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News

The dangers of DIY lock fitting

Master Locksmiths Association : 03 May, 2016  (Technical Article)
The Master Locksmiths Association provides its insight into the problems that can occur when home owners decide to do their own locksmithing
The dangers of DIY lock fitting

With the start of summer, many people are rolling up their sleeves to start a DIY project. However, home owners who attempt DIY jobs themselves, rather than hiring professional tradesmen, could find that the decision results in them having to fork out even more.

A recent study by Aviva  found that 90% of people who had recently moved to a new property had tried to save money via DIY renovation. However, 39% of these admitted they had a DIY disaster while doing up their new home and 54% of that number had to call in a professional to rectify their mistakes.

As the research indicates, giving it a go is not necessarily the cheapest option as a botched job can not only cost considerably more in the long term but could also adversely affect your security. To help the public avoid wasting time and money, Justin Freeman, technical manager at The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), the UK’s leading trade association for the locksmithing industry, offers his advice on how best to tackle the task of home improvements when it comes to changing your own locks.

With so many DIY videos on how to change your locks readily available on the internet, it is all too tempting to tackle this job yourself. But watching a three minute video is often not enough to ensure that the job is done properly and securely.
Changing or fixing locks can be more complicated than it looks and if done incorrectly, can cause un-necessary damage to doors, door frames and windows, not to mention invalidate your house insurance and leave you vulnerable to burglars if unsuitable products are fitted or are fitted incorrectly.

Similarly, changing your own locks could pose a serious safety risk. Incorrectly fitted or the wrong type of lock could fail, get jammed or potentially cause you to become trapped in your property. This is incredibly dangerous if you need to exit the building quickly in an emergency. Enlisting the services of a professional locksmith from the outset would ensure that your locks are specified professionally meaning that they function correctly and that ‘fail-safe’ escape routes are always in place.

There are a vast number of locks on the market and numerous standards that they may claim to adhere to, and it can be confusing to know which one will best protect your home.

Choosing an unsuitable or incorrectly sized lock means a burglar could easily use various methods to defeat the lock and be able to open your door in seconds. West Yorkshire Police has identified that 25% of burglaries use lock snapping to enter a home , therefore where possible, homeowners should always look to install anti-snap lock cylinders on external doors. The highest standard for anti-snap locks to adhere to is a Sold Secure Diamond approved cylinder. With one of these installed, you can be assured that your locks will put up the best fight.

One option, we also suggest to homeowners to help increase their household security, is to have a patented lock system installed. Patented keys carry legal protection which prevents them from being copied without proof of ownership, providing the owner with peace of mind. Restricted lock systems are also unlikely to be copied; owing to their unusual design and unique mechanical features.

Initial investment in patented or restricted locking systems tends to be higher than ‘off-the-shelf’ locks. However, as long as you have the original key, together with any official copies, this negates the risk of additional key sets circulating – something that could potentially save money, if the lock is re-configured rather than replaced.

A professional locksmith will be able to quickly and safely install the correct locks, as well as offer advice on serious lock problems.
We recommend that you get in touch with your local MLA approved locksmith who will be able to advise you on a full range of security measures that not only offer you peace of mind within your home, but will be in line with your home insurance requirements.

A professional MLA locksmith may also be able to perform a complete security assessment of your home free of charge. This involves inspecting the exterior of your property for any damage to doors or windows – checking that all locks and any fitted security alarms are working correctly – and regularly updating your alarm code. They will also be able to suggest any additional security features that may be beneficial. For example, you may consider fitting door chains, CCTV, ‘spy holes’ and top and bottom door bolts to further enhance your security.

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