FAQ, About Safes and Vaults
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SAFES AND VAULTS
Consider your present needs as well as future needs. We are often told by customers that they did not purchase a safe large enough for their needs. Additionally, carefully consider the value of the contents you wish to place in the safe as well as the problems you may incur if the contents are lost to either forced entry or loss due to fire. Do your homework. Carefully list what you wish to store in the safe. Try to estimate the number of cubic feet needed. But remember… When it comes to investing in a safe… Bigger and Stronger is always Better!
NOT ALL SAFES ARE EQUAL – WHY?
Safes come in different styles and sizes. Many are only thin metal cabinets without fire or burglary protection. Consider the safe body and door construction first. Carefully review the thickness of the metal and type of locking mechanism, followed by fire rating.
Many safes on the market today, especially those offered for sale by either big box retailers or mass merchandise online websites should only be considered cabinets, rather than safes.
Thoroughly research the type of safe you are seeking. You will find most low-end safes are no more than storage cabinets that have very thin metal bodies made from 14 to 18 or even as thin as 20 gauge steel. Consider what you are storing in the safe and the value of the contents to be protected. A hammer, screwdriver or small pry bar can easily break into a thin metal safe. Do not rely on a cheap thin metal cabinet to protect your valuables and firearms. It just will not do the job!
NOTE: The higher the gauge number the thinner the steel and the lower the number the thicker the steel. More steel ALWAYS equals more security.
A quality safe should have a minimum of 11 gauge (1/8”) steel for the exposed surface of the body of the safe and preferably 7 gauge (3/16”) steel. Door construction is vitally important. Safe doors are usually the first area to be attacked and are found to be the first line of defense to discourage a criminal. Consider safes with at least a 3/16” solid steel plate on the exposed surface of the door. More secure safes have a 3/8” to 1/2″ steel plate on the exposed surface of the door. Reference our steel thickness chart above to learn more about steel thickness. Bigger and Stronger is always Better!
DO MORE DOOR LOCKING BOLTS MEAN THE GUN SAFE IS MORE SECURE?
This is a common question presented to security pros. Generally speaking, the answer is yes as long as the steel gauge of the door jamb is a minimum of 11 gauge, the door edge is at least 3/8" and the door itself is constructed with a minimum of 11 gauge steel. If any of these steel thicknesses are less than 11 gauge there is a good chance that the door can be pried open during an attack with a prybar or crowbar or other similar common hand tools. Both the door and the door jamb are subject to bending if less than 11 gauge. Also, note.... the greater the diameter of the bolts and the greater the number of bolts around the door reduce the possibility of the door being pried open. We understand that budget is often a consideration when purchasing a gun safe, but one should always consider the value of the contents being stored in the safe and the time, cost and effort to replace your lost property.
WHAT SECURITY RATING SHOULD I CONSIDER TO PROTECT MY VALUABLES?
The following are guidelines for the content value of the various levels of security that a safe can provide when there is a burglar alarm also present in the premises. These values are generally used for businesses for insurance purposes but are a good guideline for different levels of protection. Be sure to contact your insurance company for specific limitations, exclusions, alarm system, and other requirements when making a safe selection for personal or business reasons.
- RSC (Residential Security Container) Rated Safe – For up to $5,000 content value. Passed a 5-minute attack test.
- B-Rated Safe - For up to $10,000 content value. These safe have a 1/2 inch steel plate door & 1/4 inch steel body.
- TL-15 Rated Safe - For up to $200,000 content value. A TL-15 rating means the safe door can successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 15 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills or pressure devices.
- TL-30 Rated Safe - For up to $375,000 content value. A TL-30 rating means the safe door can successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills or pressure devices. This rating does not include attacks on the sides, bottom or top of the safe.
