Our doors provide us with home security and a way to shut out the world. When we get the rare heat wave it can cause havoc with our doors, causing lock outs, mechanisms jamming and general inconvenience. By regularly taking care of your door and maintaining it you can not only keep your doors looking pristine but maximise their lifespan too.
How Does the Summer Weather Affect my Door?
Brilliant sunshine, high temperatures and high humidity can cause much strain on your doors leading to swelling, faded paint, bleaching and in extreme cases cracking. Not taking proper care of your doors in the heat can seriously impact your home security and the durability of your door.
Sometimes when in heat, materials can expand causing mechanisms to misalign, doors not to lock and handles to jam which is not only a nuisance but also can leave you with a bill should you need to call someone out.
How Do I Protect my Doors from the Sun and Heat?
General maintenance of your doors will always help when trying to protect them from the elements, but there a few things that you can which will help your door to remain in working condition when the temperature rises.
With heat and direct sunlight, the finish on a wooden door can crack and fade leaving your door looking worse for wear. To help with protecting your door, you could consider painting it a lighter colour as it will absorb less light than a darker colour. This means that the door itself will absorb less light and therefore heat, keeping your door cooler.
You can also add an external varnish to the door to add a protective layer to the door, sealing in the paint and the finish to ensure a higher durability. We suggest a varnish with a high UV protection for maximum protection against UV Rays.
Composite & uPVC Doors
Composite and uPVC doors are easy to maintain in the sense they it is advised that they are simple wiped down with lightly soaped water once a month to remain pristine. This practise is advised to be a regular routine but can also be used in order to protect your door from the heat. Should you find your door getting hot, you can simply wipe it down with cool, but not freezing water, in order to lower the overall temperature of the door and keep it in a manageable state.
What Type of Door is Best for Direct Sunlight?
Arguably factors such as budget and practicality will need to come into play when choosing a door. But the best doors for durability in direct sunlight are either composite or aluminium doors. Both door materials are renowned for being low maintenance and extremely durable and one of the many benefits that they have is that the colour of them is not applied to the surface but rather under many different vanishes and coatings.
Do Aluminium Doors Expand in Heat?
Timber and uPVC doors can expand in heat, whereas Aluminium doors are much more stable and due to the structure cannot expand in a way to cause difficulty in operating.
If your doors have expanded and you require a Locksmith to help, find one of our local, friendly Locksmiths on our Find a Locksmith page here! Alternatively, give us a call on 0330 332 0589.
It is very unlikely that you will be confronted by a burglar breaking into your home, as most break-ins happen when a house is empty. However, it is always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. In 28% of burglaries someone is thought to be home when a burglary happens, this can be an extremely traumatic experience and you might not know what to do. We detail below our suggestion paths to take should this happen to you.
Burglar in your Home? Get to a Safe Place outside your Home
Plan A should always be to escape, in most cases a burglar will want to be in and out as quick as possible, and will have the most easy exit route in mind. Information from ‘Safe’ says ‘burglars will have a clear exit to the rear of the property through the back door before heading upstairs to check the bedrooms’ so if you can, try to avoid this route out of the house. It should be the last resort to confront a burglar as this can invoke a violent reaction. Nothing they are taking is worth your life.
Activate Your Burglar Alarm System
Plan B would be to use any alarm system you might have, especially if you have one with a panic button, if you don’t have an alarm system like that then try the alarm button on your keys. Anything that is loud and will bring attention to your house will spook a burglar, hopefully enough for them to leave.
Hide and Try to Call the Police
Hide. Grab your mobile phone if you can and get somewhere safe, the best place to be is somewhere you can either lock the door or barricade yourself in. Call 999 as soon as you can and explain that someone has broken into your home. It will be difficult but try to be calm and explain what is happening in short and concise words. However if you feel that speaking or making a noise would endanger your life or give away why you are hiding then you can stay silent and press 55 (silent solutions) and this will alert the police that you need help but cannot make a noise. Keep the line open so they can hear what’s happening and sit tight and wait for the police.
