Keytek are the largest National Locksmith providing 24 hour services across the UK. Follow this blog and stay up to date with the latest tips and security advice to keep your home and business safe and secure.
Whether you are moving for the first time or the tenth time, renting or buying, moving your whole life to somewhere new is an exciting but stressful time. There are so many things to consider when you’re moving house; your mind is filled with thoughts about packing, setting up new bills and redecorating. But have you thought about the security of your new home? The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) reported that overall theft across the country has increased by 8% since last year and new homeowners are almost twice as likely to be burgled on average. Follow our handy moving house checklist to help you prevent the worst from happening.
Top 15 Steps for Home Safety
Follow our 15 Moving House Checklist steps that will cover the whole process from searching for a house, moving in and after you have moved in to ensure your safety in your new home.
Research the local area’s crime stats. This is quick and easy to do by entering the postcode on the Police or UK Crime Stats websitehttps://www.ukcrimestats.com/. These sites will give you a general picture of how much crime has taken place in the neighbourhood.
Visit the area during different times of the day. Doing so will give you an indication to the atmosphere of the neighbourhood. Look out for things such as adequate street lighting, loiterers and whether there is a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ scheme in place.
Chat to the neighbours. They’ll give you their personal opinion on the area, any helpful tips and most importantly if any crime has taken place within the proximity.
Take a good look at the quality of the doors and windows, do they seem secure? Yes, these can be replaced but at a cost, so ensure you are prepared for any further outgoing payments if they need replacing.
When looking around potential new homes pay attention to the driveway. A gravel driveway will give you indication if someone is approaching your home and deter burglars due to the noise it creates when walked or driven upon.
Will the current owners/occupiers be leaving a pre-existing security alarm or system in place? If so, you will need to arrange for them to leave the details, the manufacturer, passwords, date of installation etc.
Get insurance. If you’re buying a property you cannot exchange contracts without home insurance. Renting? Invest in contents insurance to ensure your belongings are covered should they be stolen or if an incident such as a flood occurred. Always read these policies in detail so you know you will be covered if you need it.
The most important thing you can do on moving day is to change the locks. Keys are easily copied and lost and they could end up in the wrong hands. Your insurance may be invalidated if you don’t change the locks, you will need to check your policy. Call one of our Keytek® Locksmiths to change your locks; they will also do a free home security check to offer you the best advice. It is best to consult a professional Locksmith when changing your locks, as if you do it yourself, your locks may not be up to your insurance standards.
Check out the condition of your garage or shed lock. If you will be storing valuable equipment in there it pays to ensure it’s secure from the offset. Keytek® Locksmiths carry a wide variety of locks on every call so if yours is not up to scratch they will advise and refit a new one for you, should you want it.
It’s vital you always keep an eye on your boxes when loading and unloading the removal van. Try not to leave your belongings on the pavement; it would be too easy for a thief to pick up a box when no one is looking.
One of the first things to do when moving into your new home is to put up blinds or curtains and keep your valuables out of sight. This will give you privacy and help to keep any burglars in the area away.
Install outdoor lights. We recommend you install these so that the most high risk areas of your home are illuminated including, the shed, garage or gate door.
A decent door lock will be hard to break into but you can add extra security to your door by adding a door chain, spy hole and letterbox guard.
Check around the perimeter of your home. Are all the fences or shrubbery intact? Not only will you have more privacy but your home will be harder to access if there aren’t any gaps.
Lastly, simply get into a routine of locking the doors and windows every time you leave and at night.
Moving into Rented Accommodation
It can be confusing to understand what you, the tenant, is responsible for and what the landlord is responsible for when moving into rented accommodation. Our Moving House Checklist will have helped make your home secure but it is important to know what landlords are required to do by law to ensure your safety whilst living in their property.
The three key areas your landlord must check on annually are fire safety, gas safety and electrical safety to ensure everything is in working order. All electrical and gas items must be checked by registered electrical and Gas Safe technicians.
You should be provided with an ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ (EPC), this will give you knowledge on how energy efficient the property is and will give you a better understanding on how much your gas and electricity bills will be.
Provide working smoke alarms. They should be on at least every floor of the property.
It is a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide alarm in every room that contains a coal or wood burning stove. But it is recommended that landlords install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms that contain gas appliances also.
‘Fire Safe’ furnishings and furniture. Check the label when you move in to ensure they comply with fire safety regulations.
HMOs or ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ need to be provided with a fire alarm and extinguisher if the home has at least three storeys or 5 or more tenants.
Moving House First Time Checklist
Congratulations, you’ve bought your own home! Moving home for the first time is a confusing experience, there is so much to do and organise. Our Moving House Checklist will give you the best tips on securing your new home but what else needs to be done?
As you will have read, changing the locks is one of the most important things to do when moving home. Ensuring your safety from any potential burglars who may have an old key to your new property.
Spring clean! Freshen up your new home with a good clean before you unpack everything, out with the old and in with the new.
Make note of where all the important appliances are in your new home including the stopcock, gas and electricity meters, thermostat and fuse box. If your pipes burst you don’t want to be running around panicked not knowing how to turn the water off.
Get organised with the bills. Contact the following people to let them know you are the new occupier and to set up any direct debits for your monthly bills.
The Council- the amount you pay for your council tax depends on the value of a property. The council will send you a letter to inform you of your council tax band ranging from ‘A’ being cheapest to ‘H’ the most expensive.
Water Supplier- you will receive two bills for water supply, one for fresh water and one for sewage.
Electric and Gas Supplier- it’s worth comparing suppliers so you get the best deal.
TV Licensing Company- you can choose to pay this monthly or annually. Don’t get caught without one as you could face a £1000 fine.
Notify your bank, doctor, DVLA etc., of your change of address.
Changing the Locks when Moving House
Having the locks changed when you move house is a basic security measure most insurance companies recommend. However, a whopping 59% of people do not change the locks when they move house. If an intruder gains entry to your home with a key then most home insurance policies won’t pay out. This is because for most insurers there needs to be a clear sign of breaking and entering for you to make a valid claim.
