KLAFFSTORIES – Summer

Hi-tech to Low: 3 Options for Securely Locking Your Home

By KLAFFStyle Editorial Staff

KLAFFS Hardware Manager John Barber Shares What to Consider

There’s a great deal of buzz about smart locks today — both positive and negative. Such is usually the case with the new and shiny thing. If you’re considering updating the locks on your exterior doors, however, it pays to consider all the options – hi-tech to low – to understand the benefits and possible drawbacks and make the best choice for your lifestyle.

KLAFFStyle recently sat down with KLAFFS decorative hardware manager John Barber to tap into his knowledge about the choices one might weigh and what to consider based on how you live. There’s nothing less than the safety of home and family at stake when it comes to this first line of security.

According to John, the three points of entry most likely to broken into are the front door, the back door and, if you have a garage (especially with an automatic door opener), the door from the garage into the house.

Whichever lock technology you select, you’ll find designs available to suit the specific style of your home. Here’s John’s rundown on three door-locking options: keyed entry and deadbolt, keyless access, and smart lock technology.

Photo Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Hardware

Keyed Entry and Deadbolt

A keyed entry lock and deadbolt is the traditional choice. This two-part entry system offers convenience in that you can simply shut the door and it’s locked. You can turn the deadbolt for extra security.

For optimal security, the deadbolt should have at least a one-inch throw into a reinforced plate in the door jamb. And to be kind to your key ring, have all the locks keyed alike so that you only have one key to carry.

Benefits/Drawbacks

Beyond simplicity and convenience, benefits of a properly installed keyed entry with deadbolt are that it’s hard to jimmy and break – and it can’t be hacked. On the downside, if you have handymen, housekeepers or others who need access to your home, you must be there or have numbers of keys floating around. If one of those people no longer needs access or proves untrustworthy, you’ll want to have the lock re-keyed. Also, if you’re on the outside and your key’s still inside, you may find yourself locked out.

Brands

There are many brands at KLAFFS that offer high quality, stylish keyed entry and deadbolt lock sets. Among them are Rocky Mountain, Classic Brass and Omnia. In addition, KLAFFS is the exclusive dealer in at least Fairfield County for Classic Brass, Designer Doorware, Hardware Renaissance, Samuel Heath, and Water Street Brass.

Photo Courtesy of Emtek

Keyless Access

The keyless access option is available as either a deadbolt or entry set. Both options allow access via a touchpad on which you punch in a code. When you enter the code it either locks or retracts the deadbolt. With a keyed entry, it releases the lock for about 30 seconds – long enough to get oneself and some kids or packages inside. Generally keyless access locks come with two pre-programmed codes and you can add your own.

Benefits/Drawbacks

The main benefits are that you don’t have to dig for a key to get in the house and you can give workers and friends their own codes. If someone is no longer employed, simply eliminate their code and they no longer have access. For the most part you eliminate lockouts.

We say, “for the most part,” because these locks are battery powered so at times – say if you’re away in Florida for the winter – you may come back to find the batteries have died. There’s always a keyed bypass, but that means you must have the key handy. Normally, though, there’s a beep tone that emanates when the batteries are getting low so it’ll be rare that you’ll need to use the key. But it pays to keep one with you.

Brands

Keyless access locks come in many sizes, shapes, styles, materials and finishes. John Barber reports that the most popular brands at KLAFFS are Emtek and Baldwin.

Photo Courtesy of Baldwin

Smart Locks

Smart locks use internet and blue tooth technologies to give unprecedented control over your external door locks. Like keyless access locks, smart locks enable both deadbolts and entry sets, with access via coded touchpads. These stems have accompanying apps that allow remote locking/unlocking; your smart phone becomes your key. There are also blue tooth powered fobs available that operate like the fobs that unlock car doors.

Smart locks can be empowering. John related the story of a wheel-chair-bound friend who can use his phone, iPad or fob to let guests into his house and lock the door when they leave without having to make his way to the entrance.

Benefits/Drawbacks

Top brands feature the ability to program an unlimited number of e-keys, which, of course, can be easily re-programmed or cancelled. If a kid forgets his code or a little one gets home from school and you’re running late, you can let them in by remote and lock the doors behind them.

On the downside, there’s been a lot of news in the media about smart locks being hacked and that certainly is a concern. In addition, while smart locks come partially programmed out of the box, your home security company must complete the process. This is a good thing, but it does add a layer to installation and maintenance. Smart locks, like keyless access locks, are battery powered so the same directions and caveats apply here.

Brands

Believe it or not, two of the most iconic hardware brands in the US – Baldwin and Schlage – are leaders in the smart lock market. Their ability to evolve with technology is what makes them great companies that stand the test of time. Baldwin’s retail brands use what they call Z-Wave technology and they’re working on a new technology as well.

Final Words of Wisdom

When it comes to securing your home and making the right choice of locks, John Barber recommends coming in to speak with an expert.

“There are technical considerations in addition to style and features choices,” John said. “Our professional customers – builders, architects and designers – work closely with us when they’re specifying lock technology for their clients because there are a surprising number of details that can affect the right decision. There’s a cautionary tale in that for homeowners and apartment dwellers seeking to update their security. We’re happy to have you come in and get the benefit of our experience and knowledge.”

John Barber
KLAFFS General Manager, Decorative Hardware

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