Be Calm, Collected and Compliant
However you could be in the situation where the other plans fail, so you arrive at plan D. You come face to face with the burglar. Easier said than done but it’s very important that you stay calm, the calmer you stay the calmer the burglar will be. Don’t shout or scream, keep your voice as normal as possible. Don’t make any sudden movements or move towards the burglar, hold your hands up and be compliant; tell them that you are cooperating and they can take whatever they want, nothing you own is worth your life. Whether or not the person’s face is covered, it’s advised that you don’t make eye contact with the burglar, it could be interpreted as a sign of aggression and the burglar might feel like you would be able to identify them afterwards.
What to Do After a Break-In
First things first you need to call the police, if you are sure the burglar is out of the house then call 101, but if you are in doubt then call 999 from a safe place. It is important that you don’t touch or move anything, as the police forensic team will need to look for fingerprints or footprints. The police should arrive within a few hours if the situation is non urgent, they will take a statement from you or anyone else that may have seen anything suspicious. You will then be issued a crime number, this is important as it’s essential to have one when making an insurance claim.
What am I allowed to do if someone breaks into my Home?
If someone has unlawfully entered your home, you are entitled to act in self-defence using reasonable force. The CPS has cleared that you do not have to wait to be attacked to defend yourself, but you must only take actions that are deemed necessary to the situation. The general rule of lawful self-defence is that the more extreme the situation the more force you could reasonably use.
However, it is strongly advised that you never actively try to confront an intruder but rather firstly get to a safe location and then call the Police through 999.
How do you Report an Attempted Break-in?
Calling 999 is reserved for when you or another are in immediate danger or if the crime is currently in progress. If a break in has been attempted but you do not feel in immediate danger and it is not an emergency then we suggest calling 101 which will send you through to the non-emergency Police line.
What Attracts Burglars to Homes?
The biggest thing that will attract burglars is the belief that they could break in without getting caught. This may be because you have areas around your home they could use to hide and remain unseen; such as overgrown bushes and trees or houses with no external lighting, or your home may be seen as to hold lower security so they believe they could easily gain access. 47% of burglars are ‘spur of the moment’ so it is really important that you take the time to secure your home so as not to give the impression that you are an easy target for a burglar that might pass by.
Leaving valuable items in plain view is also what can attract a burglar to your home. Clearly visible valuables can be a cause of why opportunistic burglars might target your home as most will want to be in and out and grab as much as possible, so if they know what already might be on offer they are more likely to target that house.
Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?
There are a number of things that thankfully could have prevented a burglar from entering your home; however this doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Unfortunately the burglar thought that they would have been able to enter your home and would have targeted you for a reason, there is a chance that they still could think they may be able to do it successfully at a later date.
How to Protect Against Future Burglaries
Consider Installing a Burglar Alarm
The physical sight of an alarm is a great visual deterrent to ward off any burglars scouting the area but also provides the sense of peace that if someone was to enter your home the alarm would sound alerting people in the area of a break in and scare off the burglar.
Act like More People are Home
If you are home alone and the doorbell goes you should always try to make it sound as though you are not home alone, you could do this by shouting “Can some get the door please” before opening the door yourself. Deterring burglars is all about appearance, giving the facade that your home isn’t easy to break into, that there are multiple occupants in the house are factors that would be considered when a burglar is choosing a target.
Teach Children How to Respond To Strangers and Intruders
A knock at the door can be exciting for children, running up to see who it is and want they might want, but this can be partially dangerous if they were to accidentally let in a stranger. Teach your children to never open the door, especially if home alone, but instead turn on a light somewhere in the house and notify someone that there has been a knock at the door.
Invest in a Few Simple Items to Make your Home Less of a Target
There are multiple things that you can do to make your home more secure and a less attractive target to intruders. Simple things such as motion flood lights, thorny bushes and anti-climb paint are all blockers that you can implement to secure your home. To find out how to secure all the different aspects of your home head over to our Ultimate Home Security Guide.