Most insurers also require the property to have ‘British Standard’ locks installed; British Standard uses a kitemark to indicate that the lock has been certified by the British Standard Institution. A British Standard is the minimum standard that a product such as cylinder must be manufactured in accordance with before it is recognised by the relevant authorities as a quality product. If you have a lock fitted that does not meet these standards then you won’t get a payout. You can find out more about British Standards here https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/
When changing your locks it’s worth spending a little extra on the high security locks. Many people nowadays have a uPVC door with euro locks which are vulnerable to a break in technique called ‘Lock Snapping’. This is a common tactic used by burglars, upgrading your lock to a ‘Anti-Snap’ one is specifically designed to prevent this method of entry. A good lock purchase will meet the TS007 3 star standard, such as ABS High Security Cylinders.
Call Keytek® Locksmiths as part of your Moving House Checklist
There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves. Look out for sturdy doors and windows or consider replacing them when they are old and worn. Having the locks changed is one of the BEST things you can do to protect your new home. Hiring a professional Locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant. Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away. Talk to the Locksmith about anti-snapping locks and any other doors you need securing such as a garage, gate or shed as our professional Engineers carry a wide variety of locks on every job.
Unplasticised Polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as uPVC, is a hard and non flexible material that is known for its excellent performance and durability. It has become increasingly popular over the more traditional wooden door due to its longevity and availability to be manufactured in an array of colours which present a more stylish and presentable look. Modern uPVC carry the benefit of galvanized steel cores which makes it extremely difficult to break, adding extra protection and security to your home.
Is uPVC safer than wood?
The reliability of uPVC is one of its biggest assets. Rot won’t be found in the frames, it’s solid and impenetrable structure cannot be broken without the use of heavy power tools which is the perfect deterrent against burglars. Compared to wooden doors which need continuous maintenance check for rot and weak points in the frame, which can be a big sign to burglars that your home might be vulnerable.
Another feature of an uPVC doors is the use of 5 locking points, over the traditional 2 in wooden doors. When locking uPVC doors the handle must be upturned, this deploys a variety of hooks and bolts in the doors multi point strip. This effectively creates 5 locking points throughout the strip, thus creating a more secure locking system. Compare this to a wooden door which is usually fitted with 2 locks; a Yale and a mortice, uPVC creates a better assurance of safety and is far more secure.
One of the most popular methods of forced entry are kicking or ramming the door, these are forceful methods that anyone can use with a bit of brute strength. uPVC combats this by containing galvanised steel cores which would be extremely difficult to break without tools, this means that kicking through the door wouldn’t be an option for intruders. Wooden doors are also useful in this sense as they are often thick timber, which would also be difficult to kick through, meaning that these doors also carry the same level of security in this respect. One thing to consider would be that the reliability of the door is dependent on its state, so a door which is worse for wear could not be held to the same standards.
How can an uPVC door be made more secure?
British standard anti-snap cylinder lock
The majority of uPVC doors are fitted with a euro lock barrel, which can pose a problem to security. These locks can be vulnerable as they can be easily snapped and pulled from the handle, granting access to an intruder.
A solution to this would be the installation of the British standard anti-snap cylinder lock, although a pricier option it provides another layer of protection. An anti-snap lock has a line cut into the body of the cylinder, that when force is applied the cylinder it will snap at this weak point but the mechanism will stay intact. This prevents the lock from snapping and thus denies access to any intruders. Another benefit of Anti-snap locks is the added protection that they are also anti pick, anti bump and anti drill.
uPVC door styles such as patio or French doors that are predominately glass can be an easy access point for intruders, it also poses a risk that they could break the glass and grab any valuables nearby such as keys . We suggest laminated glass panels to give the best security to your home.
Laminated glass consists of two panes of glass with a plastic interlayer in-between that holds them together, the PVB layer holds the shards in place should the glass break creating a protective double layer design. This design means that this glass can withstand immense heat and shock whether intentional or accidental and creates a safe exterior for your home.
Door chains and limiters
Door chains are a fairly cheap and effective way of making your door that little bit more secure. Fix them to the door and doorframe with long screws, or even coach bolts, and the security of the door has been greatly increased. You can even get a variation called locking door chains, which allow you to open the door from the outside with the chain on. This type of chain allows you to enter a key into the cylinder of the chain bracket which will realise it. This is a great option if you are worried about getting into your home, or an elderly relatives, in an emergency and the door chain is on.
Another option is the use of a door limiter; it works relatively in the same way as a door chain but is often referred to as the stronger option due to the solid metal latch over a chain.
Install a wide angle peephole
Installing a wide-angle peephole viewer will allow you to do a larger screening when you get unannounced visitors, which will prevent any surprises. This paired with good lighting will give you the best advantage in home security.
Seek professional advice
The most effective way to secure your home is to have efficient locks. Locks are what will prevent a burglary or unwanted guests entering your property. Consulting an experienced and qualified locksmith (like ours here at Keytek) will allow them to check your home has:
Efficient locks that offer security
Meet British standard
Are compliant with your insurance policy
By getting a professionals opinion, it can give you peace of mind that your home is secure. They will also be able to identify any weak points that need attention or can recommend security upgrades to your home if you are still wary.
To find out more about door security, you can find more blogs here
Bathroom locks are essential in any home, whether it’s only two people that live there, or it’s a house share of 8 people. It’s not often that you think about the lock on your bathroom door, but it is something that needs some thought. The purpose of a bathroom door lock isn’t to keep out a burglar, but to stop people accidentally walking in when you are indisposed. However, seeing as the bathroom can be one of the most likely places for you to injure yourself, you should think about installing one that can be easily opened from the outside. Having said that, there are still the following security considerations to think about when buying a lock for your bathroom.
1. How much security do you actually need?
The main purpose of a bathroom door lock is to maintain privacy, not to actually provide actual security. The difference between getting a bathroom door lock and a front door lock is that with a lock for the bathroom, you do not have to think about how safe you will be behind the door. Most internal doors have a hollow core, meaning they can be easily kicked down, regardless of what lock is on there. So your main thoughts should be on how much privacy you actually need.
