24 September, 2012

Keyless Locks

My parents are getting 'older'.
Last week my dad spent some time at the emergency room and in the ICU for pneumonia and some heart problems discerned on the hospitals monitors.
When I brought my mom back home after a long time waiting for hospital stuff, it was pitch dark.
My mom had her keys but it was totally dark outside their home. Thank goodness my smarty pants phone is a flashlight too!
My mom also had trouble turning the deadbolt with her arthritis.
So noted - trouble with night-time lighting and locks need to be graphited.
Bear in mind they are in with the sun. They don't ordinarily scamper around at darktime.

Two days later, my older sis picked up my mom and off they drove to go pick up my dad from the hospital. They arrived back at my parents place with NO keys.
They called a locksmith and my brother who both arrived at the same time. My brother remembered how to jimmy the basement window open and they were in.

WE siblings all decided we needed  to implement a better plan for helping my Mom & Dad remain independent.
For me, I wanted to fix their locks first.

I checked around the internet and found out some options.
1. keyless entry - hardwired
2. keyless entry - install into existing hardware holes, powered by battery
3. hide-a-key

Our problems:
1.Dark back there.
2. Mom's arthritis
3. no access for the no key scenario

I looked at the hide-a-key options which basically is like a realtor's lockbox, accessed by code and mounted near the door.
This is the cheapest option but did nothing for our two concerns.

I elected to go with the battery powered keyless entry.
Kwik set Powerbolt 1000 looked interesting and even has a  youtube video.

Home Depot carryied both the powerbolt 1000 and the Schlage  brand. I liked the number pad on the Schlage better. Straight numbers. The kwikset one doubled up on the numbers -- possibly confusing  my mom.

Home Depot keyed both of my locks the same. They also offered this generous refund policy. Except for the keys made, they would refund the entire cost if these didn't work.

What we found? Yes, these tyoe of locks are backlit but there still might not be enough light at their back door.
2. We traded a  hard to turn key for a hard to turn deadbolt on the Schlage. Part of this will get fixed as deadbolt hole in door frame is rubbing. My dad can file this down a bit.

Deadbolt is at top.

3. My mom loves the code. She 'got it' before my dad. But we'll see if she can remember it tomorrow.
4. the battery in the Schlage powers the backlighting and the 'engagement' of the electronic lock hopefully for three years. The kwikset lock uses the battery to also move the deadbolt  with an estimated one year battery life.

5. We used a simple code because as I explained to everyone: The chances of them being burglarized while both are usually home all day are in the 0.5 - 5% range. The chances of them remembering this simple code are over 90%.
6. That said: there are some techniques that are not common to open the locks. Even if said burglar guessed the code, they would have to move things a certain way. Not easy.

7. Installation was done by screwdriver. And jigsaw and file. The deadbolt lock's hole was smaller than we needed. The frame's deadbolt hole is rubbing. If you pull the door while turning the lock's knob, you are good.
8. Setting the code was easy. However because of Schlage's free-turning knobs (I'm sure to foil those pesky burglars), we spent some time second guessing ourselves about the istallation.

9 For my mom & dad, we exchanged tit for tat. The previous locks were known in their peculiarities. The new locks changed those items. We could not solve the arthritis issue for example.
10. For the rest of us, WOW!
We can now access our parents home. If one of them falls but could still reach the phone, a neighbor or emergency personnel can be given the code to get in. We children are all 30 minutes away so access to mom & dad was vital.
If they get a ride somewhere and forget their keys, they can still get inside the house.

Mom & Dad have embraced list making as 'forgetfulness' settles into their daily life. This keyless entry is one thing that won't be on that list. "Everytime you leave the house, make sure you have your keys". They can get in by code.

11. Over all, I am liking this Schlage keyless lock very well and plan to install the same on my back garage door soon - well  - as soon as we replace the frame where dry rot has set in.

As far as the lighting goes, we can put some solar lighting back there. I looked at battery powered lights but very few were rated for outside use. Those that were  were motion sensors. Which I personally dislike, living in dog, cat, racoon, possom, nutria,  coyote & cougar land.

My brother offered to help me install the locks and we decided on 1pm after his church time which worked out very very well as my dad had laid down for a nap meaning there was no supervision!

Just in case, my brother brought his daughter - granddaughter numero 3 - as diversion tactic #1. I brought pizza as diversion tactic #2.

I don't know how your dad is, but my dad can do anything and everything himself.

 These locks got on my short list because I will be working six days a week with lovely overtime for the next while. May I remind you we have one week left of Rural carrier mail count where every letter, flat and package is counted towards paying your mail carrier. Please send a letter.


  1. I hadn't heard of that kind of locks before -- interesting.

    Wishes of good health to both of your parents!!!

  2. You''re parents are so lucky to have you as their children. The lock you've installed was great, by the way. A keyless lock with a deadbolt guarantees the safety of your parents. But what I like about it the most is that you also have an access to it. In case of emergencies, you can reach your mom and dad easily.

    Myrtice Savedra


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