Who doesn’t love vacation? You work really hard, so this is your chance to get away and do what you love. Whether it’s sitting on the beach or touring your favorite city, the excitement of planning your trip builds until the day finally comes to get out of town. But what about leaving your home all alone? Are you concerned if your home will be safe while you’re away? Of course, the best thing to do is have a house sitter stay at your house while you’re gone. It’s the perfect solution to ease your mind. But, for those of us who are not able to find someone to stay at their home, here are some other things you can do to help.
We’re talking about home security again. And why not? It’s very important to all of us to keep our families, including our furry little friends, safe in our own homes. According to the Justice Department, the majority of break-ins happen with criminals entering your home through the front door. So, this should be your first line of defense in home security. Let’s take a look at some of the best door locks on the market today.
According to the Consumer Reports’ website, they conducted a series of brute force kick tests using a 100-pound battering ram against locked doors to determine the best door locks for preventing forced entry. After testing dozens of locks, they concluded that Yale Premier Single Cylinder YH82 was among the top strongest locks. It is one of the strongest conventional deadbolts that stands up well to kick-ins and drilling. Yale is a pretty trusted lock, being one of the oldest and most recognized brands in the security industry. As the creators of the modern day pin tumbler lock, and being around for such a long time, most other locks are designed off of their pin tumbler design. The brand produces a wide array of products, including smart locks. During Consumer Reports testing for Smart locks, the Yale Assure Lock SL was the top in that category as well. Along with it being resistant to kick-ins and drilling, with it being a Smart lock, or keyless lock, it’s impossible to pick.
The Medeco Maxum 11*603 also performed well in the testing, as the strongest deadbolt across all of the Consumer Reports lock categories, including picking, drilling, and kick-ins. Popular with many professional locksmiths, Medeco is one of the largest manufacturers of medium and high-security locks for both residential and commercial use.
For electronic locks, the Schlage Touch Keyless FE375 CAM electronic deadbolt was the top in the electronic lock category. The Schlage brand locks are a sturdier lock, and the non-electronic keyed-locks are harder to pick. Schlage is a popular and widely available brand of locks that manufactures a wide range of locks, including nonconnected and smart locks.
So if you are looking for a new, very secure door lock for your home, check out one of these tested locks. If you have any further questions, or would like more guidance on what type of door lock you should get for your home, please call us at Minnesota Locks at (651) 451-0622 today!
These days, everyone is looking for more space in their homes. With so many more people working from home, some homes can start to feel a bit crowded. And there’s a space you may not consider as a usable living area, the garage. If your home has a decently maintained garage the conversion can be somewhat simple.
Measure and Design your Space
The first thing you’ll want to decide upon is the layout of your workspace. Think about how much space your garage can offer by rearranging clutter or storage that may be there. And if you want to keep a space for your car as well. Take measurements of your garage and draw out an outline of what you’ll need. Don’t forget to think about placement of desks or shelves to put in your drawing. This will help decide if you need additional power outlets for your computer, printer, and other devices you may need power for at your desk.
If you do decide to maintain space for your car, you will need to construct new walls to divide the space. If you’re adding walls and you have some extra space, maybe an office closet would do nicely for office supplies.
You’re going to need an insulated garage door to keep warm or cool in your office space. If you have to upgrade, then consider getting a door with windows. You can frost the glass if you want privacy.
You’re going to need heating and cooling in your new space. If your garage is not already insulated, you’ll want to do that before you get to finishing your office space. This will keep your office comfortable to work in through the seasons. There are small heating units and cooling units to use in smaller spaces, or you can just open your garage door in nicer weather.
Your garage should already have some outlets, but you may want to consider adding some more power for your office needs. And you may want to run wiring for wall mounted lighting as well.
The easiest option would be to polish the concrete that exists for a nice finish. You could also do a laminate or tile option for the finished office area. A durable option is installing natural stone and epoxy. Throw a rug down under your desk for a little protection for the cold floor.
Bright Paint and Lighting
With no windows in the garage, you want to make it as bright as you can through other means. With your new walls, you’ll want to pick a lighter, brighter color to help lighten the space up. Add floor or desk lamps if you can’t install wall or overhead lighting.
Depending on the work your garage to office conversion needs, this can all be overwhelming to those that might not know the difference between a nail gun and a drill. If you aren’t handy or knowledgable about some aspects of a remodel, like electrical wiring, hire a contractor. Get recommendations and read reviews to find reliable contractors for all your conversion needs, big or small.
Working in a garage can leave you feeling a little more exposed than inside the home, so think about some security options that would work for your new office space. You could add a camera to see what’s happening outside the garage door. Or add a security keypad for easier access to the garage without a garage door opener. If you have an outside access door to the garage, make sure all the locks are in proper working order. And there are multiple alarm systems available that you could have installed as well.
Call Minnesota Locks today with your questions about garage security.
When we think of security risks, we typically think about our own actions. But have you thought about the actions of those in your home? Specifically, we’re talking about those seemingly innocent, moon-faced little creatures living under your roof… your kids. It may not seem like it, but they can cause serious harm to your home security or themselves.
