When all deals are locked and you move into your new property, you cannot wait to make a home out of that house, by setting up the furniture, the utilities, and even the family frames to add your warm touch to the place you just moved into. By the end of the long day of unpacking and setting up, you cannot wait to crash into your cozy bed, and this is when the thought of the security of your home hits you!
The first thing you must take care of is changing your locks. Chances are, the previous owners handed over copies of their keys to people close to them. Even if you have moved into a newly constructed home, there are chances that the home builder has a standard master key for multiple properties in the same block, copies of which are given to the subcontractors working for them. so you never know who has access to your property.
Naturally, it becomes imperative to learn how to change locks on a new home. So read our guide to get a complete lowdown on everything you need to know about it.
Why Should You Choose To Change Locks Over Rekeying?
You might look at rekeying as a cheaper alternative to changing locks, but it’s more complex than it sounds. In rekeying, the working key of the lock is changed while the lock is taken apart and some parts inside it are replaced. In this case, you don’t end up changing the whole lock and thus save money. But this trick doesn’t always work, especially when you want one key for all locks, because for this to work out, the locks should have the same keyhole.
Also, while changing locks is an easy deal, rekeying your locks is a procedure that requires technical knowledge and having access to the right tools, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and very risky. Calling for a professional gets necessary in this scenario because you don’t want to mess those mechanisms up.
Also See: How to Secure Your New Home or Apartment
What Is The Right Time To Change Locks?
As soon as you lock the deal, sign all the documents and leave the closing table, visit the property with your broker/real estate agent for a final inspection. Run one last check through the house, and get down to change the locks. Yes, even before moving in, the locks need to be changed, you might think having no valuables inside the house does not make it vulnerable.
But this step shouldn’t be brushed away. Even if your property is empty, there are chances of vandalism, especially at the hands of aggrieved previous owners who have lost the house due to short sales or foreclosures. Because sometimes people are enraged over losing their house and decide to take it out on the new buyer. So drive to the property right after your paperwork is done, and change the locks first thing!
Tools You Will Require
Now that we know why and when we need to change the locks to our new home, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of changing it. But before you settle down for the main task, collect all the tools so you don’t have to get up and run back to the hardware store to hunt a different screwdriver every time a new screw pops up in the process. So make a short visit to the nearest DIY store or the hardware store, or just add these to your cart if you are shopping online.
Replacing door locks is an easy task if you know your way around a screwdriver, solve the pieces like a puzzle and you will be done in an hour.
New Locks: You will find convenient deadbolt kits at any offline or online store, it will include each lock piece you will need like the mounting hardware and the interior turner. Before buying a new lock kit, note the model of the old locks, so you can come home with a new lock that’s the same make so it fits the lock you are replacing like a jigsaw piece. While buying online, check the size and other specifications so it is the right fit for the old lock.
Driller: You need to keep this handy if the lock you are replacing is stubborn, this usually happens with old houses, screws are not easily visible with older models. In such a case, drilling the lock is the best option, it saves time and does less harm to the door.
Screwdriver: Study the locks you bought, to understand which screwdriver they will need, and then buy that specific screwdriver from the relevant section. You can even work around with one screwdriver, for the set of screws that hold the inner and outer knobs together and for the set of screws that hold the striker bolt to the side of the door. Depending on the screws, identify whether you will need a flathead screwdriver or a Philips head.
Utility Knife: Keeping a robust utility knife in your hardware box is never a bad idea. You might encounter protruding shims while installing the new lock, to trim these pieces, get a knife with a rubber grip for safety as it will keep your hand from slipping as you firmly cut.
Tape Measure: When replacing locks, the latch backset needs to match with the holes in the door. If you do not measure the locks, you will end up running around carrying out trial and error to fit your new lock into the existing hole left vacant by the previous lock. To avoid this, measuring prior to visiting the hardware store is advisable. Even though deadbolts do come in adjustable sizes nowadays, it’s always safer to be in the same range.
Short Stool: You must be amused to find this in the list, but we recommend you get it, so you don’t have to kneel as you replace your locks. It is a must if you are planning to change locks on multiple doors, as you don’t want to have an ache at the end of the day, you still have to unpack the boxes, remember?
How To Change Locks
With the tools by your side and the latest hit playing on your music player, roll up your sleeves and get started with changing the locks.
Step 1: Check The Lock Kit
Before you remove the old lock, double-check one last time if all parts of the lock are present in your new lock kit. Take them out of their packing and spread them out, so you can reach out easily each time you require a new part in the process.
