Emtek is a high end brand of custom door hardware. They make custom deadbolts, knobs, and handle sets. By custom, I mean virtually custom. There are 20+ different finishes to choose from and you can mix and match back plates, knob styles, lever styles, and trim plates. Everything is assembled individually with an order. The products truly look amazing and high quality. However, there can be some issues.

I was recently discussing Emtek quality issues with another locksmith online. There seems to be some quality control issues. He showed me the back of a lock cylinder that was ground flat instead of being raised. Puzzling for a brand that strives to be a higher quality in a sea of poorly made products. This issue seems to be a one off machining issue, something I can understand but it is still troubling.

I recently had a lock challenge in Beachwood. Beachwood has a lot of Emtek hardware because it is a higher income area. The hardware does look beautiful on these homes and adds a lot to the entrance. The deadbolt suddenly stopped functioning. The bolt would only through half way with the inside thumb turn. Using a key to lock the outside was next to impossible. I disassembled the lock and everything looked fine. No visible issues. I re-installed the lock and adjusted it’s positioning and it worked fine. The hole for the deadbolt wasn’t additional, it was a factory prep by the door. It is possible that the factory prep of the deadbolt bore was off, but by eye it looked fine, and even if it was slightly off, that shouldn’t matter that much. All I could imagine is that the screws were not completely tightened and the deadbolt dropped to the bottom of the bore. The screws did seem tight enough though. The deadbolt now works and I hope it stays that way.

Emtek is in a unique position. It’s quality hardware at a premium price. Customers that buy it obviously are okay with paying a little extra to get the look and function they want. I think it would behoove Emtek to cater to that demographic and make sure their product is outstanding, every time. This issue I had in Beachwood doesn’t seem to be an outlier. I’ve had similar and other issues with Emtek door hardware. I find this odd because I almost find as many malfunctions with Emtek as I do with off the shelf brands. This could be for several reasons. 1) When cheaper hardware like Kwikset has an issue they just throw it out and replace it 2) Someone who is willing to call a professional locksmith is more likely to own Emtek. So the exact frequency of issues is hard to determine. I will say that I go to a number of homes for commercial property managers and see a lot of Kwikset and similar import locks that see to not have these issues.

I have not found these types of issues with commercial grade lever handle locks and deadbolts. It’s interesting that it is hard to get high quality products even when you are willing to pay a premium price. If you have any issues with Emtek locks please email me and let me know. I’m curious what issues others have encountered and how you got it fixed.

 

 

The actual installation of a standard door sensor for a modern alarm system is not that difficult. Essentially, there is a strip of double sided tape placed on the back of the sensor then it’s stuck to the door. Same process with the magnet. There are however, a number of considerations that make it more complicated. One, the gap between the sensor and magnet need to be close. Many people make this mistake and have to unstick and re-stick the sensor. This causes the adhesive bond to weaken. This may result in the sensor falling off. If the sensor falls off the door or window is not appropriately monitored or it may trigger a false alarm. Two, the design of the system. Does every window in the house need a sensor? Most DIY alarm users just kind of make and educated guess about this. That’s not the approach we take to securing your home or business. A professional alarm company is going to analyze exactly what you need, make recommendations, and consider your desired price point. Two, many doors and door trim configurations make it simply impossible to use standard door alarm contacts. There’s no easy way to get the sensor and magnet on the same plane with minimal gap. One solutions is to cut the door frame in order to place the magnet. You can do this and it works but there’s a product specifically designed for this type of situation. The recessed door contact.

Recessed door alarm contacts can be wireless or wired. The most common application nowadays is wireless. They function and communicate the same way standard door and window contacts work. The only difference is that during installation a small hole is drilled into the door and the door jamb in order for the sensor and magnet to be placed inside.

There are a number of considerations you need to make before you drill a door for a recessed contact. What type of material is the door made out of? Is the door metal?  Is it hollow. What is the condition of the door jamb? Are the sensors going to line up appropriately. When you drill for a sensor in the door then the jamb and realize they are out of alignment – you can’t just move one up or down. You need to fill both holes and start again. Luckily, we know a thing or two about doors ;)

The cities of Beachwood, University Heights, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, and others have a lot of older doors. These doors often times have trim that makes mounting a typical sensor difficult, if not impossible. The only viable way to install a sensor on some of these doors is to use a recessed sensor.

Another benefit of recessed door contacts is that there is significantly less visible equipment. Door contacts have gotten smaller of the years but they are still noticeable on doors. They typically come in white or brown sometimes black. These colors don’t match every door color. Qolsys recessed door contacts come in white and brown. You can easily paint the caps on the sensors to match the exact color of your door. While the out of the box colors may be limited, it’s surprising how well white or black blend in with the door, especially because they are installed in such an inconspicuous place.

Well there you have it. A short explanation of the benefits of recessed door contacts. Another significant benefit of having a professional alarm company install for you!

We are a Nest partner. That includes video doorbells, security cameras, and alarm systems. Even though we are partners with NEST security we are system agnostic. Meaning we will help guide you to make the purchase that makes the most sense for your budget and needs. Some people like the brand recognition that Nest provides and choose them for their alarm system, and that’s okay.