Today, most people with kids grew up in an era where they were raised to be latch-key kids. Their parents instructed them on what to say if a stranger was at the door or called on the phone (you know, pre-caller ID), so you had no idea who was calling, Mom? Dad? Stranger? It was like a roll of the dice who you would get). With instructions of things to say like “My mom can’t come to the door because she is in the bathroom”, or whatever excuse your parents coached you to say. Nowadays, it might be less likely kids are at home alone (cue Macaulay Calkin scream 😱), but we still have to think about coaching our kids about telling strangers personal information or when you will be home. Of course, that’s what burglars want to know, when no one will be home. Kids don’t realize there is danger to telling people certain information, and we all know some kids can be quite talkative about all kinds of things. Take the time to give them a few instructions on the information that they shouldn’t be telling to people they don’t know.
Which leads us to other ways kids can give out information... on the internet. Giving out information in real life is pretty bad, but it’s even worse online. Teach your kids to post things about the places you’ve visited, like restaurants or vacations, after the fact. When you are back in your home, post away about the day’s adventures, or that recent vacation. I know they are eager to share their experiences, but it’s wise to not let them post online while your home is currently unoccupied (this is also good advice to grown ups too). When they are posting online, they are sending a press release to everyone online what your schedule is, giving a lot of people access to this information. Make sure your kids understand that by allowing people to see these aspects of your life, opens up the opportunity for people to steal from you, or maybe worse. Pay close attention to your kids’ accounts to ensure they are not putting anyone at home in danger by sharing private information or about the families schedules detailing when they aren’t home. In short, continuing to educate them about stranger danger online is key.
Another item for your kids to be aware of is your home security alarm (if you have one). These are great for aiding in burglary prevention, but they don’t do much good if your kids forget to re-arm the device when they come home from school or are out playing with friends. Notes or signs that can be hung next to the security keypad are great reminders for them to remember to reset an alarm. Especially if they happen to be home alone after school. And soon it may become second nature to them, as they get into a routine of resetting the alarm. And don’t forget to go over all the buttons and their functions, just in case there happens to be a hiccup with the alarm system. If it’s hooked to a phone service that calls if there is a problem, also brief them on the proper phone numbers that identify as the security system company and practice the questions that they may ask when they call, so your kids aren’t nervous or confused. And while we’re on the subject, simply getting them to remember to lock the door is a benefit too. Help them turn it into a habit, when you close an outside door, turn the lock. Make it into a step process. Turn the doorknob to close the door, and then turn the lock.
We know life is full of stress, so hopefully following some of these tips can help relieve a little bit of that anxiety. Just knowing your kids are educated in keeping your family safe can bring a little peace of mind.
It’s never fun to be in a rush out the door, get to your car and not be able to get inside. When you’ve used the FOB, manually used the key, and still can’t get inside, what do you do? The first step in any car door locking issue is to try and identify the cause of the problem. Is it because the door is damaged, the lock is broken, or is the door stuck? There are a variety of reasons a stubborn car door lock can refuse to open.
The most common reason a door gets stuck in the locked position is due to broken connections inside the door itself. If the lock is stuck, there could be a broken or loose connection to one or all of the parts that attach to the door latch due to use over time. If this is the problem, replacement parts and expertise are needed to fix the lock.
Sometimes, things will build up inside the car door lock. This could be dirt, or pocket lint from inserting your keys, which seems insignificant but can actually jam the lock assembly making the door difficult to unlock. If you need to use your key to unlock your vehicle, and the key won’t insert fully into the lock, there could be something blocking its path. However, if you’ve tried using your key FOB and can’t get into the vehicle, the issue is something else.
If your key FOB is simply not unlocking your car, there could be multiple things wrong. It could be the battery, or some electrical issue within the FOB. It may need to be reprogrammed to your vehicle, which we can assist with. We can diagnose whatever malfunction is occurring and provide a new key for most vehicles.
While it may seem silly to mention here, another reason a door can be stuck in the lock position is due to structural damage to the vehicle. If you’ve come out to your vehicle parked on the street, and are having issues unlocking the door, check and make sure no other parts of the vehicle have damage. This ensures that you don’t miss a slight rear-end or something that could have shifted the door and jammed it.
The second step with car door issues, is calling your local locksmith at Minnesota Locks. It’s a great idea to try and identify what issues you’re having with your car door, but not always an easy task. You don’t need to try and fix the problem, because we are here to take care of it for you. If you’re having issues with your vehicles locking function, need a spare or a new set of keys, or have any other locksmith needs, let us know!
Burglaries happen all the time. In 2018 alone, there were over a million burglaries in the United States. While there is no foolproof way to eliminate all possibility of a break in, there are certainly many ways to make your home an unappealing target. Preparation, and understanding will get you a long way in home security. The more you can think like a burglar, the better your chances of beating a burglar at their own game.
A scary thing to consider is that burglars often know their victims. This could mean they’re someone you’ve seen around, or simply that they know you from watching you. Skilled burglars case your home, watching to identify if you are an easy target. They know where the spare keys are typically kept and which exits are most trafficked. They wait to see what hours you are out, if you have security cameras, and valuables they may want to take from you.
