Rekeying Locks as an Alternative to Replacement
It seems like almost everyone has had to deal with a sticky lock at one time or another. For some people, this is merely an infrequent annoyance. For others, it’s a daily struggle to get into their own home. Although replacing your locks might be on your To-Do list, it never seems to get done. Maybe it’s the hassle of having to go pick out a new lockset that you like and which compliments your home’s exterior. Perhaps, you just don’t want to deal with doing it yourself or paying someone else to do it for you.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to replacing your entire lockset: Rekeying locks. Locksmiths offer this standard service as a way to gain all the benefits of a new lockset without the hassle or cost associated with full replacement.
Rekeying locksets can save you time and money. You can do it yourself or you can hire a professional locksmith to do the rekeying for you.
How Rekeying Locks Works
To understand how rekeying works, you need to understand a few important components of the lock. Namely, the pins and the key.
Every lock has what are called pins in it. The pins are housed in the cylindrical part of your lock; the part you insert your key into. When your key is put into the lock it aligns with pins inside the chamber and if the alignment is perfect, the key pushes the pins up allowing you to turn the key and unlock the door. That’s what those ridges on the edges of keys are for. The ridges are cut in such a way that they align perfectly only with the pins the lock came with or were rekeyed to match.
When you rekey a lock what you’re doing is changing the organization of the pins that are housed inside of the lock cylinder. After you do this, your old key won’t work anymore and a new one will be needed.
There are rekeying kits out on the market, which any handy do-it-yourselfer can figure out and use correctly to rekey his or her own locks. Of course, any qualified locksmith is going to be able to do this for you too.
When to Rekey and When to Replace
So, the big question is, when do you rekey and when do you replace locks? Rekeying locks can work in many cases, but locks can get worn out over time so it’s possible a complete replacement is necessary.
Rekeying is a good idea when:
• You move into a new home and want to change the locks just in case there’s an extra key out there somewhere that you don’t know about.
• You own rental properties. Many jurisdictions require that the locks be changed or rekeyed every time a tenant moves out.
• You’ve lost a key.
• You have many different locks on your property and want to consolidate keys.
Replacement is recommended when:
• Any part of the locking mechanism has been damaged.
• The lock is worn and/or rusted.
• You’ve had a break-in.
• The lock is routinely difficult to open or you’ve been locked out several times.
Ultimately, your best course of action may be to consult a locksmith and get their professional opinion about what to do.