Your homes doors and windows are some of the most important parts of your home security system.
Yet despite their importance, how many homeowners actually have a solid understanding of how their locks work to keep them safe? Not a lot, most likely - we’re willing to bet that most of us put hardly any thought into our locks and keys, and take it for granted that they’ll work.
We all rely on our door and window locks to keep our homes and property safe while we’re out - but not many people know all that much about the type of lock they entrust their security to, and what the mechanisms inside them actually do.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to do some reading (we’ll keep it light - we promise!)
Because we’re lock fanatics at Galmier Locksmiths, we’ve put together this brief run-down of the most common types of locks we see in Melbourne homes, their features, and how they keep you and your home safe.
Pin tumbler locks
Turn towards your front door right now and look at the lock installed on it. We’re willing to bet it’s a pin tumbler lock.
Pin tumbler locks are the most common locks in residential houses, making up the vast majority of locks we deal with every day…. not to mention, they’re also one of the oldest, with the earliest examples of pin tumbler locks dating back to Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt (circa 2000 BC!)
While the pin tumbler locks have evolved over the years to encompass more pins and more elaborate keys, the basic principles remain the same.
There’s a good reason to choose a pin tumbler lock: they’re everywhere. You can trust your local locksmith to be able to work with your pin tumbler locks, or recut keys with no problems.
How does a pin tumbler lock work?
Like the name suggests, pin tumbler locks (also known as Yale locks) keep your house secure through a combination of pins inside the lock. These pins physically block the keyhole and stop any incorrect keys from successfully turning and therefore unlocking.
Two important key terms you should know:
- Bible: the long part of the lock that sits above the keyhole
- Plug: the portion of the key that rotates when the right key is inserted
If you were to cut a pin tumbler lock open, you might notice a series of tooth-like pins being pressed downwards (or upwards sometimes) by springs in the bible, physically filling up the space inside the keyhole, while stopping the plug from rotating when you try to force it.
If you were to look closely, you’d probably notice that each pin is a different height… and if you were to hold the correct key against each of these pins, you’d notice that each these pins line up perfectly with the key!
When you insert the correct key, all the pins are pushed up until they just clear the keyhole.
And without the pins physically stopping the plug from turning, you’re not free to come in and out as you please!
Watch this cool video to see a pin tumbler lock in action here.
How your local locksmith uses these principles
Now that you have an idea of how your home’s locks work, hopefully you can see just how your local locksmith is able to use these principles to offer a range of services for your locks.
For instance, one of the services we offer is rekeying - that is to say, to change the insides of your existing locks to fit new keys. Incidentally, we strongly recommend this service to anyone moving into a new house - after all, you never know how many spare keys the old owner might have given out!
And to do this, we essentially open up your existing pin tumbler, swap out the current pins for new pins which are different, cut a new key et voila!
Other types of locks
While pin tumbler locks are the oldest and most widespread, they aren’t the only type of locks that locksmiths such as ourselves deal with. A few other common types of locks include...
Lever tumbler lock
Owners of older houses might remember being handed the keys to their new (old) property and receiving an old-fashioned key that looks something like the below...
While much rarer nowadays, lever tumbler locks can still be found in many a Melbourne home… especially around the inner suburbs, where older houses are still the norm.
Like pin tumblers, lever tumblers work on a similar principle, with the “teeth” of the key releasing an internal mechanism which stops the door from opening.
Unlike pin tumblers however, lever tumblers use a set of winging levers to lock the door in place. What the key does is swing these levers out of the way, clearing the obstruction and granting you access.
Once the sole domain of big banks or the ultra-wealthy, electronic and smart locks are starting to take off as practical, secure tools to keep your house and valuables safe.
Like the name suggests, these locks almost completely eliminate the need for physical locks, instead using PIN numbers, Bluetooth or biometrics (such as fingerprints). If you constantly find yourself losing or misplacing your keys, rejoice - the days of leaving your keys inside or forgetting to lock the door is now a thing of the past!
Some smart digital locks can sync with your smartphone and other devices, giving homeowners complete unmatched control over their home security. In addition to keeping the home secure, homeowners with smart locks installed:
a) Can access a complete record of when the entrances and exits were used
Many smart lock systems will maintain records of every time the front door is unlocked, as well as what time.
b) Have full control over what times certain keys work
If you want to stop people from leaving at certain hours or want to let a friend in for only a handful of hours while you’re out, a smart lock lets you control who has access and when.
c) Have the power to remotely lock and unlock your doors
Have you ever had that feeling where you simply cannot remember if you actually locked your front door properly? With a smart lock, you can remotely check you home locks and relock them if needed.
Need help from a local locksmith to secure your home?
Call Galmier Locksmiths today!
Keeping your house and valuables secure is something you can’t afford to skimp on. And while the humble lock might only be one part of such a system, its importance cannot be understated.
If you think your home’s locks need a bit of an update to keep you safe and secure, there’s only one number you need to call: ours. In fact, we recommend you save it in your phone; you never know when you’ll need it: 0407 022 234.
As Melbourne’s premier local locksmith, Galmier Locksmiths delivers reliable and trustworthy locksmithing services to homeowners throughout St Kilda, Bayside and beyond.
Whether you need keys cut, old locks rekeyed or replaced entirely, you can trust Alex and the team to give you peace of mind. Call me now: 0407 022 234