- TL-30x6 Rated Safe - For up to $500,000 content value. A TL-30x6 rating means the body and the safe door can successfully resist entry* for a net assault time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills or pressure devices. This rating includes attacks on the sides, bottom or top of the safe. * Entry means - Opening the door or making a 6 square inch opening entirely through the body, door or front face
AT WHAT TEMPERATURE WILL MY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS OR PAPER CURRENCY CHAR OR BURN?
Paper chars at 350° and burns at 450°.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM FIRE RATING TO PROTECT DOCUMENTS AND PAPER CURRENCY?
Fire resistant safes and burglar fire safes should have a minimum of a 1-hour fire rating. Typically, a safe with less than a 1-hour fire rating will probably not protect documents or money in the event of a fire. It should also be noted that fire resistant safes are good for protecting documents against fire, however, they are NOT recommended for protecting large amounts of cash or high-value items from theft. When you want BOTH burglar and fire protection, look for a burglar and fire rated safe or a high-security burglar fire safe. Before making a purchase always consider the value of the contents and the space required. Allow for additional space in the future... you will not be sorry you did.
WHAT TYPE OF HINGES ARE BETTER... EXTERNAL OR INTERNAL HINGES?
Internal hinges often can only open 90° while external hinges can usually open up to 180°. External hinges can also add an aesthetic feature to the safe.
DO GUN SAFES NEED DEHUMIDIFIERS?
If you place your safe within a climate controlled home where the temperature remains constant and where condensation will not occur you may not need a dehumidifier. If there is any fluctuation in temperature condensation may occur. Moisture causes corrosion. Because most dehumidifiers are not costly we recommend that they are used in all safes... just in case. A dehumidifier is included in each of our gun safes and gun vaults.
Place the dehumidifier as low in the safe as possible. Mounting position is not necessarily important, but it is vital to keep the door area clear of any obstruction. Installation along the back wall or underneath one of the small side shelves is the preferred method of installation.
WHAT IS THE FACTORY CODE FOR AN ELECTRONIC LOCK?
The factory code for your new safe is 1-2-3-4-5-6. Do not pick a code that can be easily guessed by anyone. Change your safe code immediately after the safe has been installed. Store your new code in a very safe location that is outside your home.
HOW CAN I CHANGE THE COMBINATION IN MY ELECTRONIC LOCK?
Click on LOCK INSTRUCTIONS and select the electronic lock installed on your Merik Safe. Then just follow the instructions to change your combination. Important: Do NOT store your combination in your safe. Store your new combination in a safe place other than in your safe.
CAN I CHANGE THE COMBINATION OF MY SAFE (DIAL) LOCK MYSELF?
Most safes with a dial combination lock come with a preset number combination from our factory. If or when you wish to change the combination we recommend you contact a local licensed locksmith or safe expert for dial combination locks. Electronic locks (digital keypad) are user-friendly and the combination is easily changed whenever you wish to do so. Always follow the electronic lock manufacturer's instructions carefully.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FORGET OR LOSE THE COMBINATION TO MY SAFE?
You can contact a Merik Safe customer service representative to assist you to retrieve the combination.
Due to liability issues, we must be assured that we are giving the combination to the actual owner and as such, our customer service representatives are required to follow a procedure exactly. We request your patience when you are requesting a copy of the combination. You will need to have the serial number of the safe and provide valid proof (i.e. a copy of the actual receipt or Bill of Sale) stating that you are the original owner of that safe, otherwise, we will NOT be able to assist. For security reasons, we do NOT keep records of safe combinations. Please click HERE to download and print our COMBINATION and/or KEY REQUEST FORM.
If you do not have a receipt, you may provide a letter from your local law enforcement agency indicating that the safe is in your possession and has not been reported stolen. We must have a receipt or the letter from the law enforcement agency in order to process your request.
The following items must be included in the letter from a law enforcement agency to verify proof of ownership:
- The letter must contain your safe’s serial number.
- The letter must be typed on the law enforcement agency letterhead.
- The letter must state the officer came to your residence and verified that the safe is in your possession and must include your address.
- The letter must state that the serial number has been checked in the law enforcement's database and has not been reported lost or stolen.
