You are probably already aware of what it means to replace a lock. After all, it’s straightforward – you simply remove an old lock and replace it with a new one. However, if you’ve ever gone onto a locksmith website, you’ve probably come across a service called a “rekey.” Not everyone knows what this service is, or that it’s often a cheaper, simpler alternative to replacing a lock. In this post, we’ll discuss exactly what a rekey is and attempt to help you answer the question “should I replace or rekey my locks?”
What Is Rekeying?
First of all, let’s define what rekeying means. When a locksmith rekeys your locks, he goes in and moves around the internal parts of your lock, known as the pins. When you insert your key into the lock, the pins align in such a way that allows the key to unlock the door. When the locksmith changes the alignment of the pins, the old key will no longer work with the lock, thus requiring a new key. All copies of your old key become ineffectual.
Once your locks are rekeyed, whoever possessed a copy of your key will no longer be able to use it. This is beneficial if you’ve lost one or more keys, given out too many copies, or are simply worried about someone you don’t want having access to your key. Alternatively, if you’ve moved into a new previously owned home and don’t want to spend money on expensive new locks, a rekey may just do the trick.
However, is there any reason you may not want to rekey? Let’s look at the pros and cons or rekeying.
- Better access control – limits who has a copy of the key
- Cost effective – cheaper than new locks
- Fast & easy – is usually done in a few minutes
- Limited security compared to lock replacement – can’t upgrade to stronger locks
- Requires professional assistance – must be done by a locksmith
In summary, rekeying your locks can be great because it’s simple, fast, and cheaper than buying new locks. It also limits who has access to your house key. However, if your locks aren’t particularly secure or strong, rekeying them won’t make them any stronger. Additionally, a rekey must be completed by a professional locksmith. If you want a DIY option, rekeying isn’t it.
Now that we’ve talked about rekeying, let’s examine some of the pros and cons of replacing your locks.
- Improved security – you can upgrade to better locks
- Professional help not necessarily required – you may be able to install the locks yourself
- More expensive than rekeying – you must pay for parts and labor
So, replacing locks may be a better option for the DIY folks, as many locks can be purchased and installed by a homeowner with a few basic tools and skills (though we recommend always hiring a professional locksmith for a secure installation.) Also, replacing your locks allows you the option of upgrading and customizing your locks.
So, Should I Replace or Rekey My Locks?
Here are a few questions that will help you decide whether or not you should rekey or replace:
- Are you happy with your current locks?
- Have you lost or given out too many copies of your key?
- What is your budget?
The answers to these questions will help you understand what is the best path forward for you with your locks. Remember, if you’re in the Baltimore area and would like help with a rekey or a lock replacement, Star Locks is always there for you. Give us a call anytime.