Questions for a Locksmith

When you’re stuck outside your front door in the pouring rain and you put your hand in your pocket only to realise that your keys are somewhere unknown, a locksmith will feel like the fourth emergency service.

You’ll probably only have a few interactions with them in your life, but here are the answers to the few questions you may have during that time.

We’ve just moved into a new property, should we change the locks?
As long as you’re comfortable knowing that there are people who are still walking around with your house keys, then you don’t need to. A previous occupant could at any time just wander up to your front door and let themselves in. Of course, most people are not going to do this, but how confident are you that it has never happened to anybody?

This all comes down to peace of mind. It’s unlikely that somebody with a set of keys will just let themselves in, but you’re probably paying to insure yourself against lots of things that are just as unlikely to happen. It’s something to think about.

Our recommendation is to have your locks changed. You only need to do it once for peace of mind knowing your family is safe from the outside world and only trusted people have access to your home.

Can extra security be added to up and over garage doors?
Yes, extra security can be added to “up and over” style garage doors. This type of door is known to be relatively easy to break into.

Locksmiths actually have a range of skills that extend far beyond being able to pick locks. They’re able to advise on a wide range of security issues and provide effective and often creative solutions.

When you move into a new house, a locksmith can take a professional view of the property from a security point of view. There may be security concerns that you haven’t considered during the house buying process that a locksmith can identify with a fresh pair of experienced eyes and propose a solution.

Do locksmiths have to break locks?
Locksmiths don’t always have to break locks. There’s an artform to opening a lock without the key and experienced locksmiths will be able to examine the lock and find a way in.

Breaking the lock is sometimes necessary in cases where there is already damage to the lock or there is a more serious problem involving the structure of the door. Every lock is different (for good reason) so although in most cases there will be a non-destructive option, it may be the case that the lock has to be broken.

How long does it take a locksmith to open a door?
How long it takes for a locksmith to open a door depends on many factors such as the experience of the locksmith, the complexity of the lock and the nature of the issue. In most cases, it will take between 10 and 30 minutes, with more complex issues taking longer.
Will my locksmith ask me for ID?
Yes, your locksmith will ask you for ID. Locksmiths need to be sure of your identity so that they’re confident they’re not just letting anybody into a property.

If you arrived home one day to find your worldly possessions missing, you wouldn’t think much of a locksmith who had let the burglars in without any checks. For this reason, a locksmith will be looking for you to provide photo identification such as a driving license.

Can a locksmith open my safe?
It depends. Some “safes” are really just lockboxes in which case a locksmith may be able to gain entry for you. If your safe is indeed a “safe” in the traditional sense then you may need to call a specialist.

Security isn’t in every case about creating an impenetrable barrier between you and the outside world but instead about creating a deterrent. Most UPVC front doors can be broken down if a person spent enough time hitting it with tools and their own brute force. But the fact that they would have to do this with neighbours (or indeed the occupant) hearing the noise and seeing something suspicious happening would mean that the police would be called very quickly.

Some lockboxes exist just to create this deterrent whereas traditional safes aim to make it near-impossible to access the contents with reinforced steel and other materials. Knowing which one you have will help.

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