Have you locked yourself out of your house? Locking yourself out of the house can be very frustrating and can create an urgent situation in some cases. It is essential to know how to get into a house when locked out and know when to enlist the services of a professional locksmith. Having a plan handy is one of the best ways to be prepared and ensure the process has less wait time and better results. Here are a few things to consider and do when you’ve unexpectedly locked yourself out of your house.
Call a Friend, Family Member, or Your Landlord
First, if you live with a partner, family member, or roommate, call them––you know they have a key and if they’re available, they’ll be able to help you get into your house or apartment faster than any other option listed here.
Are you a renter? Use your phone to find the number for the rental office or landlord and call them for help. Most landlords and rental agencies keep spare keys on hand and as long as they know you, they’ll be happy to let you in––well, maybe not if it’s midnight, but it comes with the territory of being a landlord, right?
When you’ve gone on vacation or traveled for business, did you have a friend or family member come to your house to care for your pets or plants? Or do you have someone close to you who you’ve given your house key to, just in case? Now’s the time to call everyone who has one of your spare keys to see if they’re available to let you back into your home.
See If a Window Is Open
You should never leave windows or back doors open when you’re not home––it’s not safe and it makes it easier for burglars to break into your house. Of course, if you did forget to close your windows and lock your back door before leaving on this particular day, it works in your favor because you now have a potential way to get into your house when you’re locked out of the front.
The easiest solution would be walking right in through the back door. What a relief it would be to find that door unlocked! Odds are, though, that you won’t be that lucky. If anything, you might have a window that’s open. If you carry a Swiss army knife or have something else on hand that’s sharp enough to cut a screen, you’ll have to do that first. Then, push the window up to give yourself the room you need to climb through.
Use extreme caution when trying to enter a house in this way, particularly if the window is far from the ground. Be prepared to explain yourself to random passers-by, who will probably assume you’re attempting to break into someone else’s home.
Ask a Neighbor For Help––Or a Warm Place to Stay
This is the type of situation when you’ll be thankful you’ve been friendly with your neighbors. (Conversely, if you haven’t been friendly with your neighbors, you’ll end up kicking yourself for not making more of an effort.) If you happen to live next to someone who’s a handy type, they might be happy to help you get in. Ask them for a wire hanger, a screwdriver, or a shoestring to help you unlock the door.
If your neighbor isn’t handy, you can still knock on their door and see if you can hang out at their house while you wait to get back into yours. This is especially helpful when it’s raining, snowing, too hot, or too cold to be outside for long.
Break Out Your Credit Card
You’ve seen it on TV, now it’s time to try it in real life––see if you can open your door with a credit, debit, or ID card. The key here (no pun intended) is to make sure the card you use is made with thick plastic. Your accountant’s business card isn’t going to do the trick here, nor will your coffee shop loyalty card.
Wedge your card between the door and the frame. While doing this, jiggle and press the handle forcefully. Alternatively, you can attempt to hit the locking mechanism with your card and then press it to unlock the door. This is a real MacGyver move here, so if it works, give yourself a pat on the back.
Take Apart the Door Knob
Unless you’re in a trade, you likely don’t leave the house with a set of tools. This is another situation in which you’ll need to get some help from your friendly neighbor.
There are different types of door knobs that assemble (or in this case, disassemble) in different ways. That said, most can be taken apart using a paperclip, hammer, and screwdriver. With the screwdriver, take off all the screws that hold the handle in place, then remove the hinge screws using your paperclip.
Once you take apart your door knob and get into your home or apartment, it’s important to put it back together right away to prevent any unwanted visitors from entering your home.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you have young children alone inside or another reason that you need to get back in immediately, this may be the best solution.
Because this will undoubtedly create quite the scene if there are people out and about, break in through a back door or window if you have one, rather than going in through the front. Applying a swift, hard kick to the door near the knob may be enough to get in. We don’t advise breaking windows because of the danger involved, so reserve this for actual emergency situations. Needless to say, climbing through a broken window is quite risky and it’s actually more difficult to break a window these days than you might think.