Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find some of our most frequently answered questions. If this dosn't answer your question please feel free to call us, we are always happy to give information or advice that may help. 

I lost my keys, do you have a "master" key?
A master key is a key that can open multiple locks in a master key system. Each lock will generally have it's own key, while the "master" key will usually open all locks. Additionally, if you are on a mastered system the locksmith must have access to the system listing in order to make additional keys or change your locks to a different key. In Tennessee it’s unlawful for a locksmith to expand a master key system, or generate a key for it without having the charts used to create the system. 

How are warranties handled?
All hardware warranties are established and covered by the individual manufacturer. Quite often they will have us perform the service for them but that is their option, not ours. We are very selective about the hardware we use, we would rather spend a few dollars more to buy quality. Check the package that the part came in, warranty information should be on it or in it. In 2016 we started offering select clients a preventative maintenance program. With this program we keep track of all warranty information on new products installed. This program can easily save you several thousand or more each year. 

I want to buy a safe, can you help?
Empire lock & Alarm dosnt have the overhead of a show room for safes. We mostly ship safes to our clients.  Our distributors have gun safes, wall safes, floor safes, free standing safes, vaults, gun lockers, fire safes, drop safes, and deposit safes. With all the various types, styles, colors and finishes available and ready to ship.  Take a minute and talk to us before buying a BOX from a sporting oodles store.  We will answer all of your questions without any pressure. 

Can you come out and work on my car?
We offer full in-the-field locksmith services. 

Can you re-key cars?
We can fix, change, or replace the locks in the majority of vehicles. If your car has a manufacturer installed security system we recommend that you call us. We schedule car work on a first-come first-served basis. Call 615-672-8888 to schedule work.

What are your hours and days of operation?
 Empire lock & Alarm is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.  Although we do not generally schedule work on nights or weekends, we try to make exceptions for life’s little emergencies. We can be reached for service by phone anytime at 615-672-8888 We are closed for the following U.S. holidays; New Year's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve - Christmas Day.
 
What is a master key system?
If you were to randomly buy locks and install them, there is a chance that someone's key would let them go where they shouldn't. A master key system prevents such happenings. A master key system assigns every key a unique biting that makes sure no unwanted access is granted. That same system also permits people who need common access to certain areas to do so without the need for a fist full of keys. It can also allow changing certain areas without having to re-key the entire complex. If you have many and varied access issues or a high employee turnover you will want your locksmith to get you into a master key system. It will be cost effective in the long run. 

Do you work on door closers?
Locksmiths usually end up working on door closers since they also have to adjust doors to make the locks work correctly. We stand out as the industry experts as we have spent the time and money to learn how and why closers work. We are also well versed on ADA regulations and current fire code.  The ADA can issue heavy fines if your doors are too hard to open, we can help prevent those fines. 

When should I re-key my business?
Any time you feel the potential loss to the company would exceed the cost of upgrading you should seriously consider updating your system. Red flags should be such things as removal of an employee who had keys, missing inventory with no evidence of forced entry, and the fact that you haven't updated the locks for a long time. We strongly urge you to consider a restricted key system. 

How can I limit pilferage?
Depending in the amount of loss, you may want to consider monitoring (CCTV) systems, user logging, time limited access, and/or a key control system. We can help you find a solution that fits your budget, we are always here to answer your questions. 
 
Exactly what is re-keying?
When a lock is re-keyed the "bitting" of the lock is changed to allow a new key to be used but exclude the old key. The bitting is set by the internal parts that move when the key is inserted. The bitting must match the cuts on the key or the lock will not release. By using your old lock mechanism that is still in good working order you effectively have a "new" lock at a greatly reduced price.

How secure is my lock?
If your lock was installed by the builder of the house there is a good chance many sub contractors still have keys. Please keep in mind that the for the most part, since most home invasions and burglaries do not involve forcing the lock. Most contractors buy cheap off brand locks, you may want to consider upgrading to a better quality lock. There is a wide variety of options depending on what you have and where you want to end up. As the local security professional we have all kinds of suggestion.  Many you can do yourself. 

Is there a way to hide a key at my house?
While hiding keys is never as secure as keeping personal possession of them there are a variety of devices that let you store keys for emergency use. Realtors use a "key box" to store keys so they don't have to carry them. We sell a similar product that mounts to the wall. They have a cover with push buttons where you enter a code to open the door and access the key. 

Is there a "master" key that fits all locks?
No, there isn't. This is one of the urban myths. If that were true there would be no locksmith trade and all burglars would be rich.

