Top Smart Home Security Features for 2021

smart home security

Home security is very important. Without a good security system with the right features, you might struggle to feel protected and even sleep at night.

Protecting your home and your valuables has never been easier. With so many great smart home security features available, you can gain both convenience and peace of mind. Let’s look at some of the top home security features for 2021 to consider when upgrading your security system.

Smart Video Doorbell

While it’s not a new feature of a security system, smart video doorbells are still one of the top smart home security features. With a smart doorbell, you can see who is at your door, no matter where you are.

According to an article from Reader’s Digest, the most common way a burglar breaks into the home is through the front door. In fact, 34% of home break-ins happen through the front doors. By adding a smart video doorbell, you can monitor the number one place a break-in will occur 24/7/365.

A front door camera can be set up to alert you anytime it senses motion. This could be a delivery person dropping off a package, the kids arriving home from school, or someone that shouldn’t be at your front door. This is a vital element of any good smart home security system in 2021.

Smart Lights

Another good smart home security feature to add to your system is smart lights. It might not seem like a security feature, but having the ability to turn lights on and off from anywhere can signal to a would-be burglar that someone is home, even if you’re not.

It used to be, you would set up a timer when you were on vacation to have the lights turn on and off at certain times. However, burglars are smart enough to seek when lights come on and go off at the same time every single day. With smart lights, you can vary the time they come on and even control which lights come on and off automatically.

This is one of the top smart home security features for those traveling often or not home at night sometimes.

Smart Security Sensors

While motion sensors are nothing new, smart security sensors take the basic motion sensor to another level. With a smart security sensor, when it senses motion, it can communicate with other parts of your smart home security system.

Not only can this type of sensor alert you on your mobile device, but it can also turn on a light or trigger a smart alarm to go off. For example, if you have a smart security sensor in the hallway and it senses motion, you can get a notification on your phone, while the hallway smart lights are triggered to turn on, your alarm starts blaring, and your central monitoring team is alerted to the tripped alarm.

You can even set up smart security sensors without a complete home security system or without an alarm at all. They can be used to trigger just lights and send you a notification if you prefer.

There are many great smart home security features to consider in 2021. With just about any element of a home security system including smart technology today, it’s important to consider which upgrades are best for your needs.

Losing Your Keys: Top Tips to Always Remember Your Keys

lost keys

Forgetting your keys can lead to needing a locksmith. When you lose your keys regularly, you might need some helpful tips to ensure you can remember your keys. Here are a few helpful tips.

6 Tips for Remembering Your Keys

1. Get a Larger Keychain

If you have a smaller keychain, it might get lost in your purse. However, with a larger keychain, it will be easier to spot. This way, if you do lose your keys, they are easier to find and you’ll be less likely to forget them.

2. Keep Your Keys on a Hook

You can get a hook for your keys and put it near the door you leave out of the most. This can help ensure you remember to grab your keys before you leave and you don’t forget them. It will also give you a regular spot for your keys making it harder to lose them.

3. Attach Your ID to your Keys

If you use a lanyard with your ID and you attach your keys it will help you remember your keys easier. This trick allows you to create a bulkier keychain and also gives you an additional reason to remember your keys with your ID attached.

4. Tile Your Keys

It sounds odd, and no, it doesn’t mean attaching a piece of tile used for flooring to your keys. Tile is a small disc you can add to a bag, clothing, shoes, or another item, like a keychain. It’s a wireless object you can use to find your keys when they are lost. Another version of this is called a Stick N Find.

5. Carry Your Keys on a Carabiner

If you have a habit of losing your keys when you’re out, use a carabiner instead of tossing them in your pocket. It can be attached to your belt loop to ensure you don’t lose your keys.

Carabiners can also be used inside your purse or as an attachment to the strap. Use it to make finding your keys much easier when they are lost in your purse.

6. Eliminate the Key Clutter

If you have keys you don’t use or don’t need, you can take them off your keychain. While this may not help you remember them, it can help you find the right key when you need it.

These six tips can help you when you need to remember your keys. You can use many other tricks, too. Of course, if you lose your keys often, you should also give a duplicate key to a friend or family member just in case.

You can also have a locksmith create a master key for many different things to make things easier. Then, get a few copies of this master key and give them to those you trust the most. This will ensure, if you get locked out of your home, you can make a phone call and get a spare key to help you out.

