You’ve locked yourself out of your house. Now what?
A lockout can pose a serious problem, especially if you have pets and kids inside who need your help or dinner in the oven.
Thankfully, we’ve got a few options to get you back inside.
Call your partner, roommate, or anyone you live with to see if they can come home and let you in. It may be inconvenient for them, but you’ll spend less time stranded outside your house.
If you rent your place, try reaching out to your landlord. They will usually have a copy of your house key and may be close enough to unlock the door.
If you live in an apartment complex, stop by the manager’s office and ask for access to your unit. Have proof of identity on-hand alongside evidence that you do indeed live in the complex. But beware: many apartment complexes charge lockout fees if the staff has to help you get back inside.
Locksmiths aren’t the cheapest option, but calling a professional locksmith is a surefire way to get back into your home.
Lockout services can cost anywhere from $30 to $60 depending on your situation,1 but a residential locksmith is the best option in an emergency or bad weather. Whether you’re locked out of your house because you lost your keys or the key you have won’t turn, locksmiths are often on call 24/7 to help with home or vehicle lock-outs.
Unlocked windows and doors are invitations to invaders, but they can also get you out of a tough situation when you’re locked out. If you’re stuck, it doesn’t hurt to check all the entrances to your home.
When entering through a window, remove the screen, lift the window, and shimmy through. Be careful, as you’re likely to be off-balance when you land—and look out for items below like furniture, end tables, and TVs.
Movies make lockpicking look easy, but it’s much trickier in real life. Bobby pins and paper clips can serve as DIY locksmithing tools.
It’ll work best if you have two bobby pins or two paper clips, but if you have only one, you can break it in half to create two tools.
For a standard spring bolt, you’ll need a hard plastic card.
If you successfully unlock your door, call a locksmith. You have proven how easy your home is to break into and should consider upgrading your locks.
As long as the deadbolt on your door isn’t locked, you should be able to gain entry by removing the doorknob.
Most doorknobs have concealed connections or mounting screws, but if you look closely you’ll see a pin-sized hole or slot below or to the side of the doorknob.
Once the frustrating experience is over and you’re safe inside, take steps to prepare for the next time you inevitably find yourself on the wrong side of a locked door.
Many home security providers also offer electronic door locks that unlock remotely with a smartphone app or custom code. Many of these keyless locks pair with home security systems that also connect to monitoring stations. Professional monitoring centers can contact emergency services if the situation is serious enough.
Getting locked out of the house is never fun. But these things happen. Just remember that you have options. Stay calm, assess the situation, follow the above tips, and you’ll be back inside in no time.
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Prevent the problem by giving a spare key to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor. Someone with flexible availability is ideal for quickly fixing the problem in the future.
Hide-a-Keys and outdoor key holders come in many shapes and forms. They’re often disguised as rocks or yard decorations. These products are great for hiding a spare key to a house, safe, or drawers. Make sure they blend into their surroundings—but not too much. You’ll still need to find your Hide-a-Key in a pinch.
1. Fixr, “Locksmith Service Cost,” May 2020. Accessed October 13, 2021.
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