One of the most heart-sinking feelings in the world is walking up to your home after a long day and realizing you don’t have the key to get in. “Fantastic,” you think, “I’m locked out of my home.” Now what?
For some people, the solution, while tedious, may be as simple as driving back to work and figuring out where they left their keys. However, whatever the solution isn’t so simple? What if you locked your house keys inside your car, barring you both from the house and the car?
If you are currently locked out of your home or want to know what to do if you are, keep reading for an in-depth guide with nine of our top tips.
What Should I Do If I’m Locked out of My Home?
Figuring out what to do if you ‘re locked out of your house largely depends on your circumstances. However, it can also come down to personality, urgency, and determination.
But before you start getting ready to kick down the door, take a moment to check out some of your other solutions, including some tips on how to prevent a lockout.
1. Look for the Hide-a-Key
People who’ve been inconveniently locked out of their homes often buy a hide-a-key or lockbox the very next time they go to the store. A hide-a-key is typically a fake rock near the door with a hidden key compartment. While not the most secure hiding place, most people looking to intrude in your home wouldn’t look twice at the rocks on the ground.
However, there are also lockboxes for keys that can be secured anywhere on the outside of the house. Most homeowners choose to put them on the back door. The boxes work like a combination lock, only opening once you punch in the right code.
If you don’t have a spare key hidden anywhere on your property, it’s time to go to plan B.
2. Check Other Doors
When most people come home and check their pockets for a key that isn’t there, their first thought isn’t “I’m locked out of my home.” Instead, they’ll go into a sort of denial, even if they know they don’t have the key. They’ll check their pockets a few more times, tear apart their car, look for a hide-a-key they know doesn’t exist, and so on.
While some of these tactics might be a waste of time, you should take time to check any other doors. Odds are, they’re probably locked too. However, it doesn’t hurt to check.
Additionally, you may be able to use a credit card on a door that isn’t deadbolted. Many homeowners often deadbolt one door but not the other. If you can slide your credit card through the crack of the door, you may be able to push down the latch bolt.
Pro tip: This will cause damage to the credit card, make sure it’s not your primary card. Never try this on a deadbolt, even metal credit cards will be useless.
Don’t get frustrated if your tactics don’t work. It just means your home is secure and your doors are doing what they’re supposed to – keeping out people that don’t have keys.
3. Check Windows
Once you’ve exhausted your efforts on getting through any doors to the home, it’s time to check the windows. However, this option is contingent on several factors, including:
- Window locks
- Your physical ability
Obviously, if your windows are locked, you won’t be gaining access through any of them unless you smash through one. This is not recommended as it will end up costing you much more than hiring an emergency locksmith.
Having exterior screens on the window may also deter you from gaining access. However, you can pop a screen out easily enough if you have a flat-head screwdriver or pocket knife. You may even be able to use your car keys.
Unfortunately, if your windows are too high off the ground floor for you to reach them, you may not even have the option of checking for unlocked windows. Even if you have a ladder, you should prioritize your safety over getting back into your home.
Finally, your physical condition may not allow you to crawl in through a window. Whether you lack the strength to pull yourself up or the agility to squeeze through a window without hurting yourself, it may not be a good idea.
4. Call Whoever Has Your Spare
Okay. You have no hidden keys and the doors and windows aren’t budging. You can now admit “I’m locked out of my home.”
Perhaps you’re not completely out of luck, however. Most people have family members, friends, or co-workers with whom they entrust a spare key. You may even have a roommate with their own key.
Depending on the time and the key holder’s work schedule, you may be able to gain relatively quick and painless entry into your home. Even if you have to call them at work, it may be better than breaking down the door or sitting outside until they get home.
If they can’t leave work, you may have to get in your car and go get the key yourself. If you locked yourself out of your car as well, you could call an Uber driver or taxi to get you to the key holder’s place of work.
5. Call a Locksmith
If you’re having terrible luck getting your hands on a spare key, there are still more options. There are 24-hour locksmithing services that specialize in helping people get back into their homes, cars, businesses, etc.
These are particularly useful for homeowners that don’t have any other options. Whether your spare keyholder isn’t answering your phone calls, it’s too late in the night and you don’t want to wake them, or there never was a spare key, you need a locksmith. But don’t worry, you’ll be in good hands.
For example, we have a 24-hour fast and friendly lockout service. We’re insured, bonded, and licensed which means you’re fully covered in the event that any damages are done. Finally, we give all of our customers upfront pricing during service calls with no hidden fees so you’ll know the exact costs beforehand.
