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Security Basics

What To Do When You're Locked Out of Your House

Posted January 19, 2023 by Cove

Real Estate Lock Box Key and Small House

Most people understand the frustration and stress related to being locked out of their houses. Locks are mechanisms that had been utilized for centuries in order to secure doors, windows, and other boxes to prevent them from being accessed by thieving hands. But there are always cases when they act as barriers and prevent us from entering our own homes.

Being locked out of your house can cause a serious problem. There are times you need to get back into your home as quickly as possible, such as being separated from your children or pets or when you’re cooking a meal. Fortunately, we have several tips and tricks to help you should you find yourself locked out so you can get back inside and make sure you and your family are safe.

Tips To Get You Back Inside Your House

You step outside, shut the door, and instantly realize, “I locked myself out of my house.” We’ve all been there. The anxiety of getting back inside your home immediately kicks in, and now you’re wondering how to get back inside. Don’t fret too much — here’s what to do when locked out of your house.

Window Looking Out at a Lake from the inside of a dark room.

1. Look For Unlocked Windows or Doors

When locked out of your house, the first step to regaining entry is to check for any unlocked doors or windows. There is a chance that they will be unlocked, giving you another way to enter the home. If this is the case you will save both time and potential frustration. No one likes being trapped outside of their home and as mentioned above, this can cause many potentially frustrating and dangerous situations. The faster you resolve the situation, the better off you will be.

Woman locked out of house calling someone to let here in.

2. Reach Out for Help

If you checked other doors and windows and are still locked out of the house, who can you call? The best option is to try reaching a family member or someone you live with. Chances are that another person who has a key to unlock the door, can grant you access, and will be able to assist you. This may be a bit easier if you live in an apartment complex. If you reach out to your landlord or maintenance personnel, they will help you get in with their master key. This is a reliable way to get back into your home.

It is not guaranteed that anyone will be available to come to your rescue and help you unlock your door. But, if you’ve reached this point and are unable to get ahold of someone to help, there are still several options available to you.

3. Call the Landlord

If you’re a renter and are locked out of your home, you can contact your landlord or rental office for help. They can help you get back inside your home with their master key.


4. Pick the Lock

If you locked yourself out of the house, you can try picking the lock. Simple tools like a flathead screwdriver, a paperclip or piece of wire, or even a credit card, can be useful in disengaging the latch and granting you access to your home. If you can find an easy way to regain entry to your home by picking the lock, it is worth a try. Picking a lock is not as easy as it looks in the movies. If you are able to gain entry this way, it is worth considering upgrading your door security. If it’s easy for you to pick the lock or break in with a credit card, it will be just as easy for a burglar to use the same tricks to break in.

5. Use a Credit Card

A common method people use when locked out of their house is to use a credit card to get the door open. This method only works if you have a spring latch. Make sure the card you use isn’t one you rely heavily on because this method can ruin it. Choose a flexible laminated card and wedge it between the frame and the door. Press and jiggle the handle forcefully.

If this method works, you may want to consider changing your locks. If you can get in this way, you proved how easy it is for burglars to enter your home.

Old Door With Peeling Paint and old fashioned keyhole and door knob

6. Break In

If you’re locked out of the house, and you have young children alone inside or other immediate concerns, breaking in might be your best solution. A hard kick near your doorknob may be enough to get in. Breaking windows is much more dangerous, and we don’t advise climbing through broken glass unless absolutely necessary. If you need to break a window, calling emergency services is best.

7. Remove the Doorknob

Most door knobs can be taken apart with a hammer, paperclip, or screwdriver. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws holding the handle in place, then use the paperclip to remove the hinge screws.

8. Call a Locksmith

If you locked yourself out of the house and don’t want to break anything to get back inside, try contacting a locksmith. Locksmiths have both the proper training and tools to help you unlock your door without a key. However, using a locksmith can be both time-consuming and expensive. The average hourly rate for a locksmith is between $50-$100 during business hours. The locksmith cost can vary after hours and on holidays which can make it even more expensive.

