Security begins with good locks, whether it's your home or business that needs to be made safe from burglars and other intruders. But choosing the best window and door locks for your security needs is not as simple as it may appear.
When selecting a lock for the home or business, you need to consider several factors, such as what type of door or window you wish to secure and what level of security you need.
Other factors to consider are the type and quality of the frame into which the door is fixed, what kind of key system you need or whether an electronic door entry system better meets your security needs.
Door-locking systems vary in price. Generally, the more you pay, the higher the level of security you get, but changing the locks on your property is not always as expensive as many customers think.
Independent, professional help can be a real bonus here, both for the best security level and saving money by getting the correct hardware for the job.
A standard mortice lock, for example, will be of little use on a UPVC door, while a weak quality frame may never be secure no matter what locking system you use.
Professionals will have first-hand experience with the best door entry and locking systems and awareness of ones with poor records.
Insecure doors are the burglar's favourite point of entry and exit, so it pays to make sure that your doors are fitted with quality locks. Door locks come in many shapes, sizes and styles to suit a similarly varied range of door materials and security needs. Still, they fall into two main groups – deadbolts and latches.
Deadbolt locks, also called deadlocks, effectively bolt the door into the surrounding frame. The most common type is the Mortice lock which is fitted in the edge of the door so that only the plate and the bolt are visible. The best kind of mortice is the five-lever deadlock which requires a key to open and close it. Many insurers will insist that the deadlock complies with British Standard BS3621. Most mortice locks have a combination of deadlock and sash or latch lock. The latch is opened by turning a handle, while the deadlock requires a key. All deadbolt locks should be constructed from steel, bronze, or brass. Variations on deadbolts include multi-point locks where a single key operates several deadlocks spaced apart. They are often found on uPVC doors, typically on patio or conservatory doors and usually have three deadbolts that lock simultaneously.
These are locks that fit on the face of the door, and they come in various names, such as latch locks, Yale locks and spring locks. Spring latch locks, or Yale-type locks, are cheaper, but the basic lock offers minimal security. The latch automatically locks when the door is closed. It is opened by turning a small handle inside or using a key from the outside. Some spring latches can have deadbolts fitted to make the lock a little more secure. Other variations on the latch are roller bolt latches, often found on doors to flats so that residents don't accidentally lock themselves out.
Electronic door operating systems are becoming increasingly popular. The locking mechanism is the deadbolt system, the difference being that the device is operated using electric current instead of a key. Electronic locks also offer much greater control over door entry. Lost fobs or cards can be erased from the system to prevent unauthorised access; entry codes can be changed at will, or new passcodes can be issued quickly and efficiently. Electronic access also allows other security features such as transaction logs, recorded use of cards and fobs and remote activation and monitoring.
Whatever type of security lock you use, it is essential to note that no door locking or door entry system can be 100% guaranteed to keep out all intruders. Nevertheless, quality locks and efficient door entry systems can significantly decrease the risk of burglary or other unauthorised entry. Locks are also only as sturdy as the doors and frames on which they are used, and it is vital to ensure that all of your windows and doors are in good condition and have the most appropriate locks that are correctly fitted to meet your security needs and insurance requirements.
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