Replace Safe Dial with an Electronic Lock for Easier Access

Replace Safe Dial with an Electronic Lock for Easier Access

Myths Vs Reality of Dial & Electronic Safe Locks

Dial locks vs electronic locks? The debate lives on. One is entirely mechanical; the other much easier to use. But there are myths associated with both. I find I am a great test for which lock a customer will prefer. Computers hit my high school when I was in 12th grade. People older than me, like the mechanical dial. They don’t particularly trust the electronic lock. People younger than me though grew up with electronic technology and generally prefer the ease of use of the electronic lock.

If you’re ready for an electronic lock. Check out our article Read more

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Schlage E-Series Replacement

Schlage E-Series Replacement

Ever taken a lock of your door and said, “What the heck?”

One very popular brand of lock that is no longer made was the old Schlage E-Series. It was a good lock, but many customer are now seeing them fail. The trouble is, when that particular lock was installed it put a huge hole in the door to account for the mechanics of the hardware (see photo).

Most new locks are prepped for standard 2 3/8″ holes. They will neither fill the hole left by the old Schlage or be made to function within in. What are you to do? Replacing the door is one option, but a very expensive one.

A better way is to install a cover plate over the holes. Here’s an example we just did for a Phoenix customer. Not the most ideal solution, but very affordable when faced with the alternative of replacing the door.

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Home Security – Know Who’s at Your Door

Home Security – Know Who’s at Your Door

Always Know Who’s at Your Door Before Answering

The SkyBell Home Monitoring System Captures Video and More Whenever Someone is at Your Door.

Before we recommend a protect, we try it. When this little video door bell monitoring system came out, it went up on my house asap. The verdict, love it.

Several features make this a great little security device.

  • It auto captures video/screen shots each time your door bell is rung.
    Burglars will scope out a house to see if a house is empty during the day before they break in by seeing if anyone answers the door. This little device videos them when they do this and notifies you on your Smart Phone every time your doorbell is rung. Should you then be broken into, you’ve got the evidence.

    • Bonus: As soon as my kids walk home from school, they ring the doorbell before coming inside. I get a notification on my phone and know they are home safe and sound.
  • Hear & Speak.
    Listen to what they are saying at your door from any location and talk to whomever is ringing the bell. I had just hired a landscaper to plant some trees. When he came to the door we had an entire conversation about where to plant them and what was needed–while I wasn’t even home.
  • Activity history. Review the day’s events at your door.
  • Live monitoring. Check your home at any time. The photo below is a pic of what’s going on in my front yard.
  • Screenshot of the video Installed on My Home.
  • Theft guarantee. If it is stolen, SkyBell will replace it for free.
  • Night vision. Capture images up to 15 ft away in full color.
  • Quiet mode. Baby sleeping? Temporarily turn off your door bell.
  • Installed in minutes for most homes
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Stopping the Smart Burglar

Stopping the Smart Burglar

I my opinion, there are two types of home robberies: what I call smash and grabbers and then the smart ones.

Though devastating, smash and grab robberies are usually done by kids. They quickly take what they can, and they’re out. Your insurance fixes the damage and replaces the property. It impacts your life but the impact is temporary. As the name implies, there’s clear evidence that you’ve been robbed.  Broken glass, smashed locks, kicked-in doors; these things can’t be missed.

But the the smart burglar is much harder to detect. They get into your home unnoticed using techniques like lock bumping or picking. These techniques are easily learned online and the tools bought to do them cost less than a couple of dollars. When someone gains access to your house using these techniques, you’ll probably never even know they were there.  Your key will still work, and the locks show no damage. But one day you discover you can’t find that expensive piece of family jewelry you had hidden in the closet (did you just misplace it?), or there’s unauthorized charges on your credit card, or worse, there are new credit cards under your name because you’re identity has been taken. Smart robbers leave no trace they’ve been in the home, target items such as mail or a few pieces of jewelry, and the results aren’t found until long after they’ve left.

How do you stop this type of robbery when even the new locks that were specifically designed to stop lock bumping and picking are vulnerable to simple, undetectable attacks? That’s were a lock and security professional comes in.

At ACME Locksmith, we evaluate your home’s entire security and identify weak areas and possible points of entry – even the ways someone can get in undetected. We recommend solutions that you can implement yourself or, if you prefer, we’d be happy to help. Our security evaluations will tell you how to:

  • Stop someone from getting in through weak security points such as garage doors, french doors, and sliding glass doors
  • Prevent your locks from being bumped or picked
  • Stop someone from getting your mail
  • Properly beef up and secure your entry doors
All home evaluations are Free if we’re onsite performing any other service.
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Push, Pull, or Rotate Knobs and Levers

Push, Pull, or Rotate Knobs and  Levers

Here’s an interesting twist on home locks

The new push, pull, rotate locks by Brinks give you three ways to release the latch and open the door. Push it, pull it, or turn it the old fashion way.

What do you think of this lock? Seems a clever idea for interior door knobs and levers, like the laundry room or bedrooms where your hands are often full. But exterior, we don’t see the value. You still need the key to unlock the door, so you’d have to put everything down to take care of that part. But for interior doors, while hauling laundry or bags of shopping to your rooms, this could be useful.


