Finding Emergency Locksmith Companies

The best way to choose an emergency locksmith is to get the names of several locksmiths and compare their services and prices. The process will be a lot easier if you get information on locksmiths before there’s an emergency. That way, you’ll know exact how to call if you are ever in need of emergency locksmith services.

Finding Emergency Locksmith Companies

The difficulty of this part of the process will depend on the size of the city or town where you live. A decent-sized city should have several locksmith providers. Smaller towns may have only one, but locksmiths in nearby towns may be willing come to you in order to get new business. Find any friends or family members who can recommend locksmiths they have previously used. Look also for companies that advertise in the newspaper or phone book.
Ask Questions in Person to Each Emergency Locksmith

Research several locksmiths. It’s a good idea to go to the locksmith and take a look at the business in person and ask questions about their experience and services. Another advantage of the interview process is that you get a better feel for the locksmith or owner of the company in person, as opposed to over the phone.

Ask about qualifications. Many states have locksmith organizations that may include licensing procedures.
Do they offer 24-hour services? It’s best to use the same locksmith for jobs during regular business hours and for emergencies that can occur at any time of the day or night. Make sure you ask about the costs related to after-hour services.
Get a list of services. Does the locksmith handle home, auto and business services? What are the costs? Do they offer any specials – rekeyed locks for a home at one price, or something like that?
Ask for a list of references. Don’t just assume you wouldn’t get the name of a customer who wouldn’t give a good recommendation. Call up the references and make sure there is someone on the list who has recently used the locksmith.
Ask about insurance. Most businesses will provide proof of insurance.

Check the Credentials of the Emergency Locksmith Companies Being Considered

See if your state has a locksmith association and give them a call to find out about the emergency locksmith businesses you are considering. Check with the Better Business Bureau, which can offer information on the number of complaints received by a company, as well as how the company handled those complaints. Many local courts offer lawsuit searches online. Find a court of general jurisdiction where the limit for lawsuits exceeds minimal levels. State district courts or local county courts are often the right choices. Don’t forget to check both civil and criminal divisions to see if the locksmith company has been involved in many lawsuits.

The sturdiest locks with deadbolts will cost more, but experts all agree they are worth the money.

Doors without a deadbolt lock provide a tempting target for burglars. FBI statistics indicate that almost two-thirds of all burglaries involved forced entry. In many cases, that included kicking the door in or prying it from the door jamb. A solid core or metal door makes that much more difficult, but the important security addition is a deadbolt lock. Here are some things to consider when choosing a deadbolt lock.

Heavy gauge metal. Make sure the deadbolt offers as much strength as possible and won’t give way easily if challenged by a burglar. The sturdiest locks with deadbolts will cost more, but experts all agree they are worth the money.
Grade 1 lock. One way to be sure the deadbolt is strong enough is to look for a lock and deadbolt that has received a Grade 1 from the American National Standards Institute. Locks are graded on a scale of 1 to 3, with a Grade 1 providing the best residential protection.
Solid metal strike plate. The strike plate is the piece that secures the lock into the door. This plate is not always made with steel, so it’s important to check for the strongest strike plate available. Also, make sure the lockset includes four long screws to attach the strike plate – at least 3 inch screws.
Metal lock guards. These surround the lock in the door and make it more difficult for a burglary to use pliers or a wrench to try to twist the lock out of the door, a common method of gaining entry into a home. The lock guards are heavy duty metal and while not impossible to remove, they are another piece of security that will make the lock that much more difficult for a burglar to defeat.
Deadbolts that resist saws. These deadbolts include pins inside that move. When a burglar tries to saw through a deadbolt, they encounter the pins and the saw spins the pins around, but cannot make any progress on getting through the deadbolt.
Deadbolt throw. The throw is the length of the deadbolt that extends into the door jamb when the door is locked. A deadbolt that barely extends out doesn’t provide the protection gained form at least one inch of the metal bolt into the door frame.