Step 2: Remove The Old Lock
Come over to the inner side of your door where the turner is located. Once you locate the two visible bolts on this plate, remove these bolts with a screwdriver and then remove the entire turn plate assembly. By now, the deadbolt lock assembly on the other side of the door too must’ve come loose, so pull this lock assembly free. Now you will see the hole in the door left by the old lock.
Step 3: Take Off The Old Deadbolt
Just open your door wide and come over to the side of the lock, it will be a narrow deadbolt plate that goes deep inside the door, locate the two screws that hold this plate in place. Use that screwdriver to work your magic and take these screws off, now simply pull the rest of the deadbolt hardware out of the side of your door.
Step 4: Install A New Deadbolt
It’s a breeze from here, just be careful of installing the new deadbolt facing “up”. To make life easier, nowadays most new deadbolt models are labeled with the word “up” on the side. Now insert the deadbolt into the side of the door facing up, and firmly fasten it in place by tightly securing the screws in their slots.
Step 5: Install A New Deadbolt Lock
Locate the bar protruding from the new deadbolt lock and insert this bar through the channel in the deadbolt. The keyhole should be vertically aligned, likewise position the lock mechanism. On the side of the turn assembly plate, insert the bar into the channel in the back of this plate. Align the turner plate such that its top side faces up. Twist the turner on the turn assembly so you can clearly see the bolt holes, fasten the bolts so that the key assembly and the turn assembly sit sturdily together.
Step 6: Test The New Lock
Your task isn’t over until you test the new lock. Once it is fastened in place, open the door and test both the key side and the interior turner. Once you have tried and tested if it works with the door open, test with the door closed. First, from the inside, twist and turn the turner to see if it locks and unlocks, then from the outer side of the door, see if it unlocks with the key. And Voila! You have changed the lock by yourself! Grab a drink before you continue securing other doors.
Read Also: Setting Up Home Services in Your New House
Which Doors Should You Change The Locks To?
You could be moving into an apartment, a cottage, or even a farmhouse, all exterior doors should be secured, especially if your property has more entrances. If your property is large and it gets tough to keep track of different locks for different doors, we suggest getting a master key system – this is a lock system wherein one key can open all the doors. You must remember to change locks to all these exterior doors for maximum safety.
Main Door: The entry point which should be on priority, as there can be many people with access to it. Choose the most secure lock option for this door, it could be a deadbolt or a padlock. If you are planning on getting a knob lock, remember to get a grade-one knob lock.
Backyard Door: Doors opening out on the yard are often sliding doors, which are not very secure. When you move into a new house, there is a possibility that there is no lock system for the patio door. In such cases, fitting in a deadbolt lock is an ideal fix, so the sliding door is not accessible from the outside. Or you can even add a rod in the tracks of the sliding door. These metal rods usually come with the doors when they are installed, so if the sliding doors do not have a rod, then getting a spare one from the market is an inexpensive fix.
Garage Door: Never forget to install locks to your garage door, to avoid break-ins and keep burglars at bay. Because garages are the usual targets for attempts to get into people’s homes. We know it is a no-brainer, but it is a basic security measure to close your roll-up or overhead garage door closed, before it gets dark and your family retires for the night. Simply because an open garage door is an invitation to burglars.
The most common lock used for most garage door designs is the Side Door Bolts. Another lock choice is the T-handle lock, used on metal garage doors. This type of locking system uses a cylinder-shaped key to operate the handle, and this is a more secure option since it is hard to replicate. In case you want additional security, then go for the Garage door defender – the heavy-duty lock which is locked to a concrete base with a padlock. If you want convenience and ease of operation, get a digital keyless lock, set your own code to it, and go to bed feeling safe.
Basement Door: Your quiet dark basement can be home to many unwanted things, supernatural or not. If you are a horror movie buff, you know exactly what we are talking about. A scene where a serial killer breaks in through the basement window and enters the home is common to many thriller films. Not trying to scare you here, but even if you live in a bustling well-lit neighborhood, the security of your garage door should not be overlooked.
For a metal or wood basement door, get a single cylinder deadbolt lock, if you have a glass door, go for a double cylinder deadbolt lock. This double locking mechanism will make your walkout basement door difficult to be broken into. If you move into an old house, your basement could have a bulkhead opening to the outside, try getting barriers to secure this entry.
Interior Doors: You must be wondering why this one even made it to the list, apart from the internal door to your garage and the internal door to your cellar, changing locks to an internal door is not a priority. It is more to do with privacy reasons than for the sake of security. But the equation changes if it is an internal door to your home office or study, or maybe guestrooms, for which a grade-two knob lock is an ideal option. Also, do not forget the fire safety measures to undertake, internal door locks should be operable from the inside of the room without a key.