  • Installs just like a regular deadbolt/lever/knob.
  • 4 common finishes: Oil rubbed bronze, satin nickel, brass, polished chrome (availability based on style)
  • Attractive,modern styles
  • Comes equipped with anti-bump, anti-pick pins
  • Lifetime warranty for defects in material and workmanship
  • Pricing similar to competitors residential door hardware
Push, pull, or rotate to gain entry.
Use your hip to open the lock by pushing.
Don’t have a hand free. Give the lock a nudge with that elbow.
Love the handleset styles.
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Fresh Install Deadbolts & Door Hardware

Fresh Install Deadbolts & Door Hardware

Love that new house you purchased but wish it had some better door security?

No problem. ACME Locksmith can fresh install deadbolts in your existing house doors. We prep the door, provide the locks that match your existing style, brand and finish, and key them up to match your existing house keys. All at an affordable price. Here’s a photo of a door we just did a deadbolt installation on in Gilbert. We put on a Schlage commercial grade product that is far better than those locks you get at a home warehouse store.

Door without deadbolt.
Door without deadbolt.
Door with deadbolt installed
Door with Deadbolt Installation

Don’t forget, we can fresh install deadbolts (or keyless locks) to your side gates as well, and electronic deadbolts or the front door so you’ll never get locked out.

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Affordable Touch Screen Deadbolt

Affordable Touch Screen Deadbolt

Looking for an affordable touch screen deadbolt for your home? Look no further than the lock specifically designed for and sold by locksmiths.

  • 4-8 digit entry codes
  • 25 user codes
  • Satin Nickel finish
  • All programming done from the touchscreen – no need to take apart the back of the lock
  • Vacation mode – temporarily disable all codes
  • Auto-lock – auto lock the door from 10 – 99 seconds after opening
  • Single entry code – set a code that can only be used once then it is deleted from memory

Our favorite electronic deadbolt for the home remains this deadbolt, but only because the style is a bit more modern. But for the price, this touchscreen electronic lock becomes very attractive.


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$35-150 for a Standard Car key? That’s crazy!

$35-150 for a Standard Car key? That’s crazy!

We just received a call from a client. She had a 2010 Hyundai Elantra. Nothing fancy, nothing special. She just needed a backup key. It’s a good old fashion steal key (a mechanical key). Not a chip key, transponder, or FOB.

The first company she called, a legitimate company, wanted $150 to duplicate that key. That sounds insane to us for a mechanical key. Read more

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Business Robbed -The Importance of Latch Guards

Business Robbed -The Importance of Latch Guards

A latch guard is a sheet of metal that covers the latch on a door. Most often, they are installed on commercial exterior doors to prevent someone from prying the door open and easily gaining access to your business. The goal of prying open a door is to move the frame of the door just enough so the latch pops out of the frame and the door opens. This is usually accomplished by a breaker bar or some other long narrow object being inserted in the crack at the latch location. Latch guards prevent objects from being inserted into the crack near the commercial door latch thus the latch can’t be forced to pop out of the door frame.

Is it overkill? Not for this business. This is a fire riser room door.

Door That Was Not Secure and Pried Open.

Almost all Arizona commercial properties have one on the building. We were recently called out to perform emergency commercial door service to secure this door. The door was pried open by a burglar. He then cut a hole in the drywall of the fire riser room to gain access to the adjacent business. The business was cleaned out.

This is door after we finished the repair. Simple fixes can make big security improvements. Don’t skimp on door security.

Latch Guard Installed on Commercial Door to Prevent Prying Door Open
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Schlage NDE Wireless Access

Schlage NDE Wireless Access

We are loving this new card access lock from Schlage. At its price point, it’s one of the best card access locks available and feature rich. Full installation (parts and labor) for less than half of previous stand alone, card access systems with audit trail capability.

  • Replaces existing commercial-grade levers
  • Half the cost of traditional wireless access control for very affordable implementation
  • No wiring, no power supplies, always ready in case of power or network failure
  • Up to 5000 users
  • 2000 event access report (audit trail)
  • Add and control up to 100 locks
  • Wifi and Bluetooth enabled for access and programming from computer computer or smartphone
  • Send daily automatic updates from the cloud or manually from the app
  • 20,000 cycle battery life for up to two years of access
  • Supports schedules (enable and disable access based on time of day or date) with auto-lock or auto-unlock scheduling
  • Works with smart cards, FOBs, or proximity cards
  • Field reversible for left handled and right handed door
  • Weather resistant for exterior doors
  • Standard cylinder and IC Core format key override available
  • See Schlage NDE Lock FAQ

Bluetooth Wifi Lock

Schlage NDE Card Access Lock

Own Your Own ACME Locksmith Location

Own Your Own ACME Locksmith Location

You can join Arizona’s most successful locksmith company and become an independent franchise owner. Our franchises operate from a store front location with mobile field support so you can provide your customers a differentiated lock and key service.

Locksmith Franchise Business

ACME Locksmith has been under the guidance of Robert Vallelunga since 2007. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He performed as a Product Marketing Manager for 15 years helping to fulfill product needs and establish successful brands. In 2007 Robert decided to find a company he could guide to success. Under his guidance, ACME Locksmith has grown into the only locksmith company in Arizona having three profitable locations. It’s been a decision he’s never regretted. The ability to help customers feel safe and secure has been particularly rewarding.

ACME Locksmith Franchise owners will benefit from Robert’s 25 years of experience and understanding of current service industry needs, advertising, and branding techniques. The business practices you’ll be able to utilize from day one will place your business in the top-tier of locksmith companies in the US. ACME Locksmith will help guide your success with operations, marketing, accounting, audit and legal support.

