It’s sometimes very difficult to know how panicked you can be when the things you take for granted go wrong! So something simple like a window handle breaking off in your hand or your front door lock suddenly jamming in an open position can send shivers down your spine! Most people would certainly panic and there would be very little you could do if it happened late at night. So its got to be worth thinking about scenarios like this to avoid being caught out when things really matter.
The problem with window and door locks these days is that they are too complicated and if something goes wrong there are no easy solutions to fix them. Take uPVC windows for example, you are likely to find all manner of window handles from the old cockspur to the more standardised espag handles seen on uPVC windows with multi-point locks. In fact there are many more older types of window handles and lock mechanisms and these can be impossible to replace if they go wrong. So if you find yourself in this position what’s the answer (short term anyway)? BE PREPARED!
It would always make sense to note down a double glazing repair company, locksmith or similar with an out of hours call out service. These days you can find Double Glazing Repairs listed in the directories so do your homework now.
Take preventitive measures around the home like carrying some spares like uPVC window handles or a spare euro door lock for your front door, or at least have the old ones handy in the garage.
The truly proactive amongst us can think one step ahead and here are a few ideas for them:
Fit window restrictors - These are not a security device for your window but a back up form of defence. They are originally intended to improve window safety around the home particularly where small children may tamper with the window and also as a form of ventilation. They generally fit uPVC windows or some aluminium double glazed windows and are nice and discrete by virtue of their concealed location inside the window where the hinge sits. They can be challenging to fit depending on the make-up of the frames but by and large they sit inline with the hinges. When installing the restraint you can adjust the gap you want by siting the restictor position towards the opening corner for less gap or the opposite way for more of a gap. Recommended though that you keep this to the point that people can’t reach through to take control of the device. There are more complex variations of a window restrictor available these days but a lot of simple devices that are relatively inexpensive just requiring some diy skill to install. One very important consideration is fitting them to windows above ground floor level as you will need to fit the bracket or pins from the outside. Not impossible though…
Fit Frame Guard Window Locks - These are great little devices for uPVC windows and basically sit on the window in a locked or unlocked form. Whilst in the house you can leave them swept out of the way so everyday use of the window is possible and then at night sweep the arm across into the push button locking position and deadlock with the key as well. The nice thing is they can also be seen as a visual deterrent so will improve window security in several ways. There just can’t be any reason why you don’t have them on your window. If you want to make them a real force then we recommend you use special jack nuts so that the fixing is fully braced into the cavity of the profile. The fixings sit under the window lock so they can’t be seen. A lot of people will have to use these type of devices after a break-in as the main locks on the window will have been compromised leaving you with a window that won’t close or lock in any way! In that respect you can consider this a great solution for an exterior door too. When the lock breaks down just turn the Frame-Guard locks into position and what’s more these devices come with packers that screw into the underside of the arm so you can get a real force on the arm to pull the door or window in tight for weatherproofing. The biggest reason why people fit these locks is when they are out of the house like on holiday but useful when in the house too when things break down!
It pays to think ahead and for such little planning and cost can you afford to wait for the inevitable to happen?
If you are ordering keys and upvc door locks on the internet should you be concerned about who is cutting keys for them? Well you should be! The question here is would you give your front door key to a complete stranger? You wouldn’t unless you were certain of who you were dealing with.
The internet has thrown up a plethora of companies selling door locks and key cutting services and this is increasing all the time – keys by post well who would have thought it! So you order a lock from an internet site and have a few extra keys cut to go with it so what happens next? Well a lot of things could happen if in the wrong hands and it could be a real problem that many people don’t even think of. So what do you look for? Good practice on the part of the key cutter and the company should follow strict inhouse guidelines:
Key cutter personnel should never see the address information for the customer’s order.
Pin numbers should never be written down or passed between two people in the organisation.
Key blanks should be issued by higher management to the key cutter and should be exactly the number required for the order. If blanks are damaged or are required to be replaced during the cutting process then these must be given back to the controller and accounted for. That way no one can cut extra keys.
