Handyman: Lots of options with keyless entry locks
Technology advancements have affected home products tremendously through the years, but one of the least obvious may be your entry door locks. When deciding to do some upgrades, most of us don’t think about improving the good old dead bolt we have on the front or side door. But if you are in the market for a new entry door, or are always losing your key, then you should look at keyless entry locks.
When it comes to keyless entry locks, there are basically two types to choose from: a lock that you can punch in a code on a keypad or touchpad; and locks that are connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology to enable you to unlock the door using an app on your smartphone.
According to John Williamson, the owner of Livonia Lock and Key, (734) 422-1222, livonialock.com, “It is pretty common for kids to lose a house key, so homeowners are putting in these keyless entry locks on the main access door so the kids can just punch in a code to get into the house after school without needing a key,” he said. ‘
One of the more popular brands is Schlage, schlage.com. Another manufacturer is Kwikset, kwikset.com.
If you have a smartphone and want to join the smart technology revolution, consider a lock that will enable you to lock and unlock the door using an app. Schlage Connect features Z-Wave, a wireless technology that allows you to control the lock from anywhere when paired with compatible home automation or security system.
But you don’t have to have a home automation or security system to enjoy these features. Kwikset has a system called Kevo that let you open a lock using its smartphone app. With the Kevo Touch to Open feature, you can keep your smartphone in your pocket or purse and just touch the lock to unlock or lock it. If you don’t want to use a smartphone, you can also use this option with either a provided key fob or standard key.
Kevo also provides you with eKey technology that enables you to send an eKey to anyone to give them access to also unlock your door. That makes providing a key to neighbors or family members much easier when you go on vacation or can’t get home to let the dog out and need someone to get into your home on short notice.
The good news is you don’t have to buy a new door to install one of these high-tech locks. Williamson said they can be installed on most old or new standard entry doors.
When buying a touchscreen or smartphone accessible lock, remember they run off a battery, so you will need to change it to ensure the lock works properly. And get one that will also work with a standard key, in case the battery is dead or your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth doesn’t work, rendering your lock useless.
One thing you also need to be aware of when buying these keyless entry locks is something call lock bumping. Lock bumping is method burglars use to unlock standard locks by using specially cut keys, known as bump keys, that can defeat conventional pin and tumbler locks. Good quality keyless entry locks will have a technology that protects against this lock bumping, so make sure you check to see if the one you want to buy has this protective feature.
So the next time you are fumbling with your keys to get into your home, or your son or daughter calls you at work and can’t get in, consider the advantages of installing a keyless lock on your entry door. It is one improvement that isn’t that expensive but can make your life easier. Now that is something you can brag about.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.