Speaking of security and storage, many new renters ask me which lock type is most secure when they’re first moving into their sheds. Part of me doesn’t want to tell them the truth – when they buy the most secure locks there’s always a chance they will forget their key and I will have to break into their unit for them. If the tenant has a normal padlock, getting into their unit is pretty simple. If they have one of these super secure circular disc locks, it’s an absolute pain!
How Secure are Specialty Disc Locks?
These specialty disc locks cannot be cut with normal bolt cutters the way smaller, simpler padlocks can. Not only are their bolts specially hardened to defeat standard and oversized bolt-cutters, but they’re also encased in special metal sleeves that extend all the way up on both sides to expose only the middle of the bolt itself. This makes it pretty difficult to even get a purchase on the bolt when the disc lock is installed on a storage shed door.
How I Break Disc Locks
What these disc locks usually require is that I break out the 7200 rpm grinder, load a new specialty grinder blade designed to handle metal, put on a face mask similar to those worn by welders, and then string 4 extension cords from the nearest power outlet all the way out to the tenant’s unit. You still need to know the exact spot to begin grinding down, where the internal components of the lock are the least dense. This process is further complicated if the lock was last secured onto the door with the weak side facing down, away from you and toward the door itself.
While grinding down disc locks the metal gets so hot that you will see it turn molten as it is sliced through. This results in a copious shower of sparks (hence the facemask) which can be hot.
Upping Your Storage Security
The point is that as a storage customer, it’s in your interest to buy and install these specialty disc locks on your storage unit because they will add another layer of security to your unit. Even if someone who knew what they were doing wanted to get into your unit, with malicious intent, they wouldn’t be able to do so without making a hell of a racket, so long as they are using the grinder method.
Other Self Storage Shed Security Tricks
Some folks are fond of a particularly irritating (if you are a property manager) trick which involves placing two locks on your storage unit. Many modern storage shed doors feature a sliding handle that actually has two separate slots where you can fit the bar of your padlock through. Because self storage managers use overlocks as one means of deterring late payments and forcing delinquent tenants to pay their monthly rental bill, some tenants think the clever way around this is to double up with their own locks!
If you happen to be behind on your payments, don’t try this, because all you will ultimately succeed in doing is severely irritating your property manager, who is the ultimate authority in determining just how rough the delinquency process is going to be on you! We storage managers have ways of defeating such dirty tricks. There is a special clamp that can be situated right between your two locks and then, you guessed it, overlocked itself. You still won’t be getting into your unit at this point!
Don’t forget that if you’re using a regular padlock, your belongings are only as secure as the property is closely watched by managers and correctly guarded by gates and cameras. A regular padlock takes about 5-10 seconds for someone handy with a pair of industrial bolt cutters to remove, and they can do this very quietly.
Some mini storage customers figure that they are entirely safe because only other storage customers can get onto the property, through the gates and past the manager. You may be right about this, but you’d be surprised at how many times the storage shed thief turns out to be another regularly paying customer!
Don’t get taken for a fool – there is a way around this little trick as well. When you are selecting a self storage shed on the basis of security, ask the property manager specifically what types of gate security they have in place at their facilities. The best electronic entry gates actually log all tenant activity by tracking who comes in through the front gate and at what time. It also tracks which units the incoming tenants open, setting of an alarm if the tamper with a unit that’s not theirs! It also shows their total amount of time on property and what time they left, through which exit gate! It’s not unheard of to have this complex a gate system in place at your local self storage facility, so if security is really the make or break factor for you, make sure you settle on a company that has invested in their entry gate system.
When all tenants understand that their usage of the site and their movements are being recorded, you can imagine how many fewer break-ins you will have in general.