When To Approach A Professional?
There are times when changing locks can get complex. In such cases, dialing a locksmith is a good idea. It is better to call for a locksmith if that lockset deems difficult to figure out, it is common to get confused around that complex mechanism.
There are chances that the old lock you are replacing is stubborn, the screws to take the lock off may not be visible, or could be corroded if the lock is old and unattended. In such cases, you can try dropping mild blows with a hammer to take the lock off or you can even drill it to make it come apart. But this can damage the door, it is best to call the locksmith in such cases.
One Key For All Locks
If you have a large house with a back door, garage gate, patio door, it can get irritating to carry different keys and hunt each time for the right key to that door. We know how annoying this can become, so getting a master key system in such a scenario is the best option. Meaning, you will have to carry just one key to unlock all your doors. Though you can install this yourself, calling for the locksmith is better as they know such lock systems like the back of their palm.
Keyless Lock System
There are several new technological advancements in home security systems, some of which are even connected to burglar alarms and security cameras. So there are many options for your property’s entry mechanism. Going beyond traditional locks like deadbolts and padlocks, you can go for keyless entry which increases the security of your house.
So if you plan on getting such a system installed, discuss priorly with your locksmith, he/she has more knowledge in the sphere and can suggest the apt system for your property. Once you have locked in on a system that suits your needs and preferences, just call the locksmith over and get it done!
Old properties have different lock systems with the make and model, which is complex than the new ones in the market. It is tough to work a way around warded locks, padlocks, or other vintage locks, so it’s best to call for a professional who knows such complex lock systems better.
If you have replaced your locks after going through several articles and reference videos, but even after testing the lock you feel unsure about their safety, you can call for a professional. It is absolutely normal to feel insecure if you have fitted locks for the first time, so don’t be reluctant to dial and call that local locksmith to come over and have a look. Because the end goal is to be relaxed on that vacation where you go without worrying about break-ins at your home. Or even if you just want to sleep peacefully without any worries.
Cost Of Changing Locks
If you plan on changing the lock by yourself, then you will bear only the cost of the lockset kit, whereas you will have to shell out more in case you call for professional help. Drive to any hardware store or order online and you will find the most basic locksets prices between $15-$35. If you go for a quality lockset, it will cost you something between $35 to $100
In case you call a local locksmith, you will spend $35, which are the sole charges for his/her services, which does not include the cost of your replacement lockset.
Factors That Can Affect The Cost Of Changing Locks
You cannot just think of the price of locks and set aside your budget to change the locks to your new home, we know setting up a new house is a pricey affair, and there are tight budgets for everything. Here are the factors that can alter the cost of changing the locks so you can plan it better:
How Complex Is The Lock
There are a number of locksets and hardware in the market. Based on the material and complexity of the lock, the prices can differ. If you plan on getting keyless systems, those will cost you higher than the regular deadbolts. Even mortise locks and high-security locks are costlier than the usual ones.
Alterations To The Door
If you get a new lock that is very different from the old lock you wish to replace, and if there are changes in terms of model and manufacturer, then your new lock will not fit the hole left by the old one. There will be extra work needed to accommodate the new model in the hollow left by the old lock. So to solve this, you will have to incur extra charges to change or modify the door or frame.
Number Of Locks To Change
All doors have unique locks, your garage door’s lock can be completely different from the lock on your front door, and the patio door lock can be unique in its own way according to the type of door or sliding. Changing locks to each of these doors can go beyond a budget if you do not calculate it beforehand.
Number Of Copies Required
Families always get multiple copies of keys when getting new locks installed, since there are many people who will need access to the house in the near future, right from baby sitters to house cleaners. The cost also changes depending on the number of keys you want to get duplicated.
Which Is The Safest Lock For My Door?
A Single Cylinder Deadbolt lock is the safest for your door, they are also efficient and economic. You will also find many models from different brands of this lock in the market to choose from. These are the safest locks followed by keyless lock systems and mortise locks.
Where To Buy Locks?
Buying your locks from the local locksmith is a good idea since they will help you discover the right lock for your door and will provide you with plenty of options. You can even buy from reputable online distributors or straight from the manufacturer.
How Much Time Does It Take To Change A Lock?
The time to change a lock depends on the type of door and the lockset you have. If you are just replacing a new lock in place of an old one, it will take just 30 minutes to an hour. But if you are installing a lock for the first time in a new door, it will take longer.