Q: My lock seems to stick whenever I try to turn the key in it. What’s wrong?

A: This could be a number of things. It may be that the latch is binding in the door frame. You can tell if this is the case by turning the key while the door is open. If the key now operates easily, it is not the lock cylinder that is the problem. If the key stays sticky, either the components of the lock have become contaminated with some foreign substance, or the components are worn to the point that they will not operate properly.

Q: If the lock cylinder is sticky, should I lubricate it with oil ?

A: No! Oil will foul the cylinder by allowing dirt, etc to stick to the oil, making the problem worse. A silicon spray is the only substance that should be sprayed into a lock cylinder. It will clean out some contaminants and lubricate the cylinder with a non-sticky substance.

Q: Are there any City of Madison, WI local ordinances regarding locking systems that a businessperson or rental property owner should be aware of?

A: Yes. Any marked exit in a commercial facility must be able to be exited in a single one-handed motion (in other words multiple locks likely can not be employed) at least during periods of occupancy. This is so that in the event of fire, egress can be achieved safely even by someone unfamiliar with the premises. There are also requirements for locking common exterior doors on multi-unit buildings and specific internal common areas.

Section 27.05(2)(h)12, the Madison Minimum Housing and Property Maintenance Code stipulates that Madison apartment owners and others provide a long list of physical security requirements.

Q: When a lock is designated as “High Security”, what does that mean?

A: Locks are generally considered High Security if they incorporate physical strength, pick resistance, and key control. The physical strength and pick resistance characteristics protect against physical attack on the lock. Key control is perhaps the most critical characteristic as compromise here makes a security breach the easiest and least detectable.

Q: At my home, I have a number of different devices that take keys. Is it possible to make all these devices use the same key? Maybe even with a non-duplicable key?

A: It may be. For example, it is possible to make all door locks keyed to the same key. If a garage door opener can be operated with a remote switch, it can be keyed the same. Padlocks can be obtained that can be keyed to the same key. An out building can be keyed the same (though if you give access to anyone else, you may wish a second key to operate only this building while your key will as well). There are lots of possibilities. The only trick is to identify all the needs up front, because some hardware may have to be changed to create this level of convenience and security.

Q: If I have a commercial property with a number of exterior doors, should they all be accessible by key?

A: Normally the answer is no. First, if you have employees, you want them to access and egress your facility from a designated door(s) for a long list of reasons. Secondly, if one of your employees loses their entrance key, you only have to re-key a limited number of doors – not all of them. Lastly, a keyed lock, by definition, is less secure than other types of locking hardware available (after all, a key operates them).

Q: If I were trying to determine the manufacture of the locksets currently in my home or business, how would I do that?

A: The simplest method that is likely to give accurate information is to look at the edge of the door where the latch is. The manufacturers name is often stamped on this hardware. Your keys may also provide the information. They may be stamped with the manufacturer’s name, or they may have alphanumeric characters that would provide the identification.

Q: I am comfortable removing and re-installing the locks at my home and business. Can I just bring them in to your shop to have them re-keyed?

A: Absolutely. We work with a lot of facility management personnel who have these skills and do this all the time. Obviously, we will do them while you wait, or have them ready for you in short order so that you can re-secure your home or office. Please make sure that you do know how to do it, otherwise, you may be penny wise and pound-foolish.

Q: How much will it cost and what kind of warranty do you offer?

A: Our method of charging for our services is straightforward. We charge for the hardware you select; charge a Service Call to come to your location (if we do), and for the amount of time we spend installing, repairing, etc. Our service call is based upon your distance from the middle of Madison – in Madison; our Service Call is $69.00. For service calls, we charged $22.00 for every fifteen minutes on site. We warranty all parts and labor for 90 days. Certain products have longer manufacturer’s warranties.

Q: Should I use double cylinder deadbolts in my home?

A: A double cylinder deadbolt employs a key to control it from the inside of your home, just like the exterior. The concept is to remove the key from the inside cylinder so that a bad guy cannot simply break nearby glass and turn the thumb turn on a single cylinder deadbolt. We do not normally recommend these for two reasons. First, we find that people do not end up regularly removing the key, thereby forfeiting the original concept. Secondly, if the key is removed, and you have to get out of your home quickly, as in the case of a fire, you may not be able to do so. The best of all worlds is to have a deadbolt with a “captive thumb turn”. This lock is normally a single cylinder deadbolt. However, it can be quickly changed into a double cylinder deadbolt when you go on vacation or other extended absences from your home