Posted on August 23rd, 2017 | 0 Comments
Many homeowners, when posed with the choice, don’t understand the difference between rekeying a lock and fully replacing it. Surprisingly, it’s more common for people to choose to totally change their locks rather than rekey them. Sometimes, however, rekeying is a better option. In this guide, prepared from the expert experience of the technicians at Chicago Locksmith, we’ll detail both the pros and cons of rekeying locks and replacing them.
Rekeying Locks Pros
When rekeying your locks you will reassert your key control, by rendering all other keys void. This process is commonly carried out by homeowners when they move into their house in order to prevent previous homeowners or anybody else from being able to walk on in, sealing up gaps in security.
Rekeying simply consists of the keypins in the lock cylinder being swapped out. Key pins are much less expensive than brand new locksets, making rekeying a fantastically cost effective option for homeowners.
Professional locksmiths can quickly rekey locks quite easily with just a catch tool, a spanner, a key decoder, and the current key. This should be a cut and dry easy operation for any professional locksmith.
Cons of Rekeying Locks
Not too many security upgrade choices
Rekeying locks give you only a slight boost in your security - as you’re simply limiting the potential of other people with keys being able to access it, as opposed to increasing the inherent security features and durability of the lock itself. If you have a less-than-perfect lock installed, and rekey it, you’ll still be left with a not so good lock. This isn’t nearly as strong of a security upgrade compared to upgrading the lock completely to a stronger lock.
Pros of Lock Replacement
When you install a new lock you can customize your security, choosing the feeling and appearance of the locks, as well as choose additional features like extra long screws and additional security pins. By replacing your lock, you have a whole new set of security tools to protect your property with.
You can upgrade your locks, and thus, the general security of your property. If you have a Grade 2 deadbolt on your door, you couldn’t upgrade it to a Grade 1 deadbolt simply by rekeying - but you easily can through a lock replacement, choosing a stronger and more durable lock, exponentially increasing the security of your property by scores. Replacing your lock gives you endless flexibility for security upgrades.
Cons of Lock Replacement
Lock replacement is a more expensive and technically complex operation than simply rekeying your locks. You will have to pay for the extra labor in addition to the price of the brand new lockset, which is usually, even on its own, more expensive than the entire cost of the keypins required for a rekeying operation. However, for home or business owners with a budget, there’s simply no replacing the security benefits that come with a lock replacement.
Posted on July 18th, 2017 | 0 Comments
We don’t need to explain how car keys are an essential item for any vehicle owner. If you lose or misplace your car keys, you simply won’t be able to enjoy the use of your car! The majority of vehicle owners don’t have spare keys, which can make a situation where keys can’t be found immensely stressful. If this situation occurs to you, you’ll need to get replacement car keys - and you’ll also need to get replacement keys if your existing keys are broken or stolen. You have two options for replacement of automotive keys; you can go to a car dealership, or you can go to a licensed locksmith like Chicago Locksmiths. Make sure to consider these factors before you make your choice.
Automobile dealerships are tons more expensive for car key replacement compared to the hiring of an automotive locksmith The cost of replacing keys from a dealer runs up to two or three times more than the price of a locksmith. If you want to save money when replacing your car keys, make sure to go to a locksmith over an automotive dealer. Just think that the money you’re saving can be used for other vehicle expenses, like gas or potential repairs.
Automotive locksmiths will save you time based on going to a dealership. Locksmiths can provide you a new set of keys instantly or within hours. A dealership might take up to one or two weeks to get you a new pair of keys, as they need to order them from the manufacturer rather than making them on site.
It’s way more convenient to hire a locksmith. When you go to an automobile dealership, you will need to bring your driving permit, automobile identification number, license, car registration, and potentially more documents. Car dealers usually won’t make you new keys unless you have all these documents. However, automotive locksmiths don’t have the same requirements, making it a much faster and more easy service.
