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What to Do When You’re Locked out of a House

posted by Chris Valentine

You rush out the door, hands full with your bag, lunch, wallet. The door swings shut behind you and—wait. Where are your keys?

Unfortunately, many of us have experienced this dread and panic firsthand. So what do you do when you’re locked out of a house?

With over 24,371 locksmiths in the country, you could always call one up. In the meantime, give these tips a try the next time you’re locked out. You might end up unlocking the door on your own as you wait!

1. Call a Friend

Even before you find yourself locked out of the house, consider leaving a spare key with a friend or family member. That way, you can call them to bring you the spare the next time you’re locked out of the house.

If you’re living in a rental home or condo, you can always call the landlord. They can let you back inside so you can retrieve your key.

However, some people don’t feel comfortable giving someone a spare key. That’s okay. If you don’t want to leave a key with someone, at least call to see if your friend has a solution.

Who knows—they may have learned how to pick a house lock in their spare time!

2. Walk the Perimeter

While you wait for a friend or locksmith, walk around the perimeter of your home. Check for any open windows or doors that you can slip through.

If you do find an open window, proceed with caution. Take your time climbing through to avoid any possible injuries. Make sure you check what’s on the other side before you land, too.

Otherwise, you might find yourself crashing into some unforgiving furniture.

If you can’t find an unlocked door or window, try the doggie door! Some people have narrow shoulders that can allow them access through this tight space.

While you shouldn’t leave windows open or backdoors unlocked, you might find these entry points useful the next time you’re locked out of the house.

3. Call a Neighbor

You can jimmy a locked door with a few household items, including a rod and screwdriver, coat hanger, or shoestring. Unfortunately, you need access to your home to grab these household items first.

If you’re looking how to unlock a locked door, head to your neighbor’s house!

See if they can lend some of these common household items to you. They might even have experience opening a locked door. Ask if they can help.

4. The Card Trick

We’ve all seen it on tv: someone using a credit card to jimmy a lock. If you have a credit card, library card, or I.D. on hand, give it a try.
Wedge the card between the door and door frame. At the same time, press and jiggle the door handle. Add force as needed.

Try hitting the plastic card against the door’s lock mechanism. Then, press down to unlock the door.

The card trick might require a few tries. Since this method is tricky and time-consuming, some people use it as a last resort.
Think twice before using a credit card for this move. You might scratch the magnetic stripe and ruin the card.

5. Remove the Knob

Head back to your neighbor or send your friend a quick text. For this one, you’re going to need a few tools.
You’ll need a:
• Hammer, screwdriver, or knife
• Nail
• Paperclip

Remove all of the screws from the door handle. You can use the paperclip to remove the hinge screws with ease. Removing the knob from the door can give you access to your home (and your key!).

6. Call a Professional

Sometimes, it’s easier to call the professionals. Search the internet for a local, reputable locksmith. If you live in the Denver area, visit this website for professional locksmith services.

Hiring a professional can help you avoid causing potential damages to your own home. Those damages could cost more than choosing to hire a locksmith in the first place!

Their services often range between $50 and $75 dollars an hour. However, it probably won’t take them longer than an hour to get the job done. With the right tools, it could take them a manner of minutes to get you back inside.

7. Break In

In an emergency situation, you can always choose to break into your own home. Such emergencies would include leaving:
• A baby alone in the house
• A bathtub running
• The stove or oven on
• A fire burning

In these cases, you don’t want to remain locked out for too long. Instead, smash a window or kick down the door to get inside.

Damaging the door or a window is a small cost compared to a potential emergency.

8. Prepare for Next Time

Instead of waiting for the next time you’re locked out of house and home to use these tips, prepare beforehand.

For example, you can leave a spare key under the mat, in a lockbox, or in a fake rock. Only 18% of people have a physical key outside of their door, though. Some people don’t consider it safe to leave a spare key where a burglar can possibly find it.

If this tip isn’t for you, there are other ways you can ensure you’re never locked out of your home again.

As another example, you can connect a smart lock to your phone to gain access to your home. Most of us never leave a room without our phone in hand, let alone the house. With a smart lock, you can get back inside without a key.

A keyless lock, on the other hand, uses a keypad with an access code.

Make sure you use a memorable code. Save a copy of the code somewhere in case you forget it.

Locked Out of a House? Unlock Your Luck!

The next time you find yourself locked out of a house, give one of these tips a try. If none of these do-it-yourself tactics work, remember, you can always call the professionals.

Explore the Home section of the blog for more effective tips and tricks!

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