… when they are not installed properly. In reality deadbolts locks are your first line of defense against thieves and home invasions. Since I live in south Florida I meet many people who live in others states, but spend the winter in Palm Beach County. I still meet folks who don’t lock their doors when they go out, because they don’t lock their doors where they are from. Other people rely on the alarm system to deter the bad guys, but the alarm will only tell you someone has already broken in.

Most people however are conscious of locking their doors when they are going out or staying at home. Almost weekly I find a 1 inch deadbolt locking into a half inch deep hole. I have written about this topic before, it has become my pet peeve. I have shown home owners how I can unlock their home faster than they can get the key out of their pocket, all because the carpenter, door installation specialist, handyman or locksmith did not take the time to make sure the 1 inch deadbolt locks into a 1 inch deep hole in the door frame.

This past week I was at a home to re-key the locks after a contractor finished a remodel job. The contractor was given a key to enter the home and work if the home owners were not at home. Since the house key was very common and easily duplicated I was hired to change the locks to a new key. The door I photographed was behind the garage in a secluded area. Anyone could have opened this door with a pocket knife without being noticed. When I locked the door I felt the deadbolt bottom out in the strike hole, except the deadbolt was not fully extended to its 1 inch throw. Deadbolts that do not extend the full inch are not locked, the bolt can be pushed back into the door. The term “deadbolt” descibes the bolt when it is fully extended. The bolt is “dead,” and cannot be pushed back into the door.

Check your own doors. Open the door and throw the deadbolt, notice how far the key or thumb-turn rotates. Try to push the bolt back into the door, the bolt should not move. If you can push the bolt into the door you may need a new lock, or at least a new bolt for your lock. Now close the door and lock the deadbolt. The key or thumb-turn should rotate the same distance as when the door was open. If not your door may not be properly locked. This is easily corrected by cutting the strike hole deeper until you feel the deadbolt “click.”  Another option is to call a professional locksmith to make sure your locks are properly installed.P1110115P1110111P1110108P1110116P1110129P1110118P1110121P1110123P1110127P1110128

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