Change your Locks after a Burglary
Once the police have left your property then you should call a Locksmith, if any doors or windows are damaged, or if you need emergency boarding up services. Keytek® Locksmiths has local Locksmiths available 24/7 so we can help you out whenever. 28% of people will get burgled for a second time at the same address, so it is important that your house is secure. Burglars will often target the same house again because of ease and familiarity. They might think they have been successful once, so they can be successful again, so it is imperative that you engage a fully accredited, trustworthy Locksmith to make your home secure again.
We’ve researched the best baby monitors on the market to give you peace of mind when your little bundle of joy arrives because you’ll probably not get any real peace for a long time!
Best All Rounder: Kodak Cherish C525 – £149.99
The Kodak Cherish C525 isn’t the cheapest on the market but it is the best value for money. Equipped with a 5-inch HD video display the picture quality and the infrared night vision is superb! The parent unit also displays the strength of the WiFi connectivity, the temperature and humidity levels in the nursery allowing you to adjust your baby’s room accordingly.
The camera can either stand alone on a surface or be mounted to the wall, it also allows the user to pan, tilt and zoom so that you always get the best view of your little one. The Kodak Cherish C525 stays on a low noise level until it detects movement and so the volume gets louder, allowing busy new parents that little bit more of well needed sleep. Furthermore, the audio is two-way and is able to play lullabies and white noise to try and soothe your baby back to sleep without having to jump up at every stir to re-settle them.
Security is also a factor that has been carefully considered as it has built-in secure cloud storage, meaning you can watch the videos of your tiny baby for years to come!
Best on a Budget: Motorola MBP481 – £69.99
The Motorola MBP481 is sleek in design, portable and budget friendly. It features a 2-inch colour display, infrared LED night vision and a digital zoom so you can take a peek without the risk of waking your sleeping baby. The built-in rechargeable batteries are designed to last up to 8 hours with the camera switched off) and the LED display lights up when it detects sound. The range of the Motorola MBP481 baby monitor reaches up to 300m, which should be substantial enough for the majority of family homes.
Mountable or stand alone, this monitor is simple and easy to use so is perfect for those who want the benefits of a video screen but the simplicity of an audio monitor.
Best Picture Quality: Arlo Baby – £140.00
Great quality and cute design is packed into the Arlo Baby monitor. What is different about this monitor compared to the others is that it doesn’t come equipped with a parent unit but if you’re tech-savvy then this is the baby monitor for you as the app syncs to your home assistant including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The Arlo Baby has the best picture quality on offer with clear 1080p HD video and advanced night vision. It also has the ability to stay connected to the monitor through the app from anywhere, which is great if you’re out for dinner and baby is home with a sitter. The Arlo also records and saves videos to your cloud automatically when it detects movement so you never miss a precious little moment.
Like the Kodak Cherish this monitor is equipped with two-way talk but takes a step further by allowing you to set up pre-recordings of your own voice or lullabies to play to your baby when they’re unsettled.
Best for Peace of Mind: Angelcare AC215 – £129.99
The Angelcare AC215 baby movement monitor with video will give all parents peace of mind as it comes with an under-the- mattress sensor pad which sets of an alarm if no movement has been detected by your baby for more than 20 seconds.
It also comes in a sophisticated design that mounts to the wall with an adjustable magnetic mount for easy set-up. The camera has zoom and panning abilities and the parent unit features a 3.5” screen, full LCD colour display and temperature control.
This unit is best for parents, who will sleep better with the knowledge that they will be woken by the alarm should there be a problem with their baby.
Best for Twins: Wisenet SEW 3048 – £99.99
Not one but two babies? You’ll definitely need eyes in the back of your head! That is why we recommend the Wisenet SEW 3048 baby monitor as it allows you to add additional cameras around your home. The malleable stand is uniquely designed so you can bend, straighten, wrap and attach the camera to almost any surface.
