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Category : Lock Installation

  • How to Implement Hands Free Entry in this Era of COVID-19

    Posted on May 3rd, 2020 0 Comments

    In this era of COVID-19, many home and business owners are looking for ways to increase the safety around their own property, helping themselves, their family/staff/ and/or visitors to help avoid spreading germs. In this blog post, the door hardware installation experts here at Chicago Locksmiths will detail some fantastic ways you can implement hands free entry at your property!

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  • Specialty Utility Locks

    Posted on September 28th, 2019 0 Comments

    Utility locks are basically auxiliary locks, and can be pin tumbler, tubular, disk tumbler, wafer tumbler, electromechanical, and magnetic locks. They usually are made of a smaller cylinder lock that can be implemented in many different kinds of functions or considerations. Here’s a guide to all the different types of Specialty Utility Locks, as prepared by the experts here at Chicago Locksmiths.

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  • Failsafe Vs. Fail Secure Locks

    Posted on December 13th, 2018 0 Comments

    Failsafe and fail secure locks are two different types of hardware that get installed at buildings depending on their variety of security need. Here’s a guide to the difference between failsafe and fail secure locks, as provided by the lock installation experts at Chicago Locksmith. By ensuring that you have the proper door hardware in place, you will bolstering the security that your existing access control system provides you with.

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  • Why Price doesn’t always determine a quality lock

    Posted on March 13th, 2017 0 Comments

    Here at Chicago Locksmith, we are often asked what kinds of locks are the best for home contexts. However, we tend not to favor one manufacturer or company over another one. The quality of a lock system is not determined by its packability – however this factor SHOULD be taken into consideration. Yes, some of the most expensive locks are impossible to pick, however the true security amounts from not only the lock’s strength, but how strong the door is, and how well it’s bolted into it’s frame. A high quality lock paired with a cheap door or doorframe won’t do that much to prevent a break in.

     

    Picking

    Sometimes cheap locks can be easy to pick, and expensive ones can be easy to pick. It’s easier to pick locks with short pins. It’s harder to pick locks that have a mixture of long and short pins. In order to determine what kind of pins your lock as, look at your key – if it has both deep and shallow cuts in it, it’s harder to pick your lock.

     

    Another aspect of packability is what quality the lock’s metal is made of, and how well it was installed. Good locks are both solid and heavy, and are mounted steadily within the door. All deadbolts should fit cleanly inside their drilled space – and often locksmiths won’t make a deadbolt hole large enough for it to sit properly inside, which increases the vulnerability to crowbar attacks. All bolts should be durable and solid, and should slide fully into the door frame when activated.

     

    Keyways and Home Security

    There’s four main popular residential keyway designs in the United States. These include Kwikset, Schlage, Yale, and Weiser. While many other key patterns are made, the majority of them are made for business security applications. Many outside companies make their locks according to the key designs of the big four companies mentioned above. Lowes ‘Carriage House’ lock design uses the Kwikset Keyway, as well as Home Depot’s ‘Defiant’ locks. Yale utilizes Kwikset keys in its residential lock systems, however it has it’s own type of lock for it’s commercial systems. Schlage makes its own keys for it’s own locks. Sergeant is a particularly high quality lock, that does have some residential offerings, but mostly focuses on making commercial locks.

     

    Again, we want to stress that the true quality of a lock lies in how well it’s installed. The most ineffective lock, is a poorly installed one – so even if your lock is expensive, you need to make sure it’s installed perfectly in order to really get the most out of it.

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  • Locksmith Myths

    Posted on October 13th, 2016 0 Comments

    locksmith-myths

    There’s tons of myths out there regarding locksmiths. For the most part, locksmiths are there to provide you with honest service that really helps you when you need assistance. That being said, let’s debunk some of the most common rumors about locksmiths, so that you can feel prepared next time you may need one.

