Locked Out of Your House? 10 Ways to Handle a Lockout
One time or another, it happens to all of us: getting locked out of the house. Before you panic, follow these ten lockout tips to get back in and prepare yourself for next time.
So you’re locked out. Don’t panic. Some of these tips may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook small details when frazzled.
Review the list below to see what options are best for your situation, then scroll down to read further details.
- Call any roommates or family members. If you don’t have access to a phone, reach out to a neighbor. If you are renting, contact the property’s rental office or your landlord.
- Check all windows, doors, and garages. Does your garage have a door to get inside? Are any windows open or other doors unlocked?
- Are your neighbors home? Can you use their phone to call someone or do they have tools you can use to get inside?
- Do you have some form of plastic card, library, credit, etc. on you to open the door? Your door will have to be a specific type for this to work, but skip to #4 if your home uses spring latch knobs and you want to try this method.
- Do you have access to tools like a screwdriver? Check if there are any visible screws on your doorknob, or if the plate can be removed. Read #5 for info on removing your doorknob completely.
- Call a locksmith. Either use your phone or a neighbors and call a professional for help.
- When dealing with future lockouts, try leaving a key with a neighbor or nearby friend or relative.
- Consider hiding a copy of your key somewhere on your property.
- Invest in a key less lock system for your front door.
At Glassdoorfix®, many of our local technicians are trained to repair and replace all types of glass doors, including sliding glass doors. Our technicians, operating out of over 16 City s in the Metro Manila, Cavite and Rizal Province are available to help you today. Schedule an appointment online or call 09380991375
1. Call Family, Friends, or the Owner
If you’ve got roommates/family and they’re not home, call them. If you’ve also left your phone inside, you’ll have to reach out to a neighbor to use theirs. Hopefully your family/spouse/roommate etc. is able to come let you in.
If you’re renting, try calling the landlord or visiting the rental office. Oftentimes, apartment/townhouse management offices can help you out of a jam, though they may charge a fee. Landlords, on the other hand, may be a bit more hit or miss, depending on their proximity to your location. If you are renting from a landlord, it’s not a bad idea to call them, as it may be possible they’ve left a key specifically on the premises for just this kind of situation.
2. Check All Accessible Windows, Doors, Garages, etc.
If no one is around to let you in, or you live alone and have no management office/landlord to reach out to, it’s up to you to find a way in. Start by checking the perimeter of your home. If you live in a house, check all doors and reachable windows. If you do have a window that’s slightly open, attempt to remove the screen and slide open the window. Be careful if you manage to find and climb through an open window. If you have a garage with access to the house, but the garage is sealed, see if you can open it, or if it opens via remote, pray you have your car keys to get the clicker from your vehicle.
If you’re in a townhouse, you may have less options. There may not be a back door to your unit or you may only have windows that are on a second floor. So unless the weather’s been nice enough that your windows are left open or you have a habit of leaving the back or side door unlocked, you won’t be able to get in. Don’t go breaking any windows just yet.
3. Ask Neighbors for Help
More than likely either route you decide to take, you’ll need a little help from a neighbor. It’s highly unlikely you’ve managed to lock yourself out of your home with a set of tools, a lock pick or otherwise. However, your neighbors may be able to help you out. They might have tools to help you in like a ladder, a screwdriver, a bobby pin, etc. Even a paperclip or a wire coat hanger that can be straightened, can be used to finagle a lock if you’re lucky, though this depends on the kind of door your house has.
They may also have some tips to help you break back into your home. Listen to their advice, and thank them for their help.
4. Using a Credit Card or Library Card to Unlock the Door
Depending on the type of door your home has, you can attempt to pick the lock yourself. Note that many modern, newer doors may not allow for this method. If you (or your neighbor) has a credit card, or better yet, a sturdy, laminated card like a library card, you can attempt to open the lock using this. A laminated card is more flexible and will be better suited to opening a standard spring latch lock. Either way, use a card that is not incredibly important, as this method may damage the card. You’ve already been locked out, lets avoid having to call the credit card company for a new card, too.
If your door is a spring latch kind, then using a card may work. If you attempt to turn the handle and it does not turn, then your door is a spring latch and it’s locked. Know that maybe your front door is a more modern and secure knob type- but if your home as a door inside the garage, it’s possible the knob for that door is more conducive to this method of getting inside. If the door is also locked via deadbolt, this method may not be possible. Consider reaching out to a professional for help in this case.
To open the door, slide the card in between the door and the frame and keep your other hand on the knob/handle. You may have to press on the door with the hand holding the knob to create extra space between the door and frame, allowing the card to fit.
With the card wedged between the door and the frame, angle the card parallel with the door and where the doorknob is. Feel around with the card inside the frame. You should feel the latch parallel to where the knob is. This may take a bit to find the right spot, but adjust the card to where you feel the resistance of the latch in the frame. Tilt the card towards the doorknob, to allow it to go further in the gap between the door and the frame. Then, bend the card the opposite way, allowing it to slip underneath the latch. More jiggling of the card may be required, while your other hand on the handle should be pulling or pushing the door. Apply pressure to the door/handle when you feel like there is some give from moving the card around, and hope that is opens. Don’t get discouraged, this can be challenging.
5. Remove the Doorknob
If you’re unable to open the door with the credit card method, you could attempt to remove the doorknob itself. Note that this will only work again if you don’t have a deadbolt engaged. And again, your front door may not have a handle that is so simply removed. If that’s the case, seek a professional. If you have neighbors nearby, ask for help and see if they have screwdrivers. Make sure you know what kind of screws are on your doorknob. You’ll most likely need both a flathead and a phillips screwdriver.
Many exterior door knobs don’t have exposed screws. In this case, you’ll have to find a small latch or way to remove the knob/plate from the door. Use the flathead screwdriver with some leverage to pry it off. Using the phillips screwdriver, remove any internal screws. If this all works out, you can move the knob out of the way and use your finger or the screwdriver to pull the latch. This may be a slower method but if done correctly, won’t cause any damage to your door.
You don’t have a card, you don’t have a way in, you don’t have any neighbors. You have no options. It’s time to call the locksmith. Costs for a locksmith vary depending on where you live and the extent of the services required. For an example, a locksmith company in Metro Manila Charge P1000.00 for a residential lockout service call, while a company in Cavite, Rizal Laguna charges P1500.00 for an emergency house opening fee.