LEFT THE KEYS ON THE COUCH? WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE LOCKED OUT OF YOUR HOUSE
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A survey showed Americans spend about 2.5 days every year searching for misplaced items. Survey participants said losing their house keys placed in the top five most commonly misplaced items.
Unlike the other things on the list, losing your house keys could cause big problems. You could potentially lock yourself out of your home. Then, you’re left wondering what to do when you’re locked out of your house.
If this ever happens to you (and statistics say it likely will), there are many things you can do to regain access to your home.
Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about getting back into your house when you’ve been locked out. You can also learn about ways to prevent future lockouts from happening.
HOW DO YOU GET LOCKED OUT OF THE HOUSE?
People get locked out of their homes for a lot of reasons. You might have gone to leave but forgot your keys on the couch, counter, or elsewhere. Your door might have an automatic locking mechanism when you close the door and leave.
In some instances, you didn’t forget the keys at all, and the lock simply won’t work. Improperly working locks happen when the internal mechanisms or the key itself have been damaged.
Locks can become damaged through regular use or during an attempted break-in. Keys can become damaged from repeated use, being dropped, or being jammed into the wrong lock.
Sometimes, being locked out of the house isn’t just a nuisance. It can be a safety issue, too. If there are young children or pets inside who need your care, you need to get back inside as quickly as possible.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE LOCKED OUT OF YOUR HOUSE
If you’re locked out of the house, there are several things you can do. Below we look at some of the best methods for regaining entry to your home. If you’re looking for information on picking your home’s locks, that’s detailed in the next section.
IS SOMEONE INSIDE?
It may sound obvious, but you should start knocking if someone is inside. Even a younger child may have the skills necessary to open the door. If the door is equipped with an automatic locking mechanism, someone inside can turn the handle to allow you in.
LOOK FOR UNLOCKED WINDOWS AND DOORS
If nobody is inside that could unlock the door, start looking for unlocked windows and doors. If you’re locked out of the front door, the back door may be open. You could even try the basement or other exterior access doors to test your luck.
If no exterior access doors are unlocked, check the windows. You may find one that’s unlocked or even slightly open.
Although it’s tempting to break a window to regain entry, it’s highly inadvisable. Not only will breaking a window be costly, but you could injure yourself or others. Glass tends to shatter into tiny pieces, which are easy to miss.
CALL SOMEONE WITH A SPARE KEY
If you can’t get back inside the home yourself, try calling someone with a spare key. It’s generally recommended that at least one person has a spare key to your home. This might be a roommate, partner, family member, or neighbor.
If you live in an apartment, you might be able to call the concierge. If you rent a home, you could call the landlord. In each situation, these people should have spare keys to your home.
It may be a little inconvenient for someone to run you out a spare set of keys. Most people won’t mind if they don’t live too far away.
CALL A PROFESSIONAL LOCKSMITH
If you don’t have anyone to run you a spare set of keys, your best option is to call a professional locksmith. You could try picking the locking or jimmying the door yourself, but it doesn’t always work. If you need quick access to your home, you don’t want to waste valuable time.
A professional locksmith can be to your home quickly. If you have kids inside or food cooking, let the person you speak to on the phone know. They might be able to dispatch someone right away.
How long it takes for a professional locksmith to get to you will depend on how far away they are. These experts are typically ready to leave at a moment’s notice so you can get back inside fast.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T PICK THE LOCK
In an emergency, you might be tempted to pick the lock yourself. Movies make this look easy, but the reality is that it’s challenging to pick a lock.
Not only is it difficult, but you could damage the internal mechanisms of the lock. Extensive damage would render the lock useless, and you’d need to buy a replacement.
IF YOU HAVE TO PICK THE LOCK
If you decide you have to pick the lock, there are a few different ways to do it. If you end up breaking any part of the lock, a locksmith can replace the knob for you. It’s important to know you can’t pick a deadbolt.
There are two different methods. One requires two small metal tools, and the other requires a plastic card. Both are outlined below.
SMALL METAL TOOLS
If you have two bobby pins or paper clips, that works best. If you only have one, you can snap them apart to separate them into two makeshift “tools.”
Start by bending the metal pieces. One needs to be shaped like an “L,” while the other should be straightened out with a “W” at the end.