     

    Locksmiths Never keep Key Copies

    Many people assume that locksmiths keep copies of keys so that whenever you ask them to make you a spare, they can make it quickly from the copy on hand. This is simply untrue, since most locksmiths agenda is simply to provide you with service as you request it – they have to reason to maintain continued access to your home, business, or vehicle. When you give a locksmith your key to make a copy, they trace it’s pattern onto a blank key, and give them both back to you when they are done. You can watch the entire process as it’s happening, so you know that they’re not making another copy at the exact same time.

     

    They don’t only do house calls

    Most locksmiths offer a whole panoply of instant solutions that include residential locksmith services, as well as automotive and commercial services. They don’t just perform house calls. They come to any home ready with an entire arsenal of equipment, ready to install commercial locks at an office, or even ready to repair a vehicle’s ignition.

     

    24/7 Availability

    Depending on which locksmith company you decide to work with, you can certainly find one that works on a 24/7 basis, around the lock. Locksmith emergencies can happen at any time of day or night, so the right locksmith will be available exactly when you need them.

     

    Grades of Tools Vary

    If all locksmiths used the exact same kinds of tools, none of them would be very distinct. In order for locksmiths to maintain a competitive edge amongst their other competition, they have to use the best tools available on the market coupled with the absolute best customer service. A truly great locksmith will use a broad arsenal of professional grade tools to work on deadbolts, electronic locking systems, personal safes, garage doors, and almost any kind of locking mechanism.

     

    Telephone Estimates

    There’s a stereotype that locksmiths don’t provide accurate over the phone estimates for their services, but they absolutely do. Only professional locksmiths, like Chicago Locksmiths, will give you a price estimate over the phone – and scam locksmiths out to gouge prices almost never will.

     Remember these rebuttals of locksmith related myths next time you’re searching for a truly professional service!

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  • Padlock History

    Posted on April 17th, 2016 0 Comments

    Padlock History

    Locks are a matter of ancient history – they have existed for thousands of years, since the beginning of society. As history has progressed, the structure and construction of locks have changed. The invention of the padlock was one of the most influential changes in the evolution of locks. The important idea at the center of padlocks is the invention of a lock that can be added and removed from a separate device. Padlocks are simply detachable locks that can be secured with a shackle – which is put on a hinge or springed slide. In this brief blog post I’ll underline some of the important history and etymology of padlocks.

     

    The Etymology of the word ‘Padlock’

    Some theories imply that the prefix ‘pad’ means gate, with the implication that padlocks were originally made for locking gates. The prefix ‘pad’ could also imply foot traffic, or walking, implying that these locks were originally crafted to guard gates that led to paths. In the United Kingdom the term ‘Pad’ is also associated with ‘panniers’, baskets used with animals. This implies that perhaps the term padlock originated to describe the locks that merchants would place on bags of their wares that they would attach to animals to carry. The last theory asserts that the term came from Vikings in an English settlement who would use these locks to keep their livestock secure inside containers known as paddocks.

     

    Ancient Rome

    The most ancient padlocks currently on record date to 500 BCE, in the Roman empire. This artifact has around body made of iron, with a bolt that can be moved with a key. Many other Roman padlocks are made of two parts with a rectangle body, with a separate shackle and V shaped spring – the two far corners of the ‘V’ are pinched in order to allow the shackle to move. This construction is rudimentary but effective.

     

    Evolution along the Silk Road

    As trade routes between Europe and Asia were established, the use of locks became much more widespread as they were enlisted by merchants. By the year 25, the Chinese Empire had implemented massive use of padlocks – these often made of bronze. A few hundred years later in the English province of York, Viking settlements used padlocks to protect their livestock. Leading archeologists argue that these locks were made between the years 850 and 1000 – and as I mentioned before, were used on animal paddocks. The viking padlocks are structurally similar to the Roman padlocks however the Viking ones used flat keys, rather than the “L” bent Roman ones.

