Changing Locks Can Be Expensive
When it comes to your homes exterior locks, you get what you pay for. You could easily spend $15 on a simple lock at your local hardware store, install it yourself, and feel safe. The truth is, a thief could easily shatter your sense of safety with one solid kick. Thats probably why the cost of changing door locks is anywhere from $30 to $300, varying by lock price, locksmith fees, and desired level of security. But changing your locks is a necessary step to moving into a new home, one we don't always take. Moving in is not the only time you should be changing your locks; you should also do so if a roommate is moving out or even for something as simple as a bad break-up. Here are the basic costs of changing your locks, some of which might surprise you.
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1. Hiring A Locksmith
For those who can't tell the difference between a flat-head and a phillips screwdriver, hiring a professional locksmith may be right for you. Locksmiths are quick, easy, and efficient at their jobs. If they have the proper training, they can complete tasks fast and safely. They might even be able to teach you a few things about your lock. The key is: your locksmith needs the proper training. Ask a locksmith for their license before you allow them to change your locks. The following states require licenses for locksmiths:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
In addition to the price of a locksmith, you will also have to pay for the lock itself. So, using a locksmith is markedly more expensive than installing the lock yourself.
For those who are a little more hardware savvy, self-installation might be the best option. This option allows you to learn more about your lock, so you might have less issues with it down the line. Plus, all you have to do is go to your local hardware store. The installation itself will usually take around 10 to 15 minutes per lock, according to Master Locks website. This does not include the time it would take to install strike plates or other security measures.
If you are getting a different type of lock than you already have, installation is a lot more complicated. It will involve drilling holes in the door with a hole saw, which isn't in most home toolboxes. Aligning will also be difficult. You should leave this job to a contractor unless you are very experienced in home makeovers. If you are dead set on changing your locks yourself, follow the instructions carefully and do not skip steps. Your lock is your first line of defense. You do not want it to fail in a time of need.
3. Rekeying Your Locks
Unlike the previous two methods, rekeying doesnt require replacing your door locks. Simply put, rekeying is rearranging the pins in the cylinder of the lock to make an old key useless. The process only takes a few minutes, but it can secure to your home. You can buy a rekeying kit online or at a hardware store or hire a locksmith to do the job for you. However, there is a reason that rekeys are significantly cheaper than a lock replacement. First, a lock cannot be rekeyed unless the home or business owner has the original or reset key. Second, locks need to be replaced every few years. If the lock is old, broken, or malfunctioning, locksmiths wont recommend a rekey.
4. Going High-Tech
If youre one of the many Americans who lose their keys on a regular basis, you might be interested in replacing your old lock with a high tech one. Running on anything from biometric data to a passcode or Bluetooth, these locks often do not require a physical key. But be wary: replacing your lock with a high-tech counterpart can be costly and sometimes can actually compromise your safety. In 2012, Mozilla software developer Cody Brocious was able to unlock the lock used on about 40 million hotel rooms with only $50 worth of equipment and some programming knowledge, a skill he showed at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas:
Though home locks are different from the locks used on hotel rooms, Brocious showed how easily high-tech locks can be hacked. No matter how secure the lock may seem, hackers are able to find a glitch. For the money youd pay for a high tech lock, you might be better off buying a few secure deadbolts and strike plates.