For most of us, security is a top priority for our homes. But the world of security and the range of available products are becoming increasingly complex for many homeowners. From alarm systems and specialty outdoor lighting, through to the newest electronic lock systems, it’s difficult to know what will provide the best protection. As it turns out, the deadbolt lock system is still going strong as one of the most critical safeguards for your home entrance. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about deadbolt systems available today and also some of the newest innovations.
WHAT GRADING IS ALL ABOUT
The purpose of standardized ANSI/BHMA product grades is to help identify the quality and durability of door hardware through a series of operational and security tests. The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is a non-profit organization that administers and coordinates voluntary standardization to develop and maintain performance standards for builder’s hardware. The standards are defined by three grades in which there are progressive levels of performance benchmarks.
Grade 3: Meets residential building requirements and provides basic residential security.
Grade 2: Meets light-duty commercial building requirements and exceeds standard residential security.
Grade 1: The strongest grade available for maximum-duty commercial applications; also available for residential uses via deadbolts.
But do you need the top tier ANSI grade 1 rating? For most homeowners and for residential doors, ANSI grade 3 will suffice. However, locks that are exposed to frequent use—such as commercial buildings—would require a minimum of ANSI grade 2. That being said, spending more money for an ANSI grade 1 or 2 lock does not always make sense for most homeowners.
BASIC LOCK SECURITY AND TIPS
Other than ANSI grade, what else does a homeowner need to know? To keep your home safe and secure, Taymor, a leading hardware designer and distributor, recommends you do the following:
• Choose a deadbolt lock rather than the common key-in-knob variety for all exterior doors.
• Strengthen any exterior door by using a deadbolt lock with a 1-inch bolt.
• Use locks with a pin and tumbler system, which will resist forced entry and only operate when the proper key is inserted.
• Install locks with 3-inch long mounting screws so they pass through the doorframe and go into the wall stud.
• Hinges should also be attached securely by screws that go through the doorframe and into the supporting stud—not exposed on the outside.
• The outside trim of the deadbolt should be dome-shaped or sturdy enough so that it cannot be crushed or twisted.
• To observe visitors, a wide-angle door viewer is recommended.
• Update rim deadbolt locks, which are simple surface mounted locks found on the interior of the door and often found in older homes.
• Don’t overlook the door that leads into your house from the garage.
• Change your locks if keys are lost or when you move into a new residence.
A CAUTION: Single-cylinder deadbolts are operated with a key from the outside and with a thumb turn on the inside; double-cylinder deadbolts are operated with a key on both the inside and outside. Some municipalities ban double-cylinder usage because they can make it harder to get out in an emergency if the key is missing or not readily available. Be sure to check the requirements with your building department.
NEWER ON THE MARKET
Keyless locks are newer on the market and becoming more visible in retail centers. Taymor offers a selection of these, including their newest, the Concierge 400, a digitally coded deadbolt system. This keyless lock is simply opened by entering the correct passcode on the numbered touchscreen. More common in commercial applications, up until now, the new keyless locks are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience in residential applications. Their desirable security feature is that they allow multiple codes to be created and removed as needed, so homeowners can allow temporary access to cleaners, trades or visitors. The Taymor Concierge 400 also has added security functions like “code scrambling” to avoid visible wear and keep your code secure over time.
Also new to the market are smartphone-enabled locks. These are part of the “smart home” concept where appliances, lighting, heating, electronic devices, and now locks, can be controlled remotely by phone or computer. However, according to researchers it’s buyer-beware for these newest products. Security experts are pointing to subtle vulnerabilities that are just beginning to be understood. Until we know more, the non-smartphone enabled electronic locks, such as the Concierge 400, are a safe choice—providing security and convenience with tried and true technology.