Don’t Forget the Deadbolt Lock on Digital Locks

Burglars are just as likely to kick in or pry open keyless locks as those with keys. While the absence of keys helps with the issue of lock picking, nothing about digital locks provides a door more resistant to being forced open. All keyless locks – from pushbutton to remote controlled to fingerprint models – are much more secured with a strong and reliable deadbolt lock.

What to Look for in a Lock Plate?

A lock plate is the piece of your lock set that attaches to the door frame. It is often ornamental in nature, made of plastic or some other lightweight material. However, instead of something plastic and easily pried away or broken, the lock plate, also known as the strike plate, should be much more substantial.
Why is the Lock Plate Important?

The lock plate, or strike plate, provides one of the main connections to the door frame for the lock system. Crime statistics show that the front door is the favored entry method for burglars. One way burglars attempt to defeat door locks is to use something heavy, like a crow bar, to separate the lock from the door. The lock plate is a likely candidate because it is often the weakest link in the door and lock combination.
What to Look for in a Lock Plate?

Because the junction of the lock plate and the door frame is so important, and so often the target of a burglar trying to pry the door out of the jamb, look for a lock plate that’s as strong as possible.

Look for heavy gauge metal. Strike plates will come in hardened steel, among other heavy-duty metals, that will provide significantly more protection than plastic lock plate that’s more cosmetic than anything else.
Screws that reach the wall frame. Even a metal lock plate may have trouble withstanding a crowbar attempting to separate it from a door frame. But if the lock plate is screwed into the framing of the wall with screws that are at least 3 inches long, that provides considerably more protection that could cause a burglar to give up and head to another house where it doesn’t take nearly so much time to get inside.
Look for a strong deadbolt. A strong deadbolt can help in a couple of ways. Certainly, a deadbolt offers maximum protection to a door. Make sure that your deadbolt has at least a 1-inch throw. That’s how far the deadbolt extends into the door frame, and the more of the deadbolt into the frame, the more protection it offers. If you have found a heavy duty deadbolt, that’s here you are most likely to find a heavy duty lock plate. A steel strike plate is likely only going to be part of a high-security package.

The majority of key locks today rely on lock cylinders as the method that allows the key to open the lock.

The majority of key locks today rely on lock cylinders as the method that allows the key to open the lock. Unfortunately, about half of all burglaries committed take advantage of the lock cylinder design with something called a bump key. A bump key is specially designed and generally available to locksmiths. In the hands of a burglar, the lock key can gain entry to most locks with lock cylinders in as little as 30 seconds. In fact, there are videos on the Internet show pre-teens using bump keys to defeat a lock in less than a minute.
Choose Strong Locks with Lock Cylinders

One way to make it more difficult for a burglar is to have a strong lockset. Security experts suggest that the very strongest locks, which also two or three times the cost of regular locksets, either resist bumping or slow down a burglar enough that they may move on to another home. The very strongest locks have the follow features:

Strong deadbolt with steel chips. A steel deadbolt is a necessity so that it cannot be easily sawed off. The steel chips come in handy because they engage and mangle a drill tip. Burglars often try to defeat locks by quickly drilling through the center of the lock.
One-inch throw on deadbolts. The throw is the length a deadbolt extends out from the lock. It’s important that the deadbolt extend fully into the door frame to offer the most security in the event a burglar tries to overpower the door.
Heavy gauge strike plate. The strike plate is perhaps the weakest link in a lockset because many locks use decorate strike plates made of plastic that can easily be pried off or kicked in. But a steel gauge strike plate, along with 3-inch screws securing the strike plate, offers a higher level of protection.
Go with double cylinder locks. Double lock cylinders require keys to both enter and exit a home. Double cylinders also are valuable because many burglars break a window or door sidelight to reach in and open the interior door knob. That’s not possible with double cylinder locks.

Avoid Vulnerable Lock Cylinders with Keyless Locks

Digital locks can help with the issue of lock cylinders and bump keys, but remember that many digital locks also include keys and have lock cylinders. Look for keyless locks in systems that either include pushbutton entry, remote-control entry or fingerprint entry. In each case, if there is no key in the lock there’s no way for bump keys and lock cylinders to remain an issue.

