You moved into a new home and wonder if you should rekey the locks or replace them altogether. At Star Locksmith Philadelphia, we would like to clear the air so that you know when to do each one. We will cover what one to do under most circumstances and when the other choice makes more sense.
Rekey Locks vs Replace: Who Wins?
We give a definite yes to rekey locks under most circumstances. Because key pins cost less than replacing the lock altogether, you can usually do it for less. Rekeying only costs for the labor. On the other hand, replacing the locks costs for labor and parts. Normally, it costs between $35 to $55 to rekey. On the other hand, when you go to replace locks, you may pay anywhere from $80 to $350, depending on the lock.
Most people choose to rekey locks when they don’t plan anything more with their security. They simply want to ensure that strangers can’t enter the home with a spare key.
You do have cases where the replacement of your locks will make more sense than rekeying. Older locks, for example, may see a benefit from an upgrade in security. They may have pins too old to rekey. You may also choose this option because you don’t like the security of the lock. ANSI Grade 3 only needs to withstand 200,000 lock cycles and two door strikes. That provides the lowest level of security, and it won’t keep you safe. Upgrading, in that case, eliminates the risk to you and your family’s wellbeing.
For most homeowners, we would advise them to buy an ANSI Grade 2. Most residencies don’t require the additional cost of a Grade 3 lock. Not only that, but if a burglar wants into your home, a lock will only slow him down. He may choose other access points that you need to guard with equal security.
Philadelphia experiences frequent weather fluctuations that can wear away at the finish of your locks. For that reason, we would advise you to buy a lock with a Grade A finish to hold up against the elements.
You may want to rekey locks when you handed out a spare key to an estranged family member or friend so that they can’t access the home later. Rekeying makes sense in the case of moving into a new home because you never know who had access to the home before. With new homes, all the construction workers may have had keys to the home. It makes sense in every case to at least have it rekeyed to prevent someone from breaking in. Even if they say that they rekeyed the lock, you want to guarantee it.
Before you rekey a lock, check with the locksmith to see how much it costs to replace. In some cases, you may pay as much to replace a lock as you do to rekey it. Under those circumstances, replacing it makes sense in every case. Rarely will this happen, but you may want to check first.
Check your homeowner’s warranty because some plans offer rekey coverage. Be aware of the terms and conditions before signing up. You can also negotiate this as part of the deal when buying a new home. Keep in mind, home warranties can’t replace home insurance.
Rekey: Often More Than One Door
You may want to rekey because it saves money. Many times, homes will include two or more doors. You need to rekey multiple doors, which would cost you a lot to replace all the locks. Keep in mind, your home security will only do as well as your weakest lock. For that reason, you might rekey the stronger exterior doors while replacing the locks on the weaker doors for better ones. This keeps your cost down. You shouldn’t need to do this with apartments because the landlord has a legal obligation to rekey your apartment.
You may wonder if rekeying will hurt the security camera, but it does the same thing as replacing a lock. However, you only take out the key pins to make it so that other spare keys can’t open the lock. What rekeying won’t do is it won’t upgrade your lock security. If you already dislike the security on your door, you won’t improve it by rekeying the lock. You need to buy a new lock. Another thing is if you decide to buy a new lock, you will want a locksmith to ensure that you have a solid door frame. Your door will only be as strong as the frame. Many homeowners who want additional security will reinforce the frame with concrete. This solidifies the frame to give you extra security. Even replacing 1/2-inch screws with 3 1/2-inch screws will provide you with extra security because intruders will struggle more to kick open a door.
In most cases, we advise homeowners to rekey the locks because it costs less while accomplishing the same. Provided your current lock offers enough security, you shouldn’t have to replace locks altogether. In fact, you can simply rekey the lock and reinforce the door frame if security concerns you. Locksmiths can also, along with changing the locks of the home, conduct a security analysis. This will pinpoint the weak points of the home where a burglar may attempt to gain entrance. Reinforcing the front door while leaving everything else open is one of the biggest mistakes that we see homeowners make.
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