     

    Mid-Millennium England

    The most drastic changes to the structure of the padlock happened as they became more widely used in England. This evolution was spearheaded, funnily enough, by the use of smokehouses to preserve food. Before refrigerators, citizens needed methods of preserving food for long harsh winters. Smoking meat and fish became a method of rendering food much more impervious to the elements – and as food was in high demand, smokehouses would have to be locked to prevent the food from being stolen. These padlocks were made of wrought iron, and had custom keyways – warded with notches that matched keys. These padlocks however widely disseminated, had structural issues – they could be forced into, and it would be incredibly difficult to figure out if the lock had been picked.

     

    Eastern Europe

    In Eastern Europe – in Slavic areas like Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc..) the advent of the screw key padlock provided an alternative to the smokehouse padlock. This cylindrical key has to be twisted into the lock, and if it aligned properly it could be taken out without having to turn it the opposite way, at the same time stretching an internal spring which would retract the bolt. By around 1910 both screw key locks  and smokehouse locks stopped being as popular.

     

    1800s Scandinavia

    Invented by the Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem, the Scandinavian lock consisted of a series of rotating disks with side grooves that would match with a certain key – additionally grooves on the outside of the disks had to align in order to release the shackle. Created in the 1870s, these locks continued to be manufactured until around the 1950s.

    Also invented in Scandinavia, Cast Heart padlocks, made of brass or bronze, were made with a keyway drop, to protect it from being impacted with particulate matter, and could be easily carried. They were widely manufactured due to their usefulness in incredibly cold or icy climates.

     

    Industrial Revolution and Advent of Electricity

    During the 1870s, the Cast Heart lock became widely replicated with cheap materials. Many businesses began using the cheaper locks, even if they were less effective. During this time period, Yale was creating the first padlock that was made of modular components that could be replaced – allowing for rekeying. As electricity came to use, manufacturing of solid metal locks became cheaper and easier – and modular locks became a trend on an industrial level. Shrouds that cover the shackles also came to use.

     

    MasterLock

    In the 1920s the Master Lock company released their tumbler and pin based padlock -and manufactured them in droves. The simplification of cast dieing processes made it a possibility for companies to manufacture locks with ornate molds and designs – however due to this embellishment causing functional issues, this trend has mostly disappeared. However, padlocks have become ubiquitous – to the point of becoming a universal symbol of security. Even if new designs of more useful or efficient locks are made in the future, the impact of the padlock will live on in semiotics.

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  • Safe Glossary

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 0 Comments

    Name Brand Safes

    The majority of people’s conception of security extends to only door and window locks, but it’s a fact that protecting your valuables inside interior safes add an essential additional level of protection. For the peace of mind knowing that your valuables are being adequately protected, there’s no better bet than a safe. Whether you need to protect heirlooms, jewelry, or documents like birth certificates or business records, security safes will protect your assets like no other hardware can. There’s a number of different categories of safes; in this blog post I’ll detail the various types, and what they’re best for.

     

    Fire Resistant

    These safes protect their inner contents from high temperatures, and are given ratings according to the amount of time that they can survive fire temperatures while not letting the internal temperature rise above a certain amount. These safes range in fire safety duration from a half hour to four hours – safes installed within concrete floors are the safest, however since these safes are not watertight, they may fill with water from hoses or sprinklers in case there’s a fire. To be safe, place all items within fire resistant safes inside plastic bags.

     

    Diversion Safes

    This ultra basic safe is hidden within a normal household object like a book, a can, or even a wall outlet. These safes are meant to blend in among the rest of household items, and should be left among real versions of their corresponding objects.

     

    Jewelry Safes

    These – usually small – safes are specifically meant to store the eponymous jewelry or other small valuables – they are both burglary and fire proof, and usually have well appointed interiors made with fine wood or fabric – and sometimes with internal drawers or cabinets.

     

    Environmentally Resistant

    These safes are made to be waterproof – they can withstand extended underwater submersion for extended amounts of time.

     

    Burglar Resistant

    These safes are rated based on their ability to withstand the typical variety of tools that burglars use during break ins – they are rated based on the amount of time that they can withstand aggressive attack. These safes, while structurally resistant to forced entry, are not primed for water or fire resistance.