On the spot emergency service
You never plan to misplace, break, or lose your car keys. And when you do, you want the situation remedied as soon as humanly possible. That’s why you shouldn’t waste your time trying to find, contact, and travel, car in tow, to the nearest automobile dealership. If you call a licensed locksmith, they will come directly to your location - and we at Chicago Locksmiths are available 24/7, 365 for you.
Posted on June 23rd, 2017 | 0 Comments
Now that Summer is truly over us in all of it’s glory, it can be really easy to forget to adhere to your usual schedules or home security protocols. Follow this brief guide from Chicago Locksmiths to ensure that your home stays protected during these balmy and warm months.
Never forget to lock doors and windows
Summer tourism and travel usually brings many more visitors to Chicago, even it’s surrounding suburbs. The most basic and important line of defense against burglary and theft is to ensure that your doors and windows are locked, including your vehicle doors. Thieves often target unlocked cars, hoping that they can find a spare key inside it. If you’re concerned about your lock security, give Chicago Locksmiths a call, and we can send out an expert technician to give you a home security assessment in full, on the spot.
The more time you’re away from home, the more time it’s standing unattended and unwatched. And security aside, nobody ever wants to be stuck in traffic, especially during the traffic surges of Summer. In order to avoid getting stuck in Summer Traffic, Chicago Locksmith recommends leaving earlier to work to beat the heavy traffic, and leaving work early, or staying a bit later in order to avoid the rush hour smash.
Lanyard Key Holders
Since millions of tourists will visit Chicago this Summer, if you somehow drop your keys while you’re traveling somewhere, your chances of getting them back are virtually zero. Our experts suggest keeping your keys attached to a lanyard that you can wear around your neck, or on a clip that you can clip to your belt loops or inside a bag in order to minimize the chances of key loss. If you do happen to lose your keys, Chicago Locksmiths has expert locksmiths on call to come directly to your location to help you out with on the spot, emergency unlocking service.
Posted on July 23rd, 2017 | 0 Comments
If you’ve owned your home for over a decade, you have probably changed your locks by now - and if you haven’t, you really should! Locks can accumulate damage and degradation over the years, and it’s essential to have them changed in order to maintain their integrity as defining aspects of your home security. In terms of figuring out the price of lock change, there’s a few factors that need to be analyzed; in this blog post, the experts at Chicago Locksmiths will help you understand these key points.
Lock Change Method
You can try to attempt a DIY lock installation, which is only really a good approach for homeowners with a good level of skill around hardware and installation tools. If you’re taking this approach, you need to make sure that you have the correct tools. The cost of this installation of course will also be determined by what type of lock you choose to buy - as a Grade 3 lock is cheaper, and weaker, than a Grade 1 lock. It’s essential to sort through the various options that fit your practical needs, security requirements, and material budget in order to determine whether it’s worth it, or even possible at all, to complete a DIY installation.
The best approach would to be to have your lock professionally installed, which might end up being even cheaper than a DIY installation as you can be certain the lock will be correctly installed the first time, resulting in zero need for additional tools. Secondly, a professional locksmith can install a lock much faster than an amateur - and time is money, according to the old saying. The average cost of a professional lock change starts around $35, a fair price for a service that will provide your household with irreplaceable and invaluable security.
High security locks are more expensive than low security locks as a matter of general fact. You are going to want to choose what lock you want for your home based on how much importance you place on security. If you want to simply go to the hardware store and buy the first lock you spot, your lock installation won’t be too expensive. But if you want to buy a lock that will truly ensure the full security of your home, it will cost a little bit more.
Exterior VS. Interior Locks
Interior locks shouldn’t be used on exterior doors, and vice versa. Since they have different security uses, these locks have different prices and different set-ups. Exterior door locks are the first defense parameter for many homes, so they are often built to be more sturdy and strong than interior locks. The price point variance between these two types of locks reflect their differences - and often exterior locks are more expensive than interior ones. Additionally, the level of lock strength as mentioned before makes a major difference in the prices.
