Category Archives: Locksmith – Do It Yourself

Why You Should Not Try to Pick a Lock Yourself

It happens to the best of us. You juggle the kids, the diaper bag, your purse, twist the lock on the door, and close it. Then realize you’ve locked your keys in the house. Not only can you not get back in, but your car keys are on the same ring and you can’t leave to go get help. You might be tempted to try to pick the lock yourself, or get a neighbor to help you.
This is a huge mistake. You should never try to pick a lock yourself. It is always best to call a locksmith for assistance. For most locked door knobs or deadbolts, it can be extremely difficult to pick the lock. You could spend hours trying to get in and have little or no success. If you have kids in tow, the longer it takes to get inside the worse the situation becomes.
Not only will you have trouble getting inside, you could damage the lock in the process. Even if you get inside, your lock could be damaged beyond repair. Your key may no longer work afterward, or the door may no longer be secure.
The most troubling thing about a damaged lock is that you may not know that it is damaged. If your key still works, you may just assume that you successfully picked the lock and got into your home. You were lucky, and now you can go about your business. But there could still be damage to the inner workings of the lock, damage you can’t see. Only a trained locksmith will be able to tell if the lock is still working well enough to be secure.
This damage makes your lock easy to pick by anyone who comes along. It puts your security and the security of your home in great jeopardy. If you have a weak lock it can be more easily picked or broken by someone wanting to gain access to your home.
For all of these reasons it is best to get a professional locksmith to open your locked door. A professional, trained and certified Boca Raton locksmith can gain access to your home without damaging the lock or making it weak. This maintains the integrity of the lock and keeps you, your family and your possessions safe.
If you or someone else has already picked your lock, you should have it replaced immediately. A locksmith Boca Raton FL can help you choose the right lock and get it installed properly. They can also help you understand what to do in case you get locked out again.
Don’t take chances with your security. Always get professional assistance with any lock, and you will have the peace of mind knowing that your family is safe.

Should I Rekey or Replace My Locks

Should I Rekey or Replace My Locks?

Although it’s exciting to receive the keys to your new home, it’s important to know that you are the only person who has access to your property.

When you’re relocating to new premises, it’s impossible to know who else may have a set of keys. Did the previous owner make copies for relatives? Has the real estate company loaned out a set to cleaning contractors? Have the keys been lost in the past, and duplicates made?

Home insurance companies do not look kindly on people who neglect to check the security of their home or business once they move in. Should they discover that the new resident hasn’t taken the proper measures to protect their home, they can be reluctant to pay up if a claim is made. This could end up costing you a great deal of money.

Most people fail to deal with the issue of security because they assume that changing the locks will cost them a fortune. This doesn’t have to be the case. It isn’t necessary to go to the expense of replacing all the hardware in your new home in order to lock out the previous keys. Rekeying, rather than changing the locks, could provide the solution.


If the previous owner installed locks that can be rekeyed, you may not even have to call out a locksmith. (Click here to find out more information about rekeying your locks.)

Rekeying is a way of changing the configuration of your existing locks, so that they can be opened with a new key. This means that you can be secure in the knowledge that only the new key will work, and the old one will be rendered useless. There are several advantages to doing this.

It saves you money as you don’t have to replace the entire lock hardware.
You can rekey all the locks to work with the same key. This way you don’t have to carry multiple keys around with you.
You can be certain in the knowledge that no unauthorised person can gain access to your property.
When to change the locks:

In some instances however, you may still want to consider changing your locks.
For example:

If the locks are in poor working order, or have so much wear and tear that you experience key jams, or difficulty gaining entry.
To upgrade the level of security at your property, (particularly for vulnerable entry points such as the front and back entrances, or a garage that may house valuable goods.)
In both these circumstances, it’s worth considering consulting a locksmith about upgrading your security. In many cases however, changing the locks for the entire property is unnecessary. Professional locksmith and security systems are able to provide locks to suit all budgets, and offer a full rekeying service to customers who want peace of mind when relocating to new premises.

How To Choose High Security Locks

There are many different methods of securing your property, and with the vast range of products on the market today, it pays to seek advice before you spend your hard earned cash on an expensive security upgrade.

So what features should you look for when purchasing high security locks?


Look to purchase products from reputable brands. The extra money they cost is well worth the peace of mind. For example; the door cylinders on your exterior doors are probably the most vulnerable components of your lock hardware. If an intruder can manipulate the cylinder, they can gain entry to your property. Medeco®is a highly respected, leading lock manufacturer, offering a wide range of pick, drill and bump resistant cylinders that in independent laboratory tests have been proven time and again to be highly resistant to attack. It isn’t worth cutting corners when it comes to your security. Always buy the best quality products your budget will allow.


