We met up with locksmith Theresa Pedro for our annual “Family, Safety and Security” issue so she could unlock some knowledge for us all in 2020. After almost 20 years in the business, Theresa knows a thing or two about her trade and has been working solo ever since she took over from her father. However, just because Theresa tends to work on her own doesn’t mean she doesn’t love to help others and is always willing to give some useful advice—whether it’s for friends, family, residential or commercial customers.
Your locks are an integral part of your home security—if your doors and windows are well-built and fitted, then they will offer some protection, but without the locks they may as well not be there at all. For this reason, you should treat lock checking and maintenance as an annual task to be completed at the end of hurricane season. This way, you can be fully assured that your home is as secure as it can be.
TEST YOUR LOCKS
The lock and all attached parts (such as the handle) should be well fitted and in good condition. Look out for loose screws and dented or damaged areas. Any issues that can’t be easily remedied by yourself should be looked at by a locksmith.
KEY HINTS FOR YOUR FAMILY’S SAFETY
- Test the lock with all relevant keys to ensure it opens and closes smoothly. Watch out for keys which you have to jiggle in order to lock or unlock the mechanism. This may indicate that the key is a copy of the original.
- Have a safe place to keep your keys. This may seem like a simple and unnecessary tip, but it will save you a headache should anyone ever find their way into your home.
- Never leave the keys inside the door, especially if your door has glass panels. If a burglar notices you leave your keys in the lock on a regular basis, all it takes is a quick smash of the glass for them to acquire your keys and let themselves in.
- Prolonged use of a key which doesn’t quite fit properly may cause the lock mechanism to break internally after a certain amount of time. Use only the original keys where possible and any copies should always be cut from the original key, never from another copy.
CLEAN AND LUBRICATE YOUR LOCKS
One thing that everyone in Bermuda must deal with on an annual basis is Hurricane season, Theresa has suggested a couple of simple tricks to let your locks last, especially after a storm full of salt spray and debris in the air! When locks are left for years without being properly cleaned, sea salt and dirt can build up within the lock and cause the inner mechanism to stick, as well as making the key hard to turn. Over time, this will put stress on certain components, severely shortening the lifespan of the lock and putting you at risk of it breaking at the most inconvenient time.
- Clean your locks by wiping them over with a damp cloth. Do not spray water or cleaner directly into the lock hole.
- Keep the inner mechanism clean and lubricated. Locksmiths have long used powdered graphite to lubricate the workings of locks, simply rub the teeth of the key with a sharp pencil until the surface is covered with graphite. Insert the key into the lock, which will then deposit the graphite into the lock. You can also try using white grease (also known as lithium soap or white lithium). Squeeze a small amount into the lock and run the key in and out a few times – wiping off the key in between – in order to distribute it properly and remove grime.
THERESA’S DOS AND DON’TS…
- Traditional double dead bolts and slide bolts are dangerous (especially for the elderly)
- Electronic deadbolts are a great alternative and are recommended over traditional dead bolts. Electronic gates also come highly recommended for young families with children and or nurseries.
- If you are considering getting an alarm system, Theresa suggests one that is loud and will deter burglars! Don’t forget to put up your security system stickers on windows and doors, another great deterrent.
- You can even find noise making window alarms at the
- If you are not in a position to put in a security system, Theresa has yet another simple (yet effective trick) for your ground floor windows. Simply set a stack of coins on the top of the window, creating a home-made alarm system! Should someone try to break in, the coin stack will fall creating an alarming sound for both the homeowner and the burglar.
- Looking to install new locks? “Schlage” is Theresa’s brand
Speak to your locksmith about various options. Theresa offers free estimates and advice. Contact Theresa on firstname.lastname@example.org.