When you leave the house, do you check to make sure any back or side doors are locked, and then lock your front door on your way out? When you’re home, do you triple check that all the doors are locked before you head to bed?
If this doesn’t sound like you, you may be part of the 7% of Americans who don’t lock their doors when they leave, or the 23% who leave their doors unlocked while they’re home. YouGov polls have found that many homes across the country are unlocked throughout the day, especially while someone is home. That means over 22 million people leave their doors unlocked when they leave the house. We find that number shocking!
For the rest of us who think about home security and therefore do lock our doors when we leave as well as when we’re home, locks are a big deal. But not every lock is created equal. Read up on types of locks and what they’re good for below…
Knob locks are the kind built into the door handle. Most homes have a knob lock in addition to a deadbolt on exterior doors. These locks should never be the sole security on a door, since the lock is within the knob itself and not in the door like the deadbolt is, making it easier for someone to break in. Instead, knob locks are better used on interior doors that don’t need as much protection, for example a bathroom door you’ll lock for privacy.
Lever Handle Locks
Lever handle locks are easier to open than knob locks, which is useful if handicap accessibility is a concern. These locks have a large push down lever instead of the turning knob, but a similar lock style to the knob lock. As with knob locks, these are not recommended for sole security on exterior entryways, but can be helpful indoors if someone in your home has difficulty turning knobs—again, think bathroom privacy.
For real home security, you need deadbolts. Deadbolts are typically installed on household exterior doors. The most common in American homes is the single cylinder deadbolt. These locks secure your home from the outside, but if someone can gain access to the inside of your home such as through an open window, the deadbolt only requires a turn of the thumb-turn to open the door. That’s why you want to make sure windows are secured as well when you leave for the day.
Locks of the Future
As you might expect, technology has taken on locks too, making even keys obsolete. From keypads to Bluetooth-enabled deadbolts and even biometrics with fingerprint recognition, the locks that will soon be commonplace will powered by technology and accessed by devices such as smart phones. In addition, home security systems today will let you lock and unlock doors remotely, should you forget to lock the door on the way out or should you need to let the electrician in while you’re at work.
Whichever kind of lock you choose, check the level of security you can expect by checking the rating given by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI has three grades for door locks to help you know which will provide the most security.
Maybe you’re part of the 93% who lock their doors when they leave, the 77% who lock their doors when they stay, or even a part of the 7% who are (or should be) rethinking their home security habits. No matter which category you fit into, knowing your options on locks can help you make informed decisions on how to keep you and your home safe and secure.