Should you change your locks when moving in?
It’s always exciting to receive the keys to your new home, but you need to ask yourself whether they’re the only keys to the house?
For the most part, your former homeowner will hand your lawyer all the keys they have in their possession after you close your deal. What remains unknown is if the previous homeowner has given keys to caregivers, family members, neighbours or cleaning companies that may still be out there. In fact, most home insurance companies often frown on folks who don’t change the locks to their new home once they move in. If a claim is made, insurance companies will typically want to see signs of forcible entry to ensure that homeowner neglect was not the underlying cause.
If you bought your house new from a builder, your key gets typically loaned by the construction office to dozens of tradespeople and administrative workers who required access to your new home during construction.
For piece of mind, the best and most economical option for new homeowners is to rekey all the locks in your new home.
Rekeying should not be confused with replacing a lock. In most cases, you don’t need to replace the locks in your new home to lock out the previous key. A professional locksmith simply disassembles the lock cylinder (which is the area that accepts the key). They discards the old pins, and replace them with ones that fit your new key. This is an inexpensive procedure, and it usually only takes a few minutes to change several locks.
Typically, locks that were installed within the last few years, can be rekeyed, but it still depends on the type of lock. If your locks cannot be rekeyed, they may need to be replaced. A professional locksmith is typically a good option because he or she will point you in the right direction, point out any lock deficiencies you may have, and make sure the work gets done correctly. While installing new locks yourself is definitely possible if you are handy, locksmiths are typically affordable and can get the work done within an hour.
Remote garage door openers can also be an inherited security risk to new homeowners. Changing the frequency code on your remote door openers is as important as changing the keys to your home. Remotes are often loaned to tradesmen, gardeners and other family members. Unfortunately, when you purchase your new home, there’s no way of telling how many remotes operate your overhead garage door.
Changing the frequency codes on your garage door opener is a relatively simple procedure for most garage door openers. Often the instructions on how to do the change are listed on the opener itself (located near your garage ceiling). If you can’t find the instructions, you should be able to Google the manufacturer’s name and download the operating manual.
If your new home has an overhead garage door digital keypad, which is used to open and close the door from the outside, don’t forget to reprogram those units as well. These units are usually found on the outside of the garage door, and changing the code on is no more difficult than changing a remote control unit. Often the instructions on how to change the entry code are printed on the inside of the keypad lid.