     

    Smart Safes

    These safes are designed to automatically give out or validate cash – think ATM machines or change makers. All customers or civilians can use them at their convenience – making things much smoother and cost effective for banking or business operations, and creating a controlled and surveilled transaction area.

     

    Fire Resistant Record Protectors

    This equipment has large insulated areas (containers, doors, drawers, or doors) that can house individually fire/environment/burglar rated containers with room for storing important records. The design of the compartments are organized based on class ratings for impact/attack resistance and safe fall tests.

     

    Room Sized Fireproof Vault

    This special equipment is meant to contain larger materials susceptible to heat ro fire, and can be a somewhat more practical choice over multiple fire rated safes, especially if you’re storing a large amount of items. These vaults are usually employed by larger business or government agencies, and carry some of the highest security class ratings for paper documents or data storage.

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  • How to Protect your Motorcycle

    Posted on March 17th, 2016 0 Comments

    Unlike the self contained, capsule security of cars, motorcycles’ lack of doors, locks, or hoods makes them especially vulnerable to theft. Anyone can access the engine or internal electronics – especially if you park on the street, and quickly drive off.Like bicycles, motorcycles can easilly be anchored and lfited up. Security creates a need to hybridize the ease-of-access of a motorcycle and the security of a succinct, closed car. In this blog post, I will be detailing some of the realities of motorcycle theft, and providing some detail as how motorcycle owners can prevent their bike from getting stolen.

     

    Statistics of Theft

    The most commonly stolen motorcycles are Honda, with Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki ,and Harley-Davidson leading. Since 2013, all these brands thefts have somewhat diminished, besides Harley-Davidson, which has increased. California is the top state for motorcycle theft, with Texas and New York leading closely behind. The increased usage, hence, street availability of motorcycles in the Summer, makes it the most common season for motorcycle thefts. The higher demand for motorcycle parts during the summer creates a higher incentive for thieves to steal parts from vehicles, which bumps up the theft rate significantly.

     

    How Motorcycles are Stolen

    One common method of stealing a motorcycle is rolling it into a van or truck, and simply driving it away – a rather quick process, especially if the bike isn’t locked and can easily be rolled up a ramp. Even if this isn’t the case, a small collection of people could easily lift the bike. Once inside the van, the motorcycle will no longer be visible to passersby – making it a much more stealthy and inconspicuous theft than driving away in a stolen car. Once the bike arrives at another location, they are able to disassemble the structure of the bike, taking off any security device.

     

    Another method of motorcycle theft involves, simply, the thief starting up the bike and riding away on it. Many people don’t even lock their motorcycles – making it easy for thieves with double sided wafer pics,Try-Outs, or even a combination of determination and a screwdriver to start the ignition and drive away.

     

    How to Protect your Motorcycle

    One possibility is utilizing a ground anchor to fix your motorcycle to the floor of your property – these devices are usually installed inside home garages to maximize security. For those without home garages, this is not a practical option – so the best route to follow is to purchase a high security lock. Most Motorcycle owners prefer Disk Locks or U-Locks to padlocks because they eliminate the need to purchase a heavy chain. They offer increased convenience, but you’re going to need to purchase a few of them if you want to not use a chain at all. Place the U-Lock through the wheel, so it will stop it from rotating, or use it to lock the wheel onto a metal pole or any sort of anchor point. Make sure to invest in a U-Lock that releases on both sides of the shackle – this will cost any bike thief additional time when attempting to steal your bike.

     

    Dick locks can’t be attached to an anchor – they secure your bike through bolting through a hole in the disk break – stopping the bike’s wheel from being able to spin. It’s best to use two disk locks on both wheels, but if you only have one, attach it to the front wheel as it’s much easier for thieves to remove. Don’t ever forget to take off the disk lock before riding your bike.

     

    As far as padlocks go, you have tons of options – but when you’re making your purchase you should be paying heed to the thickness of the material, it’s weight, and the presence of a shroud that covers the sides of the shackle. Rounded cuts on the shackle indicates the presence of ball bearings in the lock, which upgrades its security level. It’s important to utilize multiple padlocks – as this works as both a deterrent method and a surefire way to upgrade the security level of the bike.

