Electric Door Strikes
Choosing an Electric Door Strike
Almost all of our intercoms have the ability to activate an electric door strike of some type. This guide will help you choose the correct one for your door.
When choosing an electric door strike, you should consider the following factors:
- Start with a site survey and determine the type of door and frame (also is it a fire door?)
- Determine what your local code requirements are for door locks (fire codes etc.)
- Is the door outdoors? A weatherproof latch is required for outdoors
- Note the type and length of the latch
- Know which locksets work with an electric strike
- Consider whether to use fail-safe or fail-secure electric strikes (check codes requirements)
- Choose between 12 or 24 volts, AC or DC
What is a Fail Secure Electric Strike?
A fail-secure electric strike is necessary for a fire-rated entrances. This device will stay locked during a power outage, serving as a safe option because it keeps the building secure and will not allow entry even when there’s no power.
In the case of a fire, a fail secure electric strike helps to deter spreading of the fire and smoke throughout the facility or building by ensuring each opening is locked during power failure (hence the name “fail secure”). This helps to contain and compartmentalize the fire. The use of fail secure electric strikes can help to save lives in emergency situations and is an important part of life safety code compliance.
However, while no one can get in from the outside, exiting from the inside is always possible. You can use a panic bar or other exit device to leave the property since the electric strike is only locked from the outside. This is referred to as free egress – the ability to always be able to leave a building freely (even when the door is locked from entry from the outside). Again, this is very important in larger buildings and facilities to allow individuals to exit in the case of an emergency.
What is a Fail-Safe Electric Strike?
A fail-safe electric strike is the opposite of a fail-secure lock. In the event of a power loss, this type of mechanism will unlock—allowing anyone free access to the property.
Fire codes related to door strikes vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific building codes in place. However, there are some general guidelines and requirements that are commonly found in fire codes related to door strikes.
One common requirement is that door strikes must be fail-safe, which means that they automatically release and unlock the door in the event of a power failure or fire alarm. This allows for easy egress and evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Another possible requirement is that door strikes must be compatible with the fire alarm system in the building. When the fire alarm is triggered, the door strike must release and unlock the door to allow for easy evacuation.
In some cases, fire codes may require that door strikes be equipped with a manual override, such as a key or a lever, that allows the door to be unlocked and opened from the inside in the event of an emergency.
It's important to consult with local fire codes and building codes to ensure that the door strikes you choose are compliant with all applicable regulations. Failure to comply with fire codes can result in fines, legal liabilities, and even potential loss of life in the event of an emergency.
Considerations for All Door Types
- Check the thickness of your door. Some electric door strikes are designed to work with thinner doors, while others are designed for thicker doors. Make sure to choose an electric door strike that is compatible with the thickness of your door.
- Consider the type of locking mechanism on your door. Some electric door strikes are designed to work with specific types of locks, such as deadbolts or latch bolts. Make sure to choose an electric door strike that is compatible with the type of locking mechanism on your door.
- Look for an electric door strike with a faceplate that matches the shape and size of your door frame. This will ensure that the strike plate fits correctly and provides a secure connection between the door and the frame.
- Choose an electric door strike with a voltage rating that matches your power supply. Most electric door strikes require a 12- or 24-volt power supply (see more detail below).
- Consider the level of security you need. Some electric door strikes offer additional security features, such as anti-tamper alarms or automatic relocking. These features may be beneficial if you need to secure a high-value or sensitive area.
- Door frame: The electric strike needs to be compatible with the type of door frame you have. Some strikes are designed for use with metal frames, while others are designed for use with wooden frames.
- Weather resistance: If the door is an exterior door, you may want to choose an electric strike that is designed to withstand the elements.
Electric strikes can be used with a wide variety of locksets, including:
Mortise locksets: Mortise locksets are commonly used with electric strikes. These locks are installed inside the door, and the strike plate is installed on the door frame. When the lock is engaged, the latch bolt extends into the strike plate, securing the door.
