Getting locked out of your home can put you in a predicament. There are a lot of factors that determine your options when locked out. It could be the time of day, cooking food, children inside, and sometimes those factors will affect how you manage the event at hand. There are a few options you have to get back in. Take a walk around your house and check all of your doors to make sure they aren’t unlocked. If that fails, go ahead and call a locksmith, but many will offer different times. Pick one that suits you. As a locksmith I am looking for a damage-free way into your home.
There are some preventative steps you can take from locking yourself out. Leaving a key with a neighbor can be beneficial. GE and Supra make locking key boxes, which can be mounted to a wall or a fence. They use numbers or a combination to get in. A third option is installing an electronic deadbolt with a keypad. I have installed many of these on homes and have heard nothing but good things from it.
There are some things you shouldn’t do.
In larger cities, there tend to be scammer locksmiths, so make sure you are dealing with a reputable locksmith. Scammers tend not to know what they are doing, end up causing damage to your door or your locks to get in. In that case, it costs more time and more money. Kicking a door in can be costly, as it causes damage to the door, the frame, and possible the locks. After kicking a door in, you will be in the market for a new entry into your home. Breaking a window is another option I don’t recommend. Not only does the window have to be replaced but could leave you vulnerable.
Locks don’t necessarily have to be changed if you lose your key because most locks can be re-keyed to a new key. Many times people don’t leave any identifying markings on their keys such as address or street number. If someone were to find the keys, they wouldn’t have any idea where they go. Many people are good about turning keys in if found in public. It all depends on where the keys were lost and how worried the homeowner is. I run into people all the time that have had their car stolen or women that have had their purse stolen. Many of the cars stolen these days have the keys in the ignition. Vehicles and purses usually have information about where you live, with insurance cards, identification cards, and even mail. In that case, I definitely recommend having your home re-keyed. In either of those cases, your insurance might cover some of the costs.
I think age has to be one of the biggest issues with home locks. I am constantly getting calls from customers having problems with keys, a lock sticking, stopped working or the key is spinning. Many of these issues are the age of the lock, but it’s also a quick fix. Parts are readily available and the fixes are relatively inexpensive. Common problems, 9 out of 10 times will be a latch or a bolt that is sticking or broken. A quick fix and you are back in business.
Another issue I see, many of the residential locks available are lighter and the quality isn’t something you might find in a commercial lock. Most of the brands such as Kwikset, Defiant, EZ-Set use lighter materials in their locks, so they tend to fail on their own. I couldn’t imagine if someone were to attempt a break-in with this hardware on the door. Kwikset has released a product known as Smartkey in the last few years. These locks claim to be a high grade, in my opinion, I would say otherwise. I have run into so many issues with these locks I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.
Schlage, Baldwin, and Emtek make a product that can be purchased through your local locksmith that surpasses those brands in quality and is highly recommended for a medium cost lock hardware. If you are looking for the best lock on the market for your home, Medeco and Mul-t-Lock would have to be them. They offer high-security features, made with high-end metals, restricted key duplication, pick resistant, and drill resistant.
If you are concerned with security, another issue is the strike on the door. Many times they are held on by 1-inch screws. Most break-ins will happen through a front or back door. It tends to be easier for burglars to take things out. As a locksmith I don’t want you to rely on your alarm, it is my goal to keep the burglars out of your home. Door Devil makes a product, which I highly recommend, that reinforces your door frame, not only on the lock side but on the hinged side with longer screws and pins. With a good lock and Door Devil installed on your exterior doors, it will do numbers for your home security. Those two things are relatively inexpensive compared to what might happen.
I have installed many keypad locks on homes and have heard nothing but good from it. I usually install the Schlage BE365 because it’s not gear driven like most of the brands available. When I install these I install the deadbolt model and put a non-locking knob or lever below it. Most of the security lies in the deadbolt so you don’t lose much security not installing a locking knob or lever. It tends to be great for school children because you don’t need to leave them a key and gives them immediate access to the house. If you have neighbors watching your home or your pets, you aren’t leaving them with a key, most keys can be duplicated. Leaving a key with someone is one thing, but not knowing if they had a copy made is another. They can hold many different combinations, so you can give individuals numbers which can be deleted at any time.
They have models available now, you can tie them into your alarm. With the use of an app, you can lock and unlock the front door. It will also send notifications of when the lock has been unlocked and locked. It’s good at letting you know when someone has entered your house.
Author: Kyle Loving