     

    Security Chains

    We recommend buying the strongest and sturdiest security chain as possible – these can be secured from various points to add additional padlocks and chains, as the chain is weaved through the multiple open components of the bike to an anchor point. We recommend getting a strong chain as the stronger the chain is, the more likely it is to resist attack from bolt cutters – spring for a chain with at least a 63 rating on the Rockwell scale.

     

    Alarms

    There’s many varieties of alarms – shock sensors, tilt sensors, GPS tracker, proximity sensors, etc. Shock sensors go off if someone hits or shakes the bike. The tilt sensor goes off if the bike is moved from one side to another. GPS notifications tell you the exact location of the bike which is helpful in the event of a theft. And best of all, a remote kill switch allows users to remotely sever the link between the battery and bike starter, rendering the bike incapable of driving.

     

    Theft Insurance

    If you’re really worried about having your bike stolen – whether you can only park your bike away from view or if you live in a high crime area, theft insurance is a fantastic strategy to implement. Think of it this way – if your bike is an investment, it’s worth investing some additional funds to protect and insure it – if the bike ever gets stolen, you can get fully compensated – simply make sure to call the police before you call the insurance brokers, in order to maximize your chances of relocating your vehicle. It’s also a great idea to put custom markings on the motorcycle to aid in it’s recovery – consider utilizing products like DataDot and SmartWater to mark parts on the bike.

     

    In Advance Security

    Make sure to lock your handlebars and place your bike within view of your property – at the very least this will act as a deterrent for any thieves who want to avoid being seen. Make sure that the various layers of security that you use with your bike are separate – meaning that they can’t all be removed in one fell swoop, or can be controlled with a single key. Consider using a motorcycle tarp as a deterrent – even consider buying a tarp branded with the logo of a less appealing motorcycle brand to make potential thieves simply pass by.

     

    It’s important, in bike security, to understand that every bike needs custom levels of protection – do whatever works specifically for you and your situation. Don’t go crazy or overthink things – as long as you stay practical, your security system will be both convenient and effective.

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  • National Burglary Statistics

    Posted on March 3rd, 2016 0 Comments

    What to do in a burglary

    If you’re at all concerned about the likelihood of a burglar breaking into your home, this article is for you. The fact is that the United States is the world’s leader in burglaries – a burglary happens every 15 seconds, meaning 4 do every minute. While you’re working on your home security, it’s smart to think about these statistics – you might be surprised.

     

    Front Door Vulnerability

    Almost thirty-three percent of burglars illegally enter a home through it’s front door. If your home has an old wood door – a hollow door of any type, you must replace it with a solid wood or metal reinforced door. Hollow doors are notoriously flimsy – any burglar with slight leg strength could kick one in. Additionally, activate your home security system each time that you enter or leave your home – and consider getting genuine, or deterrent security cameras, as well as outdoor motion lighting.

     

    Repeat Offenses

    Burglars sometimes try entering homes more than one time – think about it, they’ve been inside already, so they know the layout, and might have spotted areas with expensive belongings that they didn’t have the time to access the first time they broke in. If you find yourself the victim of a burglary or break-in, make sure to contact a home security service as soon as possible.

     

    Brute Strength

    Almost sixty percent of home invasions are accomplished through forced entry – thirty percent of them are accomplished through simply entering an unlocked door or window, with no need for force.

     

    It Doesn’t Matter if Someone is Home

    28% of burglaries occur when someone is inside the house – and unfortunately, household members experience personal violence in 7% of burglaries.

    Alarm Systems are Great Deterrents

    The majority of burglars attempt to figure out if a home has an attached alarm system before trying to break in – and the majority of convicted home-invaders admit to avoiding homes with visible security systems. The majority of burglars will leave the home immediately if an alarm sounds.