If a customer reports keys are missing from the order the whole order must be returned and the key number changed.
Customers ordering extra keys with orders or separate additional keys via a website must provide a picture of the key card details and the key itself. Professional key cutters can read the numbers from the pattern and this way we can ensure it is the correct customer providing the key.
In a move to try and position itself at the higher end of the market the answer for the management team at HandleStore was to get away from anything dubbed standard and invest in better upvc locks and key systems that are difficult to replicate. Earlier this year HandleStore made the move to a more complex type of euro lock the Yale Magnum anti-snap cylinder and this came with its own security key and security card. Basically the card has to be kept safe and is just as important as the key and if you want to order keys you have to present the card. In the case of an internet order a picture must be sent of the key card. Getting away from the standard meant investing in a state of the art dimple and trace key cutter and this was no less than £20 000, putting it beyond the many. This coupled with its in-house policy gives customers peace of mind that duplication of keys cannot be achieved by any means during the process of ordering. So when ordering upvc locks with keys you know what to check and what to ask!
A lot of people have uPVC door handles that effectively leave the door open. Anyone could walk in from the street! If you have such a door handle arrangement then it is usually possible to change from a lever handle on the outside to a pad handle. A pad handle is generally off-set to the inner lever and operates a separate spindle. From the outside this means that you can lift the pad upwards to engage the locks and then key lock. The pad handles cannot be pushed down thereby stopping people from entering by the handle.
What you will need to do is just take the uPVC door handle off and observe if there is a second spindle hole about 20-30mm further down on the outside of the door. If there is just take the measurements as shown on this uPVC door handles wizard.
If there isn’t it might be worth taking the door lock out from the side of the door and checking to see if the lock body has the extra hole lower down. If it does you will be able to drill through from the one side of the door to expose the spindle hole for its use.
If you don’t have this feature built into your lock then regrettably this will mean changing the complete locking system or the door itself.
Replacing uPVC door handles is a little different to conventional door handles found inside the home or perhaps even rim locks such as the Yale lock. The screws that pass through the door usually pass through a lock case so you can’t just assume the fixing centres can be re-drilled into a different position otherwise you will hit the lock case and that may be the end of the door!
That said it is easy enough to do as long as you follow some simple steps:
Measure the size between the centre of the key hole and the centre of the lever and make sure you find a replacement uPVC Door Handle with the exact size.
Measure the size from the centre of the top screw hole to centre of the lever and also measure the size between the two screw hole centres.
To make life a lot easier you can follow this process as outlined on Handlestore.com and it will guide you through the measurements needed and then find the uPVC door handles for you. CLICK HERE – UPVC DOOR HANDLES wizard.
The good thing is that the lock sizes are unique to different lock manufacturers so you will generally find the correct handle that will fit all the size measurements as mentioned above.
In a general sense the fitting of replacement interior door handles is easy. On some rare occasions it is awkward and challenging!
Most interior door handles are either a rose design or a backplate design and can be replaced by simply undoing the screws holding the handle to the door and replacing with the new door handles. The spindle that drives the door lock or door latch stays put with the door handle just fitting over the spindle which is usually a standard 8mm size. The door latch is usually fairly simple to replace too if it is the tubular door latch design as these are generally offered in two sizes 2.5 inch or 3 inch.
Never fix new door handles straight onto a freshly painted door or even when it has apparently dried. You need to leave the paint to dry a good 24 hours, but preferably 48 hours, or the vapours from the drying paint will attack any lacquered coating on the lever door handles and this will just start the tarnishing process. We have all seen brass interior door handles that have turned green around the backplate of the handle!
One way to avoid this is to use the Decorator’s door handle, as it is sometimes called, and this is just a plastic handle that you can use to work the door lock and can paint around during the decoration process. They are re-usable so keep them in the garage but at least you can finish off the painting and without having to worry about people using the door when you have finished. A great way for people to identify a painted door too! They are a simple clip-fix and don’t need screws and are cheap as you might expect.