Rekeying is the process of changing the inner workings of a lock so that a different key can open it. This can be done by a professional, or you can do it yourself using some basic tools. Keep reading to learn more about rekeying locks, including when it’s necessary and how to do it yourself.
How a lock works
Before rekeying a lock, it helps to understand how locks work. The type of lock found on most doorknobs and deadbolts is called a pin and tumbler lock. It contains a cylindrical plug that holds a series of pins and springs. The pins are of varying lengths to allow a specifically cut key shape to insert and turn the lock. For this to work, the length of the pins must match the depth of the grooves in the key.
How rekeying works
When you rekey a lock by yourself, you will need to purchase a rekey kit that is specific to your brand of doorknob, lever, or deadbolt.
You will receive several keys (often between three and six keys), all identically cut. A set of pins comes with the kit, numbered or color-coded to identify their positions in the plug.
The new keys correspond to the new pins. In most cases, all other pieces of the lock stay the same. A few simple tools are usually included with the kit.
Why rekey a lock
- You have locks in your home that require multiple keys. Lighten the load on your keychain and eliminate confusion by rekeying every lock to the same key. To do this, locks throughout your home need to be the same brand or have the same type of keyholes to rekey. Before calling your locksmith, you can test this out by trying your keys in the locks you want rekeyed to see if they have the same keyholes. If they slide right in, you’re good to rekey.
- You recently moved in and want to ensure you’re the only one with working keys. After moving into a new home, you don’t know who else has a key to your door. Ensure that just you and your family have access to your new home by having your doors rekeyed.
- You lost a key and are worried someone may find it and use it to access your home.
- You are changing concierge services, like housekeepers, babysitters, or pet sitters, who have a copy of your house key. Source: Angi
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