     

    Wireless Benefits

    Almost twenty-five percent of home invasions involve the cutting of alarm or telephone wires before the break-in is enacted. Wireless home security systems are more secure, because there’s no wires that can be cut. This service is offered by many of the leading home security agencies, and won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

     

    Not many Burglaries are Solved

    Only around 13% of burglaries are solved by police – with an even smaller chance of the stolen belongings being recovered or returned.

     

    Significant Losses aren’t Uncommon

    In a study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the average monetary loss suffered by households or businesses in burglaries is around 2,185 dollars – and if you factor in the police/investigation costs, it can be almost 20,000.. This amount is much more than the average cost of a home security system – which of course, also doesn’t come with the emotional expense associated with a break-in. Additionally, most home insurance companies offer discounts if a home security system is installed.

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  • How to find the best safe

    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 0 Comments

    Buying a good safe is practical and wise investment to make. If you have valuables that merit protection, it’s important to find the best possible safe for your budget. If you need to buy a safe, you need a good safe, not a shoddily constructed one. If you’re simply trying to keep your kids out of your property, a cabinet with a lock will do. But if you’re looking for an incredibly secure area to protect essential valuables, it’s important to find the best one possible – this doesn’t mean that you have to completely break the bank. All safe companies will have a range of options at different price points. Here’s some factors to consider when you’re shopping around. Make sure to know what details to look out for and what questions to ask the manufacturer.

    Welding

    The safest, most sturdy and secure safes are made with continuous welding. This basically means that the weld fuses two metal pieces together perfectly, as opposed to a spot weld, in which multiple pieces are welded at multiple binding points. Vulnerable points in spot welded safes can be broken open with a sledge hammer, drill, torch – or even a specific tool made for that particular purpose. This means, not a safe safe. The best option to invest in is the solid, continuous metal provided in continuously welded safes.

    Fire Resistance Ratings

    Look into the official tests that the safe was subjected to – make sure to pay attention to the level of heat applied, and how long the test ran for. A safe that was only tested for a short time at a high temperature could technically be just as weak as a safe that was tested for a long time, at a low temperature. If the company cannot provide the details of the testing that the safe underwent in order to merit its rating, you shouldn’t buy from that company. Don’t you want your secure property to be protected?

    Bolt Work

    The complex design of these internal security mechanisms should be able to provide resistance against the most expert of attacks. If the bolt work is shoddily designed so that the locking bolts are linked to the cam of the safe, simply sticking the bolts might open the entire safe. Look at the steel in the locking bolts – the longer that the bolts move into the door frame, the more security the safe will provide against attack. You want as thick and sturdy bolts as possible – as well as rotating lock bolts which will resist any sort of cutting attempt.

    Warranty

    If a company provides a lifetime warranty for their product, it’s indicative of high quality products. Warranties differ based on the components of a safe – elements of electronic locks for example, are sometimes bought from outside parties by the manufacturer and integrated into their design. A safe’s dial might have a separate warranty from the safe’s door – this doesn’t usually mean that the safe is poorly designed, unless it’s already cheaply made. You should also pay heed to the country that the safe was manufactured in – safes in China might be able to provide lifetime warranties, as replacement is cheap. The best option is to buy an American made safe, as American factories provide a higher level of quality control than the factories in China.

    Steel Content

    Most safes have a body which compares only a half or a third to the metal in the door. You want as high a gauge of steel as possible, 12 gauge steel is the absolute lowest level that can be legally defined as a safe – it can be easily broken with a crowbar or fire ax. The way the gauge measurement system works is that the lower the number, the stronger the steel. Having as many layers of stainless steel as possible will help dispel any heat made by torches, not to mention the physical durability that this steel is known for. Definitely don’t trust composite doors, as although they are thick, they have a low steel content, and are vulnerable.

    Great safes should last forever, and be passed down throughout generations. While prices vary wildly, it shouldn’t determine what safe you buy, as the quality of safes differ rapidly as well. Ideally, you should be purchasing a safe that perfectly fits your needs, as a long-term essential, not a temporary buy. Think of it as an investment.

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