No, you think (or shout!) As the door clicks behind you. Or maybe you just returned home after a long day at work and started rummaging through your purse or pockets for the keys only to find that there was no jingling or jangling to be heard. You’re checking another door, so maybe a few windows. Locked, locked and locked. That’s when reality hits – you’re locked out of your own home.
Whatever happens, it is realizing that we are shut out of our home, one of those moments that falls into our stomachs, that happens to most of us at some point — and usually at the most inconvenient time possible. . While frustrating to say the least, there are things you can do to help get back in quickly and steps you can take to prevent it from happening again.
What to do when you realize you are locked out of your home
When you have finished cursing, crying or otherwise getting out of your frustration, take a deep breath and then consider your options. Things that can help you get back in include the following:
Double check doors and windows
Check every single door and window that can be reached again. In your original emotional state, you may have missed an unlock, which can be an expensive oversight if you end up calling a locksmith.
Run your list of who may have an extra key to your house
Think of anyone who might have an extra key. Maybe your spouse or roommate has one, or you gave one to a neighbor to feed your fish when you were away on your last vacation. Have you given one to a family member in an emergency? Call anyone who may have one and see if you can arrange to get it.
See if there is a lock you can pop
This trick may not make you feel so safe once you realize how easy it is to break into your own home, but you may worry about it later. To get in now you can try using a credit card or similar plastic card to unlock your lock. This video shows you how to do it step by step, but it basically boils down to pushing the card between the door and the frame and then bending the card against the door frame (away from the door handle) to undo the lock.
Note: This technique does not work on dead bolts, only standard doors. Even more important note: If this trick works and gets you in, be sure to change your lock ASAP. If it was so easy for you to get in, it’s so easy for criminals to get in too.
Remove the door handle
If you know your way around a toolbox and have access to a few tools, you may be able to remove the door handle to get into your home. There are plenty of tutorials online to help you remove a door handle, but be careful. If you break the lock or otherwise damage your door while trying, it may end up being more expensive than if you had just called a locksmith.
Call a locksmith
As a last resort, you may need to call a locksmith. It is the best guarantee that you will get in, but also probably the most expensive. The cost will vary depending on where you live and what type of lock you have. You may also have to pay an additional fee for an emergency call.
What not to do when you are locked out
Even though you may be desperate to get inside, avoid making decisions like smashing a window that could cost you a lot more money. Plus it can be far more difficult to get an emergency visit from someone who can quickly repair your window than it would be to get a locksmith there.
Also, do not try what this Tucson man did when he was locked out – he tried to crawl in through his chimney. Spoiler alert: He got stuck and the fire department had to rescue him.
How to avoid being locked out of your house
You have learned your lesson, so now you want to make sure you do not have to learn it again. Here are some steps you can take to avoid being locked out of your home again:
Keep an extra key in a safe place
No, do not put it under your doormat or under the flowerpot on your porch. And if you think fake rock is fooling someone, you are fooling yourself. Instead of storing a key in a clear place, you can consider placing it in a more secure place, e.g. In a safe in your garage or in a container secured with a combination lock. You can find very cheap small safes in many stores or online. Another more creative option: Put a key in a bag and attach it to your dog’s collar if they tend to be outside most of the time.
Give a key to a close friend or neighbor
You do not want lots of keys to your home floating around, but giving one or two to people you trust is a good backup in emergencies. If you have a family living nearby, make sure one of them has an extra key for your home.
Consider going keyless
Keyless starter pads can be a good investment. They are good if you have children who tend to lose keys (Read: All children), or if you want to give different people access to your house at certain times, e.g. Housekeepers, without handing out a lot of keys. You can always change the password without having to change your locks.
We have more information about smart locks as well as reviews of leading companies like August, Yale and Kwikset.
Conclusion: Be prepared if you are locked out of your home
Being locked out is never fun, but there is always a way to get back to your home. How fast and how much will it cost are the questions. To save time, money and a whole lot of frustration, you need to take precautions now so that the next time you reach your keys and can’t find them, you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing you have a plan.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. Officer Banta has been a member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years and reviews all articles before giving his stamp of approval. Click here for more information about Officer Banta and the rest of our team.