Why Your Garage Door Should Be Repaired by Experts

garage door repair

Do you need work done on your garage and want to do it yourself? You’re going to want to call the experts for this one because garage doors can be tricky. Not only can there be a safety issue of trying to tackle a project like this without professional experience, but you may cost yourself extra money if you have to call in someone to fix something that went wrong. 

Allow the experts to share their expertise by calling for garage door repair in Chicago and have them come out today to get your door repaired. 

It will save you money

Instead of trying to fix it yourself, you should invest in the eye of a professional that will know just how to handle the problem. They already have the tools and experience, while you might have to purchase the right tools and will have to spend time trying to learn how to fix it. 

If you do the project wrong, you will probably have to call in for help and it will require money to fix your work, on top of the cost you’ve already incurred, both the time and the money, to do it yourself. 

It will save you time

Just as mentioned above, trying to repair it yourself is going to require time on your end. You will likely have to research the project, learn what to do when problems arise, and the actual repair work may be time-consuming. 

Instead of all of this guesswork, talk to a garage door repair specialist that can pinpoint the problem and easily fix it like other jobs they’ve done. They will likely be able to fix it the same day too for emergency fixes. This quick turn-around service will be much faster than you’ll likely be able to complete the work. 

It’s just safer

Keep in mind that do-it-yourself projects can be dangerous. While you may feel confident in your abilities, you may find that you’ve had close calls in the past for accidents.  Garage doors are especially dangerous being one of the heaviest moving objects in your home. 

You would need the proper tools and protection to avoid an accident which leads us to advise against taking on the risks yourself. Allow the experts to make their own assessment and fix the problem without any hassle involved. Rest assured that the project will be done right and safely, while also ensuring your home’s security will get the attention it needs as the garage door is ready to work properly again. If you are considering fixing your garage door repair job on your own, this is the time to call the specialists. You’ll not only lose time and money trying to handle it yourself, but you’ll be relying on the little knowledge you may have on this type of job while putting yourself at risk. Protect yourself, your wallet, and your schedule by calling garage door specialists to get the job done. 

How to Choose an Access Control System?

access control system

Whether you need an access control system in Chicago for your residential building or office building, you need to choose the right one. There are several features to consider and the right access control system makes a big difference. 

No matter the industry you’re in, if you want to control access to your building, an access control system is the right choice. It can be set up to let in residents and guests living in a condo building or to let in employees working in your office. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right access control system for your specific needs.

Computer-Based vs. Standalone Access Control

A computer-based system offers the ability to control multiple doors through a wireless network. You won’t have an isolated system on each door, but one system working on all entry points within the building. If you need to control all the doors from one central location, a computer-based access control system is right for you. 

These types of systems tend to work best for medium to large buildings. They work well when you have quite a few people you need to give access and they can also be used for a smaller building, too.

Standalone access control systems use secure locks on all doors. These systems are isolated to each specific door and often work best for smaller buildings with fewer users. They are simple to set up and very user-friendly.

Wired vs. Wireless

You have the option to choose a wired or a wireless access control system. With a wired system, you will need wires to be run to each entry and to the central system running the access control system. This can provide stronger infrastructure, but can also be difficult to install in an existing building. 

With a wireless access control system, you won’t need to run any wires. They are much easier to install and offer more flexibility. You can scale a wireless system easier, too, as you grow or need to protect more entry points.

Key Cards vs. Biometrics vs. Key Codes

The way you allow access into the building is also a big decision to consider. You can use key cards, which means each person will have a card that will act as a key when they need to enter.

Another option is to use biometrics, which is more advanced. This is the most secure option and requires a part of the human body to be used, such as the face, eyes, or fingerprints to enter the building. If you need a high level of security, biometrics is the right option.

Key codes are also an option. Instead of a card, each person will need to punch in their code to enter the building. This works much like a PIN and gives user access while recording who entered based on the key code used.

There are plenty of things to consider when choosing an access control system. Make sure you choose a professional to install the system. They should also be able to help you make the right decisions about the type of access control system and the features best suited to your needs.

Smart Locks vs Traditional Locks: Which is Safer?