This monitor also features two-way communication so you can soothe your babies back to sleep without having to leave the warmth of your own bed as well as soothing lullabies to help them drift off. You can rest easy in knowing your babies will be comfortable in their sleep as it has live temperature feedback with customisable alerts so you can create the perfect environment for them.
Eek! You’ve just locked yourself out of your home, or your key has just broken in the lock! In any of these unexpected situations or similar you may panic and attempt to solve the situation yourself. But pause for just a minute and read below as to why you should hire a professional Locksmith when disaster strikes.
1. Trained Professionals
Many people attempt DIY on their locks and end up making the situation worse by damaging the locks further, which requires more time repairing the lock and ultimately more money spent. A professional Locksmith will have encountered a vast array of emergency situations and will know how to handle any complication with your locks. A trained Locksmith will carry all the correct tools and a range of parts so that they can deal with the lock quickly and to a professional standard. Our professional Locksmith Engineers at Keytek® put your safety first by ensuring your home is secured to the highest standard possible to keep you and your family safe.
2. Home Security Check
A professional Locksmith will know all there is to know about locks and security and will be knowledgeable in all up to date security measures. Our Locksmiths will carry out a free home security check with every call out, so not only will your problem lock be replaced to the highest standard, complying with the BSI but they will also offer advice on what you can do around your home to secure it as much as possible to prevent disaster happening again.
3. Always Available
Imagine being locked outside of your home in the dark and the freezing cold, with nowhere to go and unable to get hold of anyone. Unlike non-professionals, most Emergency Locksmiths are available for 365 days a year. The worst time to be locked outside your home is during the holidays, which is why at Keytek® we operate 24/7, all year round with a 1hr emergency response time.
4. Reliable Service
It is vital that when you call someone to change the locks at your home that you can trust them, after all they will be gaining access to your home and all the contents inside it. All of our Locksmiths are insured and DBS checked, providing you with peace of mind that you will be receiving a safe, reliable and professional service.
Smaller companies have significantly less staff, meaning they are significantly less available than larger national companies. Not only will you be able to get a Locksmith whenever you need them with larger companies but at Keytek® we have a friendly highly-trained control centre team. The advantage of having a control centre means that if you have a problem there will always be someone to speak to without feeling the pressure of contacting the Locksmith directly if there were a problem.
Keytek®, the UK’s Largest National Locksmiths
With professional Locksmith Engineers all over the country you’ll be sure to receive efficient, high quality service with Keytek®. Your security is paramount to us so you can be assured that you’ll receive the best possible service to keep you and your family as safe as can be. Find a local Locksmith with Keytek® here!
Have you ever seen a strange marking on the side of your house or nearby such as on the curb or on your bin? In recent times there has been much speculation about these signs and symbols being marked by burglars as to which homes to target, wittily dubbed the ‘da pinchi code’.
But is this something to be wary of, what do these signs mean and what should you do if you are worried about being burgled? Read through our blog to answer these questions and more!
What are house robbery markings?
House robbery markings or burglar signs are simple line drawings and shapes that are supposedly code for whether or not the house is worth targeting. As well as indicating to other thieves in their ring these shapes reflect the type of people who live in the house, marking them as vulnerable, easy targets such as a single occupant household or elderly occupants.
‘Da pinchi code’
The da pinchi code is the name that has been used across social media sites and news stories over the last few years that have claimed to crack the code on burglar markings! The meanings behind the markings are deemed to mean things such as ‘vulnerable occupant’, ‘alarmed house’ and ‘wealthy’.
Recently, there have been new news stories related to the ‘da pinchi code’ which rules out these findings as being burglar code based on police research, instead the meanings of the markings being much more innocent. Check out our image below to see the markings, their supposed meaning and the true meaning behind them.
What do burglars use to mark houses?
