Is it time to call a locksmith yet?
From the moment we wake to the moment we tuck ourselves into bed at night, we depend on our locks.
By now, flipping a deadbolt switch, or turning a key behind us has become so routine, we don’t think about them at all. We just expect our doors to lock without a hitch.
But like any other piece of hardware, locks are susceptible to damage. To avoid compromising your home’s security, check your locks now and then.
This is especially true if any of the eight warning signs and circumstances below apply to your lock or your home and household.
- 1 1. Your locks no longer function as they should.
- 2 2. You’ve just moved into a new home.
- 3 3. You’ve let go or changed professional household help.
- 4 4. A roommate or partner has moved out for good.
- 5 5. You’ve lost your keys.
- 6 6. You’ll need a locksmith if you’ve just experienced a break-in.
- 7 7. Your lifestyle has changed.
- 8 8. Previous tenants have moved out of your rental property.
- 9 It’s always best to have a locksmith on standby.
1. Your locks no longer function as they should.
Even the best locks on the market are bound to break at one point or another. Their structure and mechanisms falter. Their material erodes. Any locksmith will tell you that.
Indeed, most professional locksmiths agree the average lock’s lifespan is about seven years. Fortunately, locks aren’t likely to suddenly stop working due to deterioration. Rather, they’ll slowly age.
If you need to forcefully jiggle the handle to get a lock to open, or if the locks in your home are no longer working as they should, it’s best to replace them at once. Why wait for them to jam or break and cause an emergency?
2. You’ve just moved into a new home.
Moving into a new home is an exciting time. While you might be thinking a mile a minute about new décor and renovations, those shouldn’t be your priority.
Before planning anything else, hire a locksmith to replace all the locks in your new home. This is important even if the locks are in tip-top shape.
The simple fact is you don’t know who may have keys to the locks. The old owners may still have keys. In turn, they may have given duplicates to children, friends, or neighbors.
3. You’ve let go or changed professional household help.
Many homeowners give away spare keys to housekeepers, gardeners, babysitters, nannies, and dog sitters. This allows for greater convenience when you’re not home to let them in.
But these professional relationships don’t always last. The people you hire may move on to other jobs, or there may come a time when you don’t require their help anymore.
Sure, you can retrieve your spare key once you part ways, but you never know whether or not they had the keys duplicated. That’s why it’s wiser to have a locksmith replace your locks as a precaution.
This is especially so if you and your help parted ways on bad terms, or suspected him or her of stealing from your home.
4. A roommate or partner has moved out for good.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to replace your door locks if a previous roommate or intimate partner has moved out for good.
While you may have retrieved their keys, you cannot be sure if they had those keys duplicated or given away spares to other people.
Again, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, in such cases, we advise you to call a locksmith and have your locks changed.
5. You’ve lost your keys.
These things happen to the best of us. You have looked all over for your keys and cannot find them. Sometimes, keys just go missing – be the car keys, house keys, or keys to a locker.
You shouldn’t count on wishful thinking and decide that they’ll turn up, eventually. That’s true even if you have a spare key.
Missing keys could be a security risk, particularly if they were on a keychain that had personal information on it. Some keychains indicate your address, name, or phone number.
The best thing to do under these circumstances is to call a locksmith immediately.
6. You’ll need a locksmith if you’ve just experienced a break-in.
If you have experienced a break-in, one of the security measures you should take is to replace your locks. You’ll need a new – and stronger – lock to protect you and your property should the intruder, or an accomplice chooses to return.
If the intruder finds that you have not replaced your locks, he or she can simply bypass them using the same method. The intruder might also use a key stolen during the previous break-in.
Locks damaged from break-ins are also more vulnerable to other intruders. After a break-in, you may want to consider upgrading your overall home security with cameras, alarms, and high-quality locks. Consult your locksmith for some expert recommendations.
7. Your lifestyle has changed.
Your home should adapt to your lifestyle. For example, you may want to use rooms differently as you transition from being a childless couple to having a newborn.
The same applies when you transition from raising a toddler, then a teen, and finally returning to being empty nesters.
Each of those life stages in life requires different door hardware. You may have wanted to be able to lock the door to your home office at one point. But would you want to lock a child’s room? Perhaps not.
When choosing door locks for toddlers, some families find it’s best to switch to a passage function. This way your child won’t be able to lock himself or herself in a room by accident, or maybe even during a fit of the Terrible Twos.
Sometimes, getting married calls for new hardware, as well. New members of the household will need keys when you blend families, after all.
This could be a good time to switch to electronic locks, especially if you’re concerned about kids losing a spare key. With their access codes, children can come and go securely, while still feeling welcome in their new home.
8. Previous tenants have moved out of your rental property.
If you own an investment property, it is your duty of care to provide a safe and secure environment for your tenants. Whenever a change in occupancy occurs, you should consider who has access to the property.
Due to the short-term nature of rental properties, landlords should re-key or change the locks once every few years, or at the end of a long-term lease.
Real estate agents, tradespeople, and cleaners may also have access to your keys, so it pays to know who has access to your property other than its renting occupants.
It’s always best to have a locksmith on standby.
There are few things more frustrating than getting locked out of a property or vehicle. But the last thing you should try is to break a lock open without professional help.
You can cause damage to the lock and it’s unlikely that you’ll disengage the lock, anyway.
Of course, locksmiths do a lot more than just open locked doors. In fact, they are a vital part of every community. In many ways, they are in charge of security. They also help you ensure that your home fits your lifestyle.