Keys wisdom - How not to get locked out of your apt?
It's 9:30 pm, I'm at my friend's place watching game 1 on the NBA final's series when his phone beeps twice to let him know he got an emergency call. "a lockout? now? yeah right..." he gives up on the opportunity to make some extra cash and forwards the call to another locksmith. By the end of the game - he forwarded about 4 emergency calls like that. An average night as an emergency locksmith in Manhattan.
Talking to friends and gathering some information led me to realize that on an average day in NYC there are around 70-80 apartment lockouts because people either locked themselves out, lost or forgot the keys somewhere or just thanks to a lock-gone-bad.
A quick calculation: 70 lockouts at $200 average per job (Most jobs end up higher than this thanks to rip off locksmiths) that's $14,000 a day, multiply it by 30 and you get $420,000 spent on lockouts a month, and over $5,000,000 a year!!! That's crazy.
So why so many people get locked out and how can you avoid it? Obviously some people tend to be more forgetful of things, I met a guy that has locked himself out 4 times in the past 2 years (since he came to NY), But that doesn't change the fact that you can find ways to avoid these unfortunate circumstances.
Let's first review the main causes of Apt lockouts:
1. Slamming the door behind you and forgetting the keys inside!
2. Loosing or forgetting your keys somewhere
3. Your lock just stops working and wont open the door.
These 3 common scenarios are very familiar to every locksmith, and the funny thing is you can avoid or at the least minimize the chances for them to happen by taking very simple measures... So let's go over MY 5 ADVISES ON HOW NOT TO GET LOCKED OUT:
1. Cancel your lock's Autolock - Most of NYC apartment locks have the autolock function (or: slam-lock) that basically locks the knob/lever behind you when you slam the door shut. Some people use it because they are too lazy to lock the door behind them when they leave and some people simply don't know you can turn it off!. So my advice to you you - turn it off! Get use to locking the door behind you using your keys - that way you will never get locked out and as a bonus your apartment will be safer because the bolt is extracted and not only the latch!
2. Have a spare key somewhere - At a friend's place, a neighbor, your favorite coffee shop - i'm sure there's someone you can trust with having a copy of your key. This way even if you loose your keys you wont get stuck out for hours or paying a fortune to get back inside!
3. When your lock starts to get funny - it's time to call a locksmith! believe me it will be way cheaper and more convenient to change a cylinder or fix a lock than to get locked out... Be smart about it, just like with your car - if you hear weird noises from the breaks - won't you take it to the shop?
4. Oil your lock once in a blue moon - Locks love oil and in a city where the weather goes from one extreme to the other it's ever more useful to have a can of wd40 at home. so every few months spray some oil inside the cylinder, on your bolt and everywhere else you think the oil can get inside the lock.
5. STOP GETTING DRUNK AND LOSE YOUR KEYS! If you would only know how many late night lockouts we have because people get wasted and just loose their stuff somewhere... Be smart and be responsible!
So you see, it's not too hard - just common sense and some good practice. And if after all of this you are still locked out for whatever reason it might be... Give us a call and we'll be happy to help you back in. Just not during an NBA finals game!