The answer to that really depends on your home situation. If you have young children, you may want to get a lock that is not easy to use, meaning they cannot lock themselves in and you can supervise them easily. If this is the case then you may not want a lock at all. A discreet lock would also work if you have children and still desire a level of privacy. A small lock installed out of a child’s reach is a good solution to the privacy vs safety issue. However if you live with several house mates, you may want a sturdy lock attached to the door, to stop someone walking in without knocking first. So you will want a lock that stops the door from opening when locked from the inside.
2. What would happen in an emergency?
It’s well known that you are more likely to injure yourself in the bathroom than in any other room in your house. This is because you are more likely to be in the bathroom if you are unwell; there is the risk of falling on wet floors or fainting from the heat of your shower. What we are trying to say is, even though you mainly want privacy in the bathroom, there may be some occurrences when someone needs to bypass the security to get to you. This means it’s extremely important to have kind of emergency entry method built in to the bathroom door lock.
As we mentioned before it probably wouldn’t be difficult to kick down a bathroom door, but this is not always advisable and could cause more injury to the person on the other side. So you need to have an emergency entry plan that doesn’t require that amount of force. So whichever lock you buy for you bathroom door, it may be the case that it needs to be unlockable from the outside.
The easier it is to bypass the bathroom door lock the better. In a real emergency situation, you are likely to be in emotional distress, meaning the simpler the bypassing technique the better. It’s advisable to practice before hand, and if you are finding it too difficult to bypass the lock from the outside then you may need to consider getting a different one. It is also a good idea to have a tool you use to specifically open the bathroom door from the outside and know where it is at all times. For example if you use a flathead screw driver then it’s likely to be moved around, and you may not be able to find it quickly when needed. So make sure you have a specific bypass tool that doesn’t move or know that you will have easy access to it when needed. If you have more than one bathroom in your home then it is best to have the same lock installed on all doors, meaning that you only need one bypass method to get in to all the bathrooms.
3. Can everyone use it easily?
Another important factor for choosing a bathroom door lock is the ease of use for everyone who lives in your house. If you are elderly or live with someone who is, or someone in your home has physical disabilities, then it is very important that the lock is simple enough for them to use. Everyone needs to feel like they have some privacy in the bathroom, and installing a lock that’s easy to use can ensure that happens.
If a bathroom door lock is tricky to open, then it’s possible for someone to get locked inside. This is especially true for those who find physical task difficult, so it’s advisable to use only standard locks on your bathroom doors. However if you or someone you live with struggles with standard locks, then there is the option to install what’s call an ‘indicator bolt’. An Indicator Bolt has large handles either side, meaning it’s easy to lock and unlock.
4. What’s the bottom line?
So when it comes to purchasing a bathroom door, you need to consider the safety implications rather than the security ones. A bathroom door lock is there to stop someone walking in when you are using the bathroom, not protect you from an intruder. One of the most important things you need to consider when installing your bathroom lock is how you would bypass it in an emergency.
Padlocks are defined as portable locks with a shackle that may be passed through an opening to prevent use, theft, vandalism or harm. A padlock is traditionally used to secure; gates, sheds, bikes etc.
What do I need to consider when buying a Padlock?
The first thing you need to consider is what your padlock will be protecting. If it’s just going on your shed to stop any kids from stealing your plants then you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money. However if your padlock is securing a £600 bike, then it might be worth investing a little more money in a high security padlock. Once you’ve decided on how much you want to spend then there are some other factors you may want to consider.
Materials and design– As with most things in life you get what you pay for, so if you buy a cheap padlock made with cheap materials, it will be easier to break. Whereas a well-made padlock, constructed with high grade materials will provide you with more protection. If your padlock will spend most of its life outside, then consider buying a weatherproof or waterproof padlock. Its rains a lot in this country so you don’t want your padlock to rust and therefore become ineffective.
The Shackle– you are looking for the silver loop at the top that clicks in to secure the padlock. If you can, get a padlock with the shackle almost completely hidden. One way thieves break padlocks is by snipping the shackle with bolt cutters, but if they can’t get near the shackle, they can’t cut it. Cheaper padlocks tend to have the shackle completely exposed, so again, it goes back to what you are trying to secure and how much you want to spend on a padlock.
Is it a good standard? – To be sure that you are getting a padlock that has been rigorously tested and vetted by a trusted authority, you need to look out for mark of quality. Look for the ‘British Standard’ kite mark. When you see this mark you know that a padlock has been tested by the British Standard Institute and that it passed the criteria set by them.
The British Standard Institute will test the different qualities the padlocks have, for example; how long a padlock would take to pick, or how much force it would take to get through the shackle. So you can be sure that if a padlock has this symbol on, it will be of good quality.
Combination VS Key- You might be more familiar with the key designs as they are more common, but like we’ve stated before it depends on what you are using your padlock for. For example, if it is being used to secure a back gate in a family home, then a combination lock might be best, as many people will need access and there is no risk of losing the key. However if it only one person using the padlock for say, a bike, then a key lock may be more beneficial as you don’t want the code falling into the wrong hands.
If you do decide to go for a padlock with a key then you want as many pins as possible, the more pins the harder it is to copy the key. If you are really worried about someone coping the key then you do have the option of buying a high-end padlock with a restricted key, this means that a Locksmith or key cutter will refuse to cut a new key without evidence that you are the owner.
The Master Lock shrouded padlock has a number of high security features that would appeal to those looking to secure something valuable. It’s a heavy duty padlock with a key opening design rather than a code. It boasts a hardened iron shroud, which has been designed to protect the shackle from anyone using bolt cutters, as well as a dual ball locking mechanism which makes its extremely hard to pick or tamper with. It’s also a great padlock to choose if you need it to endure some bad weather. The Master Lock Shrouded Padlock has a Weather Tough® cover protects lock from water, ice, dirt and grime. It’s currently on Amazon for £35.19, so the price isn’t extortionate, but it’s a little higher than the price of a standard padlock. This will be one of the highest security padlocks you will find, plus it comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can be confident it delivers on all it promises.
