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Programmable Locks

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sgirouard

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We are currently installing locks to our private space (locks we can secure from the outside of the space - the previous locks were just privacy locks). One of our indoor entrances will use a programmable lock. We had planned to put these locks on the guest rooms also. Currently the guest rooms have privacy/chain type locks and old fashioned skeleton key locks. While the skeleton key locks work, we don't want to rely on them for two reasons: 1. they're a bit trickier than modern locks, and I don't want a guest calling me on his/her cell phone to tell me s/he is trapped in the guestroom (because you must use the key to lock on both sides) and 2. because anyone can go to Home Depot and buy keys to open the doors.
After installing the programmable lock to our quarters (you press a numeric code to open the deadbolt from the outside), DH says these will not work for the guestrooms. He showed me how on the *inside* of the door, the plate slides off and there, nice and convenient, are directions on how to reprogram the codes - even the master code. We *do* have a couple options here. We can remove the directions from the inside of the locks (they are on a paper insert). Also, the locks are keyed in addition to the numeric codes. So, no matter what they change the codes to, we could always get in with a key, and re-program them ourselves. (But that will be a nuisance).
So, my question for those of you who use the re-programmable, numeric key code locks: Have you had any issues with any guests re-coding the locks? And, since we have the metal key option, am I correct in thinking security is still in tact, even if a guests changes the code - the guest would be the only one with the new code.
One more thought - this particular lock runs on 4 AA batteries that actually power a motor that moves the deadbolt. For those with the numeric keypad locks, do you have the same type, and how long do the batteries last?
Appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts.
 

Morticia

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We don't have the locks on guest room doors, just the main door. Have not, to our knowledge, had anyone tamper with the locks. As a precaution, we deadbolt the door when we go away.
My 'issue' with these locks for guests rooms is they make a LOT of noise. If your guests are coming in late and fussing with the locks (they beep with each button pushed and an alarm sounds if they get the code wrong 4 times) they could be waking other guests.
How loud are they? The one on our main door is quite audible to me in my bedroom, which is the next room over from the main entrance, down a hallway. I sit in bed chanting, hit the other button, hit the other button, when guests are fumbling with the lock.
No issues with the batteries. When they get low, the lock itself starts to beep, at least ours does. I'd say, as a precaution, change them out when you change out the smoke detector batteries and you won't forget. For external doors, be sure to use good batteries if you are in a very cold area. The cold will kill the batteries quickly. Lithium batteries are better if it gets VERY cold where you are.
 

JBloggs

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The lock opens slower and slower when the batteries start to weaken, there is never an issue with ours just dead in the water. Why would you leave a paper insert in the lock? I am reading this wrong me thinks, there is no way a guest could reprogram a lock, you have the master code, they cannot do it from their code.
Our lock is not noisy at all, people slam doors and stomp their feet when they walk louder than the lock operating. There is quiet beep tone to hear if you have input each number. I would never be without these, they are excellent, saved so much hassle for late arrivals, self check ins, people feel secure and come and go as they please. Keeps solicitors from just dropping in as well.
There is a secondary bolt (front door) on the unit, so even if the entire world has the code you can leave and bolt the top bolt and be secure. From our experience here nearly 7 years.
 

Morticia

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The lock opens slower and slower when the batteries start to weaken, there is never an issue with ours just dead in the water. Why would you leave a paper insert in the lock? I am reading this wrong me thinks, there is no way a guest could reprogram a lock, you have the master code, they cannot do it from their code.
Our lock is not noisy at all, people slam doors and stomp their feet when they walk louder than the lock operating. There is quiet beep tone to hear if you have input each number. I would never be without these, they are excellent, saved so much hassle for late arrivals, self check ins, people feel secure and come and go as they please. Keeps solicitors from just dropping in as well.
There is a secondary bolt (front door) on the unit, so even if the entire world has the code you can leave and bolt the top bolt and be secure. From our experience here nearly 7 years..
It may be the kind of lock. Ours has the directions inside as well for how to reprogram it. Anyone could do it. There is no 'master' anything. The paper is inside where the batteries go. It would be hard to do on the outside door because it's right there where anyone could see someone messing about, but a guest IN their room, bored and with the mind to it, could open up the lock and reprogram it. I totally get what she means in worrying about that.
 

sgirouard

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Thanks - I am going to back to DH with these comments.
JB - we have actually have two different types of programmable locks we're dealing with here - one on the front/main door, the other on the interior door. The front door lock sound similar, although not identical to what you describe.
And yes, Morticia, when DH demonstrated the lock for me, I noticed (and commented) on the horrendous noise it makes. I'm not sure other guests would hear it in their rooms due to our layout, but it's definitely something to investigate.
 

