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Welcome new homeowner: it’s time to secure your property

  • Steve 
Beautiful and secure house

After reading this post, you may want to also read my post “Smart home technology and the internet of things (IoT): risks and rewards to consider.”

Congratulations, you just closed on your new home or rented an affordable Milwaukee apartment. The first thing you should do is change the locks. You have no way of knowing who may have a key to your house. The prior owner may have given a key to a neighbor, a friend, another member of their family, a cleaning service, a repair company, etc. The only way to be sure you know where all the keys are is to change the locks.

The simplest way to accomplish this is to hire a locksmith and have them come by and re-key all of the locks that control entrance to the home.

Keep in mind that exit-entry door locks are mechanical devices. (I will discuss electronic locks later in this article). Over time these locks can start to malfunction due to wear and tear. You also may want to consider replacing the locks with newer models that are different styles with different finishes to your taste. Check with your home center or lock locksmith for lock choices. Most exit-entry doors will have two locks. One is built into the doorknob/handle, and this offers some level of security. I suggest you also install a second lock that is called a Dead Bolt lock for greater security.

When selecting your locks, you also need to consider if you want each exit-entry door to have a unique key or if you want to have one master key to operate all exit-entry locks. If you wish to unique keys, then simply choose your hardware and make your purchase. The more common choice is to have one master key. To have a master key, please make sure all locks you buy to use the same style of key. The best way to be sure of this is to buy all locks of the same brand and manufacturer. Most manufacturers offer a set which includes two locksets with the same key. If you have more than two exit-entry doors, you can purchase any different combination locks (as long as they use the same style of a key) and have a locksmith rekey the new locks, so they operate from the same key.

Some owners may choose to do the install themselves. If your exit-entry doors all had standard door knobs/handles and deadbolts the install should be fairly straightforward. If not, you can hire a locksmith or carpenter to install your new locks.

Don’t forget that locks on an outside door that give you access to the garage and an overhead garage door(s). I get into more details about the garage at the end of this article.

Electronic Lock

In these modern times, we now have all sorts of choices of electronic locks. Some of the features of these smart electronic locks include:

  • Keypads that allow you to unlock the door without a key
  • WiFi capability that enables you to lock and unlock the door via your phone or tablet
  • A card key capability that allows you to unlock the door using the card key
  • Biometrics capability for unlocking
  • Automatic locking to automatically lock a door after confirming it is properly closed
  • Security tokens – Some keyless locks scan a security token for authentication – usually a proximity card – which is small enough to keep in your wallet.
  • Alarm system integration

Doorbell Camera

TIFsupply.com offers a Doorbell Camera.

door bell camera which connects to any mobile device

Our Doorbell Camera is a Smart Doorbell that allows you to interact with someone at your door when you are at home or the go. It also can connect to and Electronic Lock (Smart Lock) allowing you to lock and unlock the door all with one device and, the Doorbell Camera and the App.

Overhead Garage Door Openers

If you have an overhead garage door chances are you are relying on the strength of the opener to keep thieves from raising the garage door.

Thieves can quickly and easily break into your garage with a small step latter, a small wooden wedge, and a coat hanger.

Even if you have a fancy automatic garage door, thieves can break in within six minutes. How? By using a coat hanger to reach the emergency release handle. But don’t panic.

There are ways to protect yourself from this type of a break-in by using something as simple and cheap as a zip tie or a piece of wire. When connected to a loop in the emergency latch, a zip tie or wire keeps thieves from disabling the automatic door and gaining entry. Watch a tutorial to learn how to use this zip tie hack to keep intruders out of your garage.

Another option is to remove the emergency pull all together. Just know that if you do have an emergency, it’ll take you a few extra minutes to release the garage door.

Also, don’t forget to erase all of your garage door opener’s memory and to then re-program all of the remotes that you have for a fresh start. The prior owner may have given an opener to a neighbor, a friend, another member of their family, a cleaning service, a repair company, etc. The only way to be sure you know where all the programmed remotes are is to erase and reprogram them one at a time.

Good Luck with your new home,

Steve

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