The Neulock is a chunky padlock that secures using a bolt and features a seven-lever lock. The padlock has the Sold Secure approval and you can tell it’s a solid peace of kit. It’s made from high grade stainless steel that is rust resistant and won’t corrode. Its designed to attach across a door and its frame, so can serve as a bolt as well as a lock. As part of the testing process, it’s been established that the Neulock can withstand bolt-cutter, drill and hacksaws. The Neulock will come with four keys and a unique ID number, which means that new keys cannot be cut unless the number is provided. It’s currently on Amazon for £64.95, this may seem a large amount of money, but you must consider what you will be securing with the Neulock. Spending almost £65 on a lock will seem worth it, if it stops £1000 worth of items being stolen.
The Rolson is perfect for securing bikes, as it features an in-built alarm that will activate if the lock is tampered with. The 110Db alarm sounds for ten seconds if triggered, after 35 seconds it will reset itself. The idea behind this alarm is that the loud noise will scare off a thief trying to break it or draw enough attention to the situation for them to be apprehended. This does mean that the lock itself isn’t as strong as some more expensive models, so we would recommend that you never use it without the alarm set. Another downside of this lock is that it’s not weatherproof, some users have said that if the lock gets wet, the alarm will no longer work, which may leave your bike vulnerable. You can buy this lock on Amazon for £12, which isn’t exactly breaking the bank. If used properly the Rolson is a good little device, however without the alarm in use, it could leave you open to a theft.
This sturdy little padlock is great if you want a heavy duty combination lock. This padlock will work well on gates, vans, large sheds and garages. You can set your own code and with over 10,000 variations, it’s highly unlikely anyone will ever guess what your code is. It features a 48mm steel body and the shackle is made of hardened steel, meaning it’s a reliable and robust padlock. You can confidently use the Squire padlock outside, ‘All-weather’ is in its name and it lives up to this by being highly resistant to corrosion. It is currently on Amazon for £12, so you’re probably not going to find much better at this price.
Yale is one of the biggest names in the security industry, if you’ve done any research on padlocks or any locks for that matter, then you will have come across the name. The Closed Shackle Padlock is perfect for securing anything indoors, tool boxes or internal doors for example. As mentioned before any padlock with a concealed shackle is going to be very hard to tamper with. The Shackle on this Yale padlock is made of boron steel; boron is high-grade precision steel that is used in advanced automotive and heavy-duty industrial applications due to its extreme strength. It also features double ball locking, this means that even if the thief cut the shackle on both sides, it wouldn’t move. The Yale Closed Shackle High Security Steel Padlock is a robust and secure padlock, the only limitation being that it’s not built to withstand bad weather conditions, so its use is limited to inside.
Yale has pretty much dominated the lock industry for over 200 years; they invented the first pin tumbler lock after all! Yale certainly lead the pack when it comes to new ways to protect your home, so it’s no surprise that they have a range of smart home security products. We are going to look at the Yale Smart Lock collection and what it has to offer.
Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Door lock gives you freedom to secure your home without the need for a key. Simple to use, you now have complete control on how you unlock your door. The Yale Smart Lock is compatible with most 60mm backset Nightlatches and this means that installation is quick and easy. You can go completely keyless and instead use the touch panel control, a key card, a key tag or remote access by installing an app on your smart phone.
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock comes with lots of nifty features that make it one of the most appealing smart lock you can get. One of these is the built-in tamper alarm that will go off at 80 decibels the moment it senses someone trying to mess with your lock. Another attractive feature is the 24 hour access code that you can use for guests; this stops you from having to hand out spare keys, which may fall into the wrong hands. Another good feature is that the code is automatically deleted after 24 hours, meaning that no one will be able to use that same code again.
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock is powered by 4 AA batteries and the Yale Smart Lock will warn you when the battery is running out. A cleaver fail safe that comes with this Smart Lock is that if it does actually run out of battery, then you will still be able to gain access to your home by simply touching a 9v battery onto the terminals at the bottom of the lock. This provides you with temporary power to unlock the lock; of course you do still need the method of keyless entry, i.e. the key card or your smart phone.
The Yale Smart Lock is perfect for those who have wooden doors with nighlatches, however it doesn’t work with uPVC doors and multipoint locks. The battery life is also questionable, with some users complaining the battery depleted very quickly. Aesthetically the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock is quite subtle, at a glance you wouldn’t suspect it was a smart lock, which may be a positive for you.
As of April 2019 it is for sale on Amazon for £95, which is a reasonable for such a good smart lock with so many features.
Yale Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock
If you like the sound of the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock but don’t have a wooden door then never fear. Yale’s Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock is the smart lock you can get for your uPVC door with a multipoint lock. Just like the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock, you can go completely keyless and use a key card, key tag or your smart phone to access your home. Another feature that it shares with the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock is the tamper alarm. Statistics tell us that burglars like easy access, so if a horrendously loud alarm goes off when the tamper with the lock, they are more than likely to run away.
A great little extra with this Smart Lock is that you can send virtual keys to anyone who has the app; this can be for a few weeks, or even a few hours depending on who you are sending the key to. The lock and app use Bluetooth to connect with each other meaning you don’t have to rely on an internet connection to gain entry into the house. The Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock will also let you know who coming and going, by knowing which mobile key has been used. The Smart Lock will send notifications to your phone with the identity of the person who has used a mobile key. If you’re into cool, quirky features then you will love the ‘twist and go’ option that comes with the Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock. You literally twist your phone in a 90 degrees, after tapping the lock with your phone.
The Conexis L1 Door Lock is fairly complicated to install, so you may need to hire a professional to fit it correctly and not damage the door. It’s also a good Smart Lock to get if you don’t want a big glaring sign on your door that days ‘I’ve got a very expensive lock’ as it does just look like a normal handle for a multi-point lock. It would only be with proper investigation that someone may realise that it’s a Smart Lock.