Want more information on how ACME locks in your success? Request Franchise Information

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ACME Locksmith’s Service Decal – Why?

ACME Locksmith’s Service Decal – Why?

When ACME Locksmith does a job for your business or home, ACME Locksmith will install a little, discrete decal next to one of the locks we serviced.

Sometimes customers ask us, “Why do you do that?”

ACME Locksmith offers the best warranty of any Phoenix lock company in Arizona. Our labor / workmanship warranty is 12 months while most of our competition’s is just 90 days. Six months down the road, should there be an issue, will you remember which locksmith you called? We take calls frequently that sound like this, “I need to know if you performed my lock service at….”.

We do keep great records and track all the key services we perform, but by placing that little decal next to the lock, a customer will know exactly who to call should there be any issues. If you received great service, you’ll know who to call next time in order to get the same great lock or key service.

Don’t worry. These little decals are discrete and not even noticed after a day or two. Unless that is, there’s a problem with the lock. Then you’ll know exactly which locksmith service to call.

Decal shown on lock installed by ACME.
Decal shown on lock installed by ACME.
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Bluetooth Locks

Bluetooth Locks

Bluetooth Locks are Being Released by Many Lock Manufactures. Are They Needed?

Locks just keep getting smarter and smarter. But what is needed vs what is too much?

For the past year, lock manufactures have been releasing deadbolts that can be opened via Bluetooth devices. And Master Lock has just released a padlock that can be opened via Bluetooth.

But are these devices worth it or are they just looking to jump on a technology that is currently a hot buzzword with consumers? Here’s ACME Locksmith’s thoughts.

Bluetooth locking devices tout the following benefits:

  • No need for keys
  • Share electronic access (via electronic key codes) with someone needing access right away
  • Some offer access history and tamper alerts

I acknowledge, I like these benefits. But with a list price over $400 is it worth it? Especially when you consider that electronic deadbolts are less than half that price and offer the SAME benefits as the Bluetooth devices. Electronic deadbolts offer Keyless entry, temporary pin codes or pin codes that can be easily removed, and in some cases (depending on the lock manufacture) tamper alerts and access history.

Kwikset Kevo Deadbolt

Our main concern with the Bluetooth home deadbolts lie within the technology itself. Bluetooth is a proximity based technology. That is, when your Bluetooth device is near the Bluetooth lock, the lock can be opened by anyone. So, if you just got home, entered the home and locked the door behind you, it is technically possible that someone behind you can then simply open the door because your Bluetooth device is near the lock. Thus the lock will offer NO PROTECTION. The home deadbolt manufactures are implementing technology that allows the lock to sense whether the Bluetooth device is outside or inside the home, but just how good this technology is has yet to be tested. Does the Bluetooth device need to be several feet inside the home??? Or is 2 feet sufficient??? Many of the deadbolts offer a calibration feature to improve the sensing of the device. How much at risk are you if you skip the calibration step? As a locksmith and security professional,these are our concerns, and we’ll wait until the technology has demonstrated itself secure before recommending it.

Master Lock Bluetooth Padlock
The new Master Lock Bluetooth padlock is more reasonably priced at around $70 (list price), and doesn’t have the same proximity security risk that the deadbolts do since they will typically be used on gates and noticing someone is possible since no door restricts your view causing a false sense of security. But, they too can be as much as 3X a good combination padlock offering many of the same benefits.

If the proximity technology proves safe, I like the idea of Bluetooth locks once the price comes down, but currently the additional benefits to justify such a large price increase (over a more proven electronic deadbolt or simply a combination padlock) just isn’t there in ACME Locksmith’s opinion. Save your money. With time, pricing will come down, the technology improved, and the Bluetooth locks will be more attractive.

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Is This Bad Locksmith Service?

Is This Bad Locksmith Service?

What constitutes bad lock service and warrants a bad review?

Locksmithing is a services-based business, and ACME Locksmith deals with thousands of customers every year. I can tell you, it’s HARD to get someone to publically praise your company! Once their emergency is taken care of, the kids have to be taken to school, work has to be done, life just gets in the way, and writing a review about locksmith service just isn’t a priority.

But bad reviews are different. People like to be heard when something goes wrong. You can make 1000 customers happy and maybe see one positive review on google, but make just one customer unhappy, and you’re guaranteed to see that post.

Bad Locksmith Reviews

But what’s fair when it comes to a bad review?

We are seeing a growing trend. People who are not using our service are writing bad reviews. This seems crazy to me. Is it fair to write a bad review of a lock company you did not use?

We recently had a customer call us needing us to come out for an emergency safe opening. Our safe technician was already drilling several safes that day and we couldn’t take care of her needs in the time frame she needed. We apologized and provider her the name of company that we thought might be able to help. They did, and she got into her safe. Though we couldn’t help her ourselves, we did provide her the name of a competitor that we thought could. Is this good service? Apparently not. She wrote a scathing review of our lock company because we could not service her in her time frame.

A few nights ago we took a call from a customer down the street from one of our locations. He was locked out of his car. Though he was near our shop, our field locksmiths are out on the road providing mobile locksmith service for our customers. We placed the call on hold while we called several of our locksmith technicians to see how soon we could get to him. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to him in time to meet his needs. So we gave him the name and number of another locksmith company nearby that we felt might be able to help him. They did. We put him on the path to solving his problem. Good service? Nope. He scolded us online for having him on hold too long and not being able to send someone out.

