Protecting your Doors from the Heat

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.
 

Wooden Doors

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.

 

Keytek Locksmiths

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.

Top 5 Baby Monitors

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.

 

 

https://angelcarebaby.com/uk_en/angelcare-ac-215-baby-movement-monitor-with-video
https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/baby-monitors/1405242/best-baby-monitors-the-best-baby-monitors-from-tommee-tippee-motorola-tomy-and-1
https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/baby-monitors/article/top-baby-monitors
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/best-baby-monitors

House Robbery Markings

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.

 

infographic house markings

 

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.

 

Myth busters

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.

 

  • Don’t leave valuables insight of any windows.

 

 

 

  • 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!

 

https://www.abus.com/uk/Guide/Preconceptions-and-myths/Thieves-code
https://www.alarmnewengland.com/blog/how-to-tell-if-burglars-are-casing-your-home
https://www.blakefire-security.co.uk/blog/how-do-burglars-choose-a-house-to-break-into
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7405940/secret-burglar-signs-home-robbed/

Motorcycle Security Guide

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:

  1. 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.

 

  1. Link Diameter – The bigger the chain the heavier it is and the harder it is to break.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

Ground Anchor

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 Lock

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.
https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/faq/motorcycle-security-guide/

Are Key Safe’s, Safe?

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.

 

 

Fitted Correctly

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.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

For more information on how to keep your home as secure as can be take a look at our other blogs on our website including: ‘How to be Insurance Compliant’ and ‘How not to Lose your Keys in 2020’.

 

https://www.homesecureshop.co.uk/blogs/news/should-i-have-an-outdoor-key-safe?_pos=1&_sid=c5c250dd3&_ss=r
https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/crime-prevention/key-safes
https://www.compareukquotes.com/insurance/home/what-can-invalidate-home-insurance

What is a Tubular Key? When is best to use them?

A tubular lock is also known as a radial lock, barrel key, Ace lock or a circle pin tumbler lock where there are a variety of pins (between 4-10), arranged in a circular pattern with the matching key in a tubular or cylindrical shape. It became popular in 1933 by the manufacturer Chicago Lock Company, and has since been widely used with commercial products, such as computers, bicycle locks, ATM’s, glass display cabinets in stores, vending machines and elevators. They are ideal for business owners who want to secure their valuables, but also for theft and vandalism prevention, public safety and protection against unauthorised entrance to buildings and machines. Tubular locks are a smaller version of a morticed lock and are very budget friendly, making them ideal for home and door use. The tubular lock uses a basic pin tumbler system but has a few differences, with the shape of the key being circular and open in the centre, with grooves cut into the outsides of the circular shape.

 

Slots

 

What is their background?

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, tubular locks were recommended as high security locks for apartments and houses. In the 1980s, this was challenged by advancements in lock manufacturers, as well as locksmiths becoming familiar with their certain weaknesses. This led to a decline in the consumer market for tubular locks and keys. However, manufacturers such as Ace, the Van Lock company and Illinois Lock company, continued to manufacture different variations of the tubular lock concept. Today, these are still challenging to lock pickers and burglars, and therefore are used in the gambling industry for slot machines.

Tubular locks are also commonly found on doors and are most suited for new post-1950’s pre-drilled doors. They are one of the most common types of residential locks in the US and require your door to be drilled and prepared in different ways for installation. They were originally designed in order to prevent high manufacturing costs and labour-intensive preparation needed on doors. Tubular locks have an independent latch and independent deadbolt, so you can identify them though the independent face plate for each of these functions.

 

Door Keys

 

How do they work?

The key is circular and has a ring-shaped hole, with a metal cylinder surrounding it in the middle. The pins are pushed in horizontally to the lock; this compares to the standard pin and tumbler system where key pins are moved vertically. The notch on the key should correspond to fit the similarly shaped hole in the keyway of the door, and these will have to line up to allow insertion of the key. Once the key is fitted into the keyhole, the key pins are depressed to the correct depth.

 

What is their design?

The design is similar to the pin tumbler lock, the key has notches around each edge, these depress a pin inside the lock to a certain height, allowing the cylinder to turn. The key pins (red) and driver pins (blue) push towards the front of the lock, stopping the plug (yellow) from rotating round. Once the key is fitted correctly into the gaps between the key and driver pins; this will depress the key pins aligning them with the indentations and shear plane, separating the plug from its outer casing (green), and allowing the lock to turn.

 

Are they secure?