Should I use double cylinder deadbolts
We DO NOT sell, install or recommend the use of double cylinder deadbolts. 
 A double cylinder deadbolt system makes you use a key no matter which side of the door you are on. When you think of a fire or even worse a home envasion, you want to get out quick without looking for a key. 

What is "keyless entry"?
Even before the "digital age" there were pushbutton types of locks that allowed you to enter a "combination:. They are still around and have a great track record. Now, however, there are newer digital locks that perform functions impossible for the mechanical types, such as: usage logging, time and data access control, single use function and invalid code alarm. We do not sell or install the locks commonly found at the big box hardware stores. The failure rate on these consumer grade locks are extremely high. 

Is there a pick-proof lock?
There are no totally pickproof locks. There are, however, locks that are so hard to pick that there is virtually no chance of compromising them. Price by itself does not guarantee security. We have several options to choose from. 

Can you make my house work on only one key?
You can usually key locks alike if one key will enter all of the candidate locks. There are a few exceptions, we commonly find mismatched hardware. Storm – door locks often need to be upgraded to one’s with re-key able cylinders.  What does "master-key" mean? The purpose of master-keying is to reduce the number of keys you have to carry. We work with a lot of property investors. By master-keying all the locks the investor only needs to carry one key for all of their property. 
  
I lost my combination to my safe, do you have it on record?
The short answer is no. We do not keep records on safe combinations, both because of the potential liability involved and because of the logistics of the situation. However, if you did not have the combination change when the safe was installed the manufacturer may have a record of the combination that was on the safe when it shipped. We need the manufacture, model, and serial number of you safe to check into it. 

What is a floor safe?
A floor safe is an all-metal safe that is buried in the floor of your home or office. it offers extremely good burglar and fire protection since all but the lid is buried. The two main downsides to floor safes are that you must consider how condensation can effects the contents  and that you must get down to the floor level to retrieve the contents. 

Can a safe be bolted down?
Most, if not all, jewelry (burglar resistant) and gun safes have provisions to bolt them down and prevent movement. 

Can I store valuables in a "Gun Safe"?
As in a lot of safe questions the answer is both yes and no. Gun safes are primarily designed to protect guns from heat and improper access. The burglary protection is mot nearly that of a true "jewelry" or "burglar resistant" safe. Thus, the overriding consideration is whether you feel the protection offered by the gun safe is adequate for the value of the contents. 

Can I store computer disks in a safe?
Yes and no. A safe including a "fire safe" will protect your computer from fire but the protection may not be adequate to save it. Media safes are required to limit temp and humidity extremes in order to protect. Most safes cannot do an adequate job of either/both. If a safe is capable of protecting media you can bet they will advertise it up front. 

What is a "Fire Safe"?
A "Fire Safe" is just what the name implies and no more, it is designed to protect your documents from fire. It is designed with a thin metal skin and lots of insulation. 
 
How can I hide a key on my car for emergencies?
There are a variety of containers specially designed to "hide" a key on you car. However, they are all subject to discovery. They also mostly rely on either magnetic or velcro attachment which can be accidentally dislodged. One of the more innovative designs around hides a spare key in the gas cap, but these days cars are getting away from the traditional gas cap.  If you do hide a key on your car be creative. Keys in the wheel wells, under the bumper and behind the license plate are all well known places and a thief will look there

When do I need to change locks?
This is extremly rare. I can only think of 2 or 3 scenarios that might make a person change a vehicle's locks. 1) If the car you bought was previously reposessed. Who knows how many keys are out there and who has them. Paying to get the car on a new key is a lot less suffering than having the car taken! 2) If the existing keys are worn and don't work right you may need to replace the locks. Remember, only half of the wear happens to the key, the other half happens to the lock. If your key is worn the lock mechanism probably is too. 3.) if the car has been stolen, or your purse was stolen, or your home was broken into, their may be the possibility that the thief may have a key.


Can my ignition key be duplicated?
Yes, the ignition key can be duplicated. However, if you have a transponder system or a  built-in security function, we will probably need to have the key programmed. 
 

Empire Lock & Alarm is fully licensed by the State of Tennessee as a Locksmith company TN LS #000355

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We know we will NEVER be as "cheap" as some locksmiths and we're OK with that!  We will NEVER cuss you or call you stupid.

When you think about it, who in their right minds would ever want some grumpy old locksmith that brags about being "cheap" working on their locks anyway? 

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