We do however, provide a a variety of systems from different manufactures that can meet your requirements and budget. Our top tier alarm product is the Qolsys IQ2+ panel that’s compatible with PowerG alarm sensors. This panel was built from the ground up to work with alarm.com It’s the best option if you want a rich user experience and plan on incorporating other smart devices into your home security set-up.

Our more budget solution is iSecure from NAPCO. This product is truly amazing for the price and completely reviles Nest and Ring on price. Their support staff is also amazing. This system has a mobile app and text messaging. The screen is not as beautiful as the Qolsys panel and it is somewhat limited on smart home integrations. However, it’s a full professional security system worthy of being installed in a home or business.

If you’re considering a NEST or Ring alarm system and have questions please feel free to contact us. We can provide you with information and resources to make an informed decision that works for you.

Restricted key systems prevent unauthorized persons from making key copies. But what system should you choose? There’s Medeco, ASSA, Mul-T-Lock, GMS, and a several others. We’ve recently added ASSA Maximum + to our lineup of restricted key systems. ASSA Maximum + is patented until 2030. This provides an extra layer of security preventing unauthorized individuals or even other locksmiths from making copies.

ASSA keys don’t just have key cuts. They also have a sidebar. The sidebar is nearly impossible to replicate without specialized milling equipment. We can provide ASSA systems with different sidebars to ensure that other people can’t duplicate your keys.

ASSA cylinders are extremely high quality and the keys simply don’t break. Other restricted key systems can have issues with keys breaking. ASSA keys are thick and withstand the toughest users.

If you’re interested in a high security, UL listed, and/or master key system contact us about our ASSA options.

We have several mini blog sections now: the regular blog, Lab Notes, and now Field Notes

The purpose of Field Notes is to communicate we do on a daily basis, methods we use, products we use, and how we overcome challenges.

Many people do not fully understand the scope of Lock Alchemy as a company. We are a physical security infrastructure company. That means we physically install and service the full spectrum of a home or businesses security needs. We are one of the few companies that call do this.

For example: We can repair a door, install a new lock, install a restricted high security key, run cable for electronic access control, install an alarm system on said door, and aim a camera at the door. Everything integrated.

There is a lot of confusion about how alarm systems work. Firstly, what is monitoring. Monitoring means there is a company dedicated to answering calls, alerts, responding to those alerts, and calling local police and fire. Self-monitored simply means that the system will notify YOU, the user, that something has occurred and it’s up to you how to proceed. Obviously, the small cost of having a monitored system is extremely beneficial. There are people handling the system 24/7 even when you sleep, are out of the house, or on vacation.  A monitored alarm system saves precious time in case of an incident and works for you around the clock. Obviously there are no guarantee with a professionally monitored alarm system. The police response and the actions of the perpetrator will play a large role in how things turn out.

Secondly, many people still think that most alarm systems use a telephone line (POTS which stands for Plain Old Telephone Service). Most modern systems are dual path – meaning that they communicate to a central monitoring station using internet AND cellular communication. It amazes us that many alarm companies still advertise that you don’t need a telephone line for their system. There are, however, still systems that use telephone lines. “Wireless” can refer to the fact that the sensors are not wired OR that the system communicates without a wired connection to a phone line.When trying to understand what someone is talking about a wireless alarm system it’s important to differentiate if they are talking about the communication method or the sensors. Wireless sensors can still be used on a system that communicates using a telephone line. Conversely, wired sensors can use wireless communication methods back to a central station.

There are still many companies that offer internet only monitored alarm systems. If the internet is out, the alarm is out. It’s a small risk but insignificant. Some suburbs such as University Heights, Beachwood, South Euclid, and Cleveland Heights are prone to frequent brown outs and other fluctuations in power which effect the internet.  It does save costs on monthly monitoring which is attractive to some customers. In our experience, it’s preferable to use a dual-path system.

There are advantages to wired and wireless sensors. In short, wired sensors are not defeated by cutting them. If anyone tells you that, run, because they don’t know enough about the alarm industry to try and sell you anything. The biggest downside is the cost and clean up of installing hardwired sensors.

 

In Summary of What We Provide

  • Installation of NEW wireless sensors
  • Installation of NEW hardwired sensors
  • Re-using some wireless sensors (some companies use proprietary sensors to prevent you from switching companies)
  • Re-using wired sensors/upgrading them
  • Panels that use internet AND cellular to communicate to the central station
  • We *can* do telephone line and internet only monitoring but advise against it

 

There are some industry terms, confusing marketing jargon, and ignorant sales people. If you have questions about alarm systems just reach out to us!

The Qolsys IQ 2 Alarm Panel is our go to panel for a residential security system. You may find that there is also a IQ2 Plus model. At this time, the only difference is that the IQ 2 plus model can also use Power G sensors.

Power G sensors are very good all around sensors for doors, windows, motion detectors etc. They do cost a little more than typical alarm sensors.

