To rekey, or not to rekey: that is a popular question in today’s booming residential real estate market. Whether ‘tis wiser to rekey exterior locks, or do nothing now in hopes of replacing them at a later date, is a decision new homeowners face when they get the keys to their new home at the closing. Strong arguments support rekeying as soon as possible.
Security, of course, is the first consideration. You can’t know how many copies of the keys the previous owners had made, or who still has one. For peace of mind, have the locks rekeyed, thereby rendering any previous keys obsolete.
Next would be the cost. It is less expensive to rekey a good lock than replace it, and it is just as secure. (Although inexpensive locks are available at big box stores, make sure you do not sacrifice the security of an existing lock with an easily compromised, cheaply made replacement.)
Third, it takes time to choose and order new door hardware, especially now when lead times for shipping building materials takes a minimum of three weeks, and up to three months for some products.
Rekeying Saves Money
Anderson Lock’s Service Manager, Jim Riddle, suggests scheduling a lock changing appointment for your new-to-you home before your move-in date, to be sure that a lock tech is available. We are usually not able to schedule residential service calls until a couple of days after a call comes in.
Jim also offers guidance for the phone call: “Be ready to answer a few questions.”
- Complete address of location where locks will be rekeyed.
- Contact information of person who will meet the lock tech at the location. Our lock techs always call before going to the job location. It is imperative that customers answer the call. If not, the tech will move on to his next job.
- Number of exterior locks to be rekeyed. Be sure to count front, side and back doors, sliding patio and garage doors, and any deadbolts.
- Brand(s) and descriptions of locks to be changed (knobs? levers? approximate age?)
- Do the lock mechanisms work well?
- Are the door and frame in good condition? (Any modifications to assure that the rekeyed lock will function correctly will take extra time, and cost extra for labor.)
- Number of keys required.
- Oftentimes, even if existing locks weren’t operated by a single key before, they can be rekeyed to match if they are all the same brand.
- Do you have a current key for every lock? If you don’t, that lock will have to be picked open, resulting in a longer service call.
- Be prepared to pay upon completion of the service call.
Because we are primarily a commercial / institutional / industrial lock service and sales provider, our locksmiths do rekeys every day and we tend to assume that everyone knows what it means to rekey a lock. In reality, we should know from daily phone conversations that everyone does not know what it means! So here is an explanation:
To rekey a lock, a lock tech gains access to the lock cylinder by removing the lock from the door. If you are able to do this yourself, and bring the lock into our showroom, you will save even more money by eliminating a service call. Our in-house lock techs can rekey a lock, or several locks, while you wait. [While it may be possible for a homeowner to learn how to rekey a cylinder, it is unlikely that anyone would have the locksmith tools, pins and expertise to do it.]
After the lock is removed from the door, the cylinder, the part the key fits into, needs to be removed from the lock. Next, new, colorful pins of various lengths and tiny springs need to be properly set to correspond to the new key’s cuts, or depths, assuring that the lock can’t be opened unless you have the right key.
Our blog reaches well beyond our service area, and we ship locks throughout the country, but our lock techs only do residential rekeys in nearby communities. If you live in our core area, give us a call at 847-824-2800.