As a security installer and locksmith, I can tell you people getting locked out of their houses is my number one call. Getting locked out of your own house isn’t unusual. Misplacing or losing keys is something we’ve all done at one point. Thankfully, there is always a way to open the locked door and get back inside.
Below are some quick solutions on what to do when you’ve locked keys inside your house and some more lockout tips and tricks.
Here Is a Summary of Things that You Can Do if You Are Locked Out Of the House:
- Double-check Doors and Windows
- Rundown Your List Of Who Might Have a Spare Key to Your House
- Remove The Doorknob
- Use A Coat Hanger
- Call a Locksmith
- Try The Dog Door
- Call For a Spare Key
- Get A Ladder
- See If There is a Lock That You Can Pick
- Try A Bump Key
- Try Using a Credit Card to Unlock Your Door
- See If You Can Pop a Door Lock With a Bobby Pin or Paper Clip
(I will go into more detail below):
Double-check Doors and Windows
Unlocked windows can be dangerous but a blessing when you’ve locked keys inside the house. If there is no way to open a locked door, the best thing to do is to see if you left any windows or doors unlocked before leaving the house.
If yes, and the entrance is big enough to squeeze in a grown person, you could get through and open the house from the inside. If you have any kids, it could be a good opportunity to take advantage of their small size and send them in!
Rundown Your List Of Who Might Have a Spare Key to Your House
Most people make duplicates of their house keys and give them to people they trust. If you were wise enough to do the same, you’re lucky, especially when you’ve locked your keys inside.
If you have a friend or a family member the key to your home, you can always call them and get help if you’ve experienced a house lockout; landlords also carry spares they can quickly lend you.
Remove The Doorknob
Removing the doorknob could also give you access to your house when you’ve locked the keys inside.
Depending upon the type of doorknob, you’d first need to locate the screws and gently unscrew the fasteners using a screwdriver. (1)
For pinholes or slots, you’d need a flathead screwdriver. If the screwdriver is too big to unfasten the bolts, you could also make do with paper clips. Once the screws have been undone, you can easily remove the doorknob. If you don’t have a toolbox, consider borrowing one from your neighbor.
Use A Coat Hanger
If there is any visible space between the sides of the door, you can insert a coat hanger and try to pull the tongue of the lock-up to open it up during a house lockout (this will only work for lower-level security doors that don’t use a key). However, if there is no space to slide the coat hanger in, then there is no point in trying.
Call a Locksmith
If you’ve locked keys inside the house and have no duplicates, you can contact a local locksmith and have them open the door. This could cost you a lot, but this will 100% give you access to your home and prevent any chance of damages you might have brought on to your door (commonly, inexperienced residents break their locks trying to open them and cost themselves more than getting a locksmith).
If you’re thinking of calling a local locksmith service, ensure you have something proving you live inside the house you’re trying to enter. Some locksmiths will respond to emergencies even after midnight but may charge a little more than usual. On average, a locksmith could cost you $150+. This price may be higher when you call the professional for after hour emergency service. In such cases, the fee could soar up to $300, depending upon the time and the professional.
Try The Dog Door
In an emergency, if there is a dog or kitty door around the house, and if you’re slender enough to pass through, you can also try this option.
Call For a Spare Key
If you live in a rented place, chances are your landlord may have an extra key, too; most of them do. Reach out to them and get a copy of the key. If you live in a gated complex, you could likely get a duplicate or a master key from the community’s manager.
Make sure you have evidence that proves that you’re indeed the resident of the house that you’re trying to get into. This can make seeking help from the manager considerably easier.
Get A Ladder
In a two-story house, there could be a chance that the first-floor windows have been left unlocked. See if you can find a ladder, perhaps from a construction site near your home or from a neighbor.
See If There is a Lock That You Can Pick
If you have tools like bobby pins, you could use them to pick the lock. Using household items such as bobby pins, paper clips, and credit cards, you could pick locks. Here are a few methods of picking a lock.
Try A Bump Key
Bump keys are little master keys that can pop open any lock. You could get these from a locksmith or a local hardware store. If you’re buying the keys yourself, go for the ones that resemble the keyhole of your front door the best.
Try Using a Credit Card to Unlock Your Door
You can also use paper clips if you don’t have bobby pins. Another everyday object that could be used to open a locked door is a credit card. You could also use certain tools to pick the window locks, which could be slightly easier to undo than the main doors. (2)
See If You Can Pop a Door Lock With a Bobby Pin or Paper Clip
Bend the top metal bar of the bobby pin so the whole thing looks like an L.