Morticia

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Thanks - I am going to back to DH with these comments.
JB - we have actually have two different types of programmable locks we're dealing with here - one on the front/main door, the other on the interior door. The front door lock sound similar, although not identical to what you describe.
And yes, Morticia, when DH demonstrated the lock for me, I noticed (and commented) on the horrendous noise it makes. I'm not sure other guests would hear it in their rooms due to our layout, but it's definitely something to investigate..
When we demonstrate the lock for our guests, most of them jump as they are not expecting the loud ratcheting sound as it relocks.
 

JBloggs

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Thanks - I am going to back to DH with these comments.
JB - we have actually have two different types of programmable locks we're dealing with here - one on the front/main door, the other on the interior door. The front door lock sound similar, although not identical to what you describe.
And yes, Morticia, when DH demonstrated the lock for me, I noticed (and commented) on the horrendous noise it makes. I'm not sure other guests would hear it in their rooms due to our layout, but it's definitely something to investigate..
Yes, you said two diff locks, are they both a worry to you? Why would you leave the instructions inside a lock? I guess I am not understanding.
Our main entry door lock doesn't make noise -just a sound of it unlocking, no louder than any door unlocking. Would a key in a key hole on a guest room door be silent? Unless bells and whistles go off why worry about it. Guess I can't figure how loud you are describing them to be.
 

sgirouard

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Joey - with the lock on the front door, the code releases the knob so you can manually turn it and thus retract the deadbolt (just a quiet "snick"). The interior door lock has a motor that moves the deadbolt in or out. It's teh motor noise that I find loud.
The directions didn't appear to me to be intended to be removed...but I'm pretty sure I could get them out.
As you may have guessed, two different locks, two different manufacturers...two different prices.
 

Morticia

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Thanks - I am going to back to DH with these comments.
JB - we have actually have two different types of programmable locks we're dealing with here - one on the front/main door, the other on the interior door. The front door lock sound similar, although not identical to what you describe.
And yes, Morticia, when DH demonstrated the lock for me, I noticed (and commented) on the horrendous noise it makes. I'm not sure other guests would hear it in their rooms due to our layout, but it's definitely something to investigate..
Yes, you said two diff locks, are they both a worry to you? Why would you leave the instructions inside a lock? I guess I am not understanding.
Our main entry door lock doesn't make noise -just a sound of it unlocking, no louder than any door unlocking. Would a key in a key hole on a guest room door be silent? Unless bells and whistles go off why worry about it. Guess I can't figure how loud you are describing them to be.
.
I will call sometime and 'open' the door for you so you can see hear what I mean.
 

Tony

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Ours is made by Weiser Lock. There is no attached instruction on how to reprogram the code anywhere on the outside of the unit.
As Joey mentioned, the unlocking mechanism slows down as the battery life dwindles indicating when it's time to change the battery. If it doesn't get changed, the deadbolt will only retract halfway and the door won't open.
As for noise, you probably wouldn't hear it operating if you're in an adjacent room with the doors closed.
Overall, I'm happy with this unit. It was on sale for an excellent price from Costco (can't quite remember exactly what it was).
 

Samster

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We have Schlage locks on the exterior doors and they don't make that much noise. I'd be more concerned about how the keypad locks damage interior doors, especially if they're old doors.
 

Copperhead

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We use to have some by Weiser Lock. They were very loud in operation as well as when the 'alarm' beeping went off if code incorrectly entered after 3-4th time. When the batteries start to die, the unit gets slower and slower to operate or may not totally open or lock. The back of this unit is easily removed and could be tampered with but we never had this happen...but only used on exterior doors, not guest rooms. We also had a problem with these units during electical storms. More times than I can count, these units would loose their codes and start beeping during these storms. And at least twice, the units blew electic components and we had to get new panel replacements from the manufacturer.
When our last Weiser started flaking out, we decided to go with Schlage locks. They are less electronic and require the person to physically turn the bolt to lock or unlock after entering the correct code. They do use a battery but it is more for the memory of the code and light the number pannel. The inside panel is screwed on instead of snapped in place as with the Weiser. We have even thought of placing them on our guest room doors because they are very quiet. They do not beep (or at least we have not had them beep) when improper codes are keyed in. These seem to be more durable and in general, they are easier to use and easier to 'teach' the guests to use than the Weiser.
 

