Master keys come in handy when you want to access many rooms at the same time. There are many types of these keys and they vary depending on the level of the system. For example, there is the 2-level key system that has two levels of keying.
It’s considered as the lowest level as it produces less powerful keys known as change keys. Keys under the 2-level system operate only one lock. They can also operate a group of locks that are the same. The most power unit under this system is known as the master key.
There is also the 3-level key system that is basically a system of 2-level systems that have been tied together. The most powerful unit here is known as the grand master key.
The final system is the 4-level system which ties two or more 3-level systems tied together to form a great grand master key.
Benefits of Having a Master Key
The main advantage of having a master key is that you are able to access the various units of your building with the same key. This is important when there is an emergency. For example, when there is a fire outbreak. The keys are also important when you want to access many rooms in a building in order to repair a large electrical or plumbing mishap.
If you are a business owner, having the system allows you to give managerial roles to different people. For example, you can give the main key to the store manager and then give the sub-keys to the people down the hierarchy so that they can have access to the different rooms in the building.
Disadvantages of a Master Key
While the key has many benefits, it also has a number of disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is when you lose the key. If the unit gets in the wrong hands you can lose a lot of property as the person with the key has the ability of accessing all the rooms or offices within a very short time.
If you notice that the key is in the wrong hands you should contact a professional locksmith immediately in order to replace all the locks. It’s good to note that while this will solve the problem, it’s very time consuming and expensive. To avoid this you should be very careful with the keys and ensure that they don’t get into the wrong hands.
How it Works:
If you have already read my “How Locks Work” article, then you know that locks work off of pins and tumblers. The varying size pins line up with the cuts on a key to allow the plug to turn and activate the lock. So, if a lock has pins numbered 3-5-4-2-1 then the cuts on the key must be 3-5-4-2-1.
But how does the Master Key come in? If we add another set of pins into the equation then a lot of possibilities open up. Let me give you an example with a master pin in just one cell:
The lock is pinned 3-5-4-2-1 with a #2 master over the first #3 pin. Now the original key works cut to 3-5-4-2-1, but a second shear line is available at 5-5-4-2-1 (just add 2 to the first #3 pin). Two keys will now open the same lock. By manipulating these pins and combinations all sorts of possibilities open up.
Master Key systems allow for a variety of useful situations:
The manager can have one key to enter any unit in an emergency.
Maintenance personnel can be given a key that only opens maintenance or storage doors
Keys can be made for specific vendors like the pool, elevator, or alarm companies to give them restricted access to only the areas they need.
Common area locks can be set-up so that any property key will open the lock. This is useful for pool gates or common storage rooms.
A well designed Master Key system can remove frustration, increase security, and allow for quick access in an emergency. In fact in some areas Emergency Services require Master Key systems to ensure access in the event of fire, flood, or medical emergency. When the worst happens, then quick access can save lives and property.
With today’s technologies, there is no longer a need for those large key-rings with 50+ keys on them. Contact avondalelocksmith.org for a quote and review your property’s needs with them. Many locksmiths will offer a free security review of your property and will give you a free quote on upgrades and repairs. This way you will have the knowledge and tools to increase the security for the homeowner’s on the properties you manage.