If you're like many homeowners, you may assume that when you turn your deadbolt and lock the door, you're protecting yourself and your property from intruders. While simply locking the door is a good first step toward guarding your home against a burglary, understand that a determined intruder will be able to bypass the lock in certain circumstances. Read on for tips on keeping your home as safe as possible.
Change the Lock When You Move In
If you have recently purchased a home or signed a lease on a rental, one of the first orders of business should be to replace the locks. Even if you were given two keys, it's very possible that someone else still has a key. The previous owner of the home might have forgotten about the key that was given to their dogwalker, housekeeper or others who needed access to the home.
If you are renting, be sure to let your landlord know that you have changed the locks. Give him or her a copy of the new key, and save the old doorknobs and deadbolts in a closet or drawer. When you move out, you can put the old deadbolts and doorknobs back in place and take yours with you for your next home.
Make Sure It's Correctly Installed
While a deadbolt lock is simple to use, it can be a frustrating do-it-yourself project. Why? The holes in the lock itself must be precisely lined up, the hole in the door must be at exactly the right height, and if your measurement is off when centering the deadbolt, the lock can malfunction, explains DoItYourself.com.
If you are going to be installing your lock yourself, take your time and plan on being patient as you go through the process. Read the directions carefully and follow the old carpentry adage, "measure once, cut (or, in this case, drill) twice." Another option is to hire a locksmith to install the deadbolt for you.
Give Out Keys Judiciously
You might have contractors or employees who will ask for a copy of your key. One way you can keep yourself safe while still providing them access is to have two separate keys for the doorknob and the deadbolt. Give your employees only a key to the doorknob. You will need to remember to leave the deadbolt unlocked on the days or during the times that he or she will be coming to your home. This way, only your family members will have keys to the deadbolts.
Watch Out for Windows
All of the locks in the world aren't going to keep a burglar out if you have a glass door or a window right next to the door. All a determined criminal needs to do is break the window, reach in, and unlock the deadbolt before letting him- or herself in.
There are a few potential solutions to this issue. One is to replace the door with one that is not made of glass or that does not have a large window. This is not always desirable, though, due to both the cost involved and the lack of natural light let in by a solid door.
Another idea is to have a deadbolt installed that requires the use of a key on the inside of the door, as well as on the outside. If you will be away from home, you can simply take the key with you. One problem that this might cause is that if you are fumbling around for a key to open the door, this can be a safety issue if there were to be a fire or another reason why you must leave the house quickly. Placing the key on a hook in a location near the door but not in plain sight can be a potential solution.
Remember, in order for your deadbolt to protect you and your family, you must lock the door when you are home and when you are out. If you need more tips on how to help your locks do their job, contact your local locksmith or visit a site like http://www.arapahoesecurity.com.