They are secure and good for emergencies, with a feature that allows quick access or exit in the case of an emergency. For tubular keys, this emergency mechanism is on the inside of the door, with a longer protective plate. However, they are also good for securing homes and doors, as a separate deadbolt can be added to the lock to secure the door. Tubular deadbolts have a hardened steel pin within the bolt, and this prevents people from drilling down on it. They are also available with a key in knob or lever function with or without an emergency system and can be great for storage areas or mechanical rooms where a deadbolt is not needed. They offer a high level of security and can be purchased for a good price, providing security for your home and doors.

 

Conclusion

Now that you understand the history and background of the tubular lock, and the basics of using one, you can appreciate why this lock is used widely in different industries. These locks are often considered safer and more resistant to picking than a standard lock, and therefore can be a good option for anyone who requires a higher level of security.

 

 

Letterbox Security

With post theft on the rise in the UK due to more people receiving deliveries and gangs stealing bank details and personal letters to carry out identity theft, it is important to be vigilant when it comes to securing your letterbox. Whether you have a wall mounted letterbox, a free standing letterbox or just your letter plate on the front door there are things you can do to protect your post!

 

Wall Mounted Letterbox

A wall mounted post box is fitted externally or internally onto your property wall. They usually feature a letterbox plate at the top for the postman to deliver your letters which are secured in a lockable box underneath. Wall mounted letterboxes can be fitted as a single item or in multiples; which makes them great for people who live in shared occupancy or where there is a lobby for a block of flats.

Why use a Wall Mounted Letterbox?

A shocking 74% of burglaries take place through the front door, so it is vital homeowners do all that they can to prevent their home being an easy target for thieves. Wall mounted letterboxes are more secure than a letter plate on your front door and will help prevent your home being targeted for a number of reasons.

To prevent fishing: If there is no letter plate fixed onto your door there is no way a thief can peer into your home through the door and go ‘fishing’. Fishing is a technique used by burglars where they thread a long wire with a hook on the end to capture things in your home such as your house keys, car keys etc. giving them access to all of your valuables.

To prevent thieves from unlocking your door: If there is no letterbox for thieves to put their hands and tools inside there is a less chance of them gaining access to your property. Many thieves unfortunately have figured out that if they can access the interior lock, such as a thumb turn lock through the letterbox plate they can gain easy access to their victim’s home.

Energy efficient: As well as helping keep your home secure, wall mounted letterboxes help reduce heating bills as there will be no hole in the door from which the heat can escape!

 

Things to Consider when Purchasing a Wall Mounted Letterbox

If you are purchasing a new wall mounted letterbox it is important to consider these three things:

Size: Will your new postbox fit the usual post that you receive? Remember to include magazine subscriptions that are at least A4.

Lock: The more secure the lock the better, this helps prevent thieves gaining access to your private information. It is worth investing in an anti-snap lock, keep your eyes peeled for an anti-snap blog coming soon!

Finish: Ensure the postbox is made out of a durable, weatherproof material especially if your wall mounted post box is fitted to the exterior of the property.

 

Free Standing Letterbox

Free standing letterboxes are very similar to the wall mounted kind in terms of protecting your home and the things you should consider when purchasing one. They are preferred for those who have long drives or gated homes as this prevents the postman to have to walk right up to your property and they are often a very aesthetic addition to your home. As well as that, free standing letterboxes are often available in larger sizes for those who need it.

 

Door Letterbox

If adding a wall mounted or freestanding letterbox isn’t an option there are a number of things you can do to protect your home as best you can.

Hide your Valuables: The simplest way you can improve your security is by hiding your valuables and keys out of sight. If a burglar cannot easily see or reach valuables in your home through the letterbox or the window they will most likely give up and carry on.

Letterbox Cowl or Guard: Adding a letterbox cowl to the internal side of your front door prevents burglars from being able to see inside your home and prevents them from sticking their arm inside. Burglars won’t be tempted to steal what they can’t see!

Letterbox Cage: This fits around your letterbox on the internal side of the door and prevents post from falling to the floor as well as preventing burglars arms or tools from sneaking in!

Letterbox Homeguard: Similar to the cage, a homeguard is a fire-retardant bag that fits around the letterbox on the interior side of the door. Unfortunately, there are reports of homeowners being attacked with lit objects and fireworks being posted through their letterboxes, a letterbox homeguard will help keep the home safe from these attacks.

 

For more information on how to secure your front door, take a look at our Front Door Security Guide here!

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

Did you enjoy this blog? If so, why not take a look at our other blogs here! We cover everything you need to know about security from keeping your home secure to keeping yourself safe at events!

 

 

 

 

https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/5-easy-ways-to-prevent-letterbox-burglary/

https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/burglar-statistics-walk-through-the-front-door-506186