Author: BB

Fa Locksmith - Exit devices push bar installed on wood door (3)

Emergency Exit Devices

Panic bars and emergency exit devices are a crucial part of your business’s overall safety plan. Here at FA Locksmith, we’ve worked with many business owners in the Raleigh and Triangle Area to ensure that their workplace, school, or hospital is safe for everyone who walks through their doors.

And we also know that navigating the building codes and finding the right equipment for your space can be tricky. In this article, we’ll explain how panic and fire exit hardware works so that you can choose the right set up for your business.

What are the differences between panic bars and fire-rated exit devices?

Most people who enter your building have no idea that there are actually many different kinds of technology and hardware keeping them safe. Here’s a rundown of the most common kinds of exit devices:

  • Panic bar. A basic panic bar is a device that allows the user to easily push open the door by pressing on a horizontal bar. This is important in the case of an emergency and for people with disabilities who may not be able to open a knob or handle. Panic bars may or may not be connected to an alarm system, and can be manually “dogged” or calibrated to be unlatched for easier swinging.
  • Fire-rated exit device. Fire-rated exit hardware looks and functions almost the same as a panic bar. But the key difference is grading. Fire-rated devices are graded to be used on fire-rated exit doors as well as regular doors, whereas panic bars can only be used on non-fire-rated doors. Fire-rated exit devices also cannot be dogged.

This important distinction is a good starting point to understanding panic hardware for commercial buildings.

Rim, mortise, vertical rods and multi-point panic hardware for commercial buildings

As a business owner, you have one priority: safety. That means both the safety of your occupants in the event of an emergency as well as the safety of your team and possessions from a break-in. So, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different levels of security in panic hardware:

  • Rim latch panic bar. This is the least complex and most common kind of panic or crash bar, and it’s suitable for most settings. The latch extends visibly from the device in order to catch on the door frame or mullion (i.e. the metal beam between two double doors.)
  • Mortise panic bar. Mortise locks have been around for many years, and it’s because they are reliably secure and strong. Mortise lock panic hardware is installed within the housing of the door and frame, thus hiding the locking mechanism when the door is shut. Mortise locks are not as common in commercial settings because installation is more intensive and not appropriate for all door types.
  • Vertical rods. Vertical rods allow the door to be latched at the top or bottom of the door frame. This is often used for double-doors in which a business owner doesn’t want to install a mullion onto which the rim lock will latch. In terms of security, it does have some vulnerabilities, especially if it’s not outfitted to an alarm system.
  • Multi-point panic hardware. A multi-point system combines a rim lock with a vertical rod for added stability and security. In settings which double as storm shelters, this set-up is generally considered the most secure.  

Delayed egress panic bars

In certain settings, it may be necessary to install a delayed egress, or delayed opening mechanism on a door. This is common in certain medical settings in which staff want to prevent patients from wandering out, or protect the safety of young children and babies. There are a number of other applications, as well.

Delayed egress works by keeping the door closed for a set period of time until an alarm is triggered and the door is released. It is not allowed by code in all settings, so your trusted locksmith can help you figure out if delayed egress is required in your space.

Panic bar requirements and regulations

When you call a locksmith to install panic bar hardware, the first thing that we’ll do is assess your space with the International Building Code and OSHA in mind. Here are a few of the requirements we’ll consider:

  • Panic hardware must be used on doors that have a lock and latch for spaces in which the maximum occupancy is 50 people or more. This refers specifically to rooms that fall under Group A or E occupancy, such as gyms, schools, restaurants, churches, and museums.
  • Panic hardware must be installed when the door provides an exit for a room with Group H occupancy (Group H referring to spaces housing hazardous materials.)
  • Panic bars and fire-rated exit devices must be used on out-swinging doors.
  • Panic hardware must be easy-to-use and accessible for people with disabilities. There are a few specifications that are needed to comply with this, such as the panic bar spanning more than half of the width of the door and being mounted 34 to 48 inches from the floor. Another important requirement is that the door itself should swing open with minimal force.
  • Emergency exits must be clearly marked. If your panic bar is affixed on an emergency exit, it will also need signs and visible indicators so that people can act quickly in the case of an emergency.

Fire exit and panic bar maintenance

As with any security system, panic and fire exit hardware is only reliable when it’s proven to be functioning normally. And that’s why many building codes require regular testing and drills to ensure that panic hardware will work in a real emergency.