The main advantage of Power G sensors is their incredible range. The have the furthest range out of any wireless alarm sensor on the market. For larger homes that may need necessary. If a home doesn’t require the extended range Qolsys sensors will provide more than adequate performance and range.

Contact Lock Alchemy Locksmiths & Security today to learn more about our no contact alarm home monitoring solutions.

Lock Alchemy isn’t just “doing alarm system.” We’re disrupting the industry in several important ways.

Local

Recent events have taught us the importance of relying on local businesses. Frankly, large alarm companies will never care about your installation, system, user experience, and satisfaction like a local company. Local companies have less hoops to jump through to get in contact with someone about your issues and offer support. Research into large alarm companies will quickly reveal they have many upset customers.

Marketing

Large companies have huge marketing budgets and often times have aggressive sales tactics. You’ve probably received a number of sales flyers for an alarm system. Those ads cost money and that cost is passed on to you when you sign up. Large companies are notorious for door to door sales. They receive lists of recently sold properties and visit them trying to sell a new alarm system. These salesmen typically work heavily on commission. Meaning they only get paid when they sell you a system. They also make more commission when they sell upgrades and add-ons that you might not need or even understand.

Knowledge

Unfortunately, the sales people with these companies are often times not event the person who installs the system. This can create a breakdown in communication and expectations. We have knowledgeable staff that can educate potential customers, design systems, and install them. One point of contact. Because we are a full service security company we understand locks, doors, cameras, and other security issues. Everything is under one umbrella.

“FREE”

Is anything ever really free? Nope. Ads promise free sensors, cameras, and other perks. Read the fine print and you’ll discover that in order to use these “free” devices you need to upgrade to a more expensive package. Free is cheesy and deceptive.

Financing

Traditional alarm companies rely heavily on financing. No money down and free equipment actually just means that the monthly cost of your alarm system is unnecessarily high. Their return is all but guaranteed by their iron clad 3 year contracts that lock you in and have heavy penalties if you leave early. With our model, you own all your equipment day one. In fact, you could switch to another alarm company whenever you’d like. That’s why from day one we need to deliver as a company that will keep your support.

Purchasing all of the equipment at once can be a little expensive. We have a system to offer 6 monthly payments for the equipment. It’s not a lease or rental. You own your equipment day one.

Contracts

We’ve already mentioned the lengthy contracts and early termination penalties. We offer our service month to month. We mentioned that since you own your equipment you can terminate your service at any time or even switch to another alarm company. From day one we have motivation to make sure you are 100% satisfied with your system.

Another benefit of not having contracts is that it provides you another type of security – financial security. You can have services for one month or years then pause your monitoring in case of financial need. However, our low monthly rates are affordable enough that you probably wouldn’t notice the cost if you needed to save money on your monthly budget.

If you’re interested in a home security system contact us at info@LockAlchemy.com

Typically, we can install an alarm system the same day you call if your located in University Heights, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Shakers Heights, Beachwood, or other nearby cities.

Lock Alchemy Locksmiths & Security is now a provider of home and commercial alarm systems.

Residential: We’re very excited to provide home alarm systems. We are so excited because we’re doing something different from other companies. We’re happy to bring the same customer service and support we provide with our other services to the alarm industry. The alarm industry sometimes gets a bad wrap and often times, rightfully so. Pushy door to door salesmen, bait & switch tactics, and long contracts with heavy early termination penalties. We’re changing that. No door-to-door sales. Honest upfront pricing. No contracts – everything is month to month. We plan on releasing more articles about how we’re doing something really different.

Commercial: You can affordably protect your business while away. With remote camera viewing and analytics – you can visually check on your facility and receive notifications of unusual activity. Many businesses qualify for an insurance premium reduction with a qualifying alarm system.

Choosing Lock Alchemy as your alarm provider can reduce the difficulty of contacting multiple service companies and having them play the blame game. Alarm, access control, cameras, locks, doors, and internet cabling can be under one service provider.

Qolsys is a leading alarm panel manufacturer. They produce residential and commercial alarm and fire protection products. Their current main product is their IQ2+ panel that works with their own slimeline sensors and other sensors from other manjor manufactures. They also have products that help integrate hardwired alarm systems with wireless sensors.

The IQ2+ provides several features that set it apart from other manufactures. Firstly, it’s a quality product that’s worthy of providing home and business security. It has a built in cell transmitter that eliminates the need to buy a panel and a transmitter – which reduces costs. The Iq2+ can use power G transmitters that have the longest range available making them an ideal choice for large homes and large commercial applications. The large range of sensor that the panel often times completely eliminates the need to buy new sensors when switching companies.

Some Key Features:

7” HD Touchscreen Easy to use, Feels like your phone
Bluetooth Touchless Disarming Leave your phone in your pocket
Dual SRF featuring PowerG 4x Range, Encrypted, Takeover wireless, Hardwired
Live Answer, Live View Safely answer your door from the 7” HD Touchscreen
Built in 5MP Camera Disarm Photos with Face Recognition
Built in Glass Break Add value without adding cost
Z-Wave Plus Lights, Locks, Thermostats, Garage Openers