Chalk is the main material burglars use as it is easily removed and not as noticeable as materials such as spray paint. As well as chalk, burglars mark houses with almost anything they can, it may be a small blob of paint or a piece of string tied around a lamppost!
There was also a stint in 2018 mainly found in Dublin where burglars would place clear tape over the keyholes on the exterior access doors. If the tape is left intact the next day or following they would know the house is currently vacant!
As well as markings, burglars also may disguise themselves as door to door salesmen; this is what we call distraction burglary. They may also post fake Locksmith contact details through your door for example, always do your research before calling trades people to ensure they are legitimate! If you are in need of a trustworthy Locksmith, contact us here!
Where are these burglar signs usually located?
The burglar markings are usually left on the property itself but can also be found nearby such as on the bin, pavement, the curb, a lamppost etc.
How do robbers pick a house?
Burglars who leave signs on houses or nearby have usually already scoped out the neighbourhood and indicated which house/s is the least risk to burgle. Planned burglaries in these cases more often than not will have had the house watched for a few days to discover who lives in the house and to understand the occupant’s daily schedule, whether they have up to date home security and whether there is anything of value inside the home. Find out further on in this blog how to prevent attracting burglars to your home!
How do you know if your house has been marked? What should I do if my house has burglar chalk signs?
So you may have noticed a strange marking on the perimeter of your home or nearby? First of all take a photo of the suspected burglar sign, make a detailed note of its location, when you first noticed it and then wash it away as best as you can.
Next, we recommend that you contact your local council to ensure the markings weren’t left by their employees doing work along the street.
Following on, if not left there by the council contact the police using the non-emergency number, 101. They may advise you to keep an eye on and record suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, including strangers frequently walking up and down the road and looking or photographing yours or your neighbours homes! Talking to your neighbours about this can also indicate whether they have noticed anything strange and you can ask them to keep an eye out moving forward.
Finally, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your home security to be on the safe side, continue on to see our suggestions.
Although you should always be wary of any strange markings that have appeared on your home, over the last couple of years some police forces have found that in actual fact these markings are harmless! Their investigations often conclude that these markings have been used by utility firms and broadband companies to plan upcoming works.
How to protect your home against burglars
Here are a few quick tips that you can apply today to secure your home from burglars.
Close and lock your windows and doors when leaving your home always, no matter how long or how far you will be gone.
If you haven’t already, create or join your neighbourhood watch.
Upgrade your home security knowledge with Keytek®
We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure here at Keytek® which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.
Already check out our Home Security Guide? Take a look at our blog page here; we aim to upload a new blog for our readers weekly!
The Office for National Statistics released that 39,000 motorcycles were stolen between April 2015 and March 2016. This isn’t new news though as thousands of bikes, mopeds and scooters are stolen every year.
With such high statistics it is vital all bike owners secure their property as best they can to prevent the worst from happening. Below we have listed the best products you can use to secure your bike as best as possible.
Motorcycle Security Chain and Padlock
A chain and padlock is one of the most common methods of securing your motorcycle but the efforts of putting these on are pointless unless fitted correctly. Here is what you should look out for:
Chain Length – The length of the chain should be as short and as snug to your bike as possible. This will prevent thieves being able to slide bolt cutters over the chain and break it.
Link Diameter – The bigger the chain the heavier it is and the harder it is to break.
Material – Find chains and padlocks that are resistant to rust, rust weakens the lock and makes it easier to snap and therefore easier to steal.
Immovable Object – Attach the chain to a heavy immovable object to prevent thieves just picking the bike up and putting it in the back of a van.
Off the Floor – Ensure the padlock is raised from the ground when locking up to make it harder for thieves to smash the lock open.
A ground anchor is fixed to the floor, wall or even to a van and allows you to attach the motorcycle chain to it. You can either bolt down a ground anchor which will work best on a van or concrete it in to your garage or driveway floor. This prevents thieves being able to lift your bike up and cut the chain off elsewhere.