If you notice any faults or issues with any of your panic hardware, don’t wait to fix it. Even one faulty exit can spell disaster during an emergency situation. Here are some of the most common reasons why we’re called out for panic bar repair services:

  • Faulty installation. Because panic and emergency exit devices for businesses must comply with building codes, it’s never a good idea to go the DIY route. Trained professionals are your best option for installing well-functioning and safe exit devices for your commercial space.
  • Problems with the technical element of the panic hardware. If your panic hardware is connected to an alarm system, it can be tricky to get all of the components to work properly together. Troubleshooting technical problems is essential to make sure that the emergency exit device with alarm is ready for anything.
  • General wear & tear. Panic hardware is often installed on doors with high traffic, meaning that they can naturally lose functionality over time. Remember that panic hardware must be able to be opened with minimal force in order to comply with building codes and accessibility requirements. So, if you find that your bars are sticking or your doors are not swinging open easily, it’s time for some panic bar maintenance.

FA Locksmith is your go-to locksmith services for panic hardware solutions for your business, small or large!

In this article, we’ve given you the basics of fire-rated exit devices and panic hardware for commercial buildings. But, the truth is, every setting is a little bit different. Here at FA Locksmith, we can make sure that your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill NC business doors are safe, reliable, and up-to-code. It’s what makes us one of the most trusted locksmiths for business owners in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. Call today for a free estimate!

Lock Picking

Lock Picking: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Home or Office Safe

Lock picking is any business or homeowner’s nightmare. It’s the last thing you want in the back of your mind when your last employee goes home or you lock up your house for what should be a relaxing weekend away. Luckily, with the right security system or locks, you can stop worrying. That’s because nowadays, there are locking solutions that are so pick-resistant that prospective burglars won’t even be tempted to try. While nothing is 100% safe, its pretty safe to say that a burglar would probably want to find a different, easier target.

So, let’s talk about how your FA locksmith in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas can protect your home or workspace from lock pickers right now.

What is lock picking?

Let’s start with the basics:

Lock picking has been around for as long as locks themselves. But as locking technology has become more advanced and lock manufacturers like Schlage, Kwikset, Yale, Baldwin, Medeco and more have done and are doing a lot to improve security, so have the lock picking experts.

So, how do they do it?

Well, most dedicated lock pickers are specialized in pin-and-tumbler locks. These locks are spring-loaded, which means that with pressure and tension applied to the pins in the right order, they can be opened. This is usually done with:

  • A hook or rake and a tension wrench
  • Knife picks, which can be used for combination locks or padlocks
  • Bump keys, which are made to be able to open a variety of locks, just the same as pick tools.

With practice and skill, a lock picker can use their specialized tools to manually push up the pins that are holding the lock in place. A very experienced lock picker, or anyone with a rapid entry pick such as a rake or bump key, can open a lock in a matter of seconds. Its not as easy as you see in the movies, but not that hard either for simple locks. Unfortunately for homeowners and business owners, the internet has given everyone the chance to learn lock picking. In fact, lock picking has become a popular sport, meaning that picking kits are widely available for a variety of different kinds of locks. While most people learn this old technique just for fun, it can sometimes be used for criminal purposes.

Upgrading your hardware

While you can’t remove all of the information on the internet about lock picking, you can upgrade the security on your home or office to lower your risk of a break in with the right lock.

High security locks such as Medeco and Mul-T-Lock – Locks that utilize high security hardware are more expensive, but they can slow down and deter even the most experienced lock pickers. FA Locksmith can install and change all types of residential and commercial locks into high security locks with a new cylinder or completely new lock.

While the people who pick locks for fun may be drawn to the most complicated locks, most burglars aren’t looking for a challenge. Upgrading your hardware can be an effective way to keep your home or office safe from intruders.

Investing in smart solutions

Smart locks have completely revolutionized security by allowing a door to be locked with a keypad or an app. Here are a few ways that they can help protect you against lock picking:

  • Many smart locks don’t have anything to pick! A lock picking expert is going to have quite the disappointment when they get to your front door only to see that there’s no way to access the internal cylinder. That said, some smart locks do also have a keyhole, and may still be prone to picking. Most smart locks that do have a keyhole, are just as vulnerable as any other regular lock out there. They are not more secure!
  • Smart locks can be outfitted with an alarm system. One of the huge advantages of a smart lock is the alarm system. Lock picking can be quite discreet, but many burglars will opt not to pick a lock that will sound an alert once they’ve opened it.
  • Smart security systems often have cameras. Even though lock picking can be done in a very short amount of time, no burglar is fast enough not to be caught on camera. So, they may avoid a home outfitted with a smart security system with video or camera surveillance.

All of this being said, smart locks are not completely protected against attacks. Anything that uses smart technology can theoretically be vulnerable to hacking or interference, which may very well become the modern-day equivalent of traditional lock picking. You’ll want to look for a system that has been tested for cybersecurity and keep a strong password for your Wifi as well.

