Key Cutting: Why it should be done by a Certified Locksmith

Getting copies made of keys is something we all have to do at some point. Many hardware or home improvement stores offer key cutting services. Why should you choose your local certified locksmith over these alternatives?

Here’s why you should have a certified locksmith do all your key cutting.

They can duplicate any key

Having your keys cut by a certified locksmith means you will always have a key that works. Whether you need a new house key, car key or specialty key, a locksmith will have the correct key blank. Many hardware stores with key cutting services don’t have more specialized key blanks. Unless you are duplicating a standard house key, chances are good that they won’t be able to help.

Not only do certified locksmiths have a wide array of key blanks, but they are trained in key cutting. Their machines are calibrated more often, meaning you get a more accurate copy. This is especially important for car keys. Newer car locks and ignitions are more sensitive and require a closer-fitting key. Locksmiths can also program a new transponder to your car, eliminating the need for buying duplicate keys from the dealer.

If you don’t have the key you need duplicated, a certified locksmith can also cut a new key for an existing lock.

They specialize in locks

What’s in a name? For a locksmith – plenty. A certified locksmith in Chicago understands locks and will ensure that your new key is perfect. One thing a locksmith generally does is ensure that there are no sharp edges or imperfections. By smoothing off the newly cut metal, a certified locksmith guarantees that it won’t scratch or damage the inside of your lock.

A lock that is scratched or damaged may work improperly or cause a moving part to shift when it shouldn’t. That could result in your new key working in the morning but not when you get home from work. It could also result in your new key getting stuck.

They stand behind their product

It’s already been stated that certified locksmiths are trained in key cutting. Not only does this mean that they do high-quality work, but also that they can do it quickly and efficiently. Getting your keys cut by someone who doesn’t specialize in it means a greater chance of error.

If a key from a hardware store doesn’t work, you have to go through a refund process and possibly have someone else try to cut a working key. The majority of certified locksmiths will re-cut a key on the spot if it doesn’t work in your lock.

Whether you need a spare for a friend or in case you lose your original, key cutting is best left to a certified locksmith. If you need a new key cut, call Omega Locksmith and be assured of a high-quality new key that really works.

Key Duplication – Why It’s Important

We all have so many keys – house keys, car keys, business keys. We even have keys floating around in our junk drawers. Our keys are so important that even the thought of losing them is enough to create panic! That’s why Chicago locksmiths like Omega Locksmith recommend that duplicates of important keys be made and kept in a safe place.

Here’s why you should invest in key duplication.

No more inconvenient lockouts

Locking your keys in your house or car is very frustrating. It happens to everyone at some point, but that doesn’t lessen the stress it can cause. Instead, plan ahead. Have a copy of your house key made and leave it with a neighbor you trust or keep it in your wallet.  Have a duplicate of your car key in your house.

Safety is a big issue with duplicate keys. You should never leave a copy of your keys outside. Even if you have the perfect hiding spot, they are generally far too easy to find. Chicago locksmiths recommend keeping your copies in safe spots around your house, in your purse or wallet, or with someone you know and trust.

If you’ve lost your keys for good or had them stolen, Chicago locksmiths suggest changing your locks entirely. If that’s too much, rekeying them is also a good option. A good lock is what keeps your home and car safe, so it’s better to stay on the safe side!

It’s cost effective

This especially applies to car keys. Having a duplicate car key made before you actually need it will be much cheaper. Rather than ordering a very expensive replacement from the dealership, you simply bring your key to a locksmith and they can cut you a new one. In fact, they can even make a key with a transponder.

The same goes for house keys. Having a simple duplicate made is much easier and cheaper than having your locks removed and rekeyed. For other keys, such as ones for padlocks or lockboxes, it means you don’t have to potentially break the lock itself if you lose the key.

It helps you be prepared

This sounds like the most obvious point, but it’s also the most important. Having another way into your home without having to break a window or call a professional is crucial. This is doubly important if you have small children or pets – being able to get to them immediately is vital.

Key duplication is very important. Like many small, necessary things, it’s a task that tends to get overlooked until it’s actually needed. However, like having a good plunger or checking the batteries in your fire alarms, it’s essential. It’s just as essential to make sure that your duplicate keys are safe. Make a plan with a friend, family member, or close neighbor. Just remember to never leave a duplicate key outside or in the mailbox.

