Electronic locks, digital locks – however you’d like to refer to them, these locks provide “access control,” meaning you control who enters your home/property and when. These locks are increasingly popular for those interested in security, not getting locked out, and home automation enthusiasts. We often get questions about how these locks hold up to real world conditions. People may think that locksmiths have a financial incentive to steer people away from these DIY digital locks. Really, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Unfortunately, these locks often times generate more revenue for us than traditional locks. Consider these topics if you are asking totally if you sound get an electronic lock for your home.

Good bad consideration

The Good

1) They’re generally easy to install if you followed by the instructions and are comfortable using basic tools.

2) They just work (hopefully). Once installed typically they just need 5-10 minutes to set up.

3) Some locks offer app integration which allows users to unlock their door from their phone or give people one time pass codes such is useful for cleanin crews or friends. Many of these locks often integrate with other home automation / smart home products

4) They look sleek and modern.

The Bad

1) You may research online or have a friend that tells you they’ve had a great experience with these locks. That’s one person’s experience and may be a very valid experience. However, locksmiths see hundreds on different locks and often when they fail. The failure rates on some locks are shockingly high.

2) The quality is often lacking. Commercial electronic locks typically start at around $350. These residential grade locks sometimes have very cheap parts that break or malfunction.

3) People so use smart locks often have a tendency to ditch their house key. Perhaps to reduce bulk in their purse or pocket or to feel free from keys. Either way, if the lock fails people often don’t have a key to override the lock. Some electronic locks don’t even have a key override, something we strongly recommend against.

3) The cost of failure is high – it means being locked out. Being locked out of your house isn’t fun. If the lock has a key override a locksmith can get you in your home. If there is no key override and no other entrance the only option may need to drill the lock. A $150 lock is toast and now you need a $150 replacement lock plus the cost of having a locksmith come out.

4) App integration is cool but comes with risks. Technology is not fail proof. If an electronic device like a simple printer fails it’s frustrating but you can manage. A lock failing means that you can’t get into your home or business or your tenants are calling you last at night saying that your smart lock isn’t working.

Multiple failure points:

  • The physical lock
  • The electronic components of the lock
  • The door is sagging or the door sells because of heat
  • The battery dies
  • The internet goes out
  • There is a firmware issue
  • The provider has a technical issue (their internet, hardware, software)

5) App integration. The smart home industry is releasing products and systems at an incredible rate. Not all products are compatible.

Whenever we get calls to Cleveland Heights we never know exactly what type of lock and door situation we’ll find. The lock is “old.” That could be a lot of different things. In this article we’ll talk about some of the common things we see in homes in Cleveland Heights, OH.

Push Knobs – We see a lot of old Wiser brand door knobs. Instead of having a push button or a twist knob they often lock by pushing the door knob itself in. When demonstrating this for the first time many home owners are taken aback by the realization that there knobs in their house actually do work. Many customers simply do not like this older style door knob.

Brass – Styles change all the time and I’m sure we’re going to see brass in the future again. Many people want every knob switched over to silver nickel, oiled rubber bronze, or at least antique brass. This is one reason we stock so much brass hardware. We want to be done to replace one or two knobs/deadbolts and not have mismatched finishes.

“The One Key” – The amount of people that never lock their doors is amazing. What’s more amazing to us that they often only have 1-2 keys that barely work and often don’t go to every lock. Nothing is better than seeing the look on a customer’s face after a re-key when we give them 10 freshly cut keys

“The Timeline” – Previous owners slowly updated different locks over decades. Old vintage Sargent on one door, Weiser on another, Lori deadbolt, Kwikset Titan, then Schlage. Nothing matches the same style, finish, or key.

Sagging Doors – Older homes shift and settle. Hinges get warped after years of holding a door up. Combined with the extreme hot/ cold of Ohio, these doors can get in pretty rough shape. There are many different ways to address these issues. Replace the hinges, shim the hinges, adjust the hinges, plane the door, sometimes even jamb modifications.

Mortise Locks – Lastly, mortise locks. We’ve seen everything from 120 year old to 50 year old mortise locks in Cleveland Heights. Most of them are just fine, need a little cleaning, and a new cylinder then they’re fine. Replacing them is very time consuming and costly.