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Safe FAQs

Safe

Safes come in a variety of shapes and sizes with different parts and functions to protect what’s most important to you. These FAQs will help you determine which safe is right for you.


What is UL?

Safes

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a United States-based independent testing facility that certifies various public safety products. They test products to ensure they meet stringent standards for performance as claimed.

UL will test safes to ensure that they provide the fire protection that the manufacturer claims. For a product to earn a UL classification, the documents stored inside must remain completely undamaged. 

  • ½-hour UL rating = Contents remain undamaged when tested for half an hour up to 1550°F
  • 1-hour UL rating = Contents remain undamaged when tested for one hour up to 1700°F
  • 2-hour UL rating = Contents remain undamaged when tested for two hours up to 1850°F


The inside of my safe is plastic. Does it melt in a fire?

The plastic parts on the inside and outside of safes assist in the fire-protective process. Chests and file safes have an outer coating and key-lock guard, which will usually melt in the event of a fire.

This helps to seal the exterior / interior of the product in the process, ensuring an airtight seal to keep the heat out, and interior cool so your possessions remain protected. During a typical fire, the interior of the safe won't get hot enough to damage this special liner. And this liner allows the humidity usually found in most fire-resistant products, to dissipate better, reducing the moisture in your unit during day-to-day use.



How do I get into my fire-safe product after a fire?

If a fire occurs, don't try to retrieve your possessions from your safe. During afire, tell the firefighters where your safe is so they can keep it cool and retrieve it when safe. The safe should be allowed to cool for several hours, before the contents are retrieved.

Don't be alarmed if the outer lock plate has melted. –It's designed to do so in a fire to further seal the exterior of the unit from fire and heat. They can be broken off with the appropriate tools once the unit has properly cooled.



How do I protect my CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, USB drives and MP3 players?

When shopping for a safe, you should look for UL-rated products that have been verified by ETL Semko to protect data storage products, which include CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, USB drives, hard drives and MP3 players. Depending on the model you own and its specific UL fire-endurance rating, your media protection may vary as follows:

  • ½-hour UL rating = Fire protection for digital media tested for half an hour up to 1550°F
  • 1-hour UL rating = Fire protection for digital media tested for one hour up to 1700°F
  • 2-hour UL rating = Fire protection for digital media tested for two hours up to 1850°F


What is ETL Semko?

ETL Semko is an independent testing firm that tests safes to ensure protection from flood and other water damage. Safes are usually classified waterproof or water-resistant. 

A safe that is ETL-verified waterproof ensures that items you place in your safe will remain dry when submersed for an hour in water that goes up to two inches above the uppermost surface of the chest or file. The product passes the test only if no more than .5 grams (8 drops) of water entered the safe.

Safes that are classified as water-resistant are products that have withstood 15 minutes of 1,000 gallons of water spray as well as one hour of standing in 6 inches of water with no damage to products inside the safe.



Do I need to do anything special for storage and maintenance?

Yes. Due to the protective insulation in many safe products, moisture may be released into the interior of your product during normal use. To protect your items against moisture, open your unit for a half hour, twice a month to let the air circulate on the inside. If this isn't possible, place delicate articles, such as stamps, coins and jewelry, in an airtight, molded plastic container inside your safe unit.



What extra steps should I take to deter theft?

  • Always keep your safe closed and locked when not in use.
  • Don't share your code / combination or keep them near the safe.
  • Don't tell anyone where the safe is located (except the fire department in the event of a fire).
  • Don't put the empty safe carton out with your trash. Cut it into pieces and discard.
  • Place your safe with the hinge away from the wall and the door opening next to the wall. This makes it harder to pry the door open.
  • If possible, conceal your safe.
  • You may bolt your safe to the floor or wall, depending on the model you've selected


What's the best way to store my handgun / long-gun / rifle and ammunition?

Store unloaded guns in a locked gun safe, and make sure unauthorized people don't have access to the weapons. If the safe has a key lock, be certain that you place the key in a secure, private spot that's inaccessible to children. Always remove ammunition from guns and place in a locked location separate from the guns.



Once my safe is delivered, how do I install the unit?

It’s important to keep in mind that there are safety concerns with moving some safe products. Many of the products are extremely heavy and may require professional assistance. If the safe weighs more than 300 pounds, you have back problems, are unaccustomed to heavy lifting or if it'll need to be moved up or down stairs, you should contact a professional for help delivering and installing your safe. Lowe’s offers delivery options and services to assist you. If you feel comfortable installing your safe yourself, we recommend you use a dolly to prevent injury. Don't try to lift the safe by yourself. 

Find a place that's discrete and out of site. Also, to prevent dampness in the safe, you’ll want to keep the unit in an area of the house that has a moderate temperature and isn't too humid. Many safes also include a bolt-down kit. Bolt-down kits help prevent unauthorized removal of the safe. Check your safe’s owner’s manual for proper bolt-down instructions, or contact your safe’s manufacturer for more information.