As of April 2019 it’s selling for £190 on Amazon, which is a bit on the pricey side, however you can trust that with any Yale lock, it’s going to be one of the best out there.
Yale doesn’t have a huge range of smart locks, but they have definitely gone for quality over quantity. Whether you have a wooden door or a uPVC door Yale have got you covered. As well as including some fancy features at the heart of both the Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock and the Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock is a solid door lock that will make you and your home more secure.
Disclaimer; there is no way to 100% burglar proof your doors. We have put together a guide that will help hinder, discourage and put off potential burglars from entering your home.
Experiencing a break in can be traumatic; some unknown person entering your home can make you feel unsafe, even after the locks have been changed. Keytek® have put together some tips for you to improve your front door security and help to ward off any potential thieves.
1. Upgrade your Locks
ABS Anti-Snap Cylinder
Simple but effective. Making sure your locks are not broken, old or rusted is an effective way to improve your front door security. If you do find your locks need changing or upgrading then its best to call a professional locksmith, to make sure the jobs done right.
Whether you have a wooden or uPVC door, make sure you use locks that are ‘British Standard’, that way you can be sure the locks you are using have gone through rigorous testing to make sure they are secure. There is also the option to install Anti-Snap or High Security Locks on uPVC doors. These might be more on the expensive side, but if it stops a burglar from gaining entry to your home, then the extra cost might be worth it.
It’s also worth checking with your insurer that all your locks are insurance compliant. If you have a break in and you find you had the wrong locks, you may not be able to claim.
2. Check the Strength of your Door and its Frame
You need to be sure that a burglar can’t kick through your door, especially if it’s wooden. You can have the best lock in the world, but if an intruder can force his foot through your door then it will be useless. You can reinforce your wooden door by inserting a strike plate made from metal which is attached with extra-long screws that are drilled in to the studs an all sides of the doorway. You can get strike plates from most DIY shops or order them online. If you are not confident to install this yourself, then its best to engage the services of a professional locksmith.
The door frame is another aspect of front door security you can improve on. First thing to do is to make sure that is securely screwed or bolted to the walls around it. You can make it more secure by fitting special bars to make the locking points and hinges sturdier. You could also try hinge bolts; they are designed to prevent the door from being forced off its hinges.
3. Consider Windowless Doors
While having a door with windows in lets more light into your home and is aesthetically pleasing, it does pose a security risk. If the window in your door is placed near the lock, it would be easy for a burglar to smash the window and unlock your door from the inside. If you don’t want to get rid of the windows in your door, then you need to add some security measures. Make sure the glass is reinforced and not easily broken. Another is to install decorative bars or metal reinforcement; this will stop the burglar reaching through if they smash the glass, or potentially could deter him from breaking in all together.
4. Install a Deadbolt for a Wooden Door
Any door is only as strong as its lock, so you need to make sure you have the best one available. You need to make sure your lock extends deep enough into the door frame with withstand any kicking or other types of forced entry. At a minimum your bolt should be 2.5 centimetres in length. You don’t need the most expensive deadbolt out there but it’s probably worth not getting the cheapest. Spending a bit more could be the difference between a successful break in and an unsuccessful one.
5. Extra Measures
Even if your door has all of the above, there are still extra things you can do. Installing a door chain is one; this provides protection for when you are in the house. This could stop a potential burglar getting in at night, while you and your family sleep. To prevent a break in tactic called ‘fishing’ you can install a letterbox guard. This stops a thief from inserting a long wire through the letter box and hooking your keys, if they are positioned near the door. Another way to improve you front door security is to install a security light that points at the front door. Not only will this help you on dark winter nights, it will also shed a light on any suspicious activity. Burglars love the cover of darkness, so a big bright light shining in their face may scare them away. It’s also worth installing a security camera, real or fake at your front door; this is a good way to deter a potential burglar. If they can see a camera pointed at them, they are not going to risk breaking in and it’s doubtful they will spend the time trying to find out if it’s real or fake.
Like we stated at the beginning, it’s impossible to guarantee 100% that anything will keep a determined burglar out. However if you take effective steps, such as the ones above, then you will give your front door security a good chance of withstanding an attempted break in. Keytek® are committed to making sure your home is safe, take a look at our other Home Security Pages.
As a commercial landlord, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your tenants are not only safe and happy, but that the commercial property you are renting out is also secure and free from any hazards.
With this in mind, you should take the time to fully understand your legal obligations to avoid compromising your tenancy agreement. From the moment you hand over the keys to your property, you should be aware of your responsibilities to avoid potential issues arising in the future.
We’ve created a guide outlining some of your responsibilities when it comes to securing commercial properties.
Is a landlord responsible for a broken lock?
In any property, security should always be a top priority, and this is especially true of commercial buildings, which tend to be home to high value stock, expensive equipment, and important documents.
With this in mind, it is a landlord’s responsibility to make all repairs to the structure and exterior of a commercial building, including broken locks on doors and windows. All locks must be in sound working order and they must also be suitable for the building they occupy.
At the same time, all windows, exterior buildings and other entry points should all have sufficient locks that will deter criminals from entering the property.
Who is responsible for your security system?
There are a whole host of security products that have been developed to deter criminals and prevent crime.
And, thanks to significant advances in technology, these systems can be integrated in all areas of commercial properties, using light, noise and recording to deter criminals from entering the building.
From motion activated night-lights and sophisticated alarm systems through to security cameras and sensors, there are lots of ways to optimise the security of your commercial property. You can read our blogs on Security Cameras or Smart Home Security to learn more.
Although the level of security offered by landlords often stops at ensuring windows and doors lock securely, despite crime being at an all-time high, it is worthwhile investing in further deterrents.
After all, it is a landlord’s reasonability to ensure that a building is secure and that appropriate control measures are in place, which often requires further investment in access control measures that will prevent burglaries and crime.
What are the landlord’s legal obligations?
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) outlines 29 hazards that all landlords must be aware of in order to protect their tenants, including “danger by intruders.” This means that security should always be taken extremely seriously. To learn more about the 29 hazards Click Here.
