Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Best Way to Install a Safe

We are frequently asked whether it is best to install a safe flat on the floor or to raise it up off the floor to provide air circulation.  Since each method involves trade-offs, the “Best” method depends on your situation and your primary concern.

If security is the only issue the safe should be flat on the floor, bolted down.  But won’t that cause rust and stain the floor if there is no air circulation?  Very possibly, depending on the type of floor and how well the bottom of the safe is primed or painted.  Most residential safes are primed, but some companies do a poor job of it.  Sliding the safe across rough surfaces will scrape off primer, making rust more likely.   The primer itself may stain.  So just make the assumption that the floor will get stained.  Then decide whether the potential of burglars removing your safe is more important than the risk of a discolored floor.

If the safe is going into a basement which has a history of water problems, I recommend elevating it on 4” x 4” or 4” x 6” wood.  Putting the safe on concrete blocks will lift it even higher.  These arrangements will be functional but they won’t look great.  IMPORTANT:  When elevating a safe make sure it is supported right out to the front edge or the safe may fall forward when the door is opened!  This is especially true with tall units like gun safes.  Note that raising the safe makes bolting it down pointless — the open space allows pry bars or pallet jacks underneath which can pull the bolts right out of the floor.  We often use hockey pucks or thin strips of wood to create a ventilation space underneath.  Hockey pucks even look good.  But this small space makes a great home for mice and bugs.

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Finished hardwood floors are easily scratched when maneuvering a safe into place.  Here are two things that work out well:  Put the safe on a piece of up-side-down carpet, soft side to the floor.  The safe will slide easily into place and it won’t scratch the floor.  Four thick felt pads under the safe will accomplish the same thing.  But be careful using pads because some safes are bowed on the bottom and the middle might still scrape the floor.

f you are not concerned about someone removing your safe, and you do not want the floor stained, and you don’t want to create a home for small critters, and you want it to look nice, buy a 4” high carpeted pedestal.  We sell them for $70.

Relock Devices: Other Types

There are a number of less common types of re-locker devices.  For example, high security safes sometimes come with ”glass relockers”.  There is typically a piece of tempered glass with two holes in it, and wires under spring tension are hooked into the holes.  If a person pounds on the lock it will shatter the glass, causing the relock pin to snap into place, which blocks the safe boltworks from being forced open.  Hitting the glass with a drill bit will also break the glass.

Thermal relockers are found only on high end, high security safes.  Normally there is a piece of metal or a soldered piece in a wire arrangement, all under spring pressure.  The metal melts at a very low temperature, maybe 250 degrees.  Heat generated from a torch, or even from extensive grinding, will melt the metal which sets off the relocker.

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Some relockers do not actually block the boltworks from moving.  On some units firing a relocker causes a heavy bolt to shoot out from the door, behind the frame of the safe.  This is great way of keeping the door from being forced open.  The photo shows a unique system:  The relock can be fired either by an attack on the lock, by a torch cutting through the cable, or by melting the soldered thermal joint just above the lock encasement.  When set off this is actually a double relocker.  One part (not shown) blocks the right side boltworks from moving.   The vertical bolt shoots out about an inch — this is accomplished with a heavy spring which can’t be seen here.  It is then behind the door opening of the safe body where it very stubbornly keeps the safe door closed.

Once again, only experienced safe technicians should work on your safe.  Inexperienced technicians may accidentally set off a relocker, perhaps costing you hundreds of dollars.