- The letter must include the name and badge number of the officer assisting you with this request.
Documents outside of those listed above are not acceptable and will cause your request to be denied. Once you have completed the request form and have had the form notarized, please mail the form along with the required proof of purchase or letter from a law enforcement agency to us at the following address:
Once we have received the required documents, we will process your request and send the combination or keys for your safe via United States Postal Service to the shipping address you provide on this form or to the email address you provide. Allow 7 to10 business days for the request to be processed and shipped, or emailed, if a combination is requested to be sent via email. Email your request to: info@meriksafe.
IF SOMEONE REMOVES MY KEYPAD WILL THEY HAVE ACCESS TO MY SAFE?
No. The keypad on your safe is simply a power source that communicates the code to the lock inside the safe door. Your combination code is stored inside the lock body, which is located inside the door. The lock is protected by relockers which will secure the safe if a burglar attempts to punch through your lock. Should a burglar place a different keypad on your safe the lock cannot be opened without your safe combination. The lock retains the last programmed code you entered regardless of whether or not the battery or keypad has been replaced.
WHEN I ENTER MY CODE IN MY ELECTRONIC LOCK I GET 5 BEEPS... AND THE LOCK WILL NOT OPEN. WHAT DOES THAT INDICATE?
Five “beeps” indicate that your lock battery is too low and you must replace it immediately to operate your safe. Please replace the old battery with a fresh alkaline battery, then try your code again. You can find instructions for changing your battery HERE.
WHAT KIND OF BATTERY SHOULD I USE IN MY ELECTRONIC LOCK?
We recommend the use of a 9-volt ALKALINE ENERGIZER® or DURACELL® battery. They’ve been thoroughly tested and proven to last longer.
WHEN I ENTER MY CODE IN MY ELECTRONIC LOCK I GET 3 BEEPS... AND THE LOCK WILL NOT OPEN. THEN I RE-ENTER MY CODE AND GET 2 BEEPS AND THE SAFE IS LOCKED OUT. WHAT SHALL I DO?
Three “beeps” in sequence indicate that the lock does not recognize the code you entered as being valid. Verify your code and enter your code again. If the lock still does not open, please contact one of our customer service representatives for immediate assistance.
WHEN I ENTER MY CODE IN MY ELECTRONIC LOCK I GET 3 BEEPS... AND THE LOCK WILL NOT OPEN. THEN I RE-ENTER MY CODE AND GET 2 BEEPS AND THE SAFE IS LOCKED OUT. WHAT SHALL I DO?
Two “beeps” in sequence are consistent with the lock recognizing your code, however, a fresher battery is needed. Please replace the old battery with a fresh alkaline battery and try again. If the lock still does not open, please contact one of our customer service representatives for immediate assistance.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CHANGE THE BATTERIES WITHIN THE ELECTRONIC LOCK?
The answer depends on how often you use your lock. A high-quality battery will last longer. We recommend that you change the battery before the end of a year of use. If your lock is not operating correctly, changing the batteries is always the first corrective measure to be taken.
CAN I SWITCH A MECHANICAL DIAL LOCK TO AN ELECTRONIC LOCK AFTER I HAVE PURCHASED AND RECEIVED MY SAFE?
Yes, contact an Authorized Merik Dealers to perform this service for you. You cannot do this on your own, and attempting to do so will likely void your Warranty. If you need a recommendation please contact one of our customer service representatives.
HOW DO I CLEAN THE EXTERIOR OF MY SAFE?
Our safes come with a durable finish. Used a damp cloth when needed, but do not use abrasive cleaners that may scratch or damage the safe’s finish. The interior can be swept out with a dry paintbrush or small broom and lint can easily be removed with a lint roller.
SHOULD I SERVICE MY SAFE?
Your safe should not require service. It is advisable to keep a fresh 9-volt Duracell or Energizer battery at hand in the event your battery runs low.
CAN I ORDER EXTRA SHELVES TO PLACE INSIDE MY SAFE?
