Locking yourself out of your home is a panic-inducing nightmare. If you’ve done it before, it’s an experience that you’ll never want to repeat.
So what can we do as homeowners to avoid this unfortunate situation?
Let’s cover four ways that can help you avoid getting locked out of your home and then what you can do if you do end up getting locked out.
1. Don’t Use A Doorknob Lock
Next to losing your key, the most common reason for home lockouts is the result of traditional doorknob locks.
Many doorknobs allow you to leave your home while the doorknob is locked. If you’re not careful, you could close the door behind you without knowing the door could lock behind you—thus, your lockout problems begin.
To avoid this, you can replace your doorknob with one that doesn’t lock or one that automatically disengages the lock when the interior knob is turned.
You may think removing a locking doorknob is a bad idea. But the truth is, the majority of your front door security actually comes from your deadbolt.
If you always lock your deadbolt when you’re not using the door, you have nothing to fear by replacing your doorknob with one that doesn’t lock.
In fact, many modern homes don’t use basic doorknob locks, such as those using electric or smart locks. Speaking of smart locks.
2. Use An Electronic Or Smart Door Lock
Electronic door locks have become a popular choice for many homeowners and renters. They have a lot of benefits and few drawbacks that make them an excellent choice for most properties.
The first and most obvious benefit is they allow you keyless access to your home. That is, as long as you don’t forget your access code.
They also allow you to create guest codes so you can temporarily give access to guests without exposing your primary access code. So next time your neighbor is watering your plants while you’re on vacation, you can create a guess code that you can delete when you get home.
The main drawbacks of these types of locks are their price, which can cost upward of three times as much as a traditional deadbolt.
They also run on batteries, though most alert you if your battery is running low. If your battery does die, most electronic locks have a jumpstart port that will allow you to power the device long enough to gain access to your home.
While electronic locks are a more expensive option, they are cheaper than calling a locksmith or replacing a broken window.
3. Hide A Spare Key
Another great option to ensure you never again lock yourself out of your home again is to stash a hidden key somewhere around your property.
Now hiding spare keys can be tricky. You don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands, so you’ll need to avoid hiding it in obvious locations. Don’t hide it under the doormat or in a nearby flower pot.
The safest and most secure way to hide a spare key is with the intent and goal of never having to use it. This means placing it in a very inconvenient place.
For example, place your key in a container and hide it under a large rock in your backyard or bury it under a particular plant or flower.
Never tell anyone where this key is, and only use it during emergencies.
4. Store Keys With Trusted Friends And Family
Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep a spare key with trusted friends or family that live nearby.
That being said, always keep your keys on a tight leash and only gives spares out to those you fully trust.
Be careful when leaving keys with neighbors. In fact, a large degree of burglaries actually occur from individuals within your neighborhood.
Never give a spare to anyone that you don’t trust 100%—even temporarily. Most house keys are easy to copy, and you would never know if it happened.
What To Do If You Lock Yourself Out
If you do end up locking yourself out of your home, there are a few options you can pursue.
Firstly, check around your home for any unlocked windows. If that doesn’t work, you can always try breaking into your own home.
There are a ton of non-destructive ways to unlock a door without a key. Art of Lockpicking has a good article with a list of methods you can try.
As a last resort, you may need to call a locksmith. Locksmith callouts will likely cost you about $120 or more, depending on your location, but it’s cheaper than breaking in.
With a little preparation and forward-thinking, you’ll likely never deal with locking yourself out of your home again.
Stash a key with trusted friends or family in the event that you do lock yourself out.
Also, consider stashing a “last resort” key somewhere on your property where nobody would ever consider looking. Make it a priority to never use this key except for emergencies.
With these tips, your locks will never become your enemy.
Thanks for reading!