Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Choosing the Right Locks for Your Home

For peace of mind, many people choose to change the locks when moving into a new home. With a wide range of styles of the market, choosing the right set for your home can be confusing. It pays to get it right though, if your front  door attracts the interest of burglars, having the right lock can make the difference between success and failure.

Nightlatch

A nightlatch is a unit mounted onto the door instead of inside it. They are common on older homes and are relatively simple to install. While they offer added security, you should not rely on them, a single fixing point, not properly integrated with the frame, is easy to force open.


Mortice Lock

Most common on timber doors, a mortice lock is a unit    
that has to be morticed into the edge. These come in two basic designs, sashlock and deadlock. A deadlock has a single bolt, which can only be turned with a key. Found on front doors, these are normally combined with a nightlatch. Sashlocks are typically used on back doors, these have a key operated bolt, combined with a latch and handle.


Although relatively secure and convenient, changing a mortice lock is difficult. The lock and fixings are held together in one unit, which has to be replaced entirely when the locks are changed. They are also not very robust, having all the fixings within a few inches of each other does not give them much strength.

If you are looking to fit a new mortice lock, opt for a 5 lever design and combine it with a kick bolt to help the door withstand a forced entry.

Multi Point Locking System


Most modern PVC and composite doors are fitted with a multi-point locking system that operates with a single key. These offer the best compromise of  security, convenience and versatility.  Fixing points along the length of the door make it difficult to open by force. Having all these attached to one lock, however, means they can be opened and closed quickly.


The fixings themselves are an integral part of the door, so will need a qualified technician to change. The lock mechanism, however, is fitted within a single cylinder, which can be replaced easily, making this system highly adaptable.

When moving into a new home, this system allows to change how accessible the door is. A single cylinder means the door can only be unlocked from one side. Whereas a double cylinder can be accessed from both sides, and can be fitted with a thumbturn, so the inside can be operated without a key.

A main drawback with cylinders is that some models can be snapped by burglars with the right tools, so whatever type you choose, make sure it is built to an anti-snap design.

Most insurance companies recommend that you change your locks everytime you move. Taking the right steps to securing your home will qualify you for discounted premiums.


Author Bio: Joe is a blogger for Force8 doors and windows who writes about property, home improvement, interior design and green living.

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