Smart Locks

If you are considering new locks for your home or you’re in the process of building, you’re probably torn between traditional locks and smart locks. You are used to traditional locks and that is what you’ve always known, but you want your own to have the best bells and whistles and to have the security that is being featured today and in the future.

That is why you might be considering smart locks that put the latest technology at your side. Take a closer look at both traditional locks and smart locks to see the differences and how to know which is the safer route for your home’s security.

How traditional locks work

Traditional locks were always just considered “locks,” until smart locks came onto the scene. These are any locks that are not a smart lock and come in a variety of styles. These would be anything not automated and have to be manually engaged to work. These will be locks such as deadbolts, knob locks, mortise locks, and more like these rather than one that works electronically.

Most traditional locks work by using a key to open the door and are likely going to be made using rim locks, pin tumbler locks, or mortise locks. These types of locks work when a key is inserted and allows the device to do its thing, which involves everything from spring-loaded pins to cylinders that work together.

These have always been considered secure ways to lock something like your home, office, car, or safe. Deadbolts are most commonly used on a residential lock and are known for being secure. Today you can choose deadbolts with different grades or strengths for a more secure option, such as a Grade 1 deadbolt, or you can enhance them through different methods.

The best way to ensure a traditional lock is secure is having it used correctly, installed correctly, and choosing a more durable design and grade of lock.

Smart locks

Smart locks are a different type of lock, which you are going to be relying on technology since these are engaged electronically or remotely. They are the automated version of a traditional lock and require something other than a key inserted into the lock for the user to open something.

They are usually able to be controlled by your smartphone and have the ability to integrate with your other smart devices. This may sound more secure than someone picking your locks, but being online means it’s susceptible to being hacked.

To open something with a smart lock, you’ll have to use a cryptographic key to unlock your door. This is where the lock receives instructions to open.  It has the functionality to send you notifications and alerts to your smartphone to monitor its activity, making you feel more secure as the owner. You won’t have to carry a key around unless you use a key fob, since mostly you’ll be able to use it from a device.

The security of smart locks are debatable since they can technically be hacked into, but traditional locks also have the potential to be physically tampered with too. Smart locks are still a newer concept and may still be early on in giving you the most secure lock for your home, despite giving you the ability to monitor the lock from your devices.

They will work with an existing deadbolt though which may make this a good in-between option for homeowners that don’t want to go with an all-in smart lock cylinder. You also have to consider what you would do if someone were to simply gain access to your phone if you were to lose it and it has your door unlocking abilities on it.

You may find that you prefer going with a traditional lock knowing that you can always add on or modify with more features to make them more secure while not risking hacking through an electronic option. Whichever way you go, talk to a Chicago locksmith to ask any questions you have and get the right fit for you. These are some of the considerations when deciding which type of lock you feel safer using for your property.

Is It Better to Rekey or Change Locks?

lock replacement

There are times when you have to consider changing your locks, such as when you move into a new house, lose your keys, or had someone move out that won’t be returning to your home or office.  In any case, you probably wondered what scenarios make more sense to have the lock rekeyed and which ones require a total change of locks.

Did you know that there are these two options? In one case you want to change out the lock while the other is more like changing the computer password. Take a look at what the differences are and when you should do which.

What is rekeying a lock?

Rekeying a lock is not the same as changing your lock, which is just when you change an old lock to a new one. In this case, you’re going to be keeping the lock but changing the working key to a different one. A locksmith would need to have the current matching key or else they would have to pick it open.

They would then need to take the lock apart and replace the inside parts called key pins so that the key pins no longer correspond to the old key but rather replace them with different ones that set the new key. It can be done in a matter of minutes.

When you rekey a lock

Not only is rekeying a fast process, but it’s a money-saving option too. It will not affect the security of the lock. The security would not be affected unless the locksmith didn’t replace the old 5 pins with all 5 new ones since the number of pins would affect its security.

Key pins are inexpensive and preferred to changing locks since you only need to really pay for the labor. This is a good option if you simply need to match all of your home’s locks to the same key rather than carrying so many keys around.

This is also the common option for those that lost a copy of their key and don’t want someone to find it, if you’ve moved into a new place and don’t know who else may have a copy of the key, or someone has left the property that you don’t want having access anymore.

When you should replace a lock

There are scenarios in which you’ll want to replace a lock. In one case this may be aesthetic in which it’s time for a new look or design. An old rusted lock won’t look good on your modern upgrade of a door, home, or paint colors.