In addition to this, Section 11 from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that all landlords must commit to making scheduled visits to the property they are renting out in order to conduct thorough inspections, make any necessary repairs, and keep on top of general maintenance. View the Tenant Act 1985 for more information.
This is also the ideal opportunity to make sure that all existing locks are secure, as they can often succumb to everyday wear and tear, which can put your property at risk. Whether you decide to take responsibility for the repairs, or you appoint an appropriate tradesman or letting agent, you must ensure that the property is safe and secure.
Of course, regular visits to the property will also allow you to check that all security measures and equipment is in full working order.
In this age of smart phones, home hubs and app controlled heating; it’s not surprising to see the emergence of Wi-Fi doorbell cameras. We will do just about anything to keep our home and family secure, so are smart doorbells a worthy investment? We are going to look at the five most popular doorbell cameras in the UK and see what they offer.
The Ring doorbell camera offers you 1080HD video, which is a pretty high resolution for a doorbell camera. It allows you to see, hear and speak to anyone that comes to your door from wherever you are. Ring provides instant mobile alerts and two way talk that you can answer from your mobile, tablet or PC. The Ring doorbell can be adapted to meet your needs; you can adjust the motion sensors. So if you own a cat that will be around your property, you won’t get an alert every time they move.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 includes a quick release rechargeable battery, so you are able to charge it without having to take the whole thing off your front door. If you are worried about it being switched off for any period of time then we recommend you buy 2 batteries, so you always have power for your Wi-Fi doorbell camera.
The camera has a viewing range of 160 degrees and has adjustable motion zones. Don’t worry about having it outside in bad weather, as it can cope with temperatures as low as -5c and as high as 48.5c. it’s is also weather resistant meaning its fine getting rained on, snowed on or even hailed on. Ring will also connect to the Amazon Alexa, so you can see who’s at the door with an Echo Show or a Fire TV.
Ring is the most dominant presence in the Wi-Fi doorbell camera game, so you can be sure it’s the most advanced smart doorbell out there. However it does come with a rather large price tag. So it’s worth looking around to see what other doorbells are out there.
The SkyBell offers almost exactly the same features as the Ring Wi-Fi doorbell. The small difference being that with Skybell you get a notification when someone rings the doorbell, as well as motion notifications.
The set up seems relatively simple, as you only use 4 screws to mount the Wi-Fi door bell and can use any existing doorbells power wires.
The Skybell also features 2 way audio, meaning you can have a conversation with whoever is at the door. The app allows multiple people to have accounts, so everyone that lives in your house can have view who has been to the front door. Even at night you will be able to see clearly who is at your front door in full colour night vision. Also, if you’ve not had chance to look at who’s been around your property all day, then there is an ‘Active History’ function that means you can review any missed visitors, any answered video calls and motion alerts.
One of the biggest differences between the Skybell and Ring is battery vs hard wired, with the Sky bell being wired in. Depending on the doorbell you currently have, you may find the battery controlled Wi-Fi doorbell a little easier to set up. However if leaving something that controls your home security on a battery worries you, then having it wired in is a selling point.
The Vivint Doorbell Camera is probably the most elegant looking Wi-Fi doorbell on the list; it has a thin, understated design meaning that it is considerably more subtle than a security camera and some of the other Wi-Fi doorbells. It’s also comes with the standard features of a Wi-Fi doorbell camera, notifications and video footage etc. The video quality is slightly lower than some other smart doorbells at 720p HD and has a night vision feature.
Vivint promotes a discreet way to secure your home and boasts that it will warn you before a person even rings on your doorbell. On their website its says;
“The minimalist design of Vivint Doorbell Camera mimics a regular doorbell to blend seamlessly with your home exterior and keep your entryway feeling like a meeting place, not a TSA checkpoint.”
So if you’re conscious of advertising that you have an expensive smart doorbell attached to your door, the Vivint might be for you. To be able to use a Vivint Doorbell camera you will need to invest in a Vivint smart home monitoring package and this will cost you extra in equipment and monthly fees. Installation is a bit more involved and requires a specially trained engineer to come to your house and set it up for you. They do not specifically state the price of the camera on their website, but if subtly is your thing then Vivint is definitely worth looking in to.
August is a big player in the smart home security game. They are best known for their smart locks that allow you to open the front door with your phone. However they also have a Wi-Fi doorbell on the market, the August Doorbell Cam. The August can be wired in using the same connection of your current standard doorbell, so there is no need to rely on batteries. You can then set it up inside by using the USB dock provided.
August differs from other Wi-Fi doorbell cameras by not having a night vision feature, but instead including a full colour light that will illuminate anyone standing at the door. However like the others it allows you not only to live stream footage from your front door, but going back and review anything you missed. The camera will start recording when it senses movement, so you shouldn’t miss anything important.
The instillation of the August is a bit more involved than some of the other options, as you are required to mount brackets and use a drill, which if you are not DIY minded, could be a struggle for you.
Like all the other doorbell cameras the Vuebell doorbell comes with its own app, meaning you can check the video feed from anywhere. The doorbell itself includes HD cameras, 2-way audio and Night Vision. The Vuebell automatically detects unusual motions and alerts you by sending a notification to your phone. Or if you are out and someone rings the doorbell you can have a real-time two-way conversation with them.
The camera is pretty good, with a wide viewing angle of 185 degrees and a vertical viewing angle of 118 degrees, meaning that the entire area around your front door will be covered. Like most of the camera doorbells, it runs on Wi-Fi, with Vuebell you can have it up to 100 metres away from your wireless router. That means it doesn’t matter where it is in your home, the connection will not suffer from inference. The doorbell also has eight infrared LEDs that can help you see things even at night. You can capture a clear photo at night within five meters.
The Netvue is a good piece of kit if you’re looking to keep the cost down. However you won’t be able to connect the Netvue with any other smart devices, such as a smart lock or another smart camera. The Netvue does also have a slightly budget look about it.
