Tips to hire a good locksmith

In a town the size of Birmingham, AL you can find hundreds of locksmiths. They are literally everywhere you look. You can find locksmith shops online, on billboards, in the yellow pages, on windshield flyers, even on business cards stuck on coffee shop bulletin boards. With so many options to choose from, how do you know which one(s) to hire? Is your choice really that important? Aren’t all locksmiths pretty much the same?

Home Lockouts

The answer may surprise you, but there ARE differences and qualities that you need to be aware of. Think about it; a locksmith is someone that is working to help secure your access to home, auto and business properties. If they help you get access, it means that THEY can get access, too! Wouldn’t you want someone trustworthy and skilled for a job like that? Of course you would! A lot of folks are more selective when hiring a gardener or a common handyman than they are when choosing a locksmith. The technician you select needs to be licensed, bonded, insured and fully mobile (at the very least!).

Is licensing important or just prestigious?

It’s actually both. It’s hard to believe, but people sometimes avoid calling a licensed technician in an effort to avoid having to pay more. This kind of thinking is foolish. Would you go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist? Of course not! Here at Birmingham Locksmith we take credentials seriously and so should you! Having a license is more than a just a piece of paper; it is validation that proper training and skill procedures were followed and that accountability to a licensing board is involved. Having proper credentials doesn’t have to mean higher prices, either. Not only are our Birmingham Locksmith technicians affordable, but many other local Birmingham, AL locksmith shops are, as well. If you need something simple like key cutting or door knob changing, call anyone you like, but when it comes to real locksmith tasks like lock replacement or transponder key programming use only real lock professionals and get better quality as well as peace of mind!

Be proactive!

It never hurts to be ready for ANY need. This includes locksmith service, too! If you lock yourself out, or come home to crime damaged locks, having a fully vetted locksmith already logged into your smart phone contacts is good to have. Instead of stressing out over trying to locate a technician and calling to see if they are available, just reach for your mobile device and tap to call! We recommend adding at least two shops or technicians to your smart phone and making sure that your loved ones, roommates or key staff members do the same. If you never need to use them; great! But if you do; they are only a fast phone call away at any time, day or night.

Insist on this one!

Choose a Birmingham, AL shop that offers 24-hour service; that’s important. Locksmith problems don’t keep regular hours; in fact, it seems that they happen when we least expect them and mostly AFTER hours. While ads often claim 24/7 service it’s smart to check and see if they really provide it. You might be locked out of your car late on a weekend night and not feel so safe in whatever neighborhood you are in. Or, your home might have been burglarized on a holiday and your locks were so badly damaged that you need new ones. The last thing you want to deal with now is a late show (or no-show) technician; not when you need one immediately! Our shop uses live response, 24-hour telephone staff to ensure that your call is handled with the utmost speed and attention. Insist on similar personal attention from the locksmith shop you choose to work with.

Check for unresolved issues

Lock Change

Every local business has complaints from customers from time to time; that’s not the problem. It’s the unresolved ones that tell a different story. Look for online reviews on the company you are considering and see how problems were taken care of. Check Better Business Bureau records for problems that were not finalized in a satisfactory way. The locksmith shop in question does NOT have to be a member but it should have few to none unresolved complaints. A pattern that says otherwise should be a red flag.

Insurance and bonding

Insist that the locksmith shop you select is bonded and insured. Go a step beyond just asking if they are covered, and find out for how much. This is a strong indicator that the company is legitimate and has your best interest at heart. It also protects you from shoddy work that one of their locksmiths may do that might cause property damage or even bodily injury. Note the response of the person you speak to. If they give the information willingly and cheerfully that tends to be a good sign. If they don’t know or refuse to answer the question; call someone else! While you are at it; be sure to ask if the company used to operate under other names. This is good to know in case they were previously shut down by local authorities and have now re-opened under a new name. Even if they don’t own up to that, you can still tell a lot by how they answer the question!

Well rounded service

An optimal locksmith shop for you to work with can do more than just make keys or install a peephole. They need to be able to help with residential locksmith services like emergency door unlocking, alarm service and lock replacement. They should also be well versed in automotive lock and key service including trunk opening, keyless entry repair and transponder key programming. Lastly, commercial locksmith service should be available including safe opening, panic bars and keypad devices. Having an “all in one” locksmith shop that is fully certified and available 24/7 is what you should be looking for. Spend the time and effort to find one now and it will pay off in big dividends down the road when you need to use them!