Cylindrical locksets: Cylindrical locksets are another common type of lockset that can be used with electric strikes. These locks are installed on the surface of the door, and the latch bolt extends into the strike plate when the lock is engaged.
Deadbolts: Deadbolts are often used in conjunction with electric strikes to provide extra security. The deadbolt extends into the strike plate when the lock is engaged, providing an additional level of protection.
Panic bars: Panic bars are commonly used on exit doors in commercial buildings. They can be used in conjunction with electric strikes to provide easy egress in the event of an emergency.
It's important to choose a lockset that is compatible with the electric strike you plan to use, as not all locksets will work with all strikes. It's also important to ensure that the lockset and strike are properly aligned and installed to ensure proper function and security. If you're unsure which lockset to choose or how to properly install the lockset and strike, consult with a professional locksmith or security expert.
12 or 24 Volts
The choice of voltage for an electric strike depends on a few factors such as the specific application, the type of access control system being used, and the manufacturer's recommendations. Both 12 and 24 volts are commonly used in electric strikes.
In general, a 12-volt electric strike will consume less power than a 24-volt strike, which may make it a more cost-effective choice in the long run. However, a 24-volt electric strike may provide better performance and be more suitable for larger or more complex access control systems.
It's important to choose an electric strike with a voltage that is compatible with the power supply and access control system being used. Some access control systems may require a specific voltage to operate properly, and using the wrong voltage could cause damage to the system or the electric strike.
Additionally, be sure to consult with the electric strike manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that the voltage you choose is compatible with the specific model of electric strike you plan to use. Some electric door strikes can operate on either voltage.
A mag lock, or magnetic lock, can be a good option for securing a metal door. Magnetic locks work by using an electromagnet to keep the door locked. When power is applied to the magnet, the door is locked, and when the power is removed, the door is unlocked.
When choosing a mag lock for a metal door, there are a few factors to consider:
Door and frame strength: Mag locks are strong and can withstand a lot of force, but it's important to ensure that the metal door and frame are strong enough to handle the strength of the magnet.
Power supply: Mag locks require a power supply to keep them locked. This can be provided by a dedicated power supply or by a backup battery in case of a power outage.
Compatibility with access control system: Make sure the mag lock is compatible with your access control system, whether it's a keypad, card reader, or biometric scanner.
Mag locks can be used with wooden doors, as well as with metal and glass doors. However, when installing a mag lock on a wooden door, it's important to ensure that the door and frame are properly reinforced to provide adequate strength and security.
Wooden doors are typically not as strong as metal doors, so they may require additional reinforcement to support the weight and force of a mag lock. This may involve adding metal plates or brackets to the door and frame, or using longer screws to attach the strike plate to the frame.
In addition, it's important to ensure that the mag lock is properly installed and aligned with the strike plate to ensure proper function and security. If you're unsure about how to properly install a mag lock on a wooden door, it's recommended that you consult with a professional locksmith or security expert.
Special Considerations for Aluminum Doors
When choosing an electric door strike for an aluminum door, there are some special considerations you should keep in mind. Here are a few things to consider:
Door thickness: Aluminum doors are often thinner than steel doors, so it's important to make sure the electric strike you choose is compatible with the thickness of your aluminum door. Some electric strikes are adjustable to fit a range of door thicknesses, so be sure to check the manufacturer's specifications before making a purchase.
Material compatibility: Some electric strikes are designed specifically for use with aluminum doors, while others may be more suited for use with steel or wooden doors. Make sure the electric strike you choose is compatible with aluminum doors to ensure it will function properly.
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the right electric door strike for your building, there are many important factors to consider. You should start by conducting a site survey to determine the type of door and frame you have, and what your local code requirements are for door locks. Weather resistance, lockset types, and door thickness are also important factors to consider. Additionally, you need to choose between fail-secure and fail-safe electric strikes based on your specific needs, including fire codes. It is crucial to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and to choose the right electric door strike that provides the necessary level of security, while also ensuring easy egress in the event of an emergency.