YellowSocks

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We got our locks from GoKeyless.com... you do need to make sure they got your order right when it arrives, but otherwise were great.
We have two types of locks... well, technically three, but the deadbolt on the front door is programmed the same as the side door locks, so it's effectively the same. Anyway, I know the exterior door locks are Schlage. I forget the name brand of the room locks.
The room locks have a little, itty bitty screw that needs to be removed to access the back of the lock. In the two years we've been using them I'm sure that no one's removed it... I don't even want to bother finding the little screwdriver and do it! I suppose if someone really wanted to they could change the code, but why? We don't give the keys out, just the codes, and some people lock the door every time and others never bother. They make some noise, but not horrific... just enough to know that it worked. The batteries last OK... when they start to go the mechanism is less fast, and sometimes beeps while unlocking.
I like the exterior locks better because they can be programmed without opening them up. I changed the programming code on all of them (we have four exterior doors!) so that I could easily remember it and change codes on the fly. The front door and two back doors have the code I tell the guests, the side door doesn't so as to discourage guests from using it.
The exterior doors can have up to 19 codes, so the side door has codes for relatives and friends who might want to come in and drop something off... it's awesome! Instead of copying keys I ask people what code they want and pop it in on the spot. Then if my mil wants to drop by or my sister pick someting up or my friend who sells me eggs comes by and I'm not there they can just pop in.
We have locks on our own bedroom doors, and simple codes the ds2x6 could use when they were 4. I have a master code that works on every single door in the house.
I LOVE our keyless system!!!
=)
Kk.
 

JBloggs

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When you are new to this business, you feel like you need everything under lock and key. Guests new to B&B's ask questions about theft and weird people staying here, most of the time the reply is we never even lock the doors. We have never had a theft. I would never even consider a guest reprogramming a door code. Once open for a while you will see what I mean. Our guests are in our homes, 99% respect that. If your presence is known, those who might consider not respecting it will be kept in line.
Just wanted to clarify that. I think it is a worry you needn't have. :)
 

sgirouard

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Thanks all. Will check out some of those options.
FWIW, the front door lock is a Schlage. The interior lock is another brand (can't remember off hand), but we got that brand intentionally because they sell a tool so you can rekey the locks yourself. The innkeeper quarters are accessed through several doors. Only one has the keypad (for convenience if we feel the need to cut off access while working elsewhere in the house), but with this brand of locks, we can rekey all the locks to the same key.
Also, re damage to the old doors. Yes, we thought of that. However, the alternative is NEVER leaving the house while guests are here (and, uh, that's really old all ready). Also, sorry, but I've read too many anecdotes here about guests wandering - accidentally or otherwise - where they have no business. I figure they may ignore or not notice a "private" sign, but a locked door will force them to stop and think. On a couple of the doors, we did put locks that are more in keeping with the style of the house, but those function more as "security" locks, not access doors. That sounds awkward, hope it made some sense.
Joey - thanks for the thoughts about guests. BI (Before Innkeeping) I worked in some interesting neighborhoods, and one thing I learned is most people are the same everywhere (basically decent). It the people who aren't part of "most" that we wnat to head off.
 

JBloggs

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Thanks all. Will check out some of those options.
FWIW, the front door lock is a Schlage. The interior lock is another brand (can't remember off hand), but we got that brand intentionally because they sell a tool so you can rekey the locks yourself. The innkeeper quarters are accessed through several doors. Only one has the keypad (for convenience if we feel the need to cut off access while working elsewhere in the house), but with this brand of locks, we can rekey all the locks to the same key.
Also, re damage to the old doors. Yes, we thought of that. However, the alternative is NEVER leaving the house while guests are here (and, uh, that's really old all ready). Also, sorry, but I've read too many anecdotes here about guests wandering - accidentally or otherwise - where they have no business. I figure they may ignore or not notice a "private" sign, but a locked door will force them to stop and think. On a couple of the doors, we did put locks that are more in keeping with the style of the house, but those function more as "security" locks, not access doors. That sounds awkward, hope it made some sense.
Joey - thanks for the thoughts about guests. BI (Before Innkeeping) I worked in some interesting neighborhoods, and one thing I learned is most people are the same everywhere (basically decent). It the people who aren't part of "most" that we wnat to head off..
Yes and do whatever makes YOU feel comfortable, that is the main thing. I think the B&B crowd are above par however, and not as troublesome. Unfortunately on this forum you will hear the worst stories from the entire group, you won't hear day after day of terrific guests. That is unremarkable to write about, so we write about those who are different to the norm. I can count on one hand in nearly 7 years (I can say that now! wow seven!) how many troublesome guests we have had. But we are not in a typical resort area and do not have super high occupancy, so the more guests, the more walk ins the more troubles, imo.
Let us know what you end up doing. I totally agree your IQ should be lockable at all times. That is common sense. Confidential info in there, not to mention the innkeepers. :)
 