You can upgrade existing locks in many different ways that vary from upgrading a normal lock to a high security counterpart, making an existing lock an electronic smart lock, or a simple upgrade from a Grade 3 to Grade 1 deadbolt. These upgrades vary in price. If you were, for example, looking to switch to a Medeco brand high security deadbolt, the price would range between $140 and $240 dollars. If you were trying to upgrade to a smart lock by the popular brand August, the price of an upgrade would likely start at over $200 dollars. If you choose to upgrade your locks when you change them, the price variances will be greater than if you were simply reinstalling another version of the same lock you already have - but the increase in price will also result in a major increase in security.
Posted on May 23rd, 2017 | 0 Comments
The first locks were made out of ropes, and looked totally different from today’s lock technology. They first originated in the Mesopotamian kingdom of Assyria, and converse to this advancement, the Egyptians invented the first mechanical lock, a pin tumbler made of wood. Between then and now, there’s been a massive variety of locks invented, with many different particular structures and functionality. Here’s a brief guide to them, as prepared by the lock history experts at Chicago Locksmiths.
These locks require a sequence of numbers to be turned in either one or multiple dials. Usually, single dial locks that revolve are more secure than toggling multi dial locks that are often used in briefcases. This type of lock are sort of easy to crack in any case, since they have been around since the mid 19th century.
These padlocks require a key to be opened, and while some of them can be rekeyed, many of them can not. If you lose the key, the shackle will need to be cut or picked.
TSA Approved Locks
When you’re flying inside the USA, the TSA has approved a series of padlocks that can secure your luggage, but are supposed to only be accessible through a key that TSA agents carry. However, these are really not as secure as they might want you to think.
These locks are somewhat more secure than the usual standard spring lock, and can’t be opened unless a key is utilized to turn the lock cylinder. They are often used in homes and outside doors in combination with a slightly weaker lock for security.
Single Cylinder Deadbolts
These locks use a key on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside. They can have additional flip guards installed surrounding the thumbturn to prevent it from rotating when the guard is in place.
Double Cylinder Deadbolts
These are the more secure type of deadbolt. They require keys on the inside and outside of the locks, but can be a safety hazard in the event of an emergency that requires the quick exit of your home
Lockable Thumbturn Deadbolts
These deadbolts are recommended for locations that need maximum levels of security. They allow doors to be opened from both the inside and the outside. These can be considered somewhat of a hybrid between single and double cylinder locks.
Jimmy Proof Deadbolts
These deadbolts are usually found on double doors or in apartments. They have a strong, simple surface mount that’s easy to install, and the deadbolt in these interacts with the jamb bracket, making them extra impervious to excess force - especially compared to the normal deadbolt.
These locks are often combined in residential exterior doors with deadbolt locks. They are simple and not that secure since the cylinder is housed inside the knob rather than the door. These knobs can be easily taken off doors with hammers or even just a strong enough grip, making them only really a good choice for residential interior locks.
Lever Handle Locks
These locks are most commonly found in commercial locations, and on interior doors. Their lever can be rotated on a single side against a key cylinder, and are mor/e insecure than knob locks.
These are the type of locks that you most often see on ATMs or vending machines. When these locks are opened, it is physically removed from the device itself, making them incredibly replaceable and substitutable. These locks work with either dead latches or spring latches. Spring latches relock automatically as soon as the T handle is snapped back in place.
Other types of Cylinder Locks
These include mortise cylinders and rim cylinders - both slightly more secure than deadbolts, and both utilizing hybrid security technology. Mortise cylinders are side threaded and screw directly into mortise hardware that’s located inside the door. Rim cylinders, however, have extended tailpieces that stick from their backside through the door into the lock on the other side.
Interchangeable Core Cylinders
These locks are often used in business, school, or institutional settings as they are easy to replace without any complicated disassembly. These locks work with one of two kinds of keys. Standard operator keys are used to lock or unlock the lock, and control keys take the entire core of the cylinder out of the lock - allowing you to replace it by simply inserting a new core into the hardware. These locks are available in both small and large format interchangeable cores.