Call Omega Locksmith today and see how we can help you out with key duplication.

Why Call Chicago Locksmiths to Unlock Doors

Chicago locksmiths know that it happens to everyone. You get home from work or go out to collect the mail and find that you have locked yourself out of your house. You leave the grocery store only to realize that your keys are nowhere to be found. Getting locked out of your house or car is an unfortunate (not to mention annoying) occurrence that happens to everyone at some point.

The good news is that it’s really simple to call your local locksmith to unlock your doors. Why call a locksmith and not a handyman? Why pay for help rather than force the door open yourself?

Variety of Services

If you think locksmiths only open locked doors, you’re in for a surprise! Locksmiths can also cut new keys and install new locks on both residential and commercial properties. If you’ve locked yourself out of your car, they can cut new keys to save you money over high-priced dealership key replacements.

If your house keys are lost or damaged rather than just forgotten in the house, it’s important to have a new key made as soon as possible. If you happen to break a key off in the lock, a Chicago locksmith can come out at any time of the day or night to open your door. They can also fit you with a new lock so you can sleep soundly at night.

Having your door and lock intact is a much better idea than forcing the lock yourself or risking damage by calling anyone other than licensed Chicago locksmiths.

Availability of Service

When you call reputable Chicago locksmiths, a licensed and trained professional will be out to help you when you need it. Rather than waiting until opening hours or dealing with unreliable amateur services, most locksmiths offer 24-hour emergency services. Good locksmiths understand that getting locked out can be highly stressful. They also know that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. All you need is a good locksmith!

Quality Assurance

Professional locksmiths are just that – professionals! They know what they are doing, so you are guaranteed to get the results you need now. Whether you need a door unlocked, a new key, or even a new lock altogether, they have the knowledge and the experience to do the job right and without unnecessary damage. In the event there is damage to your door or lock, a reputable locksmith company will have insurance. That way, you aren’t stuck footing the bill for repairs.

If you ever do get locked out of your house or car, always remember that a locksmith with experience and the proper licensing is invaluable. Not only do they have the right tools and knowledge, but you can rest assured that the job will be done right – the first time.

Omega Locksmiths have been a trusted and established company in Chicago for two generations. We can unlock your door and have you back in your home or car in no time. Give us a call and we’ll be anywhere in Chicago within 30 minutes. Getting locked out is stressful enough, you shouldn’t have to wait.

Money Saving Tips From an Auto Locksmith

If you have ever found yourself in the unenviable position of having lost your only car key, then you already know that getting a replacement (whether from the dealership or through an auto locksmith) can be extremely expensive. With all the latest security features on car locks and ignitions, getting a replacement key is no longer as simple as going to the hardware store and having one cut. Ordering a replacement from the dealership can run hundreds of dollars. With all that said, how can you save money and still get a new key that works?

Have a Spare

Yes, it sounds so simple, but one of the easiest ways to save money down the line is to have a mechanical key cut. For newer cars, it generally won’t start the ignition, but will ensure that you aren’t locked out. Having a mechanical key that fits your car also makes it easier for an auto locksmith to not only come out to your location, but also program a transponder to your car, eliminating a crucial and potentially very expensive step.
Again, this seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people wait until they need that spare to order it. In this case, a little preparation can save you a lot of money down the line.

Call Your Insurance Company

Believe it or not, many insurance companies will cover all or part of the cost of replacing lost or stolen car keys. Whether you order them from a dealership or have them cut by an auto locksmith, it’s definitely worth finding out if this is covered by your policy. If you are unable to find any information about lost or stolen key replacement, try giving your insurance agent a call. It won’t take long, but it has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars. Plus, some companies will even pay for a hired car in the event yours is out of commission for a few days.

Store Your Information

You know that little tag that comes with new car keys, the one that has a little code on it? Save it. Keep it somewhere safe, as that little tag can save you a lot of money in the long run. The thing is, that code is the key code. It can tell your auto locksmith exactly which key goes with your car. This means that in the event you lose your keys and don’t have a spare, the locks will not need to be pulled. Pulling locks is a lot more expensive than having a key made, so if you can tell your locksmith which key that you need, it will save you a ton of money.

Getting locked out and losing keys happens to everyone, and as stated, getting replacement car keys can be a lot more expensive than getting other keys made. Luckily, with these tips and preventative measures, you can potentially save yourself a lot of money. Of course, using a well-respected locksmith with experience is also a great idea!

