Having dealt with the doors on your home in article 3, next I would like to take a look at locks and hinges.
Many homes use the lock-in-knob, this offers you convenience but it does not offer security from break ins. The fact is that many lock-in-knob type locks can be opened using a simple credit card, your home is just not secure if you are using this type of lock.
Lock-in-knob type locks are fine for internal doors that you want to lock for privacy reasons, but all exterior doors need a deadbolt lock to give the level of security required. With this type of lock when you operate the key the mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the door's frame.
These are the things you should make sure of when you buy a deadbolt lock:
The bolt extends at least 1" into the front edge of the doorframe.
The strike plate is attached through the trim to the doorframe with screws at least 3" long.
The lock has a rotation case hardened shroud that prevents it from being twisted off with a pair of pliers or other tools.
There are two common types of deadbolts:
Single Cylinder Deadbolts
They have a thumb turn on the interior side. They are easy to use and could speed up exit in the event of an emergency like a house fire. Remember if they are used near a window they can be opened by breaking the window and reaching through. This type of deadbolt lock will not prevent a burglar from using the door to remove your property.
Double Cylinder Deadbolts
Use keys on both sides of the lock. This type of lock is more suitable if there is glass window within 40" of the lock, but they can present a potential fire escape hazard. This type of deadbolt lock can delay a burglar that wants to use the door to remove your property.
The final part of the locking mechanism is the strike plate; this is attached to the doorframe with screws. The metal bolt of the deadbolt lock slides into the strike plate to secure the door to the doorframe.
A high security strike plate is needed to keep the metal bolt from being forced from the doorframe when locked. A high security strike plate should have at least 4 screws that are a minimum of 3 inches long.
Finally its time to consider the other edge of the door, there is no point in having a great deadlock fitted to a door with weak hinges. Many door hinges are often fitted with the same 3/4" screws as used for common strike plates. Replace these with 2" to 3" fully threaded screws so the hinges are anchored to the doorframe.
Make sure that the hinge pins are not exposed to the outside so a potential burglar can remove the pins to gain entry.
Hinges should be pinned by installing a partially threaded screw into the frame side of the hinge. The unthreaded portion of the screw is left exposed and the head of the screw is cut off. Then a corresponding hole is drilled into the door and hinge on the opposite side, so that when the door is closed the exposed portion of the screw fits in to the door, so preventing the door from the being lifted from its hinges.
Having a good lock fitted is only half the story; you must look after the keys, as many as half of all burglaries take place without forced entry. It is surprising how often the burglar just uses a key.
Make sure your keys don't fall into the wrong hands, the following tips should help:
Never carry identification on your key ring or holder.
Change the locks and keys when you move into a new house or apartment.
Know who has keys to your home.
Don't give keys to maintenance or deliver people. If you must leave a key leave it with a trusted neighbor.
Make sure that each member of your family knows where his or her key is.
Never hide a key outside. Burglars always know all the hiding places.
Do not hang keys on hooks within plain view inside your home.
Well that just about covers the locks and doors on your home, apart from one very important item, Patio or Sliding Glass doors, these are so important that I have written a separate item about them for the next article in this series.
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