Yes, please have your model and serial number and call one of our customer service representatives at 561-334-3778.
WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER USING A WALL SAFE?
The best protection a wall safe provides is concealment, however, most burglars are going to look for a wall safe and if found will not take long to penetrate or remove the safe from the wall with common hand tools or a pry bar. The wall safe is installed within a wall and attached to the wall studs. Wall safes are usually not a good place to store expensive contents, however, may be considered because of its quick access to keep limited amounts of cash and personal items from children. They are not designed to provide protection from fire.
WHAT FIRE RATING SHOULD I CONSIDER?
Fire ratings are often overlooked but should be one of the top considerations along with the safe’s door and body steel thickness. We recommend that you only consider safes with a minimum of a 1 hour, or longer, fire rating. Safes with less than a 1-hour fire rating will NOT provide adequate protection to survive a typical business or home fire. The typical home fire burns in the 800 to 1200 degree Fahrenheit temperature range. If a safe is located close to the starting point of a fire it would be subjected to higher temperatures toward the end of a fire. Please note that 350 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature where paper, documents, and paper currency will start to char and burn.
Why spend your earnings on a safe that won’t protect your guns, ammo, collectibles, heirlooms, documents, photos, cash or other valuables during a fire? If you are on a limited budget then select a safe with the longest fire protection afforded to you.
Additionally, don’t overlook the fire seal around the safe door. Many promotional or discounted safes don’t even have fire seals around the door. During a fire, the fire seal should expand to seal out fire and smoke and keep water from entering the safe if water is sprayed on the safe in the course of extinguishing a fire.
CAN I RELY ON A FIRE RESISTANT SAFE TO PROTECT AGAINST A BURGLARY ATTACK?
No. First, please note that there are no “fireproof” consumer safes on the market today… they are all fire resistant, meaning they resist heat and smoke typically from 30 to 120 minutes.
Fire rated safes should protect cash and paper documents from heat and smoke damage, however, fire resistant safes typically use very thin steel (14-18 gauge) in the body construction, which is used to house the fire retardant material. Steel this thin allows for the safe to be easily punctured, cut or sawed with common hand tools, thus easy to defeat for a burglar. Additionally, many safes on the market today can be opened by simply dropping them on a hard surface.
We do NOT recommend storing cash, photos, heirlooms, documents, jewelry or precious metals, in a cheap fire rated safe. A better choice is a 1 or 2-hour fire rated safe with an RSC rating for Burglary. For safes having a content value above $10,000, one should consider a high-security TL rated fire safe. These safes are designed to protect your valuables against both burglar attacks and fires.
CAN I RELY ON A STANDARD FIRE RATED SAFE TO PROTECT MEDIA, DVDs, DISKS, HARD DRIVES, DATA, AND PHOTOS?
The term “fireproof” is a very misleading term often used by unqualified companies to describe the fire safes they sell. The terms that should be used are “fire resistant” for a specific length of time. Most media, drives, DVDs, old negatives, photos etc. are sensitive to heat and humidity or moisture. A standard fire-resistant safe is not engineered to specifically protect against these potential hazards. Fire resistant safes are engineered and designed to protect paper and keep the internal temperature of the safe below 350 degrees, which is the temperature where the paper will start to char and burn. Any sensitive data or media will be badly damaged or destroyed between 120 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit or upon reaching 85% humidity.
If you have any special data or media that you need to protect against fire, a Digital Data or Media Safe should be considered. These safes will keep the inside temperature below 135 degrees as well as the humidity below 85%. Most Digital Data and Media Safes do not offer burglary protection.
Additionally, make certain to purchase a quality dehumidifier to protect against excess moisture inside your safe
WILL A FLOOR SAFE PROVIDE PROTECTION AGAINST FIRE?