Depending on your lock and the security you have on your home, it can take over 30 minutes for even a trained person to pick a lock. And you’re not just paying for the time they are working on the lock but for transportation time as well. Using a locksmith as a resource is a good last resort and is much better than breaking a window or doing something dangerous to try and enter your home.

Intense Smart Lock on door that is opened a crack

9. In Case of Emergency Solutions

In the case of an emergency, police can help if you’re locked out of the house. If you find yourself in a situation where others are in danger because you are locked out of your home, calling the police to respond may be the fastest option. Usually, if you can prove residency with an ID and car registration, they are more than happy to help you. Although a viable option, emergency services such as the Police force or Fire Brigade are exactly that, emergency services. If you can afford to wait, it is better to call a locksmith who will have better tools to get you into your home.

How To Prevent Lockouts

Being prepared is always the best way to prevent a problem. If you have experienced a lockout or are looking to have solutions ready for any possible situation, there are many different ways to be prepared. Here are a few ideas and solutions to be prepared if you find yourself locked out of your home.

Hide a Set of Spare Keys

Fake rock hide-a-key devices are well known and are commonly sold in both superstores and across the internet. This is a fairly obvious trick, and it’s unfortunately easy to spot these sorts of devices. Hiding the rock in the back of your yard or in another place that is less conspicuous than to the side of your front porch will offer you better results.

There are many other common places that people use to hide their keys, like under the doormat or in a planter. However, because these locations are so common, most people know to look in these places for a key, which makes your home vulnerable to break-ins. If you want to hide a key, take special care of where and how you hide one. Don’t put yourself at risk for the small chance that you’ll need to use your spare.

Give a Spare Key to a Neighbor

Make sure every adult who lives in the home has a key. You can also give a spare to a trusted neighbor. It’s a smart idea to ensure someone nearby has an extra key, especially if you’ve been locked out of the house multiple times. Keep in mind, though, that having too many keys may cause a need to rekey your home. Having adequate copies of your keys is a balancing act between safety and convenience.

Electronic Door Lock and a hand holding a phone with the door lock's app on the screen.

Switch to Electronic Door Locks

The safest way to prevent yourself from being locked out is by purchasing electronic door locks. Electronic door locks, often known as smart locks, are a great way to add the protection of a deadbolt without the need for a key. Having a programmable code that can be unlocked at any time will help if you lock yourself out of the house. You can get back into your home quickly, and it is much more secure than hiding a key or depending on a friend or locksmith to get you back in.

Another great thing about electronic door locks is the fact that they can not be picked in the traditional sense. The honest reality is that locks keep honest people honest and dissuade lazy criminals. Preventing intruders from finding hidden keys or picking a lock is extremely easy with an automated door lock. With current advancements in security technology, door locks are an affordable way to increase the security of your home and are easy to install.

White Door Sensor Attached to Open White Door

Window and Door Sensors

Unfortunately, even if you have taken all of these precautions, if someone really does want to get into your home, they can. In this eventuality make sure you have a monitored home security system that contacts the authorities so that they can respond quickly and make sure you and your belongings are alright. Cove Security offers just such a system. Cove boasts affordable and effective door, window, and glass break sensors that will alert you and the police if a burglar uses some of these or similar tactics to enter your home. Increase the protection of your home today by installing a Cove Security System.

Make It a Habit To Pick Up Your Keys

One of the easiest ways to prevent being locked out of your house is to place your keys with other items you always need when you leave your home, such as your phone or wallet. You could also place a note on the door to remind you to grab your keys before you leave.

Chances are if you can get back inside after being locked out of your house, burglars can also get in. That’s why it’s important to have a monitored home security system. If someone breaks in, your system can contact authorities so that they can respond quickly and make sure you and your belongings are safe. Cove Security offers a great system. Cove boasts affordable and effective door, window, and glass break sensors that will alert you and the police if a burglar uses some of these or similar tactics to enter your home. Increase the protection of your home today by installing a Cove Security System.

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