Keyed alike

Did you know you can have all the locks on your house on the same key?

I did. And it’s one of those thing which, once you’ve had it, it’s hard to go back from.

My old flat had both front door locks on the same cylinder - and indeed the same key opened the front door to the stairwell. I assume the key didn’t open the door to my upstairs neighbour’s flat, but I never tried.

Anyway, with an old friend renting out my spare room at mate’s rates for a few weeks, I had some cash to spend on home improvements. And this is the one I went for.

Which locks?

ABS Avocet are well regarded. It’s good to have something resistant to lock snapping, which is worryingly easy to do on older euro cylinder locks. This is particularly important given that, for most of us, the basic rule of home security is to avoid being the softest target on your street. So if all the neighbours have double glazing with multi point locks too, how do you set yourself apart? Well, this could be one way.

The other nice thing about these is that you can’t walk into a high street locksmith and get the keys duplicated - they have to be ordered from the manufacturer. For sure, this security does come at a cost, but in theory I’m the only person they’d be willing to produce more for. This is something anyone renting out a room or an entire property should be thinking about.

The installation

Two of the three doors on my house were straightforward - old cylinder out, new cylinder in - but I was still glad I had a professional in, as he adjusted the hinges, greased everything and generally left it in a very nice and smooth to operate state.

The main reason for paying someone else, rather than ordering the cylinders to change myself, was the third door, where a Yale type lock needed its front replacing, and the deadlock needed replacing with a cylinder one - meaning some carpentry on the door itself.

Thames Valley Lock and Safe did the work - and one of the things I liked about them besides the above and beyond service was that they did an initial visit to measure up, rather than expecting me to get it right myself.

In conclusion

Hopefully that’s the last I’ll have to think about locks and keys for 25 years. As mentioned, I paid the extra to have all four locks on one key, which is nice as it reduces the amount of metal I’m carrying around in my pocket quite significantly.