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When you purchase a new home, you are never quite sure who has access to it with the current key set. The previous owners may have given their Aunt Sally a key and forgotten about it, and that is a best-case scenario. Security in your new home should be a top priority since it is usually the single most expensive purchase you make in your life. Accounting for all keys allowing access to your home is called key control. The best practice is to change all the locks on your exterior doors when you first move in.

To do so, you’ll need a few supplies. First, purchase new locks from a hardware store. Look for locks that have matching codes or labeled ‘keyed alike’ so that you only need one key for all the exterior doors to your new home. It’s recommended to purchase new locks from the same make, model, and manufacturer to ensure that the fit is correct. If necessary, hardware stores can re-key lock sets when you purchase them.

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Next, take measurements of your doors and of the locks themselves with a measuring tape. There’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing a bunch of new locks and finding that they don’t fit your doors. You will also need a screwdriver with the appropriate head on it. Some screw sets require a flat head and others require a Phillips head. Deadbolts may require both.

How to Change the Locks

Step 1

Remove the old hardware. Start on the interior side of the door and remove the deadbolt and the turn plate. Then, open the door so that you can remove the rest of the hardware from the area along the narrow part of the door that latches against the doorjamb.

Step 2

Insert the new deadbolt hardware. The new hardware should have a label that indicates which side is ‘up.’ Use the mounting assembly kit to install the new hardware where the old one was. If you did not purchase the same make, model, and manufacturer, most locks and their hardware will be adjustable. As long as you took measurements, this step shouldn’t prove difficult.

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Step 3

Insert the new deadbolt lock. The new lock should have slots that fit both the locking/key part and the part that turns. Line them up and secure them with the mounting assembly kit provided.

Step 4

Test the new hardware. Always test your new lock and hardware to ensure the fit is proper and the lock is secure. Test the new equipment with both the key and the interior turner on the lock itself.

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