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Locked out of your house? 15 Surprisingly Helpful Tips To Get You Out of This Jam

By Maria Paiz September 12, 2021

Locked out of your house? 15 surprising tips to get you out. Cover

Introduction

Sometimes, we make our homes so safe and secure our prized possessions so well in safes, gun safes, vault rooms, and behind security doors that we can unintentionally be the victim of our own precautions. 

Getting locked out of the house because you've forgotten your keys or the code to get in can be aggravating. Time is of the essence, but you also want to exhaust all alternatives before paying for a locksmith to get you in. You have questions: is it legal for a locksmith to open my door? Do I call the police? How much does a locksmith cost? 

It's important to contact your local locksmith as soon as possible if you are locked out of your home. They should provide an estimate and let you know if they can open your door without breaking anything. 

A locked door can be inconvenient, especially if you've left the keys inside.  If you're locked out of your home, there are a few steps to follow to get back in and avoid paying for a locksmith. First, check that all doors and windows are closed, then ensure everything is turned off. This will ensure you don't set off any of the security features in your home.  Next, write down the serial number on your appliance or electronic equipment you want to protect, as these items can be destroyed if they are powered on during a locksmith entry. If you have an alarm system, make sure it’s not activated before calling the locksmith.

Steps to take if you are locked out of your house

Steps to take if you are locked out of your house.

1. Check the mailbox for a lockbox key 

Check if there's a spare key hidden in an obvious location, like under some potted plants or by the front door.  Maybe a neighbor has an extra key they can let you borrow, or call to see if they have any ideas on how to get the door open without breaking it.

2. Call a Friend, Family Member, or Your Landlord

If you forgot your keys but have a spare hidden somewhere in the house or outside, it may be worth checking every nook and cranny for the key. While you're at it, give that friend who lives nearby a call. You never know; they may have a spare!

3. Call a locksmith

If there is no repair service listed in your phone book, go online and search for local locksmiths near you. You can find a company willing to come out and try locksmithing techniques without doing any damage like lock picking, a special drill, or creating a new key.

 

4. Try your other keys

If you have an old set of keys, use them for the doorknob but only for the deadbolt if it is an older lock system and can only be opened with one key.

 

5. Try the windows

If you have to break a window, make sure it can be sealed with plastic and tape. If the weather isn't great outside, wait until tomorrow when the locksmith can come out during regular business hours and replace all the glass on your door or window.

 

6. If you have an emergency, call 911

If you are locked out of your house and have to deal with a life-threatening emergency, call 911 for help. Do not try and break into your own home or car unless there is something inside worth going to jail over or it's a matter of saving a life. In such situations, breaking the law is unlikely to have serious repercussions.

 

7. Take Apart the Door Knob

If you know what type of lock is on your door or window and can find replacement kits online, you may save time by ordering the parts yourself and waiting for them to arrive before calling a locksmith to open your door. Ask the locksmith how much they would charge for installing a new kit versus having them drill the lock and make you a key without damaging your home permanently.

 

8. Contact an Emergency Locksmith

If you are locked out of your house because you've lost or forgotten the code, there's no need to panic, and it's not uncommon for a locksmith to show up at your door and try to get in without calling the police. Just like if you had locked yourself out and couldn't get in without a key, it wouldn't be more than the price of two standard locksets to get back inside.

 

9. Improvise tools

Bobby pins and paper clips can serve as DIY locksmithing tools, but if you really need to get into something locked and don't have anything on hand, you can make a lock pick out of almost anything rigid and metal. With the proper technique and enough practice, it's possible (and fun!) to bypass most basic locks with everyday objects like paper clips or safety pins — although more complex locks will require more work.

 

10. Get Your Locks Changed

Suppose it's a matter of getting back into your car. In that case, most locksmiths can replace a broken ignition key with one that fits right away, but if there is anything wrong with your vehicle besides the keys being locked inside, make sure you have an additional estimate for that part of the job.


11. Take off the doorknob

As long as the deadbolt on your door isn’t locked, you should be able to gain entry by removing the doorknob and deadbolt and prying the lock cylinder assembly from the door with a large screwdriver. Remove all visible screws from the face or back of the cylinder, then insert a strip of stiff wire into the keyway to release any internal locking mechanisms. 

12. Use a Credit Card

If your door has a spring bolt lock, a credit card can sometimes be used to open it. Slide the card between the door and the frame where the latch is located and wiggle it to push the latch back into the door. This method won’t work on deadbolts, only on slanted-latch-style locks.

13. Check for Unlocked Windows

While it's a security risk to leave windows unlocked, an unlocked window can be a blessing in a lockout scenario. Carefully check all your windows. If you find an unlocked one, you can gently open it and climb through it to access your home.

14. Call for a Non-Emergency Police Check

In some situations, your local police department may offer non-emergency help. They might not unlock your door, but they can provide a safety check if you're locked out at an odd hour or in an unsafe area.

15. Look for a Hidden Key

While it's not recommended to leave keys hidden outdoors due to security risks, it might save you in a lockout if you or a previous occupant did so. Check common hiding places like under doormats, plant pots, or rocks.