You may also find that you like newer lock designs and you want to upgrade to a newer, more secure option. Some people simply want to change out locks so that their home has all matching locks that will be able to be used with the same key.

If you have a disability and prefer a lever handle lock, they are easier to use and attractive. Electronic locks are a new possibility and something you may want for your home too. Consider the price and function when choosing between a rekey and a new lock.

When you’re ready for rekeying or a changing of locks to be done at your home, call Rekey Services in Chicago for professional care and reliability.

How a Door Latch Guard Provides Additional Security

Latch Guard

There are several ways to make your door security better. A door latch guard is one of the better choices. Before you make your decision, it’s important to understand how latch guards work.

Picking a Lock

Some break-ins happen because the criminal picks the lock. They slide a credit card or another tool between the crack in the door and use it to unlatch the lock to get in.

The gap between the frame of the door and the door is one of the weak points giving criminals away in. For some doors, the bolt of the lock is actually visible through this gap.

Adding a Latch Guard for Protection

A latch guard makes it possible to keep your lock from easily being picked. This security tool will cover the gap where the bolt of the lock is making it much harder to sneak any type of tool through the gap.

Outswing doors are the most common for latch guard installations. Since the latch guard can be put on the outside of the door, it works properly to guard the latch of the door from tampering.

The latch guard will be made of a single piece of metal, which will be installed on the exterior of the door. Some latch guards also include a security pin to embed it into the door frame. This adds even more security, especially in condos and apartments.

A latch guard can also be used on inswing doors, but it’s a different type of security device. It’s made of two pieces and uses a U-channel design to help protect the latch from tampering.

Protecting your Business

It’s common to find latch guards on storefront doors and business entryways. There’s usually a very large gap between the doors at a storefront, which needs to be protected. With the right latch guard, any business can add more security to their entryway.

A Low-Cost Pro-Active Security Device

Adding a latch guard to your door will help add security. These devices are very inexpensive and work with any door. Of course, you want to make sure you get the right latch guard for your specific door since they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

The type of door you need a latch guard installed on will determine the type of guard installed. Regardless, it will be a low-cost solution offering more protection for your entryway.

If you prefer to be pro-active about your home or business security, a latch guard for your entry doors is a good idea. You can hire a Chicago locksmith to install your latch guards throughout your apartment building, on your business doors, or just on your home door.

Letting a professional install your latch guard ensures it will work properly. You want to make sure you gain better security and Quick Key Locksmith is here to help. Whether you need a latch guard for one door or hundreds of doors, we will make sure you gain the security you desire.

Maintenance Tips for Commercial & Residential Safes

Security Safe

For businesses, safes are usually the last thing on your mind when it comes to your to-do list. You typically prioritize business activities before anything else since your business depends on it, right? The same goes for residents who may have safes in their homes as well. There are a million other tasks that can be accomplished before dealing with your safe.

Be Gentle

Sounds simple enough right? Even if you have a heavy-duty safe, constant slamming of the safe door can cause internal parts and bolts to malfunction and eventually break. Safes with a traditional locking mechanism are more susceptible to breaking because internal parts wear and tear easier.

This is why investing in modern safes such as a biometric, keypad, and safes that require electronic access cards is better for your pockets and more durable.

Ensure Locking Mechanisms are Lubricated

Constantly opening and closing your safe will naturally cause wear and tear over time. No one wants to deal with a safe that doesn’t open, even when the right combination is input. This can be troublesome especially when you have something of value that you need to get out when you’re in a time crunch.

Better yet, it can really be troublesome when you have a gun safe and need to extract something for protection. To avoid this, keep all moving parts lubricated. At a minimum, locks should have maintenance done annually.

Invest in Maintenance & Repair

Last but definitely not least, make an investment in your safe! Safes hold valuable items and the last thing you want to do is jeopardize the availability of those items. For this reason, you should invest in safe maintenance and repair.

Hire Safe Repair Professionals for the Job

Quick Key Locksmith is available 24/7 to help with all your residential and commercial locksmith services. Need safe maintenance? Safe Repair Services? We’re here to get the job done! Contact us at (877) 787-3399

3 Ways to Extract a Broken Key from a Lock

Broken Key in Lock

You’re arriving at your home after a long day of work. You’re excited to Key broken and stuck in the door? It happens!

