When's the last time you've changed the locks on your doors? Whether you've just moved into an apartment or you've lived in your house for years, it's a good idea to get into the habit of changing your locks from time to time. It's hard to know how many keys could be floating around to your home. Sure, you could hire a locksmith, but why not save a little bit of money and try to do it yourself?
There are a few ways to approach this.
Change your handset
First you need to purchase a new handset. Check out the brand name on the ones you already have installed and be sure to buy new locks of the same brand. This way you can be sure that the locks will fit in your door.
Some handsets may have a cover on them. Remove the exterior knob and cover plate to access the screws attaching the knob to the door. The way to do this may vary based on the kind of handset that you have.
Remove the screws from the exterior of the knob and pull off the knob.
Unscrew the faceplate on the exterior of the door. If the new locks are similar to the old one, you should be able to use the same holes to attach the new faceplate.
Insert the new faceplate first. Wait to screw it in until after the new knob has been installed.
Put the body of the new doorknob into the hole where the old one used to be. Match it up with the other side. Make sure you have the key section on the exterior of the door.
Screw it into place and make sure it's centered and opens and closes properly. Make sure the door locks, the key works and the latch matches up with the plate in the door frame.
Change your deadbolt:
Generally, you don't need to replace both your handset and your deadbolt. You can pick one or the other and rekey the old lock to match the new one. But more of that later.
When you're buying a deadbolt, follow the same rules as before. Be sure to buy something that's the same brand as what you already have in your door. This will make the switch much easier.
Remove the two screws in the front of the deadbolt. Remove the two pieces that make up the deadbolt
Take the screws out of the side of the door, and remove the pin and face plate.
Install the new bolt. Match the screws up with the mechanism inside, and screw together. Expert Village recommends only hand-tightening the new screws — anything tighter will make the deadbolt very difficult to use.
Check the deadbolt by locking and unlocking it a couple of times to make sure it works.
Rekey the locks.
If you'd like your locks to match but don't feel like rekeying the deadbolt or handset yourself, you can take the locks and key down to a locksmith or hardware store. They will often be able to rekey the deadbolt and handset to match one another.
You can also buy a rekeying kit to rekey your own door. Each brand manufactures their own kit. You can get more information about do-it-yourself rekeying at The Family Handyman.
If you'd like added protection, add a chain door guard to secure the door when you're in the house.
If you're a renter, be sure to check with your landlord or property management company before changing your locks. Property owners need to be able to get into your property in case of emergency.