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HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT LOCKS FOR YOUR NEEDS

Lock Change

Are you looking for locks for your home or business? Once you begin, you’ll find out that there’s an almost endless selection of locks to choose from. To find the best lock for each need, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will use the lock?
  • How much security do you need?
  • Where will the lock be placed?
  • What are the surroundings like where you’ll install the lock?

Here are some of the most popular locks. Let’s look at their security features:

Knob locks are often utilized as the sole source of security for exterior doors, although they’re typically installed in addition to deadbolts. A knob lock by itself actually isn’t very secure, because the lock cylinder is just in the knob itself rather than inside the door. A knob lock can be broken off the door by a criminal in the know, using a hammer. The lock can also be forced open with pliers or with a wrench behind the knob, bypassing the locking cylinder, by a professional thief. If you presently have knob locks, you ought to consider replacing them with simple passage knobs. Adding deadbolts will give you more security.

Deadbolts are the most secure locks you can have for your home, as any locksmith professional will tell you. They’re called “dead” because there aren’t any springs to operate the bolt; a deadbolt is operated only manually, with a key or a thumbturn. Deadbolts are installed on external doors in four basic types: single-cylinder, double-cylinder, lockable thumbturn, and jimmy-proof.

A single-cylinder deadbolt is the type we normally imagine, as it has a key cylinder on the outside. A thumbturn on the inside opens and closes it. This kind of deadbolt is often used on solid doors made of wood or metal. A disadvantage of this deadbolt is that if there’s any possible access to the inside (such as through a nearby window, or through the peephole, which a professional burglar will know how to do), the door can be opened with the thumbturn.

To deal with this issue, a double-cylinder deadbolt has a key cylinder both on the inside and on the outside of the door. If the door’s locked, the double-cylinder deadbolt requires a key to open it from the inside. It’s good if your door has any glass in it, or if there’s a window near your door, because it will prevent an intruder from breaking the glass and reaching in to unlock the door. Its drawback is that in case of fire, it can be unsafe; make sure you always leave a key on the inside whenever people are at home, so that in case of an emergency, you can all get out fast.

A lockable thumbturn deadbolt is a hybrid of the single-cylinder and the double-cylinder deadbolt, giving optimized flexibility and security. It features a thumbturn on the inside, which works like a regular single-cylinder deadbolt, except that it can be locked with a key, so it can’t unlock or lock the door. This means that you can leave the thumbturn in an unlocked position while people are at home, but it will operate just like a standard single-cylinder deadbolt. When everyone is away, especially for a long time, the thumbturn can be easily locked, so even if someone gets access to the door from the inside, the deadbolt cannot be unlocked.

A jimmy-proof deadbolt is a surface-mount lock, frequently found on double doors and in apartment complexes. This deadbolt is preferred because it requires minimal door modifications. In this unique lock, the deadbolt interlocks with the jamb bracket, keeping it from any vulnerability to being pulled apart or forced from the outside by a would-be trespasser. A surface-mount lock means that the lock screws into the door’s inside, rather than with a drill pattern, the way a basic deadbolt does.

Key Extraction

Lever-handle locks are often used on inner doors in commercial facilities. They’re easier for most people to open than knob locks, because they have a large push-down handle, rather than a knob that you have to grasp and turn. When accessibility for the disabled is important, a lever lock is your best bet.

Mortise-cylinder locks are threaded, screwing into mortise hardware that’s mounted inside the door. These locks are held in place by a set screw, and a cam activates the locking mechanism. Mortise cylinders are available in numerous lengths, and come with several options for the cams, depending on the hardware used.

Rim cylinder locks help upgrade your security. You’ll see them regularly on entry glass doors, commercial doors, and sometimes on doors of apartment buildings. These locks are generally used in rim latch locks, mounted on the inside of the door. Rim cylinder locks have a long metal piece that extends out from the back of the lock, which runs through the door into a locking mechanism on the opposite side of the door.

Cam locks are the locks you see in mailboxes, filing cabinets, and cupboards. They come in various lengths, with an assortment of tailpieces (“cams”) which interface with another lock mechanism.

A rim latch lock has a rim cylinder on one side, with a surface-mount latch lock on the other. Rim latch locks can automatically lock the door as it shuts behind you, which makes them popular in apartment houses.