Floor safes provide great hidden security and a high level of security against attack if installed in a floor encased in concrete on all five sides… however, floor safes provide minimal fire protection. The reason floor safes lack a fire rating is due to the fact that the door does not contain fireboard to dissipate the heat when exposed directly to a fire. This leads to the destruction of the contents within the floor safe in a short period of time.
WHERE SHOULD I PLACE A SAFE?
You should place your safe where you are most likely to use it. Be cognizant of the exterior dimensions of the safe (height x width x depth) before ordering, having the safe delivered and installed. It is always best to properly bolt down and secure the safe to the floor. Make certain there is adequate lighting to the front of the safe so the dial numbers or dial markings are clearly visible and easy to read. If you do not have an alarm system in your home, office or business, then placing your safe “out of sight, out of mind” may be very important. And remember ... a heavy safe needs strong flooring.
CAN I TELL A FRIEND THAT I HAVE A SAFE?
Burglaries often occur because someone tells someone else that they have a safe. It may be an innocent conversation, but at some time a person that you don’t know, and/or trust, may find out that you have a safe and what's worse what is in the safe. Our experience has taught us that those who don’t talk about owning a safe or what they’re protecting within their safe are reducing the possibility of becoming a target for an attempted robbery.
SHOULD I ANCHOR MY SAFE TO THE FLOOR?
One of the easiest ways for a burglar to attack and break into any safe is to move it where they can have space to freely use their tools (pry bars, hammer etc...) to get into the safe and the time to try to penetrate the safe. Anchoring the safe to the floor is a very effective way to secure your safe. Even if you feel your safe is hidden you still need to anchor your safe in case it is discovered by a burglar. Remember that being careful and taking extra security precautions will help keep your items secure. Most safes are manufactured with pre-drilled anchor hole(s) and are fairly simple to anchor into concrete. If you have a wood subfloor be cognizant that just installing a wood anchor in your floor will NOT provide adequate security. These anchors can easily be ripped out the wood subfloor by leveraging the weight of the safe. An effective ways to secure a safe to a wood subfloor is to drill holes in your floor and extend long threaded rods down below the floor joist and connect the rods to an angle iron that is four to five feet in length spanning several floor joists and secure the threaded rod to the angle iron and bolt down the safe.
HOW DO I OPEN MY SAFE AFTER A BURGLARY ATTACK OR AFTER A FIRE?
If your safe has gone through a fire you should not be alarmed if your keypad has melted off it's mounting. Additionally, the Palusol Seal has expanded because the fire seal expands to seal the safe off and create a barrier to smoke and heat. This is an indicator that the contents are likely to be safe and secure.
Please submit the DAMAGED SAFE FORM immediately to one of our customer service representatives. By doing so you will initiate the process, and with a registered warranty, we will send either a locksmith or safe technician to open your damaged safe and to replace your damaged safe with the same model or a model of equal value. Do not attempt to open the safe yourself.
The replacement safe will be delivered to your curb free of charge, as Warranteed.
WHAT IS “MULTI-LEVEL SECURITY“?
A Multi-level security approach is a great deterrent in protecting your assets at home, office or business. Please consider the following home or business security options:
- High grade locks, deadbolts and/or locking systems
- A quality alarm system that makes contact with a central monitor station that will call police in the event the alarm is activated
- Outdoor security cameras will discourage a burglar from spending time breaking into your home or business.
- Outdoor motion sensor lights will discourage a burglar from spending time breaking into your home or business.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, lock your doors and take notice of unfamiliar people in your neighborhood or close to your home.
- Don’t allow strangers in your home that can see your safe or valuables unless necessary.
- Don’t openly talk about your safe with friends and family …where it is within your residence or business …and what valuables you store in your safe. Public conversations can be easily overheard.
Taking extra security precautions will keep you and your important items safe and secure.
CAN MY ORDER BE SHIPPED TO A P.O.BOX?
No. UPS, FedEx, and truckers will not ship carton, packages, pallets or crates to P.O. boxes. Should you have special needs please feel free to contact one of our customer service representatives... we are here to assist any way we can.