We’d love nothing more than to be able to take care of every person in Phoenix needing our locksmith service. Believe me, we’re a small business, every call counts. It pains me when we have to turn away a call. Some companies may fudge and give you faster ETAs in order to book your business. They’ll tell you 15 minutes to arrive but you won’t see them for 2 hours. Ethically, we just can’t do that. It’s more important to us to find someone that can help you, even when it’s a competitor, than to get the business under false pretense. If this is bad service, we’re guilty.

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Congratulations to ACME Locksmith’s Scottsdale Lock & Key Shop!

Congratulations to ACME Locksmith’s Scottsdale Lock & Key Shop!

ACME Locksmith Receives 2015 Best Businesses of Scottsdale Award

Scottsdale Award Program Honors the Achievement

Scottsdale, March 2016 — ACME Locksmith has been selected for the 2015 Best Businesses of Scottsdale Award in the Keys & Locksmiths category by the Best Businesses of Scottsdale Award Program.

Each year, the Best Businesses of Scottsdale Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Scottsdale area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Best Businesses of Scottsdale Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Best Businesses of Scottsdale Award Program and data provided by third parties.

“Our newest lock shop in Scottsdale is quickly becoming Scottsdale’s go to place for keys, safes and locksmith services,” said Robert Vallelunga, Owner of ACME Locksmith. “We couldn’t be more proud of the Scottsdale team.”

About ACME Locksmith
ACME Locksmith has been serving Phoenix since 1997 and in 2014 merged with Scottsdale Lock & Key. Scottsdale Lock & Key had been operating a lock shop in Scottsdale since the 1970s. This is their first award and recognition for exceptional success for locksmith service.

Best of 2015 Scottsdale Locksmiths

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Sentry Safe Security Fail – Cheap Safes are Cheaply Made

Sentry Safe Security Fail – Cheap Safes are Cheaply Made

Do you think that safe you bought at a big box store is protecting your valuables? It’s not and even manufacturer of the safe will tell you it’s not. Read more

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How Much Security is Too Much Security?

How Much Security is Too Much Security?

How much home security is too much home security? The answer isn’t clear cut because it depends on many factors. But those factors often boil down to this: How much is peace of mind worth to you?

If you’ve been a victim of abuse or a home break-in, Read more

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Pre-Screened Phoenix Locksmith Specialists

Pre-Screened Phoenix Locksmith Specialists

ACME Locksmith Takes the Following Steps to Ensure Your Home & Business Stay Safe

At ACME Locksmith we screen every locksmith we hire. We check them for drugs, we check them for criminal history, and we run a personality profile on them to see if they have any tendencies towards dishonesty.  We won’t hire anyone that doesn’t pass these tests.


  • Our locksmiths will likely have access to your keys while they are on site. You want someone you can trust to have them.
  • Our locksmiths are responsible for improving your home’s security. You want someone that’s knowledgeable.
  • Our locksmiths may have access to your credit cards while you pay for your lock service. You want someone that won’t be tempted.

Bottom line. We want you to feel more safe after our locksmith has arrived than you did before he got there. It’s our job to not only solve your lock, key and security needs, but to do so as safely as possible, without risk, and that’s why we insist on screening all our team members.

Do we really do it? After all, some lock companies claim to perform screenings, but aren’t really doing it. How can you be sure we screen out locksmiths?

As evidence, here’s a recent scan result report for a mobile locksmith team member hired late last year.  At ACME Locksmith, we value your trust and we’ll do everything we can to keep it.


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ACME Locksmith – Scottsdale Chamber Sterling Award Finalist

ACME Locksmith – Scottsdale Chamber Sterling Award Finalist

Great “About ACME” Video from the Scottsdale AZ Chamber of Commerce Awards

We were so excited to be named a finalist for the 2015 Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Awards. I didn’t think it could get any better, but then we received this video from their production crew.



A locally owned, business ACME locksmith has been serving Valley residents since 1997. They are a full-service lock and safe company and have three locations across the valley,
with plans to open two more locations.

“We’re focused on learning customers for life. It’s hard in the locksmith industry because most people will only need a locksmith maybe every 5 or 10 years. So we always try to stay relevant. the way that we do that is to provide the most exceptional service that we can so that when, 5 or 10 years down the road, somebody needs another locksmith they will actively go out and look for our business. And our guys, we’re really lucky, our guys are very dedicated to delivering great service.”

An example of providing that exceptional customer experience is their Online Lock Knowledge Center that educates customers and potential customers. Acme Locksmith is also a consumer advocate in the community exposing the rising fraud and locksmith services.

“One of the ways that we’re combating [locksmith scams] is we want to provide this service free to Valley residents. We will unlock a car absolutely free if they put our decal on their window so we can know how many cars we can support. We’ll go out and unlock the vehicle for free. The interesting thing that we do is we recycle all of our keys. So throughout the course of our business we can get twenty – thirty pounds of keys that are key waste. We take those in, and we recycle those. The money that we get from the recycling is donated to our charities.”

With continued employee training and implementing the latest in technology, Acme Locksmith provides superior customer service. They were the first local locksmith company in Phoenix valley to implement a software controlled dispatch system. This system has made their drivers thirty percent more efficient.

Locking your keys in your car can be a very stressful situation.

“When our tech arrives on site our Phoenix Valley customers will feel more comfortable after we get there than they did before we arrived. In Phoenix Arizona, there’s no requirement to be licensed locksmith company. Anybody can do it. But carrying a contractors license is something that ACME Locksmith does that most of the other “locksmiths” aren’t doing.