What Does a Commercial Locksmith Do?

commercial locksmithIf you have ever been locked out of your home or locked your keys in your car, you are familiar with your typical locksmith. However, if you own a business, you wouldn’t call a residential locksmith to help with your lock and key needs. You would call a commercial locksmith. But what does a commercial locksmith do?

Research new lock technology

Commercial locksmiths have to be up-to-date on the latest in lock and key technology. For example, some businesses need keyless entry and require fingerprint technology or barcode scanning to gain entry. Commercial locksmiths often have clients who need secure buildings and rooms, so they must have the knowledge to keep their clients secure with the newest and best lock and key technology.

Install new locks

Commercial locksmiths install new locks for clients. There are many reasons someone might want to install new locks. If a business owner purchased a previously used building, he or she will want to replace the locks. There is no way to know how many keys were given out with the previous owner, or whether or not all the keys were returned. A business owner doesn’t want non-employees running around with a key to the business. Another reason a business owner might want new locks is if an employee was let go on poor terms. If that employee has had a key, it might be a wise idea to replace locks. You never know what a disgruntled employee might try to do.

Repair locks

You would also call a commercial locksmith if your business needed to have a lock repaired. Sometimes, keys break off in locks. A commercial locksmith can repair the lock and replace your key. There are also times when a lock becomes damaged. If there was an attempted break in, the locks may have been damaged. If you are working with electronic locks, sometimes the wiring malfunctions and repairs may need to be made. If the lock at your workplace isn’t working properly for whatever reason, it’s best to call your commercial locksmith.

It might seem like any locksmith can do the job, however, a commercial locksmith only works with commercial properties. They are trained to provide the best information and lock and key technology for the safety and security of a business. You wouldn’t want a car lock expert trying to manage your keyless door lock. If you are in the Chicago area and find yourself in need of a commercial locksmith, call Omega Locksmith, and we’ll meet you anywhere in Chicago in 30 minutes.

Top Five Things to Consider Before Calling a Residential Locksmith

residential locksmithThere are many reasons you may call a residential locksmith. Perhaps you have just purchased a new home and want to change your locks, or maybe you locked yourself out. Whatever the reason, here are five things to consider before you call.

Should you consider making a restricted key?

There are two types of keys: Unrestricted, which can be copied, and restricted, which cannot be duplicated without a locksmith and specific authorization. If you know you will be giving out keys to neighbors or maintenance workers and you don’t want to wonder if they are being duplicated, you might want to consider getting a restricted key made by a residential locksmith.

Do you need to make spare keys?

When you first move into a home, it’s important to have all of your locks replaced and new keys made. Before you call your residential locksmith, you want to know how many locks you will be replacing, and how many keys you will need to go with them. If you want to keep a spare key on hand, or pass any out to family or friends, you need to let your locksmith know so you don’t waste any time getting your keys.

Is your residential locksmith available when you need him?

You’ll never lock yourself out of the house. That’s what we all think…and for the most part, we’re all wrong. Whether you go on vacation and grab the wrong set of keys, or your toddler accidentally locks the door when you step outside to get the mail, you will probably lock yourself out of your home at some point. When it happens, you want to make sure your locksmith can help you. Make sure your residential locksmith offers emergency hours outside of the regular business hours.

Is your residential locksmith reliable?

One of the most important questions you should ask before you call a residential locksmith is whether or not you can count on them. Will they show up when they say they will? If you are expecting to wait 30 minutes, you don’t want to still be locked out an hour later. The best way to check reliability is by asking around and reading reviews. If you notice that the reviews use language from the locksmith’s website, or that the reviews are all from out of town or out of state, it might be a red flag that they aren’t real.

How long has the locksmith been in business?

If a residential locksmith has been in business for several years, it’s a good bet to say that they are great at what they do. They have to have lots of customers to stay in business that long, and the only way to gain a lot of customers is to be good at your trade. No one would recommend a locksmith that wasn’t prompt or that did a poor job.

If you are in need of a locksmith, or know you will be soon, these are some great questions to ask before you call. It’s also important to choose a locksmith that is a member of a locksmith association. You can trust that they are up to date on licenses and in good standing in the business world. With these questions in hand, you can be sure that you will have a locksmith you can trust for all your lock and key needs.