Other ways that you can prevent break ins

Here are a few final ways that you can lower the risk of your locks being picked:

  • Make sure your security system is installed by a locksmith. Even if you’re a DIY enthusiast, we would still recommend that you have a professional locksmith install your security system. FA Locksmith technicians are trained to identify and fix vulnerabilities that lock pickers can exploit.
  • Don’t let damage go unaddressed. Whether it’s a lock that doesn’t function well or a smart system with a few bugs, you do not want to ignore any issues with your locks. Call FA Locksmith to come out at the first sign of security failure.
  • Make your home or office undesirable for a burglar. Simple improvements like adding more external light or signing up for a neighborhood watch program can make your house less of a target for burglary.
  • Rekey your locks when necessary. If you worry that your keys have fallen into the wrong hands, a rekeying of your locks can be a simple way to restore your safety. In addition, it is the safe way to go in case you let one of your employees go recently or moved to a new home.

As you can see, many of these upgrades to your security system are best managed by a professional locksmith. FA Locksmith knows the ins-and-outs of locks better than the burglars, and we’re here to help you protect yourself against lock picking!

Locks Rekey

Rekey services for residential and commercial. FA Locksmith in Raleigh and surrounding areas can help. Call now!

In today blog post we will discuss lock rekey which is one of the most common locksmith services we offer and one that is a very good solution for most new home business owners.  FA Locksmith is proud to provide rekey and master rekey services for both residential and commercial customers in Raleigh Durham metro area and would be happy to assist you with any question you have.

What is locks rekey?

Rekeying locks involves changing the internal mechanism of a lock so that it can be operated by a different key with the same key way. This is important because you can only change the key of the same lock brand. For example: In case you have Schlage locks, you will be able to rekey them to a different Schlage key but not to a Kwikset key. The process of rekeying does not require replacing the entire lock but rather involves changing the lock’s pins or tumblers to match a new key. This As a result, the old key won’t be useful anymore while allowing the new key to operate it.

Master rekey cylinders (1)
Master rekey services for commercial locks – FA Locksmith

On the other hand, changing locks refers to removing the existing lock and replacing it with a totally new one. This involves installing an entirely different lock mechanism, latch etc. which comes with a new set of keys. Changing locks provides a complete replacement of the lock and matching keys.

Here are the main differences between rekeying locks and changing them:

  1. Cost: Rekeying locks is generally more cost-effective compared to changing locks since it only involves replacing the internal pins or tumblers. Changing locks requires purchasing entirely new locksets, which can be more expensive. Most often rekeying locks is half as expensive as changing the locks.
  2. Security: Rekeying locks provide a level of security by preventing the use of old keys. However, if the existing lock is compromised or damaged, changing locks may be a more appropriate option for enhancing security. In most cases, where the locks function fine, there is no real need to change the lock.
  3. Convenience: Rekeying locks is a quicker process compared to changing locks. In addition, once a locksmith rekey the lock, it can match it to a different, already installed lock you have. Changing locks may involve more time and effort, as it requires physically removing the old lock and installing a new one which most often requires an additional adjustment to the door.
  4. Key Control: Rekeying locks allows for key control, meaning you have control over who can access your property (contractors, previous owners, tenants etc). By using a new key, you can ensure that the previous key holders no longer have access. In this regard, changing locks also offers the same level of key control.
FA Locksmith rekey locks services in Raleigh Durham NC
FA Locksmith rekey locks services in Raleigh Durham NC

If it’s still hard for you to decide if you want to change or rekey your locks, you should consider factors such as your budget, security needs, and convenience. If you’re looking to prevent the use of old keys while maintaining the same locks, rekeying is a suitable option.

However, if you want to upgrade security or if the existing locks are damaged or don’t function well, changing locks may be the better choice.

As always, remember that you don’t have to make this decision alone. FA locksmith can come to you and offer you the best solution for your needs and budget. We work with all lock brands and our mobile unit has a huge variety of locks for you to choose from in case you want to replace your locks.

How much does it usually cost to rekey your locks?

It really depends on the types of locks you have. For most residential locks it usually costs between $20-$50, depends on the labor.

For commercial locks it may be higher, especially for emergency exit devices (where we have to take the exit device off the door first) and special locks.

For a more accurate quote and information, give us a call any time.

FA Locksmith rekey locks services in Raleigh NC (4)
FA Locksmith rekey locks services in Raleigh NC
Lost Mercedes key replacement FA Locksmith (2)

Car Key Replacement

Car key replacement services by a FA locksmith in Raleigh NC metro area.

Whether you’re locked out in downtown Raleigh because of a broken key or completely lost your keys  outside of your home or office in Durham, FA locksmith can help you get back on the road quickly and safely. In this blog post, we’ll go over the benefits of using FA locksmith for car key replacement services and share some tips on how to choose the right locksmith for your needs.

