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ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING A SMART LOCK?

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Lots of homeowners are getting interested in buying “smart locks” for their homes, according to David Kamber of North Valley Locksmith in the Phoenix area, who says these “smart” installations are keeping him very busy.

But like all “smart” devices, many issues are involved that homeowners may want to research before buying. So, here are a few factors to study before moving ahead:

1 | What is a smart lock anyway?

Some locks open when you approach the door if you have your smartphone with you. Some can be opened just by the presence of a key fob in your pocket or purse. Others require someone to type in a code on a keypad for entry. Some allow you to open your door via phone when you are away from your home.

What homeowners especially like is that using a digital keypad will make things simple for letting someone in and out of your home during the day – like a babysitter or a plumber. Give them the special code ahead of time and then delete or change it when you return home at night.

2 | Don’t look for bargains

You can install a smart lock on every door in your house, but the costs could really mount up. Most homeowners just do the front door. A low price might mean future problems with a smart lock. The system you choose should probably cost $250 to $300 at a minimum per door in a home and $400 for a business. Installation will be extra. It’s advisable to stick with brands that have a strong reputation like Schlage, Baldwin, EmTek or Yale. “It’s not one size fits all when it comes to smart locks,” Kamber said.

3 | You may be able keep your traditional deadbolt

Some smart locks use the standard pre-drilled holes already in your door. But sometimes new holes need to be drilled and that could make the installation more costly.

4 | Smart locks are powered by batteries

Those batteries need replacing every six months to a year. Though Kamber has seen some batteries last three years in a smart lock. Strong sunlight falling on a door can also shorten the life of a smart lock.

5 | Smart lock connectivity

Some locks use Bluetooth for short distances or Wi-Fi from far away. Sometimes homes have smart hubs, but sometimes they don’t.

6 | Hire a locksmith

Having a locksmith do the installation can save you a lot of headaches. Locksmiths will often do free estimates.

7 | Vulnerability concerns

According to the Internet, it could be possible to hack into a smart lock one way or another, but it’s always possible that someone can smash through a front door or break a window even when a home doesn’t have a smart lock.

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