Are the locks easy to service if something goes wrong? How expensive will it be to cut a duplicate key? Does the installation company offer good customer service if you want to upgrade again in the future? A reputable dealer should be able to answer all these questions for you. Remember, it’s no good investing in a high tech, electronic security system if there are annual or additional costs that make the system unviable.

Special security features:

Do you need the flexibility to adapt your security periodically? Do you require a master key system to be put in place for maintenance staff? Do you want the convenience of a single key to open all the doors on your premises?

Business owners have different security needs to people looking to secure a residential property. Key control is just one aspect of security you may need to consider. For tailor made, individualized security plans at this level, consult the experts. Again, it isn’t worth the trouble cutting corners and trying to do it yourself, especially if you have valuable contents to secure.

ANSI/BHMA standards:

Last of all make sure that all your hardware complies with recognized industry standards.
ANSI is the American National Standards Institute which oversees guidelines relating to consumer goods. The body coordinates voluntary standardization to develop and maintain performance standards for builder’s hardware. It introduced the idea of product grades to help identify the quality and durability of locksets through a series of operational and security tests. 
BHMA stands for the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. This is the trade association for North American manufacturers of commercial builder’s hardware. BHMA is involved in monitoring standards, safety regulations and other activities that specifically impact builder’s hardware.

Products that are marked as ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 are the strongest available residential or commercial lock products.
Always buy locks that are ANSI/BHMA approved if you want to be sure you’re buying the highest quality locks available.
For advice on installing or upgrading a high security lock system for your home or business, ring 1-877-864-4134 to speak to one of our experts.

How to Pick a Pin and Tumbler Lock

Lock picking is not recommended as it can cause damage to your locks, and requires a great deal of patience and skill. A professional locksmith will have a range of specialized tools to allow them to gain entry in a short space of time, and with the minimum amount of damage to your hardware. Before you attempt to pick a lock, it is sensible to weigh up the cost of replacing the hardware as opposed to the cost of the call out fee.

The method described below can be used for opening basic pin and tumbler locks in common use at residential properties. However, it is not advisable to attempt to pick more complicated door locks, which usually require the assistance of a specialist.

What is a pin and tumbler lock?

Before you attempt to pick the lock, it’s important to understand the basic principles of how the lock works.
Common pin and tumbler locks contain a cylinder that rotates within its housing. When the door is locked, the cylinder is unable to rotate as it is held in place by several pairs of pins (there are usually six pairs, consisting of a top and bottom pin.)
The top pin of each pair extends into both the cylinder and the housing, preventing it from moving and keeping the door locked. When the correct key is inserted, it pushes the pins upwards, so that the top pin is no longer in the cylinder, allowing the lock to turn and the door to open. Springs provide resistance to hold the top pins in place.

Picking the lock:

To pick a pin and tumbler lock you will need some basic lock picking tools. Lock picking kits can be bought quite cheaply online. Amateur kits for hobbyists usually consist of five basic picks and a tension wrench.

  • Place the tension wrench into the lower portion of the keyhole, and determine which way the lock will turn. When you turn the cylinder the right way, there should be a little give.
  • Using a gentle twisting motion, use the tension wrench to hold the cylinder in place while you feel for the pins.
  • Insert the pick into the upper part of the keyhole and press upwards to feel for the individual pins. Identify the most difficult pin to push up, and attempt to dislodge this one first.
  • Press the stubborn pin with just enough pressure to overcome the downward pressure of the spring. Continue to push on the upper pin until it is completely out of the cylinder. You will know when this happens as the lower pin will drop out, and you should hear a clicking sound. By applying the right amount of torque, the upper pin should rest on top of the cylinder and not fall back down. This part requires some skill.

How to Cut Open a Lock

There are many situations where you may find yourself needing to cut open a lock.

For example:
• Locks on sheds and outhouses can rust and become difficult to open.
• You may have forgotten the combination for the lock on your bike.
• You may have lost the key to a padlock, and need to gain entry to a safety deposit box.
There are two choices. You can either call out a locksmith who will have all the necessary experience and professional tools needed to cut open your lock, or you can save money and try to break the lock yourself.

