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MY HANDMADE HOME: Going keyless a game-changer


Product profile: Smart deadbolt

“When is our beep-beep lock going to be here?” the kids had been asking me daily.

Schlage had asked me to try out their Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt, which meant we were going to be able to lock our door by pushing a button and unlock our door by entering a code. So cool!

It felt like a holiday when the “beep-beep lock” package from Schlage arrived, and we got started immediately by removing our existing deadbolt. A couple of screws and this popped right out, leaving a neat little hole right in our front door. Then it was time to slide in the new bolt and replace the strike plate.

When we went to install the touchscreen, we noticed that our door’s deadbolt hole was slightly too small for the new one. No biggie. We made a quick plywood template, removed the bolt for a second and enlarged the hole using a hole saw bit on our drill.

Then we ran the touchscreen’s tiny cable through the door, below the bolt, and lined up the tailpiece so the touchscreen fit neatly into the door. We ran the cable through the hole on the bottom of the inside backplate, and secured the backplate with two screws. As much as we love our power drills, we stuck to manual screwdrivers for this job so we didn’t risk damaging our shiny new lock.

Once the backplate was in place, it was time to add the inside “lock box” that does all the work behind the scenes. I slipped off the battery cover and plugged the cable into the tiny outlet, connecting the touchscreen.

Then we lined up the lock’s “tailpiece” with the slot in the inside assembly, and tucked the wire into the channel to keep it safely out of the way.

After that, we used two screws to secure the inside assembly to the backplate — first the lower screw, then the tiny upper one — popped in the four AA batteries provided in the box and slipped the cover back on. That was it!

Installing the new handleset was even faster. There was a paper template so we’d know exactly where to drill a hole for the bottom of the extra-long exterior handle, and I love the elegance of having a solid curved handle instead of a plain ol’ doorknob.

The only trouble is that now our deadbolt and handle are way too pretty for our chipped two-year-old door paint, so you can guess what my next outdoor project is going to be! #paintthedoor

It was finally time to open the door and start pressing numbers on the keypad, which was super exciting. I tapped in one of the default user codes displayed on a sticker on the back of the instruction guide, and the lock entered a little set-up routine. I followed the instructions to close the door, enter a code and see if the door would automatically lock and unlock smoothly. It was perfect.

Setting up custom lock codes is surprisingly easy. I just tap in six-digit programming code, press 1 and then enter the desired code twice to add it. So far we have four personalized codes in there (one for each member of the family) but we can have up to 30.

When I want to delete a code — like a temporary one I’ve given to a repairperson, neighbour, etc. — I just enter my programming code, hit 2, and enter that code twice to delete it from the system.

Going keyless has been a game-changer, especially with the kids. Whenever we leave the house, they delight in shutting the door and tapping the Schlage button to lock it. When we get home, I no longer have to fumble around with an armload of stuff, trying to pull out my house key and remind them of which way to turn it — they run ahead and happily tap in their own private code.

It’s been really helpful after school when they walk home from the bus on their own, or when they’re out playing in the yard. They’re 7 and 8 so they don’t carry house keys with them, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a work call in my home office be interrupted by frantic knocking and doorbell-ringing because the door was locked and someone had to come in and pee.

We’re loving our new Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt, and it’s about to get even better. I’ve ordered a $99 smart home hub that will connect to the deadbolt and allow us to control the door from our phones or by talking to our Alexa devices. (“Alexa, please lock the front door!”)

We may not have flying cars yet, but at least 2019 is starting to feel like the high-tech world I’d imagined as a kid.

  • COST: $200-400
  • EFFORT: 1 out of 5
  • RESULTS: 5 out of 5

Heather Laura Clarke is a crafty maker who perpetually has paint smears on her hands, sawdust in her shoes and bits of thread stuck to her leggings. She lives in Truro with her husband, son, and daughter. Follow her adventures at HeathersHandmadeLife.com.

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