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Discusing Home Security with Rosie on The House

Discusing Home Security with Rosie on The House

Thank you Rosie and Romey of Rosie on the House for inviting us into the radio station to discuss home security. Didn’t catch the live broadcast? No worries.

Rosie on the House Locksmith
Listen to ACME Locksmith on Rosie on the House

1st Segment
2nd Segment


Rosie: We’ve brought in our Rosie on the House certified locksmith and security expert from Acme locksmith, right here in Maricopa County serving the entire Maricopa County area, the owner of Acme locksmith, Robert Vallelunga. Robert thanks a million for coming and taking some of your personal Saturday time and sharing it with me and the listeners.

Robert: Thank you, great to be here.

Rosie: You’ve been owner of ACME for a lot of years. ACME’s been Rosie certified it has to be seven, eight, or nine, maybe even ten years. Every time I’m asked to go out on a public speaking engagement – I do a lot of public speaking at block watch programs, homeowners associations, Rotary clubs – I give them a list of five things I can talk about. You pick the one, and of the 5 topics the number one topic everyone always wants to hear about is, “What can I do at my house to increase the security of my home, my family, my possessions, and my identity. Do you know what the second topic is? The history of remodeling the White House. Let’s talk home security here. Some of the things people do naively right. Let’s talk about sticking broomstick handles into sliding window tracks.

Robert: You know we see that a lot, and it’s great to prevent the door from sliding open. The problem with that is that it does nothing to prevent the door from being lifted out of the tracks. And we’ve been to a number of houses that were broken into where somebody has taken a screwdriver on a sliding glass door and popped it right out of the track. Yet there’s new sliding glass door locks on the market, for aftermarket use, that you put on your existing doors. They’re very easy to install and specifically focus on preventing that from happening. Not only do they prevent the door from sliding open but they prevent anyone from being able to lift it out of its tracks. They’re very very effective and very easy to use.

Rosie: If your patio sliding door or sliding windows are aluminum frame and older than 15 or 20 years old, I can get in your house faster than you can imagine.

Robert: It’s trivial

Rosie: It is unbelievably easy to get into the house. The newer sliding patio doors and windows have stops that keep you from lifting it except when they’re in a very peculiar of a specific position then you can let them out for cleaning and stuff like that. But I tell people all the time if you have those older windows, and can’t afford to do anything else, just close the window take a 3/16 inch drill bit and drill a hole in the header of the window and put a screw there. That lets the window slide open but doesn’t let anybody lift it up.

Robert: That’s a good tip.

Rosie: It’s an easy way to do it. And for the cost of one screw, at about five cents, you’ve stopped that entry. What’s the number one port that a burglar will use to get into your house?

Robert: Believe it or not it’s the front door.

Rosie: It is the front door. And how do they do it?

Robert: There are a number of techniques. You could kick the door in, its actually not that hard to do, but one of the things we’re seeing a lot of that has really permeated throughout the United States, is a technique on lock bumping to get in. And anybody with three bucks and internet connection can get a key that open your front door if you have a door that doesn’t have newer locks on it. Maybe over 5 years old.

Rosie: Yes. You can google a particular site and then you go to Amazon and buy the product that they advertise there, and in about 15 minutes of trying you can become a pretty good lock picker. Really quick.

Robert: Yeah. A lot of the local news channels have covered it. You can get into a home very very quickly using this technique. There’s product out on the market so that you don’t have to replace all your door hardware to stop this. There’s aftermarket products you can put on your locks today, that cost less than 30 bucks, and nobody can get into your house by picking the lock or even if they have an existing key they won’t be able to get into that front door.

Rosie: What do you tell people? When you kick in the front door you’re actually exploding the jam of the door. The lock’s still intact, in fact it’s actually being used as part of the prying force and leverage to blow the inside of the jam out. I’ve got several techniques I use to reinforce that. What do y’all do as locksmiths in that application?

Robert: Probably the easiest thing to do, and any homeowner can do it, is to take out all those half inch screws and just put 3 inch screws in. Replace everything with 3 inch screws so that you hit the studs behind the frame. That’s a big. tremendous security improvement and it only cost you a few cents.

Rosie: Hardly anything at all. And the newer front doors, have that steel plate on the back side of the jam that makes it harder to do the kick it out. But before they came up with those, I don’t know, I think I started seeing those getting staples on about 10 years ago, we would just take the inside casing off the door. And we would take 3 & 4 inch screws and secure into the jam below the lock set, between the locks and the deadbolt, and then just put the casing back on you never saw it. And it kept you safe. I mean you would break your foot before you kicked that door in.

Robert: Tremendous security improvement.

Rosie: It is, and it’s just pennies. Absolute pennies. Now we were talking about locks for the sliding door apparatus. Do any of these locks void warranties from manufacturers?

Robert: They are after market products. I don’t believe they would void the warranty, but I haven’t checked on that. (Note: If you have a new sliding glass door check with the manufacture about your warranty before installing and after market product)

Rosie: It would be my guess that if a door or window was new enough to be in warranty, they’ve got an enhanced lock mechanism. As opposed to the older units we’re talking about. When we’re talking about these features, the thing I want you to picture is a pin type apparatus or something that pins that movable leaf to the frame.

Robert: Right, right. The lock that we’re thinking of, the one we install a lot of, actually secures that sliding glass door from both the top and the bottom so it sort of locks it in and the door can’t be tilted in either direction.

