Locked Out of Your House? Here’s What to Do
Almost everyone has felt the feeling in the pit of their stomach when they realized they were locked outside their house. It always takes a few seconds to admit to yourself what happened as you pat your pockets, retraces your steps, and think, though improbable, that maybe you’ve just forgotten how doorknobs work.
There’s no general rule of thumb for what to do in this situation. If you’ve thought out a backup plan, now’s the time to employ it. However, for those lacking a strategy, there are several strategies, from the practical to the impractical, that could have you back inside your home without resorting to breaking a window.
Check for Unlocked Entry Points
Just because your front door is locked, it doesn’t mean you lack an unlocked entry into your home. Walk the perimeter of your home and try ground floor windows, basement windows, and back or side doors. If your pet is big enough and your svelte enough, you can even try to get inside through a doggy door. However, make sure not to get stuck as then you’ll have a whole new set of problems to face.
If you have kids or a spouse whose diligence is lacking, there’s a solid chance you’ll be back inside without having to resort to any other methods. Those with sliding screen doors may have luck trying to lift the door as a way to unlatch the entrance, too.
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it just to make sure to nip the thought in the bud, but you should avoid trying to climb onto your second story or gaining access through windows above ground level. Trying to reach those heights can be dangerous and may also draw concern from neighbors or passersby.
Contact Friends or Neighbors With Spare Key
Spare keys are invented for a reason. If you’re locked out of the house, now is the time to think of every single person who may have a copy of your house key:
- A neighbor
- A friend
- A coworker
- Another member of your family
- Your landlord or property manager
- Your family’s babysitter
- Your dog walker
- Your home cleaning service
Give them a call immediately and let them know about the emergency. Even if they can’t break away from what they’re doing right away, you can save yourself a lot of stress simply by knowing the situation will soon be resolved.
Use Your Hidden Key
Whether it’s in a fake rock, under your welcome mat, or magnetically secured somewhere near your home, your hidden key is another quick and easy way to get back inside. Likely, you haven’t had a great need to use your hidden key, so it’s okay if you need to devote some brainpower to remember where it’s stored.
While some families keep their hidden key close to their front door, others will place it near their side or back door. Make sure to check all the usual hiding spots to ensure you’ve done your due diligence. If you have your phone, you can also call or text a family member to see if they remember where the family decided to place it.
Renting out portions of a home or an additional dwelling unit has grown in popularity in recent years. If you’ve jumped on this trend, you likely have a secured box to store your key for renters. While this may not get you into the main part of your home, you’ll at least have a safe place to regroup and strategize.
Reach Out to a Locksmith
The last practical way to gain entrance to your home is to call a locksmith. They have special tools and equipment that can unlock the door without causing damage. Many locksmith services also promise timely visits, so you shouldn’t be forced to wait for hours in the cold until your home has reached the top of their service list.
There is, however, a real downside to using a locksmith. Due to their specialized skill set and demand during emergencies, locksmiths can charge a pretty penny. If it’s the evening or the weekend, you may find yourself paying an even higher price for the ability to get back into your home. Still, that price may be worth it if you have a real need to quickly get back inside, such as if the oven is on or an unwatched infant.
Take Off the Door Knob
With a basic toolbox, either your own or your neighbor’s, you may be able to take the doorknob off your front door. This does, of course, require some know-how, and if you still have access to your smartphone, you might want to pull up a YouTube video that walks you through the process.
Generally, though, you’ll first need to find the door knob’s shank. With a small screwdriver or even a paperclip, you’ll then remove the screws by pushing the tip of either tool into the hole in the shank. You should be able to pull on the knob and slide it off the doorknob mechanism. Then you’ll take off the decorative plate. This should allow you to see the screws that hold onto the locking mechanism. Remove those screws, and you should be able to open the door and get inside.
Try to Pick the Lock
If you’re wondering how to open a locked front door, your best option will be to pick the lock. This again will require some tools, though perhaps not the ones you’d expect. A credit card or a butter knife can do the job for you. The goal with either is to slide it between the door and the jamb. Then you’ll try to wedge your tool between the jamb and the lock in hopes of pushing or popping the lock free.
It should be noted that this method has several drawbacks. First, you may end up damaging your door. Second, there’s a genuine chance that someone thinks you’re a burglar trying to gain entry.
Use a Smart Home Security System Instead
Once you’re back inside, it’s time to think about how you can prevent this from ever happening again. While a hidden key or unlocked back door bailed you out this time, both options leave your home unsecured. If you can easily spot your hidden key, so can a burglar.
Even a spare key may not be helpful if you are without a means of contacting the person who has it or if they don’t pick up the phone themselves. So, what should you do to help yourself in the future?
The best way to prevent yourself from being locked out is by installing a smart home security system. It can give you key-free access to your home, whether it’s through an app on your smartphone or a specific access code.
Access codes can be generated to be unique to specific individuals, too. This makes it easy to know if your dog walker arrives on time and whether your children are coming home before curfew.
Contact Floyd Total Security Today
Floyd Total Security is here for your home and business security needs. We can conduct an assessment of your property to spot any weak points and help you choose a system and its components that work best for your needs. Our professional installation team can then make sure everything’s in place or provide some key pointers if you prefer the DIY route.
Contact us today at 952-881-5625 to get started.
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