Deadbolts offer a greater degree of protection for door locks, and are particularly important for exterior doors and for the door that connects to the garage

Deadbolts offer a greater degree of protection for door locks, and are particularly important for exterior doors and for the door that connects to the garage. Those are the doors that are most likely to be attacked by burglars. And doors are clearly a target, with FBI statistics showing that more than 40 percent of all break-ins involving the doors in a home.
Deadbolts Can Slow Down a Burglar

There are a number of different ways burglars can choose to defeat a door and enter a home. Top-quality deadlocks can, at the very least, make it more difficult for a burglar to break into a home. Whether the burglar attempts to pick the lock, drill out the lock, pry off the lock with wrenches or pliers or spread apart the door frame, a strong deadbolt can make the job a little more difficult. The strongest deadbolts all share these qualities:

Grade 1 strength. A Grade 1 deadbolt lock is the strongest type available, based on standards recommended to the American National Standards Institute by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. Locks are given three grades and Grade 1 offers the most protection.
Double cylinder lock. With double cylinder deadbolts, a key is needed to get in or out of the house. While this raises some issues in the event of an emergency, security experts say it is helpful to always have the inside key readily available. Depending on the location of the door and the nearest window, or if the door has any sidelights, burglars know they can enter many homes by reaching inside and turning the knob. A double cylinder lock eliminates that threat.
Pins to resist saws. These pins spin around in the deadbolt. So when someone tries to cut off the deadbolt, the hacksaw instead simply spins around and around because of the pins inside the deadbolt.
Deadbolts with at least 1-inch throw. The throw is the amount of space the deadbolt extends out. Most security experts recommend at least 1 inch throw to offer the maximum
Drill-eating steel bits. A deadbolt with bits of steel inside can defeat most drills. As the drill hits the steel bits, the tip of the drill is damaged.
Steel gauge, beveled casing. This serves two purposes. The burglar trying to saw off the lock and deadbolt won’t be able to get through the steel gauge metal. Meanwhile, the beveled design makes it nearly impossible for pliers or a wrench to grab and twist a lock.

Home safes can be a great help if you have plenty of valuables at home to protect. From important documents to jewelry and cash, home safes are a great way to protect important items in a home.

Home safes can be a great help if you have plenty of valuables at home to protect. From important documents to jewelry and cash, home safes are a great way to protect important items in a home. There are several choices to make after deciding a home safe would be a good idea. The first of those choices is a burglar or fire safe or a hybrid safe.
Burglar Resistant Home Safes

Designed to resist opening attempts. The goal with burglar home safes is to protect valuables from thieves and withstand attempts to be opened. In fact, burglar safes are rated for the amount of time they can remain closed while an expert with high-tech equipment attempts to open the safe. The most common safes have 15- or 30-minute ratings.
Must be property secured. If the safe can be carried away, a burglar with enough time will be open the safe. So burglar safes must be secured to the floor or into a solid wall. That stops the thief from carrying them off and the resistance – thick walls made of steel and a door to resist drills and torches – is often enough sufficient. Time is usually of the essence to a burglar, who will not have up to 30 minutes to try to open a safe, in most instances.

Fire Resistant Home Safes

Different construction to resist fires. These home safes have thicker doors than burglar safes and a different insulation and seal to resist even the most intense fires. They are designed to keep documents and even media like computer disks and camera film safe in a fire.
ABC ratings. Most home safes designed for fire protection are rated based on a scale on the protection the safe offers in a particular fire for a certain period of time. Class C safes offer 1-hour protection in fires up to 1700 degrees. Class B offers 2-hour protection up to 1850 degrees and Class A provides 4-hour protection up to 2000 degrees.

Other Considerations for Home Safes

What are you protecting? Tell your home safe expert what materials or objects you most want to protect – from jewelry, cash and records to guns, finance records and antiques or unusual items.
What size of safe is necessary? This question will also help answer how much money you are likely to spend. Is there a small statue or antique of a certain size that requires a safe largest enough so it can fit inside?
Where will the safe be located? If the greatest fear is burglary, then you likely want a safe built into the floor or wall so burglars can’t carry it off. If the concern is a fire or flood, you may want a safe that is portable if you are evacuating from such a risk.
What locking mechanism do you prefer? Once again, your lock expert can be considerable help with this decision. There are electronic key pads and dial locks that are both very popular, as well as key locks.

