What are rim night latches?
Well, I had a draft of this blogpost written, giving thanks that all the excitement of the elections was over and adding that I thought I spoke for most of us when I said "STOP ASKING US THINGS, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD." That draft didn't age well as I had rather assumed some normality would have returned by the time this was posted, but it appears that might not quite be the case, and the never-ending cycle of political news rolls on and on.
Anyway, regardless of all that I'll still try to calm everything down with a continuation of my look at various types of locks. Rest assured there will be little excitement here for the next few minutes, and not a mention of a coalition to be seen.
After last month’s look at mortice locks, this month I’ll be looking at rim night latches. These are often referred to simply as “Yale” locks due to the company becoming synonymous with this style of lock. It’s become rather a Hoover/Vacuum Cleaner or Tannoy/Public Address System situation where the name of the company is now often used as shorthand for the name of the product. However, it’s worth remembering that many other companies do also produce rim night latches, and indeed Yale themselves also make many other different types of locks.
The benefits of rim night latches
So what is a rim night latch? Simply speaking, they’re a latch that engages every time you close your door. To access from the outside you need a key (generally a thin, Yale type example), but from the inside you can just open the door by turning the latch with your hand and exiting.
One issue with a rim night latch is the age-old issue of locking yourself out the house. If you rush outside, say to catch the postman or race to get your bin out and forget the key, there’s the heart sinking feeling of hearing the door close behind you and the click of the latch, whilst realising you’ve left the key inside. If no-one else is in the house you’re pretty scuppered in this instance. This may help explain the popularity of the Euro-Cylinder locks – having to lock the door each time you leave does increase the risk of you accidentally leaving the door unlocked, but at least you can’t easily lock yourself out of your own house.
Although these locks will at least ensure you rarely leave the house unlocked, rim night latches by themselves are not the most secure of locks, and are usually now only used in conjunction with a secondary bolt lock. Though there are British Standard versions available that do offer high levels of security at a price. In many offices, for example there will be a traditional keyhole lock to be unlocked first thing in the morning, and locked last thing at night, and then throughout the day this will be left unlocked with just the rim night latch used to access and exit the building.
Introducing deadlocking rim night latches
A variation on the rim night latch is the deadlocking rim night latch. This is more secure in that it can be deadlocked from the inside with a key. This solves another common problem with night latches in that a potential burglar can smash a window next to the door (or in the door itself), reach through and let themselves in by pressing down on the catch inside. With the deadlock version, a key would still be required and this adds an extra bit of peace of mind. If you’re choosing a rim night latch, I would suggest they should always have this facility for the additional security it provides. Without this facility, and without any additional locks, a rim night latch is one of the weakest ways to protect your house and it’s not surprising that in the last few decades, this way of securing your property has decreased in popularity in favour of mortise locks and Euro Profile locks.
Well that was a whistle-stop tour of the world of the rim night latch and I’m sure you’ll agree I managed to keep the excitement levels to a minimum, as well as avoiding any talk of elections or referendums. Until just then, when I did. Sorry about that.