A wall-mounted lock is mounted in the wall, as its name says. An example is a firefighter’s box-style lock, oftentimes found in larger businesses. A wall-mounted lock provides emergency access to the building’s keys. It can be a small safe, which holds essential items. Usually it’s installed at the time of construction, although one can be installed at an existing facility. A wall-mounted lock normally has a cover or alarm sensor, which allows for networking into the building’s security system, meaning that any unauthorized access will be detected immediately.

 

In addition to the above locks, there are so many more. To discover which lock is ideal for each purpose, bring all your questions and concerns to a locksmith professional. If you’re located in Birmingham, Alabama, you ought to consult with a trustworthy locksmith, such as the mobile locksmith technicians on staff at Birmingham Locksmith.

Birmingham Locksmith: What To Do When Your Transponder Key Is Lost

Transponder Keys

The team of experts at Birmingham Locksmith surely is a force to be reckoned with. They have taken the time to put together advice for people not just in Birmingham, AL but everywhere. Anyone who owns or even rents or leases a vehicle will find the information here to be useful. Why? Because losing a transponder key can happen to anyone. When it does happen, it is extremely stressful, but luckily, there are steps you can take to regain access to your vehicle without spending a fortune.

Car companies are taking the time to come up with steps that will help in deterring theft, which is good for everyone. Think about it – less theft means less police reports, and it means less stress for car owners who spent a lot of money to be able to own their vehicle. Certain manufacturers such as Audi typically make a person enter a PIN before their key can be replaced if it is stolen. This way, not just anyone is able to get a copy of your transponder key. BMW is a manufacturer that has multiple codes programmed in their keys. Actually, this is a company that will immobilize your car so that it cannot run if the key is not there. These are just some of the methods which are being deployed nowadays to ensure only trained experts like trained, licensed lock and security providers and dealers are able to create and distribute keys.

What exactly is a transponder key and how does it work?

A transponder key is very important in keeping a vehicle safe and secure. The technology for this type of key was actually created during World War II. It didn’t become popular though for cars until the 90s. If your vehicle is one of the new ones which is utilizing a transponder key, then the ignition will have an antenna coil. Upon inserting and turning the key, the ignition coil will make a field which is electromagnetic. This electromagnetic field will communicate with the transponder chip that is located in the head of the key. This will serve as proof that the key is the right key which is needed to operate the vehicle. The car simply will not start if the transponder chip isn’t programmed with the right code. This technology is absolutely wonderful and serves to truly protect vehicles everywhere. It saves a great deal of stress.

But what happens if you can’t find your transponder key, and then you are unable to access your own vehicle?

If your transponder key is lost and you have already taken the time to search everywhere, like your house, the last place you visited, etc. then you should get on the phone with a local locksmith. Many offer emergency solutions so they are available 24 hours a day, every day, and they are able to make copies of transponder keys. How can they do this when this level of technology is so specific and advanced? How can they do this when manufacturers have created a system that prevents anyone from accessing your vehicle without the right key? Well, they have specialized equipment that can gain access to the embedded codes. Sure, you can go back to your dealership if you need to have a new transponder key made. The problem is that the dealership will usually charge a very high rate, one that many people are unable to afford. At least, it is a price tag that will set them back. So yes, visiting a dealership to get a key replacement is an option, but it is one that might be out of your price range. A lock and security provider that specializes in automotive services might end up being your best bet. And because they are willing to travel to their customers, they tend to make things easier than a dealer might.

Commercial Locksmith

Losing a key is always stressful, and it is even more stressful if said key happened to be stolen. You might be afraid that someone else will be able to gain access to your property. Luckily, most car manufacturers have made it essentially impossible for a person to gain access to your vehicle if they don’t have the transponder key that has been connected to said car. Basically, the new key technology which exists is absolutely wonderful for car owners who want to prevent theft whenever possible, but it does make the replacement of missing keys a bit of a challenge. Luckily, licensed and insured locksmiths should have access to equipment that allows them to program transponder chip keys. This is why it is important that people everywhere take a few moments of their time to look up and save the contact information of a lock and security provider that is local to their area. Anyone in Birmingham, Alabama can use the services of Birmingham Locksmith, but you just might not be in this area. Luckily, you can still heed the advice which has been offered by this company and take advantage of the information.

