There’s a reason why there are over 17,000 locksmiths in the United States. When we get locked out, we often rely on these professionals to get back in.
However, if you find yourself locked out of the house, there are some things that you should do before calling a locksmith.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down everything you should try before you call a locksmith. That way, you cover all of your bases before turning to a locksmith for help. Let’s get started!
Make Sure to Check Every Door and Window
Before anything else, the first thing you should do is make sure that you’re actually locked out. Many people make the embarrassing mistake of calling a locksmith the second they realize their front door is locked.
Then, when the locksmith arrives, they check the back door or garage and realize it was open the entire time. So, in order to not waste your time or the locksmith’s, you should do a thorough check of the property.
Make sure to check every door to your property. In addition to this, you should also inspect any first-floor windows on your property. If you’re like most people, there’s a chance you left them unlocked.
Climbing through your window might not be especially graceful. But it’s certainly a lot better than waiting around for a locksmith to show up. You should also check any dog doors that might be on your property.
We don’t recommend squeezing through them unless you’re small enough. But you might be able to angle your hand through them to unlock the door.
Ask for Help
In some cases, there might be someone else who has a key to the property. Maybe you live with a significant other that also has a key.
Or you have roommates who all have key copies. Call these individuals and ask if you can come to pick it up. This is typically less of a hassle than getting in touch with a locksmith. If you rent an apartment or house, try calling your landlord.
Most landlords keep a copy of the key that they can share with you. You can also try asking your neighbors for help.
Sometimes you might have given them a spare key that you forgot about.
In some cases, they may have some advice on how to get back inside. At the very least, they can invite you inside while you wait for the locksmith if there’s cold weather.
Once you’ve covered the fundamental bases, it’s time to try to get into your house on your own. If you don’t feel confident doing this, or you don’t have the right tools to do it, feel free to skip this step.
But sometimes, you can get lucky with some quick improvisation. Let’s take a closer look at some things you can try.
Pick the Lock
Odds are you don’t have a locksmithing pick set at your disposal. But you can use some everyday tools to improvise. First, you can make a DIY pick set using a paper clip and a bobby pin.
You’ve likely seen people do this on TV. Keep in mind that it’s not as easy as when it’s done on the big screen. But it might still be worth a try, especially if it’s an old lock.
First, take your paper clip and bend it into an L shape. This will act as a tension rod for holding the lock steady while you pick it up. Next, bend the bobby pin, so the jagged parts form a straight line.
You’ll use this to scrape the pins. Keep your tension rod in the lock at all times and gently apply pressure to the direction in which you usually turn your key.
Then, use your bobby pin to begin racking the pins found at the top or bottom of the lock. Every time you scrape the pins, it’s like you’re mimicking the shape of a key.
This can take a lot of time, especially if you’ve never done it and you’re using subpar tools. We recommend trying it for twenty to thirty minutes.
If you don’t have any progress by then, you should try something else. If you have a lock without a keyhole, you can check out this guide to learn how to get inside.
Use a Credit Card
If you’re not dealing with a deadbolt lock, you might be able to get in using a credit card. This technique works best on old spring bolts that have a little give to them. Select a card that you don’t mind destroying.
If you have an old gift card or expired credit card, that’s perfect. First, slide the card so that it’s in the door frame and close to the latch. Then, with the card perpendicular to the lock, begin wiggling it back and forth.
Push hard against the door. While you do this, try to bend the card so that the latch slides back. If you push hard enough and the latch is loose enough, you can force your way into the home.
Get a Ladder
In some cases, you might have a second-floor balcony or window that’s open but not accessible. If that’s the case, consider getting a ladder to access this opening.
Maybe you have a ladder in the garage or shed. If you don’t, ask around your neighborhood for one. Odds are a neighbor has one that they’re willing to lend to you.
Just make sure to be careful when using the ladder to access the window or balcony. Remember that three million people are treated for fall injuries each year.
So, if you don’t have experience using a ladder, you can skip this step. At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remove the Door Knob
Unless you’re a contractor, you likely don’t drive around with a toolbox in your car. However, if you have access to a garage or your neighbors can lend you some tools, you might be able to disassemble your door knob.
