What to Do (and Not Do) if You’re Locked Out of the House
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Home Security

What to Do (and Not Do) if You’re Locked Out of the House

By Ring on November 2, 2023

You’re on autopilot at the front door, reaching into your pocket to grab your keys, and it takes a few seconds for you to realize they’re not there. After rifling through your other pockets and bags, retracing your steps to see if you dropped your key, and desperately jiggling the doorknob, it’s clear that you’re locked out. So, now what?

Here are some recommended methods that can be safe for you and your home — and a few to avoid.

Steps to Take if You’re Locked Out

These simple steps can help you get back inside without causing any damage:

Check All Doors

First things first: Check the back door or any other doors you may have accidentally left unlocked. You may get lucky and be able to walk in without enlisting any extra help.

If you have a Ring Alarm security system that’s currently in “Away” mode and a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, be sure to disarm your system from the Ring App, so you don’t trigger a Contact Sensor.1

Call a Family Member, Roommate, or Landlord

Once you’ve determined that every door is locked, it’s time to ask for help. Call up anyone who lives with you and see if they have a key you can come pick up. If you live in an apartment or rental home, you can also call your landlord, who should have a spare key handy for these situations.

Some people also leave spare keys with their neighbors, so they’re safely locked away while remaining accessible. If you thought ahead and stowed a spare next door, see if your neighbor is home to lend a hand or text to see if they’re nearby.

Bring in a Locksmith

After you’ve exhausted your other options, it’s time to call a locksmith to pick your lock professionally. Experienced professionals have specialized tools to open your door without damaging the locking mechanism. And if they do have to cause damage to get inside, they can replace your lock immediately to help ensure your home stays secure. While the locksmith will charge a fee, it’s a foolproof way to solve your problem.

What You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Locked Out

In times of desperation, you may be willing to try just about anything to get inside your home, but some methods just aren’t worth the risk. Here are some things you shouldn’t do:

Pick Your Lock

Picking a lock may seem easy in the movies, but in reality, using paperclips or bobby pins isn’t so successful — and you may even cause irreversible damage in the process. DIY lockpicking tools can wear down the springs or break and leave pieces inside the lock, which will require a locksmith to fix. Even if you’ve watched several YouTube tutorials and feel confident in your abilities, it’s best to let a professional handle the lock to reduce the risk of damage.

Climb Through a Window

If you can't find an unlocked door, you may be tempted to check your windows. But climbing through a window isn't as straightforward as it seems. Doing so requires pulling out or cutting the screen, finding enough leverage to push the window open, and climbing up and over the sill. If the window is high off the ground, you'll have to do all this while also balancing on something else. Once you’re over the sill, you may have to jump down several feet to reach the floor. Risking a twisted ankle isn't worth it when you can call a family member or locksmith to help you get inside safely.

Break a Window or Door

Embracing your inner action movie star may be enticing when you’re eager to get inside, but breaking down a door is substantially more difficult (and dangerous) than it looks on screen. Shattering a window may seem like the easier option, but it also puts your safety at risk — and could even attract attention from good Samaritans who mistake you for an intruder. It's also likely that replacing a door or window will cost more than a locksmith visit, and until you can find a contractor to patch up the damage, you won’t be able to secure your home.

Prevent Future Lockouts With a Smart Lock

Even though there are plenty of safe ways to get back inside, getting locked out isn’t an experience you’ll want to repeat — and with a wifi-compatible smart lock or deadbolt, you won’t have to. Instead, you can use your phone, a code, or even the touch of your finger to unlock the door. That means you can get rid of keys altogether, and you won’t have to rely on neighbors, friends, or your local locksmith to get inside.

When you protect your home with Ring, you can easily control all of your smart security devices in one place. We offer several compatible smart locks you can control from the Ring App, allowing you to see who’s at the door and unlock it from Live View. With a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you can also connect a smart lock with Ring Alarm to create guest codes, lock your door, and see your lock's status in the Ring app.1

Explore our compatible smart lock options today to see how you can prevent future lockouts and simplify smart security around your home.

1 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for in-app features and digital notifications, including digital arming / disarming and integration with other Ring, Echo, Alexa, and third party products. Subscription sold separately. View ring.com/protect-plans for pricing and details.

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