The doorknob locks and deadbolts on doors are designed to make it difficult to enter a home without a key. You already know that you should be selective when it comes to who you give a spare copy of your house key to, as well as where you stash an extra, but there are times when changing your locks is necessary to maintain the integrity of your home and keep you safe.
When you move into a new home, changing your locks will greatly decrease the risk that people who had keys before will gain access to your house. The previous homeowners may have passed their key out to people who are no longer in their lives and don't know that they've moved, which means these strangers could potentially come into your home. If you're renting your home, speak with the landlord about having the locks changes.
When You Lose Your Key
Unless the person who finds your missing key knows that it belongs to your house, it's not too likely that this poses a danger. However, your key might have been stolen rather than misplaced, so it's best to err on the side of caution and have your locks changed.
When Their Function is Compromised
If your doorknob lock or deadbolt become difficult to unlock with your key, it's time to replace them with newer models. When locks get progressively more challenging to turn, it means that they aren't working as they're supposed to, which means that simply engaging the locks doesn't mean you're safe as you think you are. This also cuts down on the chances that your key will fail, leaving you locked out of your home.
After a Break In
If you've experienced a break in, it's essential to have your locks changed. The burglars might have no plans to return to your house, but they might have lifted a spare key you left, which means that they could come back if they wanted to. Avoid this possibility by getting new locks immediately.
When Someone Moves Out
If your roommate or partner moves out and there is conflict over the situation, changing your locks can give you extra peace of mind. Once the person has cleared out, change the locks so they are no longer free to come and go as they please.
If you don't want to go to the expense of replacing your entire doorknob and deadbolt system, having the locks rekeyed is another option. Ultimately, this accomplishes the same goal as swapping out the locks because it means that someone without a copy of the new key won't be able to gain access.