According to the FBI, the average dollar loss per burglary in America is approximately $2,000. If that figure sounds low, consider that it does not include property damage, nor investigative or legal costs that may be associates with the crime. As a result, safe ownership in America is on the rise. A safe can be crucial for protecting your personal valuables, business assets and valuable documents. This article answers some of the most common questions people have when it comes to buying a safe.
1. Can my safe be opened without damaging it if I don’t have the lock combination?
A knowledgeable safe company can open any safe with a lost combination. The safe won’t be damaged since they can usually do it without using special tools. When they do use a drill, they can normally drill a tiny hole (a little larger than a spaghetti noodle) to view the internal lock mechanism. They can then open your safe and fix the hole. It is important to consider that not all safe companies are alike. Some can drill a safe without ruining it, while others cannot. Some companies may tell you that your safe has to be destroyed in order for it to open, or they must drill a large hole that will be hard to repair. This will add to the overall cost of your problem.
2. Which lock works better: a mechanical or electronic safe lock?
As far as durability is concerned, mechanical safe locks will always outlast electronic safe locks. While electronic safe are extremely reliable, convenient, and rarely fail, mechanical safes have stood the test of time, and have been around for over 100 years. But as long as a safe owner is attentive to his/her safe, issues with locks can be corrected, repaired or fixed before they become serious problems.
An electronic safe is actually more secure, and as such, has a higher security rating than many of the mechanical safes on the market. There are several benefits to using an electronic safe (with keypad) over a mechanical safe (with dial). One of the most important benefits is ease and speed of use. It takes the average person 6 seconds to open an electronic safe, while a mechanical safe often takes 30 seconds, or more, to open. Electric safe owners can also change code combinations themselves, as many times as they want, whenever they want. The same cannot be said for mechanical safes, which require the owner to call a locksmith or safe technician to change the combination.
3. What is the main difference between a fire safe and a burglary safe?
Fire safes can only protect their contents against fire, while burglary safes offer resistance against both forced physical attacks and fire. Burglary safes come in two flavors: plate or composite. A plate burglary safe uses thick steel plates for the body and door, making them highly durable. These thick plates can resist small and large hand tools, as well as some power tools. A composite burglary safe is made using heavy steel plates that are not quite as heavy as those used in plate safes, and a composite fill, usually a mixture of concrete with other additives, for maximum fire protection.
Fire safes offer no resistance against a forced physical attack, which means that with some knowledge and special hand tools, a fire safe can be forced opened in a matter of minutes. A fire safe is constructed using sheet metal and fire insulation. Sheet metal flexes easily and fire insulation is very soft. Sheet metal is simply a thin sheet form of steel and is used to make up the doors and walls of the fire safe. The walls and door of a fire safe are then filled with fire insulation.
4. Is it necessary to bolt my safe down?
Unless your safe is so heavy that it cannot be carried out of your property, bolting your safe down is always recommended. UL (Underwriters Laboratories – http://www.ul.com), the company that assigns security ratings to safes, states that for specific burglary ratings, any safe weighting less than 750 lbs. must be bolted down in order to achieve the optimal security rating of the safe.
Bolting your safe down is a smart decision. There are countless stories of people who had a safe but didn’t have it bolted down, only to find out that they were burglarized. Thieves simply carried the safe out by hand, or with a hand truck. Always bolt down.
5. Can anyone install a safe?
As a general rule, if a safe weighs less than a couple hundred pounds, a professional safe installer is not required. However, you’ll need an assistant if you’re dealing with a heavy safe. The real issue is that most people aren’t experienced moving heavy objects, and they wind up injuring themselves, or they create costly property damage. For the aforementioned reasons, if you can, do yourself, and your property, a favor and hire a professional to deliver and install your safe.
6. What are the limitations as far as weight for a safe installed in my house?
In a house with a wooden frame, that does not have additional support or reinforcement, a safe weighing 600 lbs. or less can be safely installed on the first or second floor. If the safe is heavier, you should talk to a home contractor or building engineer for guidance on accommodating the new load. There is no weight requirement if your safe is located in the basement of your home. Unfortunately, some safe companies don’t follow the aforementioned guidelines and problems occur. Be wary of safe installation companies that do not address weight issues in the installation process.
7. Is a drop safe suitable for long-term protection of cash?
Drop safes are meant mainly for temporary storage of cash on a daily basis. They are not designed for long-term storage of cash and it is always recommended to empty the drop safe at night, and its contents be transported and secured in another, more durable safe.
8. What is a TL-rated burglary safe designed for?
A TL-rated burglary safe is a safe that has been tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories to withstand attacks using a specified set of tools in a given period of time. Safe attacks involve forcing the door of the safe open, or cutting a big hole to remove the contents of the safe. TL-rated safes come in several different ratings. The ratings are TL-15, TL-30, TL15x6, TRTL15x6, TL30x6, and TRTL30x6. TL-rated safes are perfect for those who want to protect valuables upwards of $30,000. If you’re storing highly valuable contents, a TL-rated safe is a good option.
9. Which companies make the most reliable safes?
There’s really no “best safe company” out there, even though some manufacturers make high-quality, reliable safes. However, in terms of protection, UL and ECBS ratings ensure that you are getting a specific level of protection, whether your choice is a burglary or fire safe. These rating can help you to choose the best safe suitable for your unique needs.
10. Can burglars open my electronic safe by damaging the keypad, or replacing it with a different one?
Damaging the keypad of an electronic safe does not allow your safe to be opened. In fact, it is analogous to damaging a dial on a safe that has a mechanical lock. Changing the keypad does not allow the safe lock to be unlocked. The keypad is just an input device, and as such, does not contain the combination to the lock, which is stored in the lock body inside the safe.