Video Storage Fees
What most of the makers of these Wi-Fi camera doorbells fail to mention is that if you want to keep the footage of your home then you will need to subscribe to a monthly storage plan. As hours and hours of video footage takes up a lot of storage space, it’s not possible to store it all on the doorbell itself. Most companies will store your footage on a cloud based server, some may offer you some sort of free cloud storage, while others offer you none at all.
The Ring Video Doorbell may be one of the most advanced cameras out there, but they offer no free storage. This means unless you open a live stream immediately after receiving a notification, you might miss what going on. For the motion based video to be stored you have to subscribe to a ‘Ring Protect Plan’. You can either pay £2.50 per month (£25 annually) for their Protect Basic Plan, which will store all live videos for up to 30 days. Or you can pay £8 per month (£80 annually) for the Protect Plus Program. This is useful if you have more than one Wi-Fi camera doorbell, as the plan covers unlimited Ring devices. You still only have 30 days’ worth of storage with this plan, but you do get an extended warranty and discounts in the Ring store.
Skybell does not offer a storage plan of any sort. But it does offer free 7 day storage, so if you are looking for a WI-FI doorbell camera that can store footage for a long time, the Skybell is not for you.
As with the price of the actual doorbell, Vivint are not advertising the price of their video storage plan. However on their website it says you get 30 days’ worth of video (which seems to be the standard) for a ‘fraction of the cost of most video storage solutions’.
August does offer various plans, the Free Basic Plan offer 24 hours of saved video history; this comes automatically with the doorbell so there is no need to sign up. They do offer a ‘Premium’ storage plan, which is around £4 a month or around £50 annually. This offers 30 days of saved video history and saved video clips of all activity captured. On both plans you can download and share saved videos and everyone that has the August app can use it.
Netvue does not offer any free video storage; instead they offer three paid plans. The first is Ring Video Storage which is around £2 a month (or around £20 a year); this plan will record and save any doorbell rings and conversations on the cloud for future viewing for 30 days.
The second plan is around £6 a month (or £69.99 per year) and offers 14 days of 24/7 recording. This means your doorbell will be recording continuously and you can access and review the footage for up to 14 days.
The third is around £1 per month (or £19 per year) and you are able view 10 second of any event, this is available to watch for 30 days.
So, Should you buy one?
Buying a WI-FI doorbell is a good investment in the security of your home, especially if you want to be able to connect with people at your front door while you are away. However, you do need to consider how much you want to spend and how much you are willing to pay for the video storage. We hope this guide has been useful and make sure you check out our other blogs on home security.
How to keep your home safe this Christmas
1. Don’t give too much away on Social Media.
It is never recommended to put your Christmas travel plans on any form of social media. Especially the date you’re leaving, the length of time you are away for and when you will be back. This is all prime information that a thief will use to know when your home is empty. By putting travel plans on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform, you are also running the risk of invalidating your home insurance. Meaning that if the worst were to happen then you would not be able to make a claim.
It’s also not wise to post on social media about the amount of presents under your tree. If you are lucky enough to have a big pile under there before Christmas day, it’s not best to advertise it. Any burglar that sees that picture will know your house is full of expensive items that are easily accessible.
2. Don’t let your lights leave you vulnerable.
If you like to spread the festive cheer and put up lights on the outside of your house, make sure you’re not inviting a burglar in. A common mistake to make is to feed an electrical wire through a slightly open window. Burglars know to look out for this weakness and could exploit it to gain entry to your house. Try and get solar or battery powered lights to keep you secure.
3. Hide your gift packaging
At this time of year you are bound to be receiving lots of deliveries. You need to be careful when pilling the boxes in and around the bin. A burglar walking past you house will see the empty boxes and know that there may be valuable items inside. Try to break the boxes down and fold them so they fit in your recycling bin. If you’re struggling with the space in your bin, then take a trip down to your local recycling centre.
4. Keep presents out of view
If you are super organised and have wrapped all your gifts before the big day, it might be tempting to put them under the tree ready for Christmas morning. However, if your tree is visible through a window then you are tempting thieves to break in. Keep the gifts out of site until Christmas Eve or even Christmas morning. Burglars like to get in and out of a property as quick as possible, so if you make your items hard to find then the less likely a thief is to take them.
5. Plan ahead if you are going away for Christmas
If you know that you are going to be away over the Christmas period then there are a few thing you can do help prevent the burglars coming in.
Make sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions, nothing tells a burglar a house is empty more than built up newspapers and several bottles of untouched milk. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour you could ask them to leave a car in your drive to give the allusion someone is at the property.
So you’ve decided to buy a house, you’ve got your deposit and it’s time to start looking round. But how do you ensure the biggest purchase you will ever make is the right one and how do you keep it safe? Safety and security factors should always be on top of the list. There is always an element of risk when it comes to buying property, but you can take some steps to minimise that risk. You can start thinking of ways to secure your new home before you’ve even brought it! We’ve made a guide on how to buy a house safely and keep it secure once you’ve moved in.
Looking for a New House
When looking for a new house, you have to consider the area you want to live in. Along with the usual school catchments, local amenities and local transport links, you should also ask yourself, is it safe? What’s the crime rate like? Is it a family road? Is it somewhere for unsavoury people to hang out? It is recommended that you do as much research as possible before putting an offer in.
Check the crime stats for the local area. You can view these on the Police website and UK Crime stats website. With these you can get a picture of the general picture of crime in the area. You may not be able to get specific details, but it will help you compare one neighbourhood to another.
Visit the area at different times of the day to make sure you’re happy. Visiting after dark will give you a good insight into what goes on around the neighbourhood at night. Look for signs of anti-social behaviour and check to see if there is adequate street lighting for you to feel safe.
If possible, speak to the neighbours and ask about previous crimes and the general atmosphere of the area.
When you are looking around potential houses take a note of what state the doors and windows are in. These can be replaced when you move, but it will cost you, so a house with a solid door and newish windows will be easier to secure.
If the house has a gravel driveway then you’ve already got one security measure in place, as the noise walking on gravel makes can potentially deter a burglar, or alert you to the fact someone is on your property.