Disc locks are extremely handy if you leave your bike in public places frequently. It is a small, portable device that can be used in the brake disc. This device is a great added security measure but it should be used in conjunction with a security chain to ensure your bike is as secure as can be.
Motorcycle Alarm/ Tracker
These can act as a deterrent for opportunistic thieves but should always be used in conjunction with other security methods such as a security chain. If a thief is tempering with your bike the sound of the alarm will make them think twice in carrying out the crime!
Garage Door Defender
If your motorcycle or any other valuable items are stored in your garage it is worth installing a garage door defender. They prevent garage doors from being prised open by thieves who usually use a crow bar to peel the garage door up and off its runners. Not only do they prevent this kind of garage door attack but they are also a great visual deterrent so prevent thieves attempting to open the garage door.
Additional Security Tips
Mark your motorcycle with your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), vehicle registration and postcode. If your bike were to get stolen this will help the police track it down and help prevent thieves sell parts on.
Do you have a key safe or considering buying one? Key safes are popular amongst the vulnerable who struggle to come to the door when a family member or carer knock the door and so are extremely useful in having a spare key numerous people can access without the need to cut dozens of spare keys that could get lost and end up in the wrong hands.
But how safe are key safes? Take a read through our blog below to discover how to keep your key safe secure!
What is a Key Safe, how does a Key Safe work?
A key safe is a strong and durable metal box secured to the wall outside of your home in which to keep your house keys stored safely inside and only accessible with a personal combination code.
Types of Key Safe
First and foremost you should only consider buying a key safe that has the police approved Secured by Design logo on them. These key safes have been put through their paces and have been approved to stand rigorous testing.
There are a few designs on the market, the most common being a 3 or 4 wheel combination key safe. Push button key safes are popular due to the ability to create a code from thousands of numerical options, and newer to the market due to the digital age you can now purchase digital key safes that operate through an app on a mobile phone.
How to Keep your Key Safe Secure
Where you install your key safe is highly important as this can help prevent a thief from targeting it. Follow the pointers below before installing your key safe and how to keep it continually as secure as can be:
Out of Sight: Ensure that you cannot see the key safe from the road to prevent chance burglars taking the risk to break into it. You can help conceal your key safe by hiding it behind a pipe, a window box or with a plant for example. It is also worth considering placing it somewhere you can see the safe from your home so that if someone were to try to break into it you would know about it.
Eye level: Ensure your key safe is not placed at eye level; this will help keep it hidden to those who should not know it is there.
Identifiable: Is the key safe easily identifiable? If so, why not try your hand at some DIY to fix a removable casing over the top of the key safe. You could try to blend this in with the other external boxes on your home such as the gas meter.
Door location: Following on from the above pointers, you should ensure that the key safe is well hidden and not located within easy sight of the door to prevent burglary.
Regularly change the code on your key safe to ensure that it cannot be guessed or remembered by those who should no longer know the code, e.g. moving into a home with a key safe installed.
Remember, your key safe is only secure if it has been fitted correctly. Always check the manufacturers guide or call a professional to help if you need it.
Will a Key Safe Invalidate my Home Insurance?
We all know that your claim to your home insurance will become invalid if the intruder used a key to access your home which is why it is vital that you never leave a spare key under the mat or in a plant pot as these are the first places burglars look! But what about if an intruder gained access to your home using a key that was secured inside your key safe?
It is a bit of a grey area with key safes and home insurance, there could be a number of reasons as to why the burglar has access to the keys such as, was the key safe left open and unlocked and did the perpetrator have knowledge of the combination code? All these factors including the home insurance provider’s rules will have a part to play in whether a key safe will invalidate your home insurance.
We suggest that if spare keys are needed to access a vulnerable persons home for example than a key safe is the best way to go. Spare keys can get lost if multiples are cut and end up in the wrong hands and leaving a key under a rock is a big no, no. Please remember a key safe isn’t 100% secure and there is no way to currently 100% secure your home from burglars.