All you need to do this is a screwdriver and a paper clip. Using the screwdriver, remove any of the exterior screws that hold the door knob in its place.
Once this is off, you can use the paper clip to take off to get the smaller hinge screws near the latch. If you remove enough of the components, you can usually force the door open.
If you do this method, just make sure that you replace the door knob once you gain access to the house. Otherwise, you’ll be vulnerable both to the weather and potential home invaders.
Use a Coat Hanger
Coat hangers aren’t typically effective on front and back doors when you’re locked out of the home. But, some people have had success using them to open sliding doors.
Just unwind a wire coat hanger and slide it through the PVC tracks on the screen door. Then, using some finesse, try to switch the lock open with it. You can also try opening window latches.
Break in If It’s an Emergency
In some cases, there might be an emergency that requires you to get into the house immediately when you’re locked out. Maybe there’s a child locked inside, or the stove is on.
Regardless of the reason, you should make sure to tell all of your neighbors what you’re doing. There are almost seven million property crimes reported each year.
So, if someone sees you breaking into your own home, there’s a good chance they’ll call the police on you. When breaking in, your should first try to kick a door in or use a crowbar to pry it open.
You should only break a window as a last resort. The glass from the window can be incredibly dangerous. And crawling through it can cause a potentially life-threatening injury if you aren’t careful.
Contact a Locksmith
If you’re locked out of your house, and you’ve tried everything, it’s time to contact emergency locksmith services. There are a lot of benefits to hiring a professional locksmith.
Most of the time, if they’re experienced, they can pick their way into the house. However, if the locks are especially old or unpickable, they might not be able to. In these situations, they’ll need to drill through the lock to gain access to the home.
This destructive form of entering should only be used as a last resort since it will destroy the door’s lock. The good news is that installing a new door knob is fairly inexpensive if you do it on your own.
However, ideally, you’ll have a skilled locksmith like the kind found at Round Rock Locksmith Pros. We use the latest tools that help us gain access to your home during a lockout quickly and efficiently.
How Much Do Locksmiths Cost?
If you need a locksmith to get into the house, you’re likely wondering how much it will cost. The specific price will vary from company to company.
However, keep in mind that the price of locksmith services can increase depending on factors. These factors might include things like how far away your house is from the locksmith, the type of lock on your door, and the time of day when you need to get it.
If you live in a rural area and need to get into your heavily secured house at 2 in the morning, you’re probably going to pay more than the average person. Be careful around locksmith companies that refuse to give you a quote.
This is a common tactic of scam artists that give little information about price, then charge you a service fee to get them out there. Instead, go with a locksmith company like Round Rock Locksmith Pros that provides upfront pricing on our services.
How to Avoid Getting Locked Out in the Future
Once you get into your house, it’s easy to say to yourself that you’ll never forget your keys again. But remember that people are fallible. You’re bound to forget or lose your keys somewhere down the line.
So, consider some other solutions to prevent getting locked out in the future. One simple solution is to hide a spare key somewhere on your property.
Just make sure that it’s not in an easy-to-find spot, or else burglars might take advantage of it. You can also try leaving a spare key with a neighbor or friend that you trust.
Alternatively, you can invest in smart locks. Many of these locks allow you to enter a password to enter your home.
Or, you can unlock the doors remotely using your smartphone. It’s more expensive than the average lock. But they definitely make things more convenient when you’re locked out or need to let someone into your house.
Locked Out of the House? Contact Round Rock Locksmith Pros
We hope this article helped you learn what to do if you’re locked out of the house. If you’ve tried everything and you still need a locksmith, you’re likely looking for a good one.
Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done. There are a lot of scam artists out there looking to take advantage of people in desperate situations.
So, make sure you call qualified professionals like the kind found at Round Rock Locksmith Pros. Unlike our competition, we provide upfront pricing for our services.
Plus, we’re available 24/7 and can be to you within 30 minutes. So, call us today to get the locksmithing services that you need.