Samster

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Thanks all. Will check out some of those options.
FWIW, the front door lock is a Schlage. The interior lock is another brand (can't remember off hand), but we got that brand intentionally because they sell a tool so you can rekey the locks yourself. The innkeeper quarters are accessed through several doors. Only one has the keypad (for convenience if we feel the need to cut off access while working elsewhere in the house), but with this brand of locks, we can rekey all the locks to the same key.
Also, re damage to the old doors. Yes, we thought of that. However, the alternative is NEVER leaving the house while guests are here (and, uh, that's really old all ready). Also, sorry, but I've read too many anecdotes here about guests wandering - accidentally or otherwise - where they have no business. I figure they may ignore or not notice a "private" sign, but a locked door will force them to stop and think. On a couple of the doors, we did put locks that are more in keeping with the style of the house, but those function more as "security" locks, not access doors. That sounds awkward, hope it made some sense.
Joey - thanks for the thoughts about guests. BI (Before Innkeeping) I worked in some interesting neighborhoods, and one thing I learned is most people are the same everywhere (basically decent). It the people who aren't part of "most" that we wnat to head off..
We didn't want to use skeleton keys either. We have similar deadbolt locks on our quarters to our guest room doors. Most of the time they are locked for the security of guest information, not to protect our privacy. Our kitchen has a swinging door access into our butler's pantry (with a brass Private sign) and no one has gone through that door while we were in the kitchen. They always knock on the door on the rare occasion that they're looking for us. In 2 years, we really haven't had people invade our personal space. Maybe the Private signs are working. :)
 

Morticia

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Thanks all. Will check out some of those options.
FWIW, the front door lock is a Schlage. The interior lock is another brand (can't remember off hand), but we got that brand intentionally because they sell a tool so you can rekey the locks yourself. The innkeeper quarters are accessed through several doors. Only one has the keypad (for convenience if we feel the need to cut off access while working elsewhere in the house), but with this brand of locks, we can rekey all the locks to the same key.
Also, re damage to the old doors. Yes, we thought of that. However, the alternative is NEVER leaving the house while guests are here (and, uh, that's really old all ready). Also, sorry, but I've read too many anecdotes here about guests wandering - accidentally or otherwise - where they have no business. I figure they may ignore or not notice a "private" sign, but a locked door will force them to stop and think. On a couple of the doors, we did put locks that are more in keeping with the style of the house, but those function more as "security" locks, not access doors. That sounds awkward, hope it made some sense.
Joey - thanks for the thoughts about guests. BI (Before Innkeeping) I worked in some interesting neighborhoods, and one thing I learned is most people are the same everywhere (basically decent). It the people who aren't part of "most" that we wnat to head off..
My brother tried to use the guest access code on MY door and said, 'Hey, I can't get in!' I said to him, 'Do you think I'm stoopid or something?'
And my parents kept after me because the door was unlocked when they arrived. 'Do you want me to go lock the door, we just walked in.' And the ferocious dog licked them to death, 'Ooooo, Grandma & Grandpa!' (My parents are funny, tho...they CALLED to say they were letting themselves in. Of course, no one heard the phone ring but we all wondered where they went when we saw the car outside and no parents.)
 

JBloggs

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Just wanted to relate this story:
Had three guest rooms this morning, all checked out, none for a few days so I put the closed sign on the front door, double locked the second bolt.
About 330pm I hear a pounding on the door "Hello Hello!" I go out there - which I normally wouldn't but it might be UPS/Fedex at that time of day.
Some scraggly grottie looking character is there in a dirty greasy hoodie and baseball cap. He shoves a $10 bill in toward my face and says "I need change for this, do you have two fives?"
I reply, "NO. SORRY." and shut the door and relock. It is of course, already locked, only accessible for those with the code.
I see him meander down the front steps kinda looking around. Why would he want two fives? I have no idea other than a ploy to come IN HERE or LOOK IN HERE for later on.
Across the street are apartments in an old brick house, the teen boy runs up the outside steps to the apartment above - his aunt or granny lives up there. I watch as this greaseball sees what I saw and then make a bee line across the street to the front door of the main bottom apartment, slowly turn the knob (hey its unlocked!) and go right in.
I grab the phone and wait, not sure if he came from there to begin with, very doubtful, I wait for someone to toss him out or him to come out. Hm. Just then a school bus pulls up and I see him now beyond it walking up the street.
Meanwhile I put the phone back on its cradle.
4pm he is across the street again in front of the main apartment door (the one he went in on his own earlier) and the little granny is standing there peering out and he has that Tenner shoved up in her face. She shakes her head no no and slams the door closed.
He gets into a dirty beater compact car and drives away. No license number visible from my viewpoint. I call the local town police and they are here within minutes cruising our street. They really have very little to do here, so this is a big deal.
So there ya go, my WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE an access key pad on your front door - story. My first story of the new year. :) Oh except the one I sent out to a few innmates about the lovely ultra wonderful guests I had - starting out the new year in style! Remembering why I got into this business, great guests. 2009 ended with bad ones...
 
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