Here are some of the advantages using FA Locksmith as your car key replacement provider in Raleigh and surrounding areas:

FA Locksmith technician making a new car key
  1. Quick Response Time: When you lose your car keys you need someone who can come fast and respond quickly to get you back on the road as soon as possible. FA locksmith can come to your location usually within an hour (depends on your exact location) and provide you with a new set of keys on the spot. That’s including cutting and coding the key which today is necessary in most makes and models!
  2. Coding, programming and tools: Not all Locksmiths have the expertise and tools necessary to replace any type of car key, especially for high end cars and key fobs. Whether you have a non chip key, transponder key, or remote key fob, FA locksmith can create a new key for you quickly and efficiently. In addition, we work with most makes and models, foreign and domestic, including Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo Kia and more.
  3. Cost-Effective: Replacing your car keys at the dealership can be expensive not only because of the high fees dealers usually charge but also because of towing costs. FA locksmith can provide you with a more cost-effective solution that is just as reliable, and if you wish, we can make you an OEM key. In case you want a cheaper option, we can make you an aftermarket key.
  4. Convenience: When you call FA locksmith for car key replacement services, you don’t have to worry about towing your car or waiting for days to get a new set of keys. Our mobile locksmiths have all the necessary tools to make you a replacement key on site, including coding, and if you want, duplicating new keys as well.
FA Locksmith Automotive locksmith services Raleigh NC Audi key replacement (4)

Before you choose a locksmith, here are a few tips to remember:

  1. Do your research: Check their website, read reviews, and ask Look for a locksmith with a good reputation and preferably years of experience in the industry. Not all locksmith can make keys for all makes and models. FA locksmith is proud to have excellent reviews, and we encourage you to read them here:
  2. Licensing and Insurance: Make sure the locksmith you choose has the necessary license and insurance. In North Carolina all locksmiths must be licensed. FA Locksmith is very proud to be a licensed and insured locksmith service and we encourage you to check our locksmith license here: our license number is #2362.
  3. Availability: Choose a locksmith who is available when you need them. You never know when you may need car key replacement or lockout services,  and it’s important to have someone you can rely on in an emergency. FA Locksmith can assist you around the clock!
  4. Last but not least, get a price upfront. Some keys can be very expensive to replace, and it may be a good idea to ask for a quote upfront. As always, we would be happy to provide you with a free estimate over the phone.
  5. Consider rekeying the new locks to your existing locks so you will have the same key. FA Locksmith also offers on site rekeying services for your convenience.

Here are some photos of some of our previous customers, and as you can see, we work with a huge variety of makes and model. We will be happy to help you as well anywhere around Raleigh, Cary, Durham, White Oak, Wake Forest and more.

FA Automotive locksmith services Raleigh NC (1)

Lock Installation

Lock Installation

Installing a new lock on your door is an important project, especially when your main purpose is upgrading your home or office security.

Therefore, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure the lock is installed properly and of course, that you have the right door lock.

There are many different options out there, some are more suitable for residential and others, for commercial purposes. (This is especially true when it comes for thicker doors or metal doors)

FA Locksmith in Raleigh, NC can help you choose the right lock for your home or business, as well as installing the lock correctly on a wood or metal doors. We have years of experience with different types of locks and setups so we can help you wherever you are in the triangle area.

Residential keypad lock installation on wood door in Raleigh FA Locksmith (1)

Let’s take a look at a few important points to remember before you call for lock installation:

  1. Determine the type of lock you need: There are different types of locks available such as deadbolts, knob knobs, keypad locks and smart locks (Bluetooth or fingerprint operated). FA Locksmith can help you choose the right one for you.
  2. The installation process (which we refer to as fresh installation) is different for wood and metal doors. Therefore, make sure to take that under consideration as there are many locks that will fit to only one type of door.
  3. Usage and weather conditions can vastly affect the durability of a lock. Do you need a lock for a large business which is located on an outside door or a lock that is rarely used for a storage unit?
  4. Choose the right lock grade you need: Invest in a good-quality lock from a well known brand such as Kwikset or Schlage for residential locks or Kaba and Mult-Lock for commercial use. FA Locksmith in Raleigh has a huge variety of locks in stock you can choose from.
  5. Consider rekeying the new locks to your existing locks so you will have the same key. FA Locksmith also offers on site rekeying services for your convenience.
  6. Ask for an estimate before you make your decision and make sure you compare the same lock, brand, and grade if you get a few quotes as the price varies greatly between different types of locks.

Finally, remember that your home or business security is our top priority. We will take all the necessary steps, time and attention to make sure you get the right lock, at the right price and second to none customer service. Call FA Locksmith in Raleigh today.

Deadbolt lock installation on wood door FA Locksmith (5)
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