If your transponder key is lost, don’t panic. Just make sure to get in touch with a local professional if you have already searched everywhere that the key could possibly be. Just try to take a deep breath and re-trace your steps, because often times, when someone misplaces a key, it ends up being found practically right in front of them. That might mean that it is sitting on the desk at your office, on a nightstand, on a kitchen counter, or even in the bathroom if you happened to bring it in there. Once you have exhausted all of your options in terms of where it might have ended up, just reach out to a licensed and insured expert that can help you by creating a copy or programming a new transponder key for you. Good luck!

How Access Control Benefits You

Acess Control

Access control systems enable you to control the movement of specific people. There are some people who you want to gain access into a certain area and those whom you do not. With an access control system, you have another layer of security. This type of system really comes in hand for schools, government buildings, hospitals, laboratories and other types of important institutions. Access control prevents people on the street from just walking into your building and going anywhere. We have to be more diligent more than ever, in keeping undeserving people out of our properties. Our Birmingham, Alabama locksmiths at Birmingham Locksmith have been able to advise many businesses and institutions of the necessity of installing access control systems. With access control systems you don’t need keys so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with them or the possibility of them getting into the wrong hands. Personal characteristics are used to identify the person who has been given permission to enter a certain area. They may or may not have to still enter an access code for further identification.

In addition to serving as security for your business, it also helps you to monitor those who are in and out of your property. When something comes up missing, you are able to narrow down who may have taken them based on who was in at that time. If you have access control entryways, it often acts as a deterrent  to someone who may try to gain access. When you have confidential information that you need to protect, having access-controlled doors is a great method for restricting certain people movements. With the latest technology, you can access a room via a smart card, bar code or magnetic striping. You can definitely make it much more difficult for someone to enter a room you would rather them not go into by investing in an access control system.

If you are still trying to determine the type of security features best for your business, why not consider some of the information we have provided below. They highlight many of the practical benefits of your installing an access control system.

  • Not Easy to Duplicate

Most standard keys are easy to duplicate. This possibility is eliminated when you have access-controlled entryways. An electronic key isn’t easily duplicated. There are far to many steps to take in doing so. There is also more advanced technology involved in attempting to duplicate an electronic key, that the average person isn’t familiar with.

 

  • Convenience

If you are expecting a technician and they need access into another area of your building, you can add them to your network so that they are able to gain access into all of the areas they need to visit. This means you do not have to hire extra security to wait around for technicians to arrive. After the service call has been completed, you can reprogram the area so that they can no longer gain access.

 

  • Customizable

You are in total control over who can have access into any part of your facility. In some cases, you may allow specific employees access into every part of the building. There may be some who you want to restrict to only one or two areas of the building. You are also able to program how long someone is able to remain in your building or in a certain area of your building. If you employ temporary employees, having this capability is extremely useful.

 

  • Remote Access

Having access control affords you flexibility and convenience. Many of the access control systems offered today give you the capability of accessing your building remotely. You don’t have to physically be present in order to give someone access onto your property. There is simply a signal that is transmitted to a central location. Remote access still gives you the control you need while protecting your business.

 

  • Easily Accessible

After receiving your access code, you will then have access into the areas that you have been given permission to enter. You won’t have to use a different key or change your access code every time you enter and leave the area. If something occurs where you are unable to enter the area, which you know that you have been granted access into, simply contact the network operator. With the flip of a button you are given access immediately.

 

  • Tracking System

    High Security Locks

When you have access-controlled systems installed, it is possible for you to track whomever is in an out. The system records who is in and out and at what times. When things are stolen, it is much easier to track down the possible suspect based on when they were in the building and at what times. This means that there is no longer a need to have someone standing by to sign people in and out.

 

  • Quick Access

If you already have to carry around a bunch of keys, the last thing you want to do is have to carry anymore than is necessary. With an access-controlled system, people are capable of quickly gaining access without trying to find the right key since a key is not needed in order to gain access.

 

If you have ever had a problem with employees stealing things or people gaining access into an area with confidential paperwork, it might be a good idea to invest in this type of system. If you’re concerned about the cost, just consider how much you actually save in theft prevention by not allowing just anyone to have access into your facility. Much more than not lose prevention, those who invest in an access-controlled system are afforded the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that they have maximum security to protect themselves. You don’t have to settle on any one particular type of system when there are so many to choose from. A Birmingham, Alabama locksmith specialist can come in handy when trying to determine which system will work best for your needs.