You Have Questions, We Have Answers
Q: Why should I use a professional locksmith company?
A: Professionally trained, experienced locksmiths are experts in the lock and physical security industry and are better prepared to solve security issues unique to your situation. Pop-A-Lock Atlanta’s locksmiths are trained in automotive, commercial and residential locksmith services and are ready to assist you.
Q: I am moving into a new home, should I rekey the locks? They seem to be working properly.
A: The answer is YES! Everyone has someone that they trust with their house keys; this does not mean you can trust them. How many neighbors, old baby sitters, realtors, contractors or cleaning people are walking around with a key to your home? Change the locks and then give keys to people you and you alone trust.
Q: What does it mean to re-key my house or business?
A: Re-keying is the process of changing the key configuration of a lock so all existing and/or old keys will no longer work in the lock. People generally have a rekey done if they have lost their keys, want to make sure no old or existing keys will work in the lock, or they want to make sure all the locks in their location use the same key. Rekeying is the cheaper alternative to replacing all of your hardware. To perform the work, all the pins in the lock are changed to fit a new key that we issue to you. Once this process has been done, only the key issued to you will work in the lock.
Q: What is a bump-proof lock?
A: A bump proof lock is a type of high security lock for your home or business that cannot be opened with conventional lock bypass tools. These locks were created because criminals and other illicit individuals were buying bump-keys on the internet and gaining access very easily to most locks. Bump keys will not work on a bump proof lock.
Q: What is a high security lock?
A: A high security lock has a cylinder which offers a greater degree of resistance to any or all of the following: picking, impressioning, key duplication, drilling or other forms of forcible entry.
Q: I have a key marked “Do Not Duplicate.” Can I get a copy of it anyway?
A: Probably. A reputable locksmith like Pop-A-Lock Atlanta will not duplicate a key that is marked “Do Not Duplicate (DND)”. ALOA calls DND keys “not effective security” and “deceptive, because it provides a false sense of security”. If the DND key is unrestricted, the manufacturer has no control over the procedures and technically, it can be duplicated by any locksmith or hardware store.
Q: My key does not insert or withdraw easily or it has difficulty turning.
A: First spray the lock with light penetrating oil (such as WD-40). This oil can be found at most hardware stores, but can even be found at some drug stores and supermarkets. Don’t be afraid to spray too much, but have a paper towel handy to clean up the excess. Spray the oil into the keyhole and onto the bolt mechanism. Move the bolt in and out to allow the oil to penetrate into the lock. Do not take the lock apart if you are not confident you can put it back together.
Q: The lock doesn’t lock and unlock smoothly.
A: After you have tried the above solution, check to see if the lock operates smoothly with the door open. If it does, the problem is not in the lock, but rather in the alignment of the door and frame. Look for obstructions at the threshold and in the door jamb. Also check the door and frame for twists and warps. The door should completely rest against the door stop and stay there. If the door rests at the top or bottom only, then the door or frame is twisted. If the door springs open then the hinges are probably binding. If you have weather stripping on the door, it could be obstructing the path of the door. Keep in mind, wooden doors and frames will warp and swell with temperature changes and metal doors and frames will twist and rust with age.
Q: What is a master key?
A: Master key enables two different and distinct keys to open one lock. Master keying regulates access to specific zones while having one master key that accesses all zones.
The best and easiest way to explain master-keying is to think of a hotel. The general manager has one key that fits everything – all the rooms, store-rooms, offices, etc. The office manager has a key that fits only the offices. The maids have a key that only fit the rooms on the floors that they clean. Then the guest have a key that only fits the room in which they are staying. If one of the guests leaves and takes their key with them, a locksmith can come and invalidate that key and re-key the room to a new key. This will not, however, affect the other keys – unless the locksmith is poorly trained. Or if one of the house-keeping personnel leaves, the doors can be re-keyed to replace that key which will not affect the rest of the keys.
Q: Is there such a thing as a key that can open all locks?
A: No. A “master” key is a key which works many locks. In order for a particular master key to work in a lock, the lock has to be set up to work on that master key. Locks are typically master keyed in hotels, office buildings, and schools. Rest assured that there is no such master key that opens all locks.
Q: What is a restricted key system?
A: A restricted key system prevents the duplication of keys by unauthorized people. The restricted key is only available from the locksmith that installed the system and can only be duplicated by the person who set it up and whom he/she has authorized.
Q: I can install the hardware, why not just buy it at the home center and do it myself?
A: Products typically sold in home stores are residential quality at best, at worst the shelves are stacked with low end products meant to increase profits for the manufacturer and the retailer. High quality goods offer characteristics such as, pick and drill resistance, access control options, protection against the unauthorized duplication of keys.
Q: My landlord gave me the keys why should I get new ones?
A: When was the last time the locks were rekeyed? If you don’t know the answer then you and your company are potentially at risk. Some property management companies in an effort to save money simply swap the locks from one unit to another and have a brand new set of keys made. A previous tenant with some time to kill could simply try his key in each door in the complex until he finds one that works.
Q: Why do I have to wiggle my keys in the lock to make it work?
A: As locks age over time, the pins in a lock cylinder tend to wear down causing your keys to stick and forcing you to “jiggle or wiggle” the key in the lock to make it work. Most likely the keys you were given have probably been copied several times and this, plus pin wear, can cause your lock to degrade.
Q: If my home lock has to be picked, will it damage the lock?
A: Picking the lock to your home or business will not damage the lock. By picking the lock you are simply “decoding” the pattern of your current key and smoothly opening the lock. It is not an easy task and should only be performed by an experienced locksmith who is using the right tools. A good locksmith should also be able to open most padlocks, cabinet locks, trunk locks, fingerprint locks, deadbolts, and any other locking mechanism. Sometimes the lock is damaged or has been tampered with so as to make it impossible to pick. In these instances, the lock will have to be drilled out and a new lock will have to be installed. If you have a high security lock, it will also have to be drilled out.