While there will certainly be a cost of getting back into your home, it’ll be much less than repairing damages if you choose to use a more violent tactic, such as kicking down the door or breaking a window.
6. Call Your Landlord
If you live in a rental property, your landlord may be able to help you get back into your home. The circumstances will heavily dictate this option in terms of availability, fees, and more.
For example, if you rent a home from a private landlord, he or she may not be available for this type of thing. You can try to call them, but you may be better off calling a locksmith instead.
Alternatively, if you live in an apartment complex or home under a large rental company, they probably have lockout services. Be warned, however, that these services often come with a cost, unless specifically stated otherwise.
Additionally, management offices that handle things like repairs and lockouts may not be available 24 hours a day. If you work late or have a social life that carries long into the night, your rental management may not even be open when you get locked out. You can leave them a message saying “I’m locked out of my home,” but it won’t do you any good.
7. Use a Power Drill
While it’s not the best option, desperate times can call for desperate measures. If you have access to a power drill from an unlocked shed/garage or helpful neighbor, you can bore through your door lock, destroying the internal tumblers.
However, be warned that this solution absolutely requires replacing the door hardware after the fact. It should only be used in emergencies. Additionally, this method isn’t guaranteed to work, especially on deadbolts.
If you have access to a neighbor’s drill, you probably have access to their phone as well. Do yourself a favor and just call a locksmith.
8. Consider Breaking In
In the very worst of scenarios, you may have to consider using force to break into your home. We rarely recommend this tactic because of the costs, time, and repairs involved. Though, there are situations where time is of the essence and breaking in is necessary.
Typically, there’s not going to be a situation where time is so pressing that you can’t wait for a locksmith to arrive. However, if you don’t have access to a phone or there’s a fire or some other potential threat, you may be forced to make that decision.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), you may be surprised to learn how difficult it is to break into your own home. Don’t try to kick in the door, it doesn’t explode open as it does on TV and there’s a good chance you can hurt yourself trying. If you must kick in the door, there’s a right way to do it and it doesn’t involve using your shoulder or performing a flying kick.
However, you can also attempt to break in through a window. Exercise as much caution as possible if you smash a window to gain entry. You don’t need a large hospital bill for multiple lacerations on the top of the window repair costs.
We recommend using a window you can easily fit through. Use whatever tool you used to smash the glass to clear all of it from the frame so you don’t cut yourself going through. Additionally, try to use a coat, tarp, or blanket to cover the window as you crawl through for added protection against the broken glass.
Be prepared to explain yourself to the police in case any neighbors call in your suspicious activity. Simply tell them “I was locked out of my home and needed to get back in.” You’ll probably be required to show them your ID and prove that you live there.
9. Get Your Locks Rekeyed
In some scenarios, when you call emergency locksmith services, you may need them to rekey your locks. For example, if you simply can’t find your house key and don’t have any spares, it may be necessary to have your locks rekeyed.
This may also be required if you’re locked out of your home because the locks are starting to wear out (which is common in older doors). While you may think to change the locks instead, it may not be possible due to the age and type of door. Some older doors and locks aren’t compatible with anything on the market today.
Rekeying can also be helpful in other situations, such as moving into a new rental or previously owned home to ensure the prior tenants don’t still have access. Though, you must check with the rental agency before you go about rekeying locks, as there may be fines or penalties involved.
How to Prevent Getting Locked Out
With all the ways we’ve explained getting into your home if you’re locked out, we should also help you prevent it from happening in the future. There are some simple steps you can take to avoid getting locked out of your home, regardless of the scenario.
Here are our top suggestions:
- Make spare keys and distribute them to people whom you can trust and are also easily accessible (a retired parent, a neighbor)
- Invest in a combination lockbox or hide-a-key (or simply hide your spare somewhere on the property that can’t be easily found by others
- Install a keyless entry lock (smart locks that connect to smartphones, keypads, and biometric locks that use fingerprints).
- Establish a routine to check your person for necessary items (keys, wallet, phone) before leaving the house, work, etc.
Do You Need Locksmith Services?
If you find yourself saying “Oh, no, I’m locked out of my home,” we can help. As suggested above, we offer 24-hour emergency locksmith services, including lockout assistance. Take a look at our prices or save by requesting services online.
Remember, we’re here for you – any time, any day.