either inside or outside, meaning the key must be kept near to the lock to allow escape in the case of fire.

What often happens is that people will leave a key on the inside of the lock when they are at home and take it out when they go out to use to get back in with.

The mortise lock acts with a heavy duty pin that is about an inch or so long that snaps into a strike box fitted to the door jamb. Long screws (at least three inches long) are used to secure the strike box and the mortise itself is fitted inside the body of the door, usually about halfway down the door.

This is the position preferred to prevent an intruder kicking the door open as it rests approximately at the same height that the foot would strike the door in a kicking attempt at breaking the door down, providing maximum protection.

Window Locks

Windows that have openers should also be fitted with the best quality window locks that you can afford. If a potential intruder is stopped in their tracks by well secured exterior doors, the next place they will look will be the windows to see if there is an easy way in through one of them.

Modern double glazed windows and uPVC window units are often ready fitted with secure locks, but if not, they can easily be fitted by someone with a good level of competence in home repairs and refurbishments.

Preventing an Intruder from Breaking Into Your Home

cat burglarA door lock is only as good as the level of intricacy of the key that opens it and a simple key and lock combination is much easier for a burglar to pick with conventional lock picking tools. Mortise locks are the most difficult to pick because of their heavy duty configuration.

Fitting all your exterior doors with the best quality locks you can afford is a good investment in the security of your home. A combination of a deadbolt and a separate mortise lock is the most secure configuration.

If your exterior doors are only fitted with rim locks or old style casement locks, you should consider upgrading them to more secure alternatives.

What is Lock Bumping?

Lock bumping is a fairly new method of picking a lock used by burglars to gain entry to your home, office or business. This method generally only works on Yale type rim locks and is not effective on mortise or Chubb style deadlocks.

It works because the rim lock uses a cylinder which must be turned in order for the lock to be opened. To do this, the plug, which stays located inside a cylindrical hole in the outer casing of the barrel, must be freed by raising the pins inside the barrel.

This is correctly done by inserting the correct key into the cylinder, which raises all the pins and frees the plug allowing the cylinder to turn and the lock to open.

In the case of bumping, the burglar has a set of bump keys which can be legally obtained from a locksmith. These are similar to master keys which will raise the pins for the split second needed to turn the barrel and open the lock before the pins drop down again.

A frightening fact is that nearly all the rim locks on the doors of almost every home in the country can be opened by one of just nine bump keys. A burglar with a full set of these keys can be inside your home within a minute.

What is worse is that there is no sign of forced entry in these cases, which makes it difficult for police to register a crime and this could allow insurance companies off the hook with regards to having to pay out compensation.