People talk a lot about the importance of home defense, and there are many different opinions about the best methods of home defense. Some advocate gun ownership, others say the best home defense is a guard dog, and still others recommend high-tech security systems. However, before you begin worrying about any of that, you should know that protecting your home starts with having a good set of locks – a set that no one else has the keys too. That means making sure that you have a high quality lock, and it also means knowing when you need to replace that lock. You probably know that you should always change your locks after a break-in, but there are other times when you may not realize that you need new locks. Take a look at a few times when you definitely need to replace your home locks.
When You Move Into a New Home
Undoubtedly, your newly purchased home came with a lock, and it's probably a perfectly functional lock. The previous owners, or the builder, no doubt handed you the keys as soon as all of the paperwork was signed. So why do you need to change a perfectly good lock?
The truth is, you don't really know who else has a copy of your house keys. How do you know that the previous owners didn't give a spare key to one of the neighbors, or a family member or friend? How do you know that one of the members of the building crew doesn't have a spare? Just because they didn't mention it to you doesn't mean that there isn't a set of keys to your home out there somewhere, in the hands of a stranger. When you have the locks changed, you'll know for certain that no one unauthorized will have access to your home.
If you're an apartment dweller, your landlord will have to have a copy of your key. However, you should still ask your landlord to change the previous tenant's locks so no one other than you and your landlord will have a copy.
After a Bad Breakup
When you're in a serious relationship, it's not unusual to give each other a set of keys your respective homes. However, when the relationship ends, you will naturally ask for them back. However, it may be safer to just change your locks entirely. This is an especially good idea if the relationship ended with a lot of anger and hurt feelings, if the relationship was ever abusive at any point, or if your ex-partner refuses to return your keys.
On a similar note, you should also change your locks after asking a roommate to move out. Once again, this is a must if there is bad blood between you and your former roommate. Did you have to evict them? Was there a dispute about who owns what? If so, changing your locks is the best way to protect yourself. However, even if the split was friendly, you never know whether your roommate may have shared the key with someone you don't approve of. Having the locks changed is the only way to know for sure that you won't get any unwanted visitors.
After Losing Your Keys
Losing your keys and being locked out of your house is a pain, and you may have to call a locksmith just to get back into your house. While the locksmith is there, you might as well have them change your locks, because unless you locked your keys inside the house, you have no idea who might have them now.
You're at particular risk of a break-in if your keys were in a purse or briefcase that was lost or stolen. You may have had identifying information in the purse or briefcase that would lead a burglar straight to your door, with your house keys in hand. Even if you just lost the key ring, though, don't take a chance. You're safer in your home if those keys no longer open your door.
A professional locksmith usually charges a minimum fee between $40 and $100, plus $5 to $25 to re-key your lock, or $20 to $30 to install new locks. That's a small price to pay for security and peace of mind. Before you worry about more complicated security measures, make sure that you're the only one who can unlock your front door.
For more information, check out companies like Bob's Lock & Key.