Being locked out of your house is stressful for anyone. Whether you realize it right when you are leaving when you need to run back in for something, or when you get home, being locked out is an inconvenience no matter when it happens.
Even though being locked out affects everyone differently, one of the first things people do is panic. Unfortunately, panicking will not help the situation and to help you stay calm, it is important to have an idea of what to do.
If you ever find yourself locked out of your house, these five tips can help you stay calm and get back inside as quickly as possible.
Have you given a key to anyone else, and are they available to help? While it may be a challenge to get someone out to your house, this is the easiest step to getting back in. For people who rent, or who live in apartments or other community settings, getting ahold of a landlord or manager may be the best option for you. For homeowners, calling someone who has a spare key is an ideal solution for you.
Check the House for Unlocked Windows or Doors
While most people tend to leave their house locked up, it's a good idea to try all the windows and doors just in case any of them just happened to be unlocked. If there is a screen protecting the windows, pulling a screen off is typically easy and won't cause any permanent damage.
If you have a basement or an upper level that you can access by stairs or a ladder, be sure to check those as well. Any opening to your home means a potential way to get in and avoid having to break in or pay for emergency services if you're locked out of your house.
Use an Old Plastic Card or Screwdriver to Get In
Depending on your doorknob setup, you may be able to get in by using an old plastic card, like a credit card, or even a screwdriver to get in. These two methods have worked for many people.
Plastic Card Method
For spring-loaded doorknobs, using a card can sometimes work. Start by picking a card that you won’t mind ruining because it will likely get bent or broken in the process, and then follow these steps:
- Insert the credit card between the door and the frame so that it can reach the latch.
- Once you can feel the latch with the card, start wiggling the card and pushing it further into the door if possible.
- While shaking the card, bend it away from the frame to try and slide the latch back.
- Lean into the door while bending the card to help move the door away from the frame.
- Don’t expect to get it the first time. Try a few times before giving up.
It is important to note that if you can open one of your outside doors with a plastic card, it is important to consider a new locking system that would not so easily open to an intruder.
The screwdriver method does not work on deadbolts. Your mounting screws are hidden, but sometimes there is a tiny pinhole located somewhere around the doorknob. If you have that pinhole, follow these steps to get your doorknob off:
- Use a bobby pin, small screwdriver, or another thin piece of metal to insert in the pinhole.
- Once you have your tool inserted in the pinhole, push in and apply pressure.
- While applying pressure, use your free hand to wiggle the doorknob back and forth.
- Keep pushing the metal tool and wiggling the doorknob until the doorknob comes off.
- After removed, you will need to remove the decorative plate to reveal the locking mechanism.
- Use the metal object to slide the locking mechanism, and the door will open.
As with the plastic card method, if you can open your front or back door with the screwdriver method, you should consider a new locking system that is not so easy to open, in case of intruders.
Call a Locksmith
If you have exhausted your options, and none of them has worked, it is time to call a local locksmith. Emergency services are available 24 hours a day in the Greater Toronto area. If you are not in our area, a simple search will assist you in finding multiple companies who offer emergency locksmith services.
Emergency locksmith services provide a highly qualified professional who will arrive quickly and help you get back inside. For people who are in a hurry, calling a locksmith may be the best first option.
Develop a Future Safety Plan
Whether you are reading this because you are locked out, or before experiencing being locked out, it is important to have a plan in place to save you future stress and panic. Some of the ways you can evolve a plan include:
- Making spare keys for a neighbour, friend, or family member who would be available to help.
- Purchasing an easily blended item that can hold a key on your property but not look suspicious.
- Contacting a local locksmith company to discuss options to prevent being locked out.
Being locked out of your house can be a scary and stressful event. If you find yourself in a situation where you are locked out, seeking help, looking for open doors or windows, opening your door with a plastic card or screwdriver, or calling a locksmith are all good ways to help you get back in your house as quickly as possible.
Understanding what you need to do in case of being locked out, and having a plan of action, can help reduce your stress by helping you feel prepared. Being locked out of your house sometimes happens, but stress doesn't have to come along with it. If you find yourself locked out, remember to stay calm by following your plan and the tips listed above, and you will be back inside before you know it.