Before You Move
So you’ve had your offer accepted on the house of your dreams and now are counting down the days until you move. You should use this time to get started on packing as well as getting your security measures sorted.
Make sure to check out the security arrangements of the house you are thinking of buying, take notes if possible.
If you know that the current owners will be leaving a security alarm/system then make sure you arrange for them to leave the details; manufacture, password and when it was installed etc.
If you are buying a house then you cannot exchange contracts without having home insurance. But it’s best to read your policy carefully to see what you’re covered for and what excess you would have to pay if the worst was to happen.
If you know the day you are completing and getting the keys, then why not book a locksmith in advance? They will not only change the locks, but give you a free home security check as well to help you feel secure in your new home.
The Day of the Move
The day has finally arrived! All your possessions are in boxes waiting to be moved to your new home. It’s a busy and stressful day, so it’s easy to forget the security basics. Take a look at our points to remind you what to do and what not to do security wise on the day you move.
The MOST important thing you can do the day you move is to call a professional locksmith, such as Keytek Locksmiths, to change the locks on your windows and doors. You have no idea how many copies of the old key are out there, so it’s important to get them changed. Also your insurance policy may be invalid if the locks are not changed. So the bottom line is… GET THEM CHANGED! Learn more about getting your locks changed here.
You will also need to check the state of the garage or shed lock. If you are going to be storing valuable items in there, then you need to put on new locks and make sure that they are secure.
Keep an eye on your stuff when moving, try and move it directly into the house without leaving it in a van on the street, in the garden or on the pavement. It might be tempting to grab a cup of tea in your new home before bringing in all the boxes, but it would be too easy for a thief to snatch them from a van when no one is looking.
Don’t make it obvious that you’ve just moved in. Your first job should be to hang blinds or curtains. Try not to leave boxes in open view and let the neighbours know you’ve moved in as soon as possible. If you are not sleeping at your house for the first night, then keep all boxes out of sight and think about giving the impression that someone is staying there.
If the previous owners had a security system/alarm then you need to change the code or password immediately. If you’re not sure about the reliability of the system the old owners left then you should buy a new one, or contact a professional alarm company to test the system and reset passwords.
After you’ve Moved
Once you’ve changed the locks and the alarm code, you may want to start thinking about making your new house as secure as possible. This includes adding things to the inside and outside of your new home.
Install outdoor lights, have these illuminating high risk areas of your home, including the shed, garage or gate door.
Get yourself in to a new routine of checking that all the doors and windows of your new house are locked.
Add additional door security, such as door chains, spy hole or letterbox guard. Click here to read about additional security measures.
Take a look at the perimeter of your house, what state are the fences, walls or hedges in? If you see any weak points then make sure you secure them by repairing or replacing fence panels, broken walls or thin hedges.
You may also want to give the impression that you are home, even when you’re not. You can do this quite simply by purchasing lamp timers. These switch your lamps on when you are not home, putting off any potential burglars.
Changing the Locks when you Move House
Having your locks changed when you move is a basic security measure that is advised by most insurance companies. However a whopping 74% of people do not change the locks when they move house! If an intruder gains entry to your home with a key then most home insurance policies won’t pay out, as there needs to be a clear sign of a breaking and entering for you to make a valid claim. You may also want to check what your insurance policy says about the type of locks you use for your home. Most insurers require you to have ‘British Standard’ locks installed; British Standard uses a kitemark to indicate that the lock has been certified by the British Standard Institution. A British Standard is the minimum standard that a product such as a cylinder must be manufactured in accordance with before it is recognise by the relevant authorities as a quality product. If you have a lock fitted that does not meet the standard required by your insurer then you will not get a pay-out.
However, when you move you need to think about more than the insurance implications. You could be leaving yourself and your family vulnerable as you don’t know who else has a key to your house. Even if the previous owners have assured you that all the keys have been left, they may have forgotten a set, or not told you about a lost set. It’s better to be safe than sorry, get your locks changed!
Additional Security Measures
You can protect your home with more than just new locks; there are several measures you can take to keep your new home secure including things that go inside and outside your new house.
The first and easiest thing you can do is to leave your valuables out of sight. Even when you first move and there are thing everywhere, make sure things like laptops, tablets and jewellery are not visible from the windows. Install blinds as quickly as possible to give yourself and your items some privacy.
Installing outdoor security lights is another great way to secure your home. As most burglars like the cover of darkness, having motion sensor lights that shine brightly when they are triggered could be enough to scare them away. Make sure your security lights are pointed towards the areas that a burglar will target; the shed, garage or gate.
As you are changing the locks anyway, you might want to spend a little bit more money on high security locks. Many people nowadays have uPVC doors with euro locks which are vulnerable to a break in technique called ‘Lock Snapping’. This is a common tactic used by burglars, but you can upgrade your lock to an ‘Anti-Snap’ one that is specifically designed to prevent this method of entry. You should purchase a lock that meets the TS007 3 star standard, such as ABS High Security Cylinders. Learn more about Lock Snapping here.
To specifically protect your front door you can install a door chain or letterbox guard. A door chain is a small chain attached to the door frame, which attaches to a track on the door. This will help prevent someone getting in even if the door is unlocked; however you have to be inside the house to make use of the chain. Used in conjunction with a British Standard lock, this gives you a good level of security. A letterbox guard protects you from an intruder who may use a ‘fishing’ technique used by burglars. Potential intruders will use the letter box and a long piece of metal to access keys that may have been left by the front door. Once they have them, they simply unlock the door and have access to your house. Learn more about additional home security here.
There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure; however by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves. You can start by looking for houses that have sturdy doors and windows or think about replacing them if they are warn or old. Once you’re in, it’s up to you how many security measures you put in place. Having the locks changed is the best thing you can do to keep your new home secure. Hiring a professional locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant, Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and advise on what you can do to keep the burglars away. Talk to the locksmith about anti-snapping locks and any other doors you need securing, such as a garage, gate or shed as our engineers carry a wide variety of locks on board. Learn more about home security here.
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