Locked Out Of Apartment?

If you are locked out of your house or apartment, and you have a landlord, call him or her first.

If you live in a rented apartment, you might be in luck. Just take these few steps first:

  • Call the onsite facility or building manager, janitor, or superintendent. They often have a master key or duplicate key, and they can get you in. If you don’t have their contact information, call a neighbor in your apartment complex and get the phone numbers you need.

  • Call the landlord. Like the building manager, the landlord will have a spare key and can advise you on what to do. You need the landlord’s permission before breaking into the apartment or calling a locksmith.

 

6 Tips on Hiring a Pro Locksmith Company

Locked out of your house? call a locksmith first.

1. Call A Locksmith First

If you're hesitant about breaking into your house and know where the spare keys might be, your first call should be to a professional locksmith. Inform them you prefer methods that won't damage your lock or door. Specifying that you want a solution that avoids altering your keys or lock setup is crucial. If the locksmith suggests replacing more than just the keys, consider changing your locks to prevent future lockouts.

2. Option to Replace Lock

If a locksmith struggles to open your door and suggests replacing the lock, don't rush the decision. Ask for a cost estimate and timeline for the replacement. It's important to agree on a timeframe that suits you. Feel free to seek a second opinion from another locksmith if you're unsatisfied.

3. Break a Window Cautiously

Breaking a window should be a last resort. If it's necessary and the locksmith is prepared to do it, ensure the cost of repairing the window is comparable to or less than lock replacement. Also, confirm that the locksmith will take responsibility for securing the broken window until it can be repaired.

4. Make a Deal for Locked-In Car Keys

If you're locked out of your car with the keys inside, negotiate with the locksmith for a reasonable solution. Ask if they're willing to offer a discount or waive some fees, especially if it's a challenging situation like a lockout in a less accessible location.

5. Call Around for the Best Deal

If you're worried about the cost, don't hesitate to call multiple locksmiths. Compare their rates, especially focusing on those who don't have a minimum call-out fee. This approach can help you find a more cost-effective solution.

6. What to Do if Your Locksmith Can't Get In

If a locksmith can't open your door, discuss alternative solutions with them. If there's a way to avoid damaging the door or window, it's usually more cost-effective. However, if entry is urgent, you may need to consider more drastic measures. Always ensure that any additional steps the locksmith takes are included in the initial quote to avoid surprise charges later.

What to Do if Your Locksmith Can't Get in Your House

Discussing Alternative Solutions

When a locksmith can't open your door or window, discussing the next steps is important. If there's a non-damaging way to gain entry, this is usually the more cost-effective route. However, in urgent situations, more invasive methods might be necessary. Discuss the options with your locksmith to find the best solution.

Understanding Locksmith Charges

Ensure that your locksmith is upfront about their charges. If they suggest using specialized tools or breaking something to gain entry, confirm that these costs are included in the initial quote. Avoid any unexpected add-on fees or emergency rates by clarifying the costs beforehand.

Negotiating Additional Charges

If the locksmith needs to take extra steps that weren't part of the original plan, and these don't involve damaging your property, the cost should still be less than a full lock replacement. If you face additional charges unrelated to the actual entry into your home, don't hesitate to negotiate for a more reasonable price.

Costs for Lost or Forgotten Keys

If you're locked out due to lost or forgotten keys and require new locks, the expense should not exceed the cost of two standard locksets (handleset+latch and deadbolt). Always ask the locksmith to provide an estimate that is clear of any hidden charges, particularly if the service extends beyond just changing the locks.

FAQ Guide | What Readers Want To Know

How do you get back in your house if you're locked out?

If you need help getting into your house, call a locksmith. They have the tools and training to open your door again. They have the skills and tools to break in without causing damage.

How can I unlock my house without a key?

If you ever find yourself locked out of your house in the future, rest assured knowing there are a few ways you can get back in:


1. Check the mailbox for a lockbox key 

2. Call a Friend, Family Member, or Your Landlord

3. Call a locksmith

4. Try your other keys

5. Try the windows

6. If you have an emergency, call 911

7. Take Apart the Door Knob

8. Contact an Emergency Locksmith

9. Improvise tools

10. Get Your Locks Changed

11. Take off the doorknob 

12. Use a Credit Card

13. Check for Unlocked Windows

14. Call for a Non-Emergency Police Check

15. Look for a Hidden Key

 

Can the police help you if you're locked out?

Police agencies vary when it comes to policy and procedures, but in general, responding to such calls is not usually part of an officer's duties. Call a locksmith if you lose your keys and can't get into your house. Emergency services such as the Police or Fire Brigade might be unable to help.

Conclusion

So, what do you do when you're locked out of your house? This article was crafted with you in mind – the homeowner who values security but needs practical solutions in a pinch.

Whether you're a seasoned gun owner or just someone who takes home security seriously, being locked out is a scenario that can catch anyone off guard. But now, you're equipped with 15 resourceful tips to tackle such situations.

Remember, it's not just about breaking back into your home; it's about finding smart, safe ways to regain access. These tips ensure that the next time you find yourself on the wrong side of a locked door, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to handle it like a pro.


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