A cylinder lock is one of the most common forms of locks

A cylinder lock is one of the most common forms of locks, seen in padlocks and throughout homes and businesses. A cylinder is basically a lock with a cylinder mechanism that is opened by a key. The disadvantage to a cylinder lock is that it can often be defeated by thieves reasonably easily. However, the cylinder also offers a number of advantages.

A cylinder lock can be rekeyed easily. All that’s needed to begin the process to rekey a cylinder lock is to remove the lock mechanism. This can be accomplished by removing the screws that attach the lock to the bolt work. If a key has been lost, for example, the entire lock does not need to be replaced. Instead, the cylinder is removed from the bolt assembly and the rekeying work can be completed.
A master key can open many cylinder locks. There are many instances, both at home and in businesses, where it is helpful to have a variety of locks opened by the same master key. A cylinder lock makes this process fairly easy to put into place. The main advantage is not having to carry so many keys and reducing the confusion of grabbing the wrong key to enter or exit a door.
Require different keys for each lock. The flexibility of the cylinder lock also allows different keys to be set for each lock. That could come in use at a business where access to certain areas is limited to supervisors who are given the correct set of keys. Instead of having all doors open with the same key, employee access can be limited to those given the set of keys that opens the particular door.
Have different types of locks with a master key. Cylinder locks are used in many different formats that can be all opened by the same master key. This includes locks such as deadbolts, roller door locks, night latches and even padlocks. So in a business setting, this reduces the number of different keys that must be kept by workers or security personnel, making it much easier to open any lock if there is an emergency or time is of the essence.

A digital lock has been available for some time in the lock business

A digital lock has been available for some time in the lock business
– basically, any kind of lock that is operated without a key. There are a number of different digital technologies gaining popularity and hybrid options that include a key as a backup. What is newer with digital locks is that they are extending from the business field – perhaps you’ve encountered a company with a door lock operated by a 4-digit combination entered right on the door – to the home market.
Get a Digital Lock for the Front Door

Push button door locks. These have combinations that can be reset directly on the door handle. Instead of a key to open the deadbolt lock that protects the home, the correct combination of numbers opens the deadlock instead.
Remote signal locks. These are similar to the keyless entry systems for vehicles in which a receiver is built into the door and an electronic signal from a base remote sends a signal to open the deadbolt or other lock. This digital lock employs a similar technology to one that apartments and businesses have used for years – in which a visitor can be buzzed inside.
Biometric fingerprint locks. Again, this is a technology that has been used at some businesses for some time. Fingerprints can be stored by the biometric system. When one of the fingerprints in the system’s memory is registered on the pad at the front door, the lock is automatically opened.

Why Use a Digital Lock?

You can’t lose your fingerprint. Some people have a way of losing just about anything that’s put into their pocket or purse. Constantly rekeying or changing locks is time-consuming, costly and frustrating. With keys removed from the equation, there’s nothing to lose or misplace. Perhaps a digital lock possibility such as the push-button combination is risky for some because it requires remembering a small series of numbers, and it’s possible to misplace the base that’s needed to open remote signal locks. But all anyone needs is a finger to open a biometric lock.
Many features available. For example, the push button lock can be set up so that anyone who tries the combination four times without success sets off an alarm or is locked out from another attempt for the next 5 minutes. That’s to discourage burglars trying a variety of combinations to get inside. You can include the fingerprint of a repair person and then remove that from the memory of a biometric system, or only allow a home worker access by their fingerprint during the hours of the day they are scheduled to arrive and leave.
Helpful for the disabled. Remote access locks work well with a person in a wheelchair who engages a remote base to get a certain period of time to enter through the door or a gate protecting the perimeter of a home. This digital lock can be programmed based on the time it takes someone using a wheelchair, walker or other aids to get inside the door.