Bend the other one in the shape of a W.
Use the L-shaped pin to hold the lock, and insert the W-shaped one to feel the lock’s pins.
Once you feel you have come around the pins, push them up and unlock the door.
What not to do when you’re locked out of the house
Avoid Breaking Windows to Get in (This Could Be Dangerous)
When locked out of the house, you could be tempted to take the easy way out by breaking a glass window and opening the locked door from the inside. However, there are various hazards attached to this.
You could injure yourself while trying to get inside the smashed window. The broken shards of glass could get into your skin and cause injury. In addition to this, replacing the window could be expensive. So, think twice before considering breaking the window. Only entertain this idea if it is an emergency and you need to get inside immediately.
Avoid Climbing Down the Chimney
We also don’t suggest you climb down the chimney since this can be dangerous. Another drawback of smashing the windows could be that somebody could call the police, thinking that a robbery is happening. If this happens, you’re likely to get apprehended by the police and kept in the station until you prove that you’re indeed the resident.
Prevention: How To Avoid Getting Locked out Of Your House
Here are a few tips for house lockouts to ensure that you don’t lock the keys inside ever again.
Stash a spare key somewhere safe
Stash a spare key around your house somewhere safe to avoid house lockouts. This spare key would be secondary to the duplicates you’d be handing out to a friend. We don’t suggest you keep the spare key in obvious hidden spots like under the doormat. Rather, improvise, and see if any other hidden places around your house could hold a key.
Perhaps a container in the garage could do the trick. You could also buy a safe to hide the key online. Most of these safes use combination locks, so you won’t have to keep a set of keys close to you. Anytime you go out, stash the key inside the safe, put on the lock, and rest easy.
Ensure you cover the combination lock with your hand while entering the code every time, so nobody behind you can see the numbers.
Give a key to a close friend or neighbor.
The first thing to do is make duplicates of your key and give one to a friend, family member, or anyone you trust. If you ever get locked out of the house again, you could always call them and get the spare. Or you could also hand a duplicate to a neighbor while leaving the house.
Consider going keyless
Thankfully, technology has advanced enough to give us the choice of going keyless. Consider installing an electronic lock system if you have the cash to spare. The method of unlocking the electronic lock could differ from system to system. Some could even be unlocked using a smartphone. Alternatively, simpler locks require a four- or six-digit custom code to open up. In any case, going keyless is certainly an idea to sleep on.
Making a Note of The Lock Combination or Code
Making a note of the lock combination or code is an effective way to prevent getting locked out of your house. This can be done by writing it down in a notebook or on a piece of paper and then storing it in a safe place where it can be easily accessed in case of a lockout.
There are also digital alternatives available to store the combination or code. Examples include creating a note on your phone, storing it in a password manager, or taking a picture of it and storing it in a cloud service.
It’s important to note that when storing the combination or code digitally, you should use a strong password to protect it and store it in a location that is easily accessible to you but not accessible to others.
Regularly Checking and Maintaining Locks.
Regularly checking and maintaining locks can help prevent getting locked out of your house. Here are a few ways to do this:
Locks can become stiff or hard to turn over time due to dust and debris build-up. Applying a small amount of lubricant, such as graphite powder or silicone spray, can help keep the lock moving smoothly.
Loose screws can cause a lock to malfunction. Check the screws on your locks and tighten them if necessary.
Checking for damage:
Look for signs of wear and tear, such as rust or damage to the lock mechanism. If a lock is damaged, it should be replaced to ensure it continues functioning properly.
If you have a keyless entry system, regularly check the batteries and replace them when necessary.
Consider having a professional locksmith inspect your locks regularly. They can identify potential issues and make necessary repairs or replacements to ensure your locks function properly.
By regularly checking and maintaining your locks, you can help ensure that they continue functioning properly and reduce the risk of getting locked out of your house.
The bottom line: Be prepared in case you are locked out of your home
Getting locked out of your own house is never fun. However, the possibility of that happening is ever-present. To that end, it is best always to be prepared with a backup plan, should it come to that.
(1) type of doorknob – https://www.lowes.com/n/buying-guide/door-hardware-101
(2) credit card – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/creditcard.asp
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