Buying a used safe is a great way to save a bit of money, but before you put your valuables in something that has been used, you need to consider a few things. Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for and purchasing a used home safe:
1. Consider a commercial safe
When buying a used home safe, remember you don't have to restrict the search to home safes. Rather, you can also look for commercial safes.
Commercial safes typically offer greater security than standard home safes, and they often don't cost that much, especially if they are being sold or auctioned off after a business has gone out of business.
If you want to store money or jewels, most commercial safes are ideal, but if you have guns to store, commercial safes can be a bit small. Keep that in mind as you search.
2. Consult with a technician
If the person or business selling the used safe has all of the original paperwork, you can easily assess the safe's fire rating, metal and other security features. However, with or without that information, you should consult with a safe technician before making your final decision.
The tech can answer questions about your safe, check its condition, and help you move and install it.
3. Budget for a new lock
In some cases, you may be able to find a safe in perfect condition with exactly the type of lock you need. However, in other cases, you may need to replace the lock on a used safe.
With the help of a safe technician, you can upgrade a mechanical lock to an electric or biomechanical lock, or you can add deadbolts and other mechanical elements to strengthen an antique safe with a new lock. Just remember to budget for that extra expense.
4. Look at the position of the bolt holes in the bottom of the safe
In addition to assessing the features of the used safe, look at the holes in its base. Most gun owners bolt their safes to the ground, and in fact, if you are buying a gun safe, you are obligated by law to bolt it to the ground in most places.
Ideally, the bolt holes should be as close as possible to the corners of the safe's base. That position makes it hard for thieves to pry crowbars under your safe.
If the holes in the base of the new safe aren't close enough to the edges, try to assess if you can add new holes without enlarging the original holes and rendering them useless. Alternatively, consider the option of welding a new piece of metal to the bottom of the safe and then drilling new holes close to the corners.
5. Consider adding your own fireproofing
If the used safe you are buying doesn't have an adequate fireproof rating, you can essentially create a fireproof layer around your safe. Many safes use gypsum. or drywall. to prevent the spread of fire.
Essentially, the gypsum sits between the internal and external layers of metal on the safe. It absorbs the heat from the fire, and the water in the gypsum molecules slowly turn to steam. When all of the water has been evaporated out of the gypsum, it crumbles and no longer works as a fire retardant. However, it can protect the contents of the safe for a while.
To add a gypsum fireproof layer to a used metal safe that doesn't have a great fire resistance rating, you can build a frame around your safe. Use wood to make a frame around the safe, and then, attach sheetrock to it. Then, you have a serviceable fireproof layer.
Have more questions on buying and evaluating used safes? Then, contact a safe salesperson or technician from a company like Askwith Company to answer your questions.
Hi, my name is Olive, and when I was a kid, my dad was a safe manufacturer. I used to love being in his welding shop or accompanying him to jobs to make locks onsite. When I grew up, I did not follow in his footsteps, but I owned a restaurant, and I always thought of my then late father when I put cash into the safe at the end of the night. Through years of being a business owner – sometimes in a not very safe neighbourhood – I learned the importance of locks. I also learned how they can break, how to repair them and how to ensure they in working order. To honor my dad, I wanted to make a blog about locks and safes. Whether you are a business owner, a homeowner or someone curious about becoming a locksmith, I hope you enjoy reading these posts!