Prevent Burglars from Getting In, But Don’t Block Your Way Out

Deadbolt should prevent burglars, not prevent you from getting out. Simply put: Don’t block your escape route in the event of an emergency.

There are many things you can do to boost home security, such as adding an alarm system or getting a guard dog, but unless you have working deadbolt locks and actually use them, your home isn’t secure, locksmiths say.

Many home intruders use force to gain entry in a majority of home burglaries. Often, deadbolts and locks in general are not functioning properly or they are simply inadequate, so the intruder is able to kick the door in.

A deadbolt is a type of lock with a steel bolt that extends into the door jamb and strike plate of a door frame. The most common type is the single-cylinder deadbolt, operated by a twist knob on the inside of the door and a key on the outside. Some people prefer the double-cylinder deadbolt, which doesn’t have a twist knob and requires a key for operation both inside and outside the home.

Forced Entry

According to the latest FBI statistics, there were 1.9 million burglaries in the United States in 2013, resulting in $4.5 billion in property loss. Out of all burglaries, 59 percent were the result of forced entry. Residential burglaries accounted for 74 percent of all burglaries, and a majority occurred during the daytime.

Quality deadbolts with a hardened steel bolt are suggested. For the deadbolt to function properly, the bolt must extend fully into the hole on the door jamb. The hole should be reinforced with a metal strike plate. If the bolt doesn’t extend all the way into the hole or if a strike plate isn’t used, the lock and door frame can be compromised.

Usually, when someone kicks in a door, it’s not the door that breaks – it’s the door frame. Therefore, you should use 3-inch screws to reinforce the strike plate into the studs of the frame of the house.

Even if you have a deadbolt lock on your door, it won’t make a difference if it’s not used regularly. Typically, many homeowners find it easier to lock the doorknob and often neglect to lock the deadbolt.

Although doorknobs are convenient, it’s deadbolts that make everything more secure.

Single- versus Double-cylinder?

Homeowners should take note that a single-cylinder deadbolt can be breached if an entry door has glass panels, because a burglar can break the glass and reach inside to unlatch the deadbolt. A double-cylinder deadbolt will protect against this, and we recommend homeowners keep a key close by – but out of arm’s reach. However, the double-cylinder deadbolt can be problematic in the event of a house fire because a key is required to unlock the door from the inside.

Another solution may simply be to replace the door itself. Many exterior doors are designed with security in mind, using reinforced glass or small windows far enough away from the lock to prevent a burglar from reaching in.

For additional security, avoid hiding a spare key under the doormat. It’s better to get a secure lockbox for your spare key. It is also recommended new homeowners have their locks changed, because there is no way to know who previously owned keys to your home.

If you need help installing a deadbolt lock in your home, give Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville a call at 904-246-4590.

Keyless Locks Versus a Regular Deadbolt

With all of this new technology on the rise, you might have been wondering about keyless locks and whether they’re right for you. Believe it or not, the bolts in keyless locks and deadbolts are essentially the same. However, if you go keyless, you might find it more convenient than the deadbolt.

Some benefits of keyless locks include:

  • Some systems lock automatically a few seconds after you leave.
  • You don’t risk someone finding a key you’ve hidden outside.
  • Some link to Blue tooth so you can operate the lock via a smartphone or tablet app.
  • It’s easy to change codes, and you can set temporary ones that expire after a designated time.
  • Weather can affect how they function; they might not perform well after prolonged exposure to extreme heat, sun or cold.


Some things to consider before committing to a keyless lock system:

  • You’ll need to change the battery about once a year.
  • Someone could observe the numbers you input and learn your code.
  • If you don’t change your code periodically, affected keys can wear down, increasing the chance of someone guessing the code.

Keyless locks are also more expensive than traditional deadbolts. Expect to pay $30 to $50 to install a traditional deadbolt, and $150 to $250 for a keyless version. Prices vary depending on brand and quality.

When hiring an installer, consider an experienced locksmith like Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville. We can help you spot defects like sagging hinges and other potential problems.

Perhaps not having to remember where your keys are sounds liberating? It might sound like an attractive option to parents whose kids frequently lose house keys. However, keyless systems are battery-operated and could fail if a battery isn’t changed in time. Fortunately, most systems provide a key override. These are just a few things to think about if you’re considering foregoing the traditional deadbolt with a multilock system and going keyless.

If you’d like more information about key installation, we at Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville will be glad to help in any way we can. Give us a call at 904-246-4590.

Installing a New Deadbolt Lock

Installing deadbolt and auxiliary locks on homes is an economical way to secure one’s property. A deadbolt lock is installed in the door, while an auxiliary lock is installed on the door. Both types of locks can be purchased inexpensively at a home center store for between $7 and $10 on average.

Though many inexpensive locks do not have the features of higher quality locks, they are better than no deadbolt or auxiliary lock at all.

Install a New Deadbolt Lock

Installing a New Deadbolt Lock

Before installing a deadbolt lock, measure the thickness of the door. If the door is less than 1 ¾ inches thick, install a reinforcement plate, such asMAG’s Install-A-Lock, before installing a new lock. Though most do-it-yourselfers are able to install locks on their own, if a door requires major reinforcement or if a homeowner anticipates the installation process will be difficult, it may be easier and more effective to hire a professional locksmith to install the lock.

To install the lock, follow the installation instructions in the packaging. Drill and cut the edge bore, the cross-bore and mortise cut-out for the face plate. Then, use three-inch long drywall screws to attach the bolt or latch to the door rather than the shorter screws that came with the lock. The longer screws will hold the bolt of the lock more firmly to the door and make it more difficult to force open.

If using a reinforcement plate, mount it on the door at this point. Then, align the body of the lock according to the directions. Then, insert the screws that came with the packaging to fasten the lock to the door.

Next, measure the bolt hole and strike plate locations on the door jamb. Then, attach the strike plate to the jamb with drywall screws three inches long or longer. The longer screws require a bit more elbow grease, but will increase the strength of the strike plate.

Installing a New Auxiliary Lock

Auxiliary locks are easier to install than deadbolt locks because they are mounted on the surface of the door. The only cut through the door is a 1 ¼-inch hole for the key cylinder to be mounted on the outside.

Installing deadbolt and auxiliary locks is an easy, economical way to enhance security for many Jacksonville, FL homeowners. If you’re interested in learning more about deadbolt or auxiliary locks or to learn about how a professional locksmith can help, call us at 904-246-4590.