Rosie: There you go. Now the first one of those I ever installed I was just a little bit too close to the glass.

Robert: LOL. You do have to be a little careful. If you nick it, you can break it. We’ve installed thousands of them, and we we have broken, I believe, one window. That we took care of of course. But thousands of installations without an issue.

Rosie: OK. So we’ve covered the sliding door, we’re covered the front door, what’s your feeling on security front doors?

Robert: I personally think they’re great. Nice weather like this and you want to leave a door open for the draft and you’re still locked up. Just make sure that when it’s installed, that it’s installed properly so that you know you don’t have exposed screws and there’s not any way to remove that door from the outside.

Rosie: Pop the pin hinges.

Robert: Exactly. And we’ve seen it, we’ve seen it.

Rosie: LOL. Yeah. Some of the economy security doors are really very false sense of security because they are easier to get into than the front door. I always tell people, “Look think of me as the crook,” and I’m canvassing your neighborhood. What I’m looking for is, I’m looking for front doors that are blinded from the line of sight from your neighbors. So I love those, I love the Arizona alcove look. Where the door is stuck back in that little alcove. That’s perfect for me the crook and criminal. And the next thing I’m going to look at is do I see any security alarm signs in the yard? Which, by the way, you get those off Amazon for about $3 a piece and along with fake video cameras that you run the wire into the fascia board and that’s all. I always tell people, you know if your hike in the woods with your friend and you come across a hungry bear that starts chasing you, you don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your friend. So I tell people make your house the least desirable visual target. Make your neighbors house more attractive, and once you get yours set up, then go on a neighborhood campaign and make your whole neighborhood the least desirable. But if I’m casing in the neighborhood, I’m looking for a front door that I can’t kick in. I’m only going to spend between 30 and 40 seconds trying to get in. I want to be blinded from the line of sight and a security door greatly increase the amount of time it’s going to take for me to get in there. I love a good security front door.

Robert: I agree.

Rosie: So we have to get through that lock, and we’re going to have to get through the front door lock. The door is secured and we reinforced the jam. Let’s talk about the different kinds of locks.

Robert: you know one of the things you want to make sure that you do when you’re looking at replacing your locks OR enhancing your locks is get one that is BUMP resistant, we’ve already touched on that, but also I recommend you get one that is a light commercial grade.

Rosie: Let’s talk about that. Three grades.

Robert: Three residential grades and then there’s commercial grades. So you’ve got grade 1 2 & 3. Grade two is a medium residential grade. It’s what most your home stores are selling. I recommend at least that. Then you can go up from there. For dead bolts we typically install light commercial grade, which is a grade two commercial lock. Aesthetically it looks the same but it gives you more security and is much heavier, much more, much more weight.

Rosie: I can take a drywall hatchet or roofing hatchet and knock most deadbolts right off the front door.

Robert: And burglars know this too. They know which brands are garbage, and if they see that brand on your front door they know that you’re an easy target. Grade 3 is the one you want to stay away from.

Rosie: And that’s your 7 and 8 and 9 dollar deadbolts that you can get at the discount stores and don’t weigh more than about 8 or 9 ounces?

Robert: Correct. If you take a residential grade two lock and a residential grade three and put them in your hands, you’ll feel the difference. You’ll see the screws that hold that the back in the front of the lock together, that go through the door, you’ll see the difference in the width. A good residential deadbolt will have a steel sleeve that goes all the way through the door. An inexpensive, cheap one, it’ll be hollow all the way through the door except for the screws.

Rosie: We’ll be back.

Rosie: We’re here with Robert Vallelunga, owner of ACME Locksmith and Rosie certified locksmith in Maricopa County, has been for seven or eight years at least. So Robert what are your phone numbers? I would like people to get in touch with you if they would like a security check in their home or get information on your website.

Robert: You can give us a call at 48-380-2263 or just go to . You can schedule an appointment online, you get a little discount for scheduling online. Oone of the things we have on our website that I think a lot of people can benefit from is our Knowledge Center, in particular our residential section on that Knowledge Center. A lot of these points that we’ve touched on today can be found there. We have a a document on that site, 7 easy tips you can do to improve the security of your home. These are things homeowners can do that are not only simple but affordable. That they could take care of themselves t greatly enhance their home’s security.

Rosie: Let’s talk about if the criminal is in the house. How can we build a defense system to protect our possessions and our family once there.

Robert: One of the best things that you could do is have a good high quality home safe within your house. Not only to protect your possessions, a lot of them are fire rated so that you can protect things like passports and documentation and photos, but also have one that has a good security rating to put valuables in it. One of the very tough things a home owner can do is find a high security safe for the home that’s small. If they have jewelry or something. One that actually gives them a high level of protection. We can help them find something that meet their needs. So that they can protect not only the paperwork but the valuables as well.

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Evaluating Kwiksets New Touchscreen Home Electronic Deadbolt

Evaluating Kwiksets New Touchscreen Home Electronic Deadbolt

With the onslaught of lock vendors introducing their new touchscreen deadbolts we recently installed Kwikset’s newest 915 series. I thought I’d pass along our thoughts.

If you’re not sure why you’d want one, check out our post You Want a Home Electronic Deadbolt

Like Schlage’s newest entry in the market, we found the Kwikset version to be stunningly beautiful but flawed.

On the plus side:

  • Installation is easy if you are swapping out an existing deadbolt though there are a few things needing improvement (see below).
  • The process of adding and removing user codes is also easy to follow once the back cover plate is removed (see below).
  • It has a key override (which is sorely missing from Schlage’s product).
  • It is self rekeyable so it can easily be made to match your existing house key if desired.