There are many ways to not only deter a thief, but unfortunately to encourage one as well. Things like an unmowed lawn, mail piling up, or various items left outside, such as a grill or snowblower, can make your home an easy target. If you are going out of town, contact your local post office and ask that they hold your mail. It’s also a good idea to ask and see if a neighbor could keep an eye on your place. Another great way to keep up appearances is to pay a local lawn mowing service to take care of your grass while you’re away.
Sometimes, even just a security system sticker can deter a potential thief from breaking into your home. A solid security system can be built up using multiple different deterrents to keep burglars away. These deterrents do best when overlapped with others, but are all great ways to keep your home and family safe from intruders.
No matter what you believe, or where you stand, keeping your home and loved ones safe is most likely a priority. We all hope to come home and find all of our belongings exactly where we left them, our property untouched. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. In 2019 there were well over 1,000 burglaries in the city of St. Paul alone, which is enough to make anyone consider investing in a security system.
The good news is that there are tons of updated ways to keep your home, and personal items secure. A big trend these days is security cameras, and for good reason! Cameras can be purchased for high quality at low prices. They can be placed around your home to ensure nobody breaks in, and anybody oblivious enough to try will be caught on film!
If you are planning to get into the security camera game, you should stop to consider the most strategic placements around your property. A security camera does it’s best work when it’s positioned at the proper angle, height, and scope. This is where many at home security camera installs have gone wrong, because it can be difficult to position your cameras in the correct spot to capture everything happening around your home. It is important to consider how accessible your camera is, too. You don’t necessarily want a single camera that is within reach of someone on your porch, as anybody trying to commit a crime could easily cover or avert the camera lens.
It goes without saying that you should have video feed from your front and back door, as well as on any additional points of entry to your home. If you are recording the doorways, you will see if anybody tries to break into your place! The number of cameras you need depends on how many points of entry exist, but you should also consider adding at least two more to that number. It’s a good idea to get a camera that has a view of your entire perimeter, and if needed, a second to record your garage.
There are numerous reasons to have cameras installed. From added security, to a little fun spying on the local animals that frequent your home, there are fewer reasons not to invest in these easy to use devices. One of the many perks is that most times it actually lowers your home insurance premium. Most insurance companies offer discounts for homeowners insurance on homes with security systems and cameras certainly qualify!
Security cameras come in all shapes and sizes. The equipment you purchase is important, and sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Pay attention to deals, and package options for various security systems from your favorite manufacturers. Make sure to inquire about safety with these systems. If you experience a break-in, or ever need your locks changed, contact us, your favorite local Minnesota locksmith! We are here for our security needs.
Every homeowner aims to keep their belongings safe. Security systems, locks, and safes are all great ways to keep your valuables hidden away from prying eyes, but even the most up to date security system can be broken into. Oftentimes if you have a freestanding safe, a burglar will take it with them and sort out the lock later! The best course of action is to hide those belongings. Whether you are going to try and hide your belongings in a safe, or in Tupperware, these hiding places will give any burglar a tough time.
Some of the most obvious places to hide valuables are your sock drawer, under your mattress, jewelry box, or in the tank of a toilet. Burglars are likely to make a quick dash through your home and these are common areas that people like to hide things. We recommend avoiding these areas!
A small safe could be easily hidden under the sink of the laundry room or kitchen. These areas are typically used to hold cleaning products and nothing of cash value, so they are a great place to hide things you don’t want anybody finding. For added security, we suggest adhering the safe to the inside wall and placing your cleaning products in front of the safe. We do not recommend hiding it in a bathroom, however, as people will often keep jewelry in bathrooms.
The pantry is another place you could hide things, as a burglar is not going to have time to tear apart your pantry. If you’re looking to be extra sneaky, you can keep your belongings inside an old bag of flour or rice to hide it from view. This is a great place to make sure no one that isn’t cooking in your kitchen will find it!
Inside a stuffed animal is another creative tactic. If you use a seam ripper to split the bottom or back of a plush toy. You remove some of the filling and stuff it with items you want to remain secret. This one is for anybody with a sewing skillset, as to properly hide the item you’ll want to resew it back up!
For those of us with pets, you could also hide your belongings inside their food container, or litter containers. If you properly seal the items in a container, you can place them inside your dog’s food bag, or in the crate that holds unused litter. These areas would be quite the challenge to dig through if you’re worried about the police showing up!
There are many resources online for installable plain sight safe spots. You can purchase shelves with false bottoms. There are false mirrors, false bed frames, and kits to install safes in your flooring or in the tread of your stairs! All of these are excellent options to hide things in plain sight.
Thieves typically only have a short amount of time to gather as many valuable items as possible. Our most important recommendation would be to spread out your hiding places and to hide them where nobody will think to look. Make them work for your belongings, you certainly did! As a locksmith, we know all too well how stressful being burgled can be. Break-ins are a common occurrence and something we deal with often. If you are concerned with the security of your home, we are here to help in any way we can!
We offer automotive, commercial and residential locksmith services in the Twin Cities.