Moving Into New Home - Changing the Locks - Builder Has a Magic Key to Reset Locks???

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Thewaltwhitmans, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Thewaltwhitmans

    Thewaltwhitmans New Member

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    Nc
    I have received great information from this forum so hopefully this is the best place for this question:

    My mother is moving into a brand new home down the road from us and we got to talking about installing new locks around her house as I have always heard (and followed practice) that when you move into a new home, always rekey the locks. Apparently the builder has told her to go around to all the locks once she moves into the new home and by using her new key the locks will reset themselves to fit that key. Apparently it is a new home thing. Has anyone heard of this before and how likely is it? Apparently there is one key that the builders/etc. can use and once this "magic key" is inserted into the lock, the pins reset and the old key the builder has no longer works, therefore preventing one from having to change locks once they move in.
  2. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

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  3. Thewaltwhitmans

    Thewaltwhitmans New Member

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    Location:
    Nc
    I asked her about these and she said that there were no additional tools - that the builder mentioned something about his key being shorter than the ones he would give her and that when she used her key it would drop another pin, thereby keeping his from working. I am not really that familiar with it though.
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    I had not heard about these keys before, but my older Kwik Set locks can be changed by the hardware store that sells them. New method sounds great!
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    What he told you is true. Just insert her key into EVERY lock and it will stop the construction key from working.
  6. AcidWater

    AcidWater New Member

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    >the builder mentioned something about his key being shorter than the ones he would give her and that when she used her key it would drop another pin, thereby keeping his from working.
    >

    The problem with that is that every house in the neighborhood has the exact same key, except for the last pin. Makes it pretty easy to open the lock; just find a key from the neighborhood and cut duplicates with every height for that one last pin.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,058
    Location:
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    The "construction key" is "unique" to that house, just as the homeowner's key is. The "construction" key will NOT open the other houses in the neighborhood.
  8. preeti22

    preeti22 New Member

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    Location:
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    How it is a possible to one key work for all Locks?
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Locks are keyed alike all the time. You may need to order them that way or find any locksmith to rekey them for you. It is also possible to key (some types of) cylinders to accept a master key. A master key does not mean it will open any lock, only those setup to that specific master. In this situation, there's a key that only opens its own lock, but the master can open many. This is frequently done in larger commercial buildings so a person of responsibility doesn't need to carry hundreds of different keys, but everyone else can only open their door(s).
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego

    You need to study up on locks! What you say is NOT correct. Each house is keyed different. There is a construction MASTER which allows the builder access to EACH house. In fact there may be masters and submasters, etc. But these locks have special tiny little balls in recesses ( I forget the name for this system) and the homeowner key is shorter, so the very first time you put that key in the lock, the ball drops and forever after blocks the masters.

    NOW, would I rekey the locks anyway......YES.
  11. nestork

    nestork Janitorial Technician

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Winnipeg
    No, that's not how it works.
    I don't know anything about the key system the OP asked about, but regular Weiser and Schlage deadbolts have 5 places on each key where the key can be cut to one of 8 different depths. So, in the simplest kind of lock, you'd be right; only one key profile would fit each lock.

    However, if you use TWO (or even three) shorter pins in some of the tumblers instead of only one longer pin, then you can have multiple key profiles that will open the same lock.

    It's by using multiple pins in each tumbler that a locksmith can rekey a hundred different locks that each have a unique "tenant" key that will only work in that lock, but still be able to cut a "master" key that will work in all of the locks.

    Medeco Locks are considered the most secure locks because Medeco keys can't be copied in a regular key cutting machine. That's because Medeco keys have some of their teeth cut at an angle to the key, and regular key cutting machines can't make that kind of cut. Only professional locksmiths have access to Medeco key cutting machines, and locksmiths will ask to see identification and check with Medeco to see if the ID matches the registered owner of that key before cutting a duplicate.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
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