But now the flaws:

Kwikset Electronic Deadbolt

  • Our biggest issue is that it does not cover the footprint of the existing deadbolt (see photo).  In fact, despite the new touchscreen locks being much larger than existing standard deadbolts, most brands suffer from this flaw. When you remove the old lock, the imprint from that lock will NOT be covered. Any flaws left behind will be visible. That is, unless you want to take the time to putty and repaint the door. But that makes it more effort than it’s worth. On  a new door it will look beautiful, but on an existing door it will make the door look like crap. I don’t know why vendors aren’t thinking this through. A simple flat cover plate placed behind the lock in the same finish would easily solve this problem. Every lock should come with one, but none do and no one on the after market is making them.
  • The second major issue is that programming is a major pain. Its easy enough to do, but to get the lock into programming mode you must remove the back cover plate. This plate is held on by no less than three hex head screws. One of those screws is placed on the bottom of the cover plate, and the handle / knob down below is in direct interference of it’s removal. Kwikset supplies a long hex wrench, which makes it a “little” easier, but it’s still an annoyance. The lock should be changed to us a keyed sequence to put it in programming mode.
  • One thing you need to be very aware of is that the receiving strike’s bore hole must be at least 1″ deep for the lock’s bolt. If it is not, the lock will not fully lock. In fact, we initially missed this in our first install. We had set the lock to auto relock and every 30 seconds the lock kept trying to auto relock itself despite the latch being in the out “locked” position. At first we thought we had a defective lock, but upon a second reading of the installation notes (we are locksmiths, we thought we could install a lock without them :-P), we found this to be the culprit. Because our bore was not deep enough the lock never thought it was “locked.” Once we drilled out the hole a bit more, the problem was solved.
Since installation, we have enjoyed using the lock, but am now awaiting a door painter so it looks beautiful.
Thus far the Arrow Electronic Deadbolt remains our favorite.
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Who Is the Best Phoenix Locksmith?

Who Is the Best Phoenix Locksmith?

Locksmith Claims of Superiority – Be Cautious When Hiring

“The best…,” ” #1…,” “99.9% Satisfaction” and other claims of superiority by service companies can be found all over Arizona. It can be a bit overwhelming to consumers looking for a service provider. For example, in Phoenix there are at least three locksmith companies claiming to be “#1,” and ACME Locksmith is one of them. There are numerous more claiming to be “the best”, “the fastest”, etc…. So how do you find out when you are being given true information or when someone is misleading you? After all, if a company is deceiving in their advertising, how will they do when it comes to service and billing?

Is this the best locksmith in Phoenix?

Luckily, there are many methods you can use to check on claims made by various service companies.

  • Ask them how they arrived at their claim
  • Verify the information they give you
  • Check sites they don’t mention to verify reputation such as Google+ or Angie’s

Always ask a company making a claim how they arrived at it.
When a superiority claim is valid, the company will be able to site the source of that claim. Perhaps it’s an award they’v won or the results of a reader’s poll. When you call a service company, they should have the evidence for their claim at their fingertips and be able to point you to it.

For example, the basis for ACME Locksmith’s claim of being the “#1 Rated Phoenix Locksmith” comes from the number of 5-star-rated internet reviews found on service company review sites. Today we have over 500 5-star-rated customer reviews, nearly 4X that of the nearest competitor. What’s more, we can tie over 90% of these reviews to the customer we serviced. If you’ve seen our advertising you probably already understand that this is the source of our claim. Companies that focus on “truth in advertising” always state the basis of their claim. So if you see a company stating “99.9% Satisfaction” you should also see something like, “As based on XYZ’s reader pole.” Doing so provides transparency for the consumer.

Interestingly enough, most companies that make false claims don’t think them through. Locally, there was one company claiming that they were “Voted the best Locksmith since 1979.” We called them, mentioned the claim, and asked what it was all about. The person on the phone said, “I don’t know.” Now if you owned a company that was voted the best of anything since 1979 (over thirty years in a row) wouldn’t you want all of your employees to know about it? We then called the owner and asked him what he based his claim on. He told us bluntly, “I made it up.” He has since stopped making this claim, but recently we found him claiming to be the “#1 Locksmith in Phoenix”. He’s also claiming to have 5.0 star rating which also isn’t true. We asked about this too and he said, “Because a few customers have told us.” While I’m certain this company has had customers tell them they are great, it is not evidence of being #1 since the claim cannot be substantiated and verified by any real data. This company is violating the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) and the Associated Locksmiths of America advertising policies. Do you want to hire them?

Verify the claim by checking what they told you.
If they said they won an award, search for it on the internet. If they said they have a 5.0 rating, ask them where and go look.

Check various service based websites for reviews of the company you are considering hiring.
Companies that make false claims often have negative reviews that will provide insight as to how they do business. Unfortunately, companies making false claims have also been known to write false reviews of their business, so careful examination is required. The BBB, Angie’s List, and Google+ do a good job at filtering out bad reviews. We’re not to fund of Yelp. We have a high rating there but their filter throws away a lot of real reviews and keeps some that are obviously questionable.

If in your research you discover a company making a claim that they can’t offer evidence for, and they are members of the BBB or their given trade organization, report them to these organizations. The companies will give them the chance to support their claim or be asked to stop making it. Either way, the consumer wins.