Rim Latch Locks
These locks are like rim cylinders, but contains latch on one side of the door with a latch lock on the other side. They can automatically lock when the door shuts - and are commonly utilized for this feature in apartment complexes. However, they are not meant to resist heavy force - so should always be combined with another stronger type of lock.
These low security locks are often found in filing cabinets or mailboxes. They are made of a base and a cam - the key is inserted in the base, and the cam acts as a latch tail.
Digital locks are used in cars and hotels, but now they are widely used in many security contexts. They range from taking everything from a swipe card to a code input. They are easy to rekey through simple programming, yet are somewhat vulnerable to hacking. Smart locks can be remotely controlled through dedicated smartphone applications wherever you might be located, making them a widely popular option for both residential and commercial settings.
Posted on April 27th, 2017 | 0 Comments
Both urban and suburban power outages cause major detrimental effects to security. Criminals consider blackouts an opportunity to commit crimes that they normally would be too scared to attempt normally - and it’s incredibly important to stay fully prepared, one step ahead of the criminals, by letting the experts at Chicago Locksmith help prime your home for full levels of security.
Chicago Locksmith can be the Light you need in a Blackout
The darkness during blackouts can be incredibly scary when you consider the amount of burglars, muggers, and looters who run rampant during these days. At Chicago Locksmith, we maintain a constant dedication to protecting your home or business during these times. In order to protect your property during blackouts - and every other day - you can rely on our locksmith services which include:
- High Security Locks
- Biometric & Digital Locks
- Security Systems
- CCTV Surveillance
- Wireless Locks
24/7 Locksmith Service
If your area suffers a blackout, and you experience a security breach, Chicago Locksmiths is available 24/7 to provide you emergency assistance. Of course, if you feel that you are experiencing a break-in, contact the authorities first, but if you want to help continue protecting your property, contact us for instant locksmith service that can help bolster and reinforce your property to help protect you from the risks associated with blackouts.
Staying Prepared During Blackouts
Besides calling Chicago Locksmith, if your area experiences a blackout, you can stay safe by following these easy tips.
- Keep a supply kit full of flashlights, first aid materials, food, a battery powered radio, flashlights, and water in a location that will be easily accessible in the dark.
- Conserve your vehicle’s gas in case you might need to use it.
- Have portable, battery charging packs for your phone - or car operational USB chargers, in case the outlet electricity doesn’t work.
Posted on April 28th, 2017 | 0 Comments
When most people move into a brand new neighborhood, they inquire about its level of safety. There’s fantastic new tools for people to help inquire about, address, and analyze neighborhood based security issues in their area. One of these tools is the SpotCrime Crime Map, which aggregates all local crimes reported in any given area. Crimes are shown through icons positioned on the map - and the icons expand when clicked to show the type of crime committed, as well as its date and time.
One reason that you might want to track the kinds of crime committed in your area, as well as their frequency, is so that you can stay prepared and take the necessary steps to prevent becoming a victim of these crimes. SpotCrime allows you to do so by having alerts sent to your email or social media platform, so you will get instant alerts if a crime is committed in the vicinity of your home.
Make sure to meet your neighbors. Many areas have block parties, yard sales, a communal block watch patrol, or other such events and groups. Having a sense of community in your area helps prevent crime even more so than police much of the time, because community members look out for one another. Even something as benign as a communal sports game can helps strengthen these community bonds. Your neighbors are the ones who will keep tabs on your home when you’re away - and they can notify you if they witness any suspicious activity going on by your home after you leave on vacation.
Having your area regularly maintained can help deter thieves from feeling like they can strike there. Broken windows and graffiti send the unconscious message to people that there’s a lax aspect of neighborhood solidarity, and that the area is more vulnerable to crime. Of course, not everyone has the physical means to keep their property looking pristine - so it’s important to help your neighbors to sp; it’s not only the right thing to do, but it promotes a sense of community that can help protect you as well.
