What is a master key? Well, it’s a singular key that can open several different lock configurations as opposed to having multiple keys for multiple locks. It’s true that locks come in all shapes and sizes, with various intricate patterns, but in a situation where one or multiple people need access to several rooms without the hassle of carrying dozens of keys, master key systems are the simple solution. Landlords, institutional employes, commercial workplaces and more are the key players that utilize this system the most. But how can one key unlock multiple lock designs? That’s what we’re about to find out!

How Does it Work?

Most locking mechanisms, while varying in shape and size, are based on a singular concept: the cylinder design. An individual change key will be inserted into a lock, specifically, a pin-and-tumbler one, fitting the design of the pins within perfectly in order for the various levels to line up. This level is called the shear line. Locks are like puzzles, meaning that hitting the right levels will release the latch.

With a master key, however, the adjoining locks are equipped with an extra pin that’s called a master wafer. This wafer allows the master key to raise the pins, creating a gap at the shear line. This allows the master to turn and open any lock with this specific wafer pattern.

But is it A Secure System?

Sure, as long as you don’t lose the key. The loss of a master key means the whole system needs to be replaced or rekeyed by a professional locksmith. Depending on how many doors this master key is connected to, the replacement costs can get expensive. Instances regarding schools and campuses, hospitals, office buildings and hotels are some of the most costly locations.

Only certain employees and personnel should have a master key, including landlords, emergency workers, managers, custodians and high-level employees. There are different levels of master key access, meaning that some sub-master keys can open a certain group of doors while the master key can open all of them. This is good for managers who don’t need access to every single room in an office building or restaurant, for example.

To keep your master keys safe, here are a few tips to keep in mind. Keep track of any and all sub-master keys given to employees, through detailed records that should be examined when there’s a change in a worker’s status. Store the master key and all duplicates made in a secured area, like a key safe. Lastly, hire a trusted locksmith to install your system, making sure that they don’t keep any duplicates for themselves for later use without your permission.

At Ajax Locksmiths Inc., we pride ourselves on our integrity and reliability. Family-owned for over 30 years, our locksmith services range from cutting keys to installing high-security access systems. With customers ranging from Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Oshawa and surrounding areas, both residential and commercial, no one is denied locksmith services with us. Along with 24-hour emergency service, lock repairs, master key system installation assistance and more, call us or stop by our Ajax shop today!