With all the advancements in smart-home security technology and systems, some homeowners may overlook on of the most basic keys to home security — door locks and keys. According to This Old House, nearly 3 million U.S. homes are broken into each year. Locks have come a long way in terms of the protection they provide, and it’s a good time to examine some options for improving home security with a simple upgrade of door-lock hardware.
Determining what kind of exterior lock you need is the first step. Consider the pros and cons of various keyed-entry doorknobs, handle sets and dead bolts before you buy. All exterior doors need a dead bolt no matter what kind of knob or handle set you decide on. You can mount the dead bolt and doorknob together or separately, or purchase a set that includes both as one installation.
Exterior locks should be either Grade 1 or 2. Choose locksets with a dead-locking latch or bolt or dead bolts that include hardened pins. Install these with a heavy-duty plate and at least 3 inch screws. Prices for the locksets very from $25 to over $300 depending on quality, style and safety rating.
When shopping for a new lockset, keep in mind that you want to look for a dead bolt that will withstand door jimmying with a credit card or saw. According to a study by ComsumerReports.org, forcible entries such as door kick-ins are the most common type of home break in. The report also found that the majority of new smart-home locks that are opened by fingerprint, passcode or key failed their prying/wrenching test. Since technology isn’t necessarily the solution when it comes to home security, reinforcing doors with upgraded locks that feature good safety-rated parts will keep your home safe.
Your Home Newsletter, July/August 2015