Eight Things a Locksmith Won’t Tell You

locksmithYou don’t always need a locksmith, but when you do, you need one you can trust, one who will get the job done right. Here are eight things a locksmith won’t tell you.

Contractors don’t always get it right

No one wants to rain on the parade of another business, but one important thing you should know is that contractors do not always correctly install a dead bolt. And let’s face it, the best lock is the one that works.

Dead bolts aren’t always your best option

Most people thing that a dead bolt is the way to go. They’ll keep anyone out of anywhere. While dead bolts are great, they aren’t great for every scenario. For example, dead bolts don’t work near windows or on doors that have windows. If a criminal wants in, they will just bust your window and unlock your deadbolt. You will want to seek other alternatives like a lock that requires a key on the inside, but don’t keep the key in the lock!

Locksmiths can duplicate car keys

Often times, when you’re purchasing a new car, the dealership will claim that they are the only place you can get your keys duplicated. This isn’t true anymore. Most locksmiths will be able to make a copy of your car key. At Omega Locksmith, we can even make smart keys. Not only are the car dealerships lying to you, they will charge you more for the duplication. If you need a duplicate key for your vehicle, call your locksmith.

New house = new locks

There is nothing more satisfying than being handed the keys to your newly purchased home. There is also little that is as risky. You have no way of knowing how many keys the previous owners copied and gave out to others. While they may think they have collected them all and handed them all over to you, there might one forgotten key out there, given to an angry relative who has been waiting to seek revenge. Change the locks on your new home.

Words mean little

If you own a business and have to give out keys to employees, you might stamp them with “DO NOT DUPLICATE.” Unfortunately, keys with this stamp are duplicated all the time. These simple words don’t really do much. If you are interested in a key that truly cannot be copied, talk to your locksmith.

Accidents happen

You may go thirty years without locking yourself out of your home or car, and then it might happen twice within a few days. If this happens to you, don’t hesitate to call a locksmith. Sometimes the embarrassment of making the same mistake twice causes a person to try to handle it on his or her own. Don’t! Tampering with your lock in the effort to get your door open could damage your lock – resulting in a much more complicated repair or the replacement of your entire lock (or any windows you break).

Valet key” for your home or business

You know the key on your car that looks more basic than your usual car key. It’s your “valet key.” A valet key typically unlocks your driver-side door and starts your car, but will not unlock your trunk or glovebox, so you can put your valuables in a safe place before turning your key over to the valet. Did you know you can do this for your home? If you have someone who routinely needs access to your home, you can set up a key that will unlock your doorknob, but not your deadbolt. On the days you are expecting the visitor, just lock the doorknob, not the deadbolt.  It’s like a valet key for your home or office.

Electronic locks can fail

While electronic locks are typically secure and can alert the authorities if a wrong code is typed in too many times, they aren’t all rainbows and puppies. Experts suggest that you have a different password for every account that requires a password. Stop and count how many passwords your are already trying to remember. If you think you have the right password, but end up trying three different wrong ones, the police may show up on your doorstep. Electronic locks will also fail in a power outage. There are usually battery backups, but batteries die, too.

If you live in the Chicago area and find yourself in need of a locksmith for any of these needs, give Omega Locksmith a call. We’ll meet you anywhere in Chicago in about 30 minutes and have you on your way in no time.

Three Reasons to Call a Locksmith

call a locksmithA locksmith may not be someone you think about in your everyday life, but sooner or later, you are going to need a locksmith you can trust to get you out of a bind. There are several reasons a locksmith might be called, but let’s take a look at three common reasons to call a locksmith.

Locked out of car or home

Nothing is worse than going on a trip over the holidays, only to come home and realize that you didn’t bring the right set of keys, and you are locked out of your own home. Or, what about that time you stepped into the garage for just a moment and your toddler thought it was funny to lock the door? Sometimes, you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and you accidentally lock your keys in the car at the gas station.

However you lock yourself out of your home or vehicle, it’s the right time to call a locksmith. Don’t panic. And don’t try to fix it yourself by breaking your window, trying to pick a lock, or using a wire hanger. You could cause costly damage. Most locksmiths can be there quickly. As a matter of fact, at Omega Locksmith Chicago, we can get to any point in Chicago in about thirty minutes.