What causes this breakage?

  1. Sometimes this occurs due to normal wear and tear on a key over time. The teeth on the key get worn down and can make it difficult for the teeth to catch onto the lock.
  2. In a hurry? Using excessive force can sometimes break a key in an instant.
  3. Other times it can be due to the key being a cheap duplicate!

No matter the cause of your key breaking in the door, we can all agree that it’s a huge pain. The question becomes, how can you extract it and move on about your day?

3 Ways to Extract a Broken Key

 

Tweezers

This is usually the go-to tool when a key breaks off in a door for most people. Two things you need to be aware of is how far the key has broken off in the lock, and how wide/thick the tweezers are. Thin tweezers that open wide are ideal for the job. Too thick tweezers won’t allow you to position them along the sides of the key, while tweezers that don’t open wide enough will not be able to grasp it. The last thing you want to do is end up pushing the key further in the locking mechanism.

This method will only work if there’s a little bit of key sticking out. Pushing the key deeper is more likely to happen if this isn’t the case.

Jigsaw Blade

This is probably the most time-consuming method of them all and will most likely require a trip to your local hardware store. However, if available, use two jigsaw blades when trying to extract a broken key. Insert both blades on opposite sides of the key.

For this to be successful, the blades must be thin enough. Be sure the blades are also faced down so that they can hook the teeth of the key. After doing so, simply turn and pull.

If it doesn’t work the first time, try again!

Super Glue

This should be your last option if all else fails. While we do not always agree with this method, because it can end up making things worse, this is an option that can be pulled off if done correctly.

The trick here is to utilize something small like a match and glue it to the key. Mind you, this only works if part of the key is sticking out. After creating a firm bond between the two, try pulling the key out of the lock!

Extracting a key isn’t easy all the time. It depends on the type of lock and how the key is broken.

Contact Your Chicago Locksmith

Don’t feel like extracting it? Tried these methods and still came up short? Give us a call at 877-787-3399. With 24/7 service, Quick Key Locksmith & Security can get the job done fast and affordable when needed. Not only can we remove the key,  we can also create a duplicate key.

Lock Problem? Is the Problem Really Your Lock?

Door Lock

In the vast majority of cases where you think you might have a lock problem, the real culprit reason for the problem lies elsewhere, and statistically more than 80% of the time it has nothing whatsoever to do with the lock itself. Listed below are some of the most common causes of problems that appear to be lock issues, but which are actually attributable to other reasons entirely.

Hinges

Loose hinges can cause a great many problems, and if they happen to be poorly mounted in the first place, hinges can cause even greater problems. For instance, if the hinges are not securely mounted and the door is not properly positioned, the door may sag, thereby severely interfering with the necessary alignment between lock and strikes. The most obvious giveaway for this condition is in checking the gap between the jamb and the door, and finding that the gap is not uniform between top and bottom. This almost always means the door will not be situated right, and lock problems will be the likely result.

Strikes

Even if the door has been installed and hung properly, problems can result if the strike was carelessly or improperly installed, because, for proper functioning, bolts and latches need to be centered with their respective strikes. The entry lock latch must have its strike positioned in such a manner that the deadlatch plunger cannot fall into the opening for the strike, and the strike itself should be installed with screws at least three inches long so that the strike is well anchored into the framing behind the door jamb.

 

Keys

The internal pins on a lock have been ideally matched with their keys to ensure smooth functionality, and if you lose the original key which was 100% compatible, the replacement key may not be quite so ideally matched. Even a minor variation can have a huge impact on key operation, causing it to become completely unworkable. Even worse, sometimes it becomes necessary to make duplicates from duplicates, and in such cases, any small variation can get magnified into an even larger incompatibility, and more ‘lock’ problems may develop.

What to do

Lock problems are not generally repairable by do-it-yourself-er types, even if they aren’t truly problems with the lock. When any of these kinds of problems develop, your best recourse is almost always to contact your local expert locksmith and have the problem professionally resolved. In many of those cases, the best option will involve re-keying the lock itself, and preparing an entirely new set of keys to match that new lock. Your residential locksmith will have the knowledge, the skills, and the high-quality products on hand to expertly handle your lock crisis and solve your access problems in the fastest and most effective manner possible.