Among the options for improving home security, many households turn to installing alarm systems or getting guard dogs. But locksmiths argue that the first line of defence is usually a working deadbolt lock that is used correctly.
So, why are deadbolts so popular?
- They Offer Superior ProtectionA deadbolt is a kind of lock characterized by a hardened steel bolt that is extended into the doorjamb and strike plate in the doorframe to lock. An estimated 60 per cent of burglaries involve forced entry, and having a quality deadbolt can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
For the deadbolt to function properly, you must fully extend the steel bolt into the socket on the doorjamb. The socket or hole should be reinforced with a metal strike plate. Failure to do this leaves the lock and door frame vulnerable to forced entry.
When the door is kicked in, it is usually the door frame that breaks – as opposed to the door. So, you should use 3-inch screws to properly secure the strike plate into the studs of your door frame, and not just the jamb.
The screw holes in the reinforced strike plate should be reinforced to ensure that the screws are not driven into the same wood grain.
- Tested And ApprovedDeadbolt locks have passed the ANSI Grade 1 and UL 437 tests.
ANSI or American National Standards Institute is a not-for-profit body that provides oversight for the progression of standardized structures for a range of industries. For a deadbolt to be categorized as a commercial grade product, it has to adhere to the ANSI Grade 1 specification, which means that the product in question:
- Has a bolt projecting 1-inch into the door frame;
- Has been tested to 250,000 open/close cycles; and
- Can withstand 10 hammer hits without failure.
The UL 437 test, on the other hand, is imposed by Underwriters Laboratories, a well-known organization whose work involves writing standards and testing products. The UL 437 is the accepted standard for high-security locks across the industry.
This test demands that the lock resist a range of attacks, including picking, prying, and drilling, among others.
- Range Of OptionsThere are different types of deadbolts, but the most common one is the single-cylinder deadbolt that has a twist knob on the inside to open and close, and a key on the outside.
A double-cylinder deadbolt is not as common, though it offers more security, as it requires a special key to open/close the deadbolt from both inside and outside the door. These kinds of deadbolts are recommended for doors with glass or windows, as they eliminate the risk of an invader breaking the glass to reach inside for the thumb turn.
But for safety purposes, single-cylinder deadbolts should be used in all other cases. The fact that you need a key to unlock a double-cylinder deadbolt can stop you from escaping quickly in the event of emergency.
One other factor to consider when choosing the type of deadbolt lock to install is the strength of the glass. Traditionally, the single-pane glass used in doors was easy to break, posing a bigger risk for single-cylinder deadbolts. But the glass in most newer doors is very strong.
For most exterior doors, it is recommended that you use the single cylinder lock, preferably on a solid entry door with no glass. Or simply install reinforced glass or smaller windows in your doors so a burglar cannot easily reach down to open.
- Difficult To PickSome types of locks, like Tumbler locks, are incredibly easy to pick using a few simple tools. They are not nearly as reliable as deadbolt locks when it comes to keeping your family and possessions safe. Deadbolt locks, with their long, hardened steel bolt are nearly impossible to pick.
When the lock is properly secured, with the bolt fully extended into the doorjamb hole with a metal strike place, it becomes nearly impossible for the average burglar to break in through that door. For extra protection, use double cylinder deadbolt locks on doors with glass or adjacent windows.
- Savings On Insurance PremiumsDeadbolt locks are a cost effective way to increase the security of your home. Additionally, getting a professional locksmith to install a deadbolt lock in your home may help to reduce your annual homeowner’s insurance premiums.
Since deadbolt locks reduce the risk of your home getting robbed, you become a less risky client, which means that your premiums are reduced. When you use deadbolts in combination with other home safety and security systems, such as video surveillance, window locks, and fence locks, you may make considerable savings on your homeowner’s insurance.
Keep in mind that a deadbolt lock is not the same as a doorknob. While the latter offers convenience, using the former properly gives you security, but only when installed by a licensed and reputable locksmith.