Moving into a new home

Call a locksmith when you have purchased a new home. Even though the previous homeowners have supposedly turned over their keys, you should get all your locks changed. No one knows how many copies of their previous keys they made or handed out to friends and neighbors. What happens if they forgot to get them back? Hopefully nothing…but do you want to take that chance? Call a locksmith to swing by and give you all new locks and keys. Protect your new home and your family.

Replacement key needed

Call a locksmith when you need a replacement key. There are many reasons why you may need a replacement key. Keys can bend or break off in a lock. If your key breaks in a lock, you’ll not only have to call a locksmith to get it out, but you’ll need a new key for that lock. Perhaps someone lost the spare key to one of your vehicles. It would be a wise idea to replace the spare. Sometimes you may want an extra key made to give to an older child, or neighbor.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, don’t panic, and don’t try to fix it yourself. Call a certified locksmith to help you with all your lock and key needs.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Smart Door Lock?

Last week we talked about some of the advantages of installing a smart door lock. Today, we’d like to address the question of how much a smart door lock might cost.

As with most thing in life, the answer mostly depends on a number of different factors.

The quality of the smart lock you are installing.

Smart locks range in price from $19.99 to $999. You can choose between several different features. For example, some smart locks include deadbolts so you can use a key if the battery goes out. Some are meant to be paired with home automation services, which can get even pricier.

We recommend choosing the highest quality lock that fits your goals and your lifestyle.

How you get the lock installed.

There are basically three ways to go about this.

The first way is to have a security company install the smart locks for you. Many security companies do offer the service. This is generally the way to go if you want all the extra features, like the ability to lock and unlock your door from your smart phone. It’s not cheap, however. The lock prices are often inflated, and you’ll be locking yourself (no pun intended) into a 2 year service contract, at a minimum.

The second option is to do it yourself. Anyone can purchase smart locks from their local hardware store. If you have the skills this is certainly the cheapest way to get the job done. If you don’t have the skills, then you could end up damaging your door or your lock, creating a lock which does not function well or leaving a loophole in your home security that a criminal could access.

The third option is to have a professional locksmith take care of the job for you. Labor costs are generally quite low (between $40 and $100 per lock) so the big variable will be the quality of the lock you select. You can either bring your own or ask the locksmith to bring one of the trusted brands he carries. This is a mid-range cost option that can be a lot better and cheaper in the long run simply because it allows you to trust that the job has been done correctly without forcing you to break the bank.

So what’s the best option for you?

Ultimately, every homeowner has to decide which lock options will ultimately work the best for their needs. If you decide Omega Locksmith is the right installer for your smart lock, just give us a call. We’ll get you set up with a free quote so you know exactly what to expect.

Make Your Home More Secure With Keyless Locks

With all of the key copying apps out there, it may be time for homeowners to start thinking about installing keyless locks.

These locks provide several significant advantages. They are not very expensive, and most of them are “bump-proof,” meaning it’s much harder for burglars to attack them.

Keyless locks also prevent you from having to give out your keys ever again. If you need a baby sitter or a handyman to have access you can create a code. Later, you can wipe that code, preventing them from getting back in if they’re no longer needed.

These entry systems aren’t just great for homeowners, either. They solve a lot of problems for business owners, too! It is far less expensive to remove a former employee’s code than it is to rekey locks every time a key isn’t returned.

If you want to get really fancy then you can hook your keyless entry system up to a home automation service. This will allow you to open and close doors from a distance.

If you have a latch key kid then keyless entry gets even smarter. You won’t have to worry about hiding keys on the property (which is a terrible idea), and you don’t have to hope that your kids won’t lose keys. They memorize the code–there’s no losing that. Even if they forget the code they can phone you or text you for a reminder. If you’ve got home automation you can just open the door for them.

Most keyless entry systems also come with auto-locking features, which means they’ll take care of locking the door for you if you forget. You’ll never again have to worry that a moment of distraction will cause a hole in your home security.

Finally, keyless entry systems are just super-convenient. You don’t have to fumble with keys or make copies before you go on vacation.

However, we do recommend entry systems with deadbolt locks. Most are battery powered, and you will need the back-up if a battery goes out.

Do we install electronic locks? Absolutely! So don’t worry–you won’t have to go it alone if you’re not exactly the DIY type. Call Omega Locksmith today for a quote. We’re ready to help you upgrade the locks on your home!