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Choosing Locks to Keep Your House Secure

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 31 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
British Standards Bs3621 Sash Lock Dead

A well-chosen, well-placed lock can be the crucial difference between a safe and secure property and a prime burglary target.

Dead Locks

When thieves were interviewed as part of a study on how burglars choose their targets, many said that seeing good quality dead locks would make them move onto another house.

If your wooden front or back door is only secured by the common cylinder rim night latch – the type that locks when you slam the door shut – then it advisable to fit a mortice dead lock as an extra security measure.

There are two types of domestic mortice lock available; the deadlock and the sash lock. The difference between the two is that the former is a key-only operated lock, whereas the latter is operated with the handle and a key. Both types require key or key and handle operation whether operating the door from the outside or inside. This means a thief can’t smash a nearby glass panel and reach around to open the door from the inside. They need a key.

Before splashing out, first make sure that the door is thick and strong enough to accommodate the lock, and that the lock itself conforms to the British Standards BS3621. It is recommended to approach a reputable locksmith for their expert advice.

Door Bolts

If a mortice lock is a bit over budget for both outside access points then it is worth considering fitting mortice bolts on the back door. With this small additional lock, a bolt shoots out of the door and into the frame when the key is turned. It is operated by a non-unique mortice bolt key and so can only be operated from the inside – and therefore should not be used for the front door.

Door bolts are also a valuable addition to patio door security. These doors are notoriously vulnerable to intruders and so can be secured with door bolts at the top and bottom.

Window Locks

Windows at the back of the house are a very popular entry point for burglars. The most common method is to smash the glass so that the thief can reach in and release the catch, and open the window fully. Fortunately there are various locks available to prevent such illegal entry, the most popular being the casement and the fanlight.

  • Casement locks are available for both wooden and metal-framed windows, and secure the window with a key-operated lock.
  • Fanlight locks use a metal bolt to secure the arm that opens and closes the window.

Self-locking window locks are the sensible choice for windows that are regularly opened and closed, although these are generally more expensive. And a general rule locks that join the window to the frame with the aid of a key are usually strongest type overall, and the ones involving catches are best avoided.

Windows can be sold and fitted by a locksmith, but by and large they are easy for anybody that is a dab hand with a screwdriver.

When Moving Home

When moving into a new property it is very wise to change the locks, as you have no clue as to who might have copies of the existing keys. A locksmith should therefore be contacted to replace the locks as soon as you move in to your new abode.

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