We’ve all been there before. You’re in a hurry, rushing out, you slam the door behind you and as soon as your hear it shuts you realize – you forgot to take the keys. One second of a lack of attention is now turning into a huge waste of time and money. As a locksmith, unlocking houses for customers who got locked out, is one of the most common things I need to do and it’s never a pleasant situation. So today I want to share with you a few tips about how to avoid getting locked out of your house ever again.
1. Change your doorknob to a keyless doorknob
This is in my opinion the most important tip, and people often don’t think about it. The only way to get locked out of your house (unless you lost your key outside), is by locking the doorknob from the inside and leaving your house without a key. Sometimes we don’t even notice it’s locked when we leave to do something outside for a minute and when we come back we find that we’re locked out. When changing our front door doorknob to a keyless doorknob, the only way we can lock the house is by using a key to lock the deadbolt from the outside, therefore you can never forget it. As for the security aspect, although having 2 locks on the door is better than one, the doorknob hardly adds to the security of our home, compared with the deadbolt, which is the more secure component of the two. If you’re worried about downgrading the security of your home, just add another deadbolt to the door. This way, with 2 deadbolts and a keyless doorknob – you are protected both from burglars and from getting locked out. Needless to say, if you only have a doorknob on your door (and no deadbolts), this solution will not work.
2. Instead of hiding a key, hide a lock box
Many people hide a key outside their home to avoid getting locked out. If they ever do get locked out, the key is readily available somewhere outside. This is a good solution, sort of. It may come to you as a surprise, but most burglaries involve no forced entry. So how does burglars usually break in? That’s right – they find that hidden key. Burglars are well aware of all the Hide-a-key solutions out there, they also know the most common places people use to hide their keys in, after all, they do that for a living. Instead of hiding a key – hide a lockbox and keep a key inside. Make sure anyone living in the house knows the combination, this way there’s always a key outside in case you need it, and it’s well protected from intruders. Some people have the lockbox in plain sight, which also works, but needless to say, a hidden lockbox is more secure than a visible one.
3. Give a key to a neighbour or a nearby family member
Have a neighbour you trust? Living close to your parents? Perfect! Use them! A trustworthy neighbour can serve as your living lockbox. Giving a key to your neighbour is a good way to ensure you have another way into your house in case you forgot or lost your key. But remember – doing so is only a good idea when you know the person well and truly trust them. A neighbour with a key is not only good in cases you get locked out, but also if you need their help with something in the house when you’re far away, like a flood or a gas leak. Just make sure to only get locked out when your neighbours are home.
4. Keep a spare house key in the car
This will only work if you keep your house and car keys separated. Separating your house and car keys can be a good strategy to avoid getting locked out of either. Keep a spare house key in the car and a spare car key in the house. As long as you’ll have one of the two, you can never be locked out of the other. When you separate your one key chain into two different keys, there’s a smaller chance you’ll forget to take both and as long you have one, you have access to the other. However, there’s a big downside for that method, requiring you to be extra careful if you choose to use it. If someone were to break into your car he will get a potential access to your house as well. Make sure the key is incredibly well hidden inside of the car in a place an intruder won’t be able to find.
5. Change your locks to smart locks
For those of you who are willing to spend a bit more, there’s another solution that might be the ideal one. A smart lock is a lock that can be unlocked by other means without needing to use a key. Smart locks can come in many different forms. Some of the common ones are keypad combination locks, fingerprint locks and even eye-scanning locks. Do some research as to which lock best suit your needs and make sure it is high-quality and secure. Having a smart lock on your door will completely eliminate the need of a key while keeping your house safe from intruders. Although they might come with a higher price tag, keep in mind that many times a one time lock-out fee by a locksmith will cost more than some of the best locks in the market, so buying a smart lock may save you money in the long run. One important thing to remember if you decide to upgrade to a smart lock – be aware of the battery charge in your lock. If the lock runs out of battery, your only option to get in will be to use the manual lock mechanism with a key, which you probably don’t have with you if you didn’t know the lock ran out of battery. Get a lock that beeps or blinks when battery is low and remember to change it as soon as it starts running low.