What tools do you need to break open a lock?
A bolt cutter is your first option. Bolt cutters can be bought at any local hardware store and are cheaper than calling out a locksmith. Bolt cutters are really nothing more than a large pair of scissors, but they do require a little elbow grease to break through the lock. If you’re looking to purchase bolt cutters to cut open a lock, then you should consider buying ones with long handles, as this gives you more leverage for greater power, making the lock easier to break.
Another option is to use a reciprocating Saw.
A reciprocating saw has a tough blade a bit like a jigsaw, and can be used to cut through the bolts on a lock. Using this type of saw generates a lot of heat, so always be sure to wear safety goggles before you attempt to cut the lock. This will prevent dust from the metal getting into your eyes.
If the lock is really tough you could use an angle grinder equipped with a diamond blade. These are relatively expensive specialist tools, but will definitely do the job. Angle grinders grind through the lock, but using this type of tool generates a lot of sparks, so you must protect your eyes with goggles before attempting to cut the lock. Using an angle grinder also creates a lot of noise, so only consider using this tool if the lock proves impossible to break with either a bolt cutter or a reciprocating saw.
Finally, if you still can’t break the lock, consider a cutting torch. Cutting torches can generate flames of up to 4000 degrees, so it’s wise to protect both your hands and face if you’re considering using this method to cut open your lock. Be aware of any fire risks. Wooden shed doors and other flammable materials can easily set alight.

If you are unsure, then you should call a locksmith professional.

How to Choose New Locks for Your House:

Purchasing new locks for your home or business can seem like a daunting task. Although the look and cost of the hardware are both important concerns, the main consideration must be the level of security the new locks will provide. There’s a vast array of choices available on the market today, and making decisions about which hardware to purchase can be difficult if you don’t have the expertise. Follow our simple guide to help you make the right choice for your property.

Exterior Doors

Exterior doors are vulnerable targets for intruders. For this reason, both front and back entrance doors, and garage doors will require a higher level of security than those inside the property.
Most front and back doors use a keyed entry function, and are fitted with handle sets. There are three main options for exterior lock hardware.

Single cylinder deadbolt

A thumbturn allows the door to be easily to be easily opened from the inside. When the handle or knob is turned, the door will open freely. However, in order to gain entry from the outside, a key is needed to unlock the door.

Double cylinder deadbolt

This works in a similar way to the single cylinder deadbolt, but a key is needed on both sides of the door. This type of lock is recommended for glass doors such as patio doors. Should an intruder manage to break the glass, the handle on the inside would not open without the key.

Auxiliary deadbolt/Mortise lock with dwelling entry function

These are often installed for added security. A deadbolt is a one inch solid bolt that can only be retracted with a key or a thumbturn. It is a secondary lock usually located above the primary lock, although it can be used on its own.
The purpose of a Mortise Lock is to act as a combination of locks. It is dual action means that it can act as a door knob and a deadbolt. A mortise lock allows for faster exit during an emergency.

How to Choose the Right Level of Security:

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non profit organisation whose aim is to grade security ratings for builder’s hardware, so that customers can identify the quality and durability of locksets through a series of operational and security tests.
Grade 1: The highest level of security available for both residential and commercial properties.
Grade 2: Excellent security and durability for residential and some commercial properties.
Grade 3: Basic residential security. The lowest grade provided by ANSI and the minimal acceptable quality for residential door locks.
The BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) product number is another way of checking the grade of any particular piece of hardware. This number gives information about the product category, the material used and the function of the hardware.

How to Rekey a Lock in 10 Easy Steps

You don’t have to be a locksmith to learn how to rekey a lock. This relatively straightforward process basically involves configuring a lock so it can be opened with a new key.

There obvious advantages to doing this:

  • You don’t have the expense of replacing the whole lock if you lose your keys
  • You can be certain that no unauthorised person can gain access to your property
  • You can open both front and back doors with the same key

To do this, you’ll need a few basic tools:

  • A plug follower
  • A pin kit (Purchase the right kit for the brand of lock you want to rekey)
  • A key decoder

1. Carefully remove the spring-loaded pin from the back of the lock, and unscrew the retainer. (Keep everything in a safe place as you’ll need to replace these when you’re done.)
2. Put the original key in the barrel, and turn it 90 degrees.
3. Using the plug follower, gently push the cylinder out. The plug follower will hold the top pins in place. Put this to one side.
4. Take the lock and remove all the bottom key pins.
5. Using a decoder, take the new key and work out which size pins fit each “cut”. Do this by placing each “gap” of the key in the decoder and sliding it along until it stops. Most pin kits contain a chart which shows which size pin corresponds to which cut. You’ll need to do this for all of the pins.
6. Put the new key in the lock and place the new bottom pins in the corresponding holes, making sure that all the pins are flush.
7. Turn the key back 90 degrees to make sure that none of the pins fall down into the lock.
8. Place the lock back into the cylinder by gently pushing the plug follower back through.
9. Turn the key to make sure it works .
10. Replace the spring-loaded pin back into the lock and replace the retainer housing, making sure it isn’t too tight.