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SOME ADVICE FOR THOSE BUYING A NEW HOUSE
Published by Philip McCarthy in Home Security Tips • 31/08/2011 07:54:40

SOME ADVICE FOR THOSE BUYING A NEW HOUSE

When people move house, the symbolic gesture that usually marks the conclusion of this sometimes baffling process is the handing over of the keys. When new homeowners proudly take custody of their new keys, it confirms that the house finally belongs to them.

However, unless you are buying a newly-built home, the chances are that the keys are not actually new at all. Even if you have been given two or three sets of keys passed on from the former owner, there is no guarantee that you now have in your possession all the keys ever made for your locks.

If some keys have been lost, there is a possibility that they will never be tracked back to the house. If the previous occupant was elderly, a relative or a friendly neighbour may have been trusted with a key. If there was a large family living there previously, several children may have had their own keys, which were never handed over. Builders, painters, health visitors, home helps and cleaners could all have had a key at some time, which was never returned and might now be lying on a desk or in a cupboard with your address written on the tag. Usually the whereabouts of all such keys remains unknown. Unless you can be completely certain, it is not a risk worth taking.

Making a fresh start in a new home can be expensive, but it is better to start out with new locks. It is not worth gambling with your security. Furthermore, it is the proper time to make certain that the new locks are up to the necessary standard. In some older houses, the locks can date back decades, and may not be suitable for external doors.

Years ago, they used to say that locks are only meant to keep honest people out. However, across the board, the standard of locks available in the past was never as high as it is now. There are still plenty of honest people around, and there are just as many dishonest people as ever, only nowadays, the dishonest ones are more streetwise, and probably know a great deal more about locks than the average handyman.

There is a commonly held belief that that all locks are the same, only that some locks are more expensive than others, and that any lock is good enough. That is not true. A cheap lock may not actually do what you expect and keep burglars out, and even if it is strong, it is very unlikely to last half the time that a good lock will last.

Paying a bit more for your locks will often ensure that you get a more secure product that wonít need to be replaced after just a few years, or even after only a few months in some cases. Many stores that sell locks will have a range of products that are cheap but completely ineffective, and there is unlikely to be anyone you can ask to make sure you get what you need. Your money wonít go very far if itís wasted on the wrong locks. So, what should you be looking for?

If you have wooden doors, the outermost door should be secured with a kitemarked lock - either a cylinder lock (like a Yale lock), or a mortice lock (like a Chubb lock). In either case, one of these locks should bear the British Standards kitemark, BS3621.

If you have a uPVC door, the cylinder should bear the BS kitemark. If possible, fit an ABS cylinder to stop force attacks. Conventional uPVC door cylinders are completely useless against a particular form of attack that is rife at the moment, and 95% of them can be opened in less than 60 seconds.

Windows on the ground floor - wooden or uPVC - should all be secured with key operated locks alongside the usual fittings, and any upstairs windows overlooking flat or sloping roofs, or next to standpipes or walls which can be climbed should also be secured by additional locks.

There is a very simple way to make sure you have the locks you need - visit a locksmith and view the superior products that you can only get from a specialist. It may cost you a few pounds more, but it will save you a great deal of heartache if you are targeted by burglars, or if someone happens to spot a key for your house on a shelf in a painterís lockup.

These are the basic requirements to satisfy the terms of your house contents insurance policy. However, if you have just moved, and the house already has locks to the required standard, make sure that you have the only keys to your locks by replacing them like for like. If you are not sure what you need to do, we will be happy to advise, and our mobile locksmiths service is available to provide you with exactly what you need to make your new house feel like your home - safe and secure.




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PPM Locksmiths Ltd 7 Dominions Arcade Queen Street Cardiff - Phone 029-20231717