How to Check the Security of Your Deadbolt

Is your home as secure as you hope it is? If you don’t have a deadbolt lock on your exterior doors an uninvited intrusion may occur with something as simple as a gift card. This can be avoided by installing a deadbolt. However, if the bolts penetration into the frame is not complete, failure is very possible. You can test this by opening the door, extending the bolt, observing how far you turned the latch, and tapping on the end of the bolt to insure it doesn’t retract. Extend it part way and again tap on the bolt and you will see how easily it retracts.

Close the door and extend the dead bolt. Is the latch in the same position it was when the door was open? If not it is likely there is not enough room in the latch plate (frame) for the bolt to completely extend and corrective action needs to take place. A locksmith would remove the plate and drill the hole to the proper depth, which you can easily do by removing the strike plate first, drilling, and then returning the plate to it’s old position. If the door has sagged and it becomes an alignment issue, you will need to place an object about the width of a pliers, between the door and the frame on the bottom of the door, between the hinge, and gently close the door. This essentially spreads the lower hinge which will slightly raise the lower part of the door and will correct your alignment problem.

If your door frame is extremely tight you may be OK without a deadbolt but interior latches should be considered. Even a fake exterior mount of a deadbolt will deter some burglars but not the pros. Deadbolts, when functioning properly, are the biggest challenge for burglars. Some key cuts can make picking the lock very difficult and time-consuming. Time is on your side when it comes to preventing unauthorized entry to your home, especially if you have outside lighting and motion detectors on some of them. Unfortunately our current economy and jobless rates have increased the number of home intrusions and burglaries so everyone should try to insure the security of their home.

Investors with rental properties are especially cautious due to the level of liability risk with their tenants and most will have the units re-keyed when a tenant moves out. If you are a renter and your home does not have a deadbolt, request that your landlord have one installed!