Support Local Businesses and Institutions
Empty storefronts and abandoned businesses also contribute to crime. By supporting local businesses, you can keep a sense of healthy community alive in your area. Empty storefronts lead to vandalism, which can in turn lead to more extreme and harsh kinds of crime - while also depreciating the property value of your area.
Keep Watch and Protect your Neighbors
Be a good neighbor. If you see anything that looks strange or suspicious, notify your neighbors. You can look out for eachother. It’s possible that your neighbors aren’t even aware that their windows are broken or have had a break-in - and looking out for those in your community goes a long way to exponentially increase the level of security in your neighborhood.
Posted on April 18th, 2017 | 0 Comments
There’s many reasons to maintain a gun safe at your home or business, as it helps you maintain strict control of who can access your firearms. This is a fully necessary precaution once you think about the amount of people that might pass through your home on a regular everyday basis.
Most states have strong laws that require access restriction for firearms. This also provides insurance against the possibility of losing your guns during a break-in - which can provide it’s own slew of anxieties and severe dangers.
Safes and Firearm Insurance
Safes are a good alternative to firearm insurance, as insurance offers requires an appraisal, a rider to cover the firearm’s value - and it won’t cover the replacement value in the end, just the market value. If it’s a family gun, you will not be able to recover the sentimental value of the gun. Additionally, many insurance companies even require that guns be kept inside alarmed and certified safes.
Gun safes last for life. Other items of furniture can wear out or go out of style - this even includes cars or tools! This is why it’s necessary to buy a size of gun safe that can practically last for your entire life - you can’t just buy one that fits your current firearms, but has extra room in case you eventually buy more. Gun safes are usually bolted to the floor - which might not be a possibility if you live in a home that you’re renting.
Fireproof Gun Safes and Additional Security Measures
It’s also necessary to make sure that your gun safe also operates as a fire safe. If a fire breaks out inside your home, you will have to quickly rush out, and won’t have the time to open safes to collect your valuables. Gun safes that are also fire proof can hold other important things - and are often the only item left standing if the fire is particularly extreme. The majority of gun safes don’t have fire safety - as the majority of them are purchases simply for access restriction - so it’s absolutely necessary that you pay particular care when you’re purchasing one, because if you’re spending money to ensure the safety of your guns, you might as well really ensure their safety. It’s also necessary to use gun locks and trigger locks as a method of access restriction. The absolute best way to keep your guns secure, besides fire proof gun safes, is to make sure your house is fully primed for full security - which includes an alarm system, reinforced doors, deadbolts, secure windows and garages, and a bevy of other security tactics that a licensed, talented locksmith can help you implement at your home.
Posted on March 19th, 2017 | 0 Comments
Locksmithing is an ancient field that has only grown more advanced and complex over the years. Anybody who practices it’s true art needs to be both trustworthy and skilled. Here’s some fun facts about locksmiths that you might not know.
Apprentices are Common
Many locksmiths receive on the job training. You need to be an apprentice first in order to become a locksmith. This is both for practical and ethical reasons. The mentor of apprentices make sure that their apprentices are honest and trustworthy,s o they will do justice to the true honor of the profession, and not use their knowledge for evil.
The first professional locksmith was in 1788
Yes, the oldest lock was found in the Khorsabad Palace in Nineveh, and is estimated to be 4000 years in age. However, the first serious locksmith profession was in 1788, when England’s Rover Barron patented his double acting tumbler lock.
Lockpicking Championships Exist
The Open Organisation of Lockpickers offer a championship called the Dutch Open, started in 2008, which is a major event which involves the competitive opening of locks - all without the use of keys, or breaking the locks - tools are provided however.
The magician Harry Houdini was a locksmith
The famous escape artist and magician Harry Houdini was once a professional locksmith. In 1904 Harry Houdini was challenged by a London newspaper to break a special pair of specially manufactured handcuffs which took 5 years to make. Of course, he was able to use his expert knowledge to do so.
A king of France was betrayed by a locksmith
During the French Revolution, the King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were given up to the guillotine by Francois Gamain, a locksmith.
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.
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.