Another local locksmith using the “#1 Rated” claim told us when we called that they were number one because, “We think we are.” By following the above guidelines, you will have quickly realized that this was a false claim. Coincidentally, this company was not a member of the Better Business Bureau or their associated trade organization.

From simply asking, to just a bit of Internet research, you can always be sure that when you hire someone making a superiority claim you are getting a company that has a valid reason to make such a claim. Doing so protects you and helps ensure that the service you receive meets your expectations.

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Commercial Door Lock Security Weakness – Easy Fix

Commercial Door Lock Security Weakness – Easy Fix

Here’s a BIG commercial door security weakness we see all the time.

Locks without latch guards. If you don’t protect the latch in that lever, any stiff card can be used to slide that door right open. This includes credit cards.

This one door lock fail really is as easy to open as the movies.   So the door can close when the latch is out, the tip of the latch is angled so it slides into position when the door closes. That’s the key. It slides. So by using a credit card or other stiff object, the latch can be pushed back into the door when sliding the object down the crack. Just like in the moves.

ACME Locksmith installs latch guards so people stay out of your business.

In this simple door  lock modification, our locksmith drills  four additional holes through the door. Heavy duty bolts are then installed to keep the guard in place, even under the most significant force, so the guard can’t be pried off. The entire installation of this commercial door hardware takes about 30 minutes and the job would cost well under $150. Isn’t that a small price to pay to prevent someone from walking into your business?

We should also note that the entry lever on this door is a clutched lever. That is, it will turn freely even in the locked position. This prevents the lever from being kicked or hit with a hammer in order to break it. The handle just rotates and the door lock stays secure.

Check out the breadth of  ACME Locksmith Commercial Lock Services.

Clutched Entry Lever – Before ACME Installed Latch Guard
Clutched Entry Lever with Latch Guard – After ACME Installation
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Car Key Sticking? Your Ignition May Be Failing.

Car Key Sticking? Your Ignition May Be Failing.

With all that Arizona dust, your car’s ignition starts to gunk up after several years. One day you step out to your car and your car key won’t turn the ingition. That job costs hundreds of dollars to fix since the ignition will likely have to be replaced and ACME’s valley-wide, Phoenix mobile locksmith service will need to go to your location to take care of the problem (or, if you don’t use ACME,  you need to tow your car into a dealer or auto repair shop).

But wait! There’s good news. Most of the time you get a warning that the car’s ignition is going to fail. Your key will start sticking when you turn the ignition. That’s the time to bring the car to our lock shop so we can remove, clean and repair any damaged or gunked-up waivers in your ignition.

Why do ignitions fail? As already mentioned, Phoenix is a dusty town. Once an ignition starts to stick a little, most people’s first reaction is to spray wd-40 into the key hole, and this seems to solve the issue at first. But that is one on of the worst things you can do. The wd-40 acts like a magnet to Arizona dust and it will eventually turn into a gooey, sticky mess. When you first feel the lock sticking, you can spray silicon based lubricate into the key hole to buy yourself some time, but you will still want to bring the car into our locksmith shop to have the ignition pulled, inspected for wear, and cleaned.

And there’s also just plain wear and tear. That car key turns you ignition at least twice a day, day after day, week after week, year after year. The wafers inside the ignition that code the ignition to your car key are very thin. Eventually the crack and then split. Arizona dust exacerbates this problem.

Don’t get caught stranded. When you first feel the problem, have the car checked out at one of our locksmith shops.

Ignition taken apart


Damaged wafers that caused the ignition to fail


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Mobile Welding & Repair

Mobile Welding & Repair

Mobile Welding & Repair

Do you know Locksmiths can help you with your spot welding needs? Why?

Side Gate Lock Installation
Mechanical Access Control Installed on a Side Gate by ACME Locksmith

One part of our job is to add deadbolts and access control to customer side gates. When we do this we have to cut out the gate and weld in a gate box to support the new locks. Because of these our locksmith know how to take care of small welding jobs you might need when you don’t want to hire a more expensive company.

What types of welding jobs can locksmiths do?

  • Has a gate post snapped?
  • Gate posts often break near their base and can be easily welded back together and repaired.

  • Is the lock box weld breaking?
  • If your gate was properly setup, it can slam into the latch or the gate stop when it closes. After years of abuse, the welds will start to break. With ACME Locksmith mobile welding not only can we repair the gate box, but we can repair the cause of the problem and any locks that may have been damaged.

  • Are the gate latches or hinges breaking?
  • These are known to start cracking as well after years of opening/closing the gate. They carry the entire load of the gate.

  • Is the gate closer (Kantslam) weld snap or the gate closer itself shot?
  • Gate closers are mechanical, often spring, operated devices to automatically close the gate so it will latch and lock to prevent access. They too tend to wear out or crack along the welds. We can replace your gate closers and re-weld as needed to get your gate working great again.

ACME Locksmith can weld and repair all of these issues and more.

Basically, our local locksmiths can repair anything made of steel. We do not weld aluminum at this time, and we will not weld anything involving an automotive chassis for liability reasons. Our steel counter tops at our Mesa and Phoenix locations were fabricated and welded by our locksmiths.
Mesa Location Inside

Here’s our locksmith and mobile welder Brian repairing a driveway gate that was sagging due to a split weld. This is an extreme example of a weld repair that took most of the day to get completed, but Brian handled the job with ease. The gate was removed, repaired, and replaced….all for a reasonable price. The final product is shown in the last photo.




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