When choosing a mobile locksmith, you want to first make your decision when you are not in an emergency situation.

When choosing a mobile locksmith, you want to first make your decision when you are not in an emergency situation. It’s best to look for the mobile locksmith that offers the most services on a 24-hour basis for the most affordable price.
Services a Mobile Locksmith Will Offer

Each mobile locksmith will not offer the same services. That’s why it’s important to check with the locksmiths in your area, or at least check with 3 to 5 if there are a large number in your town, to find out the services that are offered. Some locksmiths specialize in auto or home services, while others try to offer as wide a variety of services as possible. Be wary because many mobile locksmiths will offer one level of services if they are responding to emergency calls and another level of services for normal calls during business hours. Here are some common services offered by mobile locksmiths:

Lock repair. Locks can either fall into disrepair over time, or a key that becomes stuck can be turned and create some damage to the lock.
Lockout services. This is probably the most common call for mobile locksmiths. Make sure the locksmith can handle home, car and keyless locks.
Car key replacement. You are about to begin an important trip and realize that you’ve lost your car key. Mobile locksmiths can make a car key on site and may have keys in stock if your car key requires a chip to start the vehicle.
Lock replacement. For many people who have been burglarized and have a broken or compromised door lock, there’s no waiting until the morning to put a new lock on the door or on all doors.
Roadside assistance. Many mobile locksmiths also carry gasoline and cables to provide jumps for clients having vehicle trouble.

Choosing a Mobile Locksmith

Decide what services you want from a mobile locksmith. You may be looking for particular services or the company that offers the most after-hours services. Then, contact at least 3 to 5 mobile locksmiths, if you have that many in your town, and arrange to talk to the locksmith in person. Ask about experience, insurance and licensing, if that is required in your state. Get a list of services and prices and ask about any additional costs for emergency services, such as trip fees or higher after-hour costs. Be sure to ask for references and look for both current or recent clients as well as clients from the past. The main question is whether they would hire the locksmith again if they had a need for a mobile locksmith.

Did your garage door remote control stop working?

Did your garage door remote control stop working?

If so, it’s not exactly an end-of-the-world problem. But as life’s little annoyances go, it’s fairly high up on the list. Because now you have to get out of your car and open the door manually when you pull into the drive after a long day’s work.

And that stinks!

So when your remote goes bad, there’s plenty of motivation to find the cause of the problem and correct it.

Before you do anything else, confirm that the problem is with the remote and not with the opener. If you have multiple remotes, just grab another and see if it works. You can also manually activate the garage door opener to confirm that the remote is the problem.

If you’re sure that the remote is to blame, there are several possible problems that can cause a garage door remote to stop working. (You have already checked the batteries, right?) Here are the most likely causes of your annoying problem:


Do you typically hit the open button while you’re still quite a distance from your home? If so, you might be flirting with the operational boundaries of your remote. Even if it has worked reliably from an equivalent distance in the past, it’s still possible that you’re just out of range.

This problem, of course, is very easily diagnosed. If you move close to your door and the remote works reliably, then you were just too far away. But if that’s not the cause of your problem (and you’re not likely to be that lucky, are you?), then one of the following might be.


Did you know that temperatures can affect the functionality of a remote? In truth, it’s not the remote itself that’s affected, but the safety sensors that are part of the opener’s system.

These sensors are typically contained in steel housings. And when the weather turns extreme – hot or cold – the steel housings can expand or contract, causing the infrared beams of the sensors to become slightly misaligned.

Having the sensors realigned should fix the problem.

Bad Circuitry

And finally – yes, it’s possible that your remote control has simply died. Every electrical component has a finite lifespan, and it may be that problems have developed with the internal circuitry of your remote.

Repairing your remote is not likely to be a feasible option. But replacing your remote is also not likely to be difficult or terribly expensive. If you have the paperwork for your automated opening system, you might want to check it for recommended procedures for obtaining a replacement remote.

But you don’t necessarily need to obtain a remote from the original manufacturer. Universal remotes are available that are compatible with almost all manufacturers. And the best universal remotes are easily programmable; you should be able to have your new remote working in seconds.