The “L” tool will be to create tension and hold the lock into place. The “W” tool is to unlatch the pins inside the lock.
Insert the “L” tool and place pressure on it. You want it to keep tension on the lock at all times, or it won’t work.
Use the “W” tool to feel around in the lock for the pins. Once you find them, push the pins upwards to unlock the door.
For this method, you want to choose a card you don’t mind breaking. It’s possible to bend the card out of shape or even snap it in half when attempting this method. At the very least, the card you use will end up with a lot of scratches.
Start by inserting the plastic card between the door frame and jamb where the latch is. Hold the card perpendicular to the door and try wiggling it around. Lean your weight against the door as you wiggle the card around.
While you push the card, bend it away from the doorway. Your goal is to try sliding the latch away from the doorjamb.
Once you’ve slid the plastic card between the latch and the door frame, you can push your way into the home. Don’t let go of the card before you manage to open the door partially, or else the lock will spring back into place.
PREVENTING FUTURE LOCKOUTS
Knowing what to do when you’re locked out of your house is great. But prevention is the best course. There are several things you can do to help prevent future lockouts.
Once you’ve regained entry to your home, you should take steps to prevent it from happening again. Some of the best things you can do to avoid future lockouts are discussed below.
LEAVE A SPARE KEY SOMEWHERE ON YOUR PROPERTY
Hide-a-keys are an excellent option for leaving a spare somewhere on your property. The important thing is to not leave the key in an obvious place. In other words, don’t put it under your front doormat.
There are a lot of hide-a-key options these days, so you can choose one that will work best for you. There are false-bottom flower planters you could place near your front or back door. There are also small magnetic boxes that can be attached beneath anything metal.
GIVE A SPARE KEY TO SOMEONE NEARBY
If you haven’t already given a set of spare keys out, now is the time to do so. If you have a neighbor you trust, they’re the best person to give the extra set of keys to. If you don’t have a neighbor you trust, consider giving a set to the friend or family member who lives closest to you.
If possible, try to choose someone who would be able to respond in an emergency. Someone who often travels for business or spends half the year in a vacation home wouldn’t be the best choice.
CONSIDER A KEY-LESS ELECTRONIC LOCK
A key-less electronic lock is an alternative to your usual keyed entries. Instead of using a key, you use a unique passcode. Some newer models even operate off fingerprints or retina scans.
These are an excellent option for people who often lose their keys or get locked out of their home. As long as you know the passcode, you can get back inside.
Some key-less electronic locks can also be programmed into your home security system. If someone tries to bypass the code to get inside, the alarm system will go off. Some models can be integrated into a smart home system, also.
CHANGE OUT SELF-LOCKING DOORKNOBS
Self-locking doorknobs might not be your best option if you often get locked out of your home. They also aren’t the best choice for people with young children who might get trapped inside.
If you often get locked out of your home, change out the self-locking doorknobs. This will prevent the door from locking behind you when you step outside.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LOCKSMITH
If you have to break into your home in an emergency, you don’t time to search for the best locksmith company. It’s suggested you find a locksmith in your area ahead of time, just in case, and save the number in your phone. This will allow you to react faster in the event of a lockout emergency.
But how do you know which locksmith is the right one?
There are a few ways to tell. Before anything else, you should research different companies in your area. Always make sure they service the area your home or business is located in.
Next, check online reviews or get recommendations from people you trust. If other people had positive experiences with a specific company, chances are you will too.
Verify the company is licensed or accredited as applicable by your state’s regulations. Looking at their website should tell you this information. It should also give you insight into how many years of experience a locksmith company has.
Finally, feel free to give the locksmith company a call. If you have any questions about a company after looking over their website, a phone call is the best way to get answers.
Make sure you inquire about emergency services. Most modern locksmith companies offer 24/7 emergency services. But, it doesn’t hurt to verify.
The employee who answers the phone may even be able to give you other useful information. This might include standard response times, fees, and other small details.
DO YOU NEED HELP GETTING BACK INTO YOUR HOUSE?
People get locked out of their homes for many reasons. When you’re locked out, there are several methods you can use to regain entry. The recommended approach is to call a professional locksmith.
Do you need help getting back into your house? Or, do you have more questions about what to do when you’re locked out of your house?
Contact us today. One of our associates would be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have.