Save Money By Changing Your Own Locks

Our new smart lock
For a while now, I've been price watching a smart lock. I figured a smart lock will make our lives easier. Not only will we no longer need keys, but we can also create entry codes for neighbours, family members, and for baby girl when she gets old enough to come and go without having to worry about her forgetting or even losing her key.

I didn't start thinking about a keypad lock until a couple years ago when I was escorting a neighbour's kid back to his house. This kid used to love coming to our house to play. No idea why. I guess it's because his dad and mom were hardly around to play with. Lego, video games, iPad, my old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the 90s, our house was like a nirvana for this kid. Anyway, we walked the few houses down the street and when he got to his door, he punched in the code and entered his house.

At that point, I was thinking, Wow, that's handy!.

This boy, he was only 4 years old. He just needed to remember the 8 digit passcode to enter the house.

I looked into a lock at the time, but I figured, it wasn't really worth the hassle of changing the locks in the house. I mean, not only would we need to change the locks, but we'd need to rekey the lock at the backdoor to match the lock in the front so we don't need to carry two keys right? Oh, the horror!

Rekeying the lock, surely meant hiring a locksmith, right? At least that's what I thought.

Who would have thought rekeying a lock actually takes 15 minutes?

Me. That's who.

You see, 6 years ago when we moved into the house, we hired a locksmith to change our deadbolts and provide us 4 keys. In total, we were quoted $276 for that service. After taxes we paid the locksmith $311.88 for 1 hour of work.

Looking back, I didn't think changing the locks was something that people could do on their own. I thought something like rekeying a deadbolt was something that needed years of training to complete.

Boy, was I naive.

It wasn't until I started looking into smart locks last November that I realized rekeying is something I can do on my own.

So anyway, I formulated a plan. I would wait until the smart lock went on sale from the $229 price tag and go from there.

Well, last weekend, the price of the smart lock I had my eye on fell to $147 at Home Depot!

Wow. Usually, there's a catch. Something like the model is different or the finish is the wrong kind. However, when I reread the flyer ad, the model was the exact one I was waiting for and the finish was the exact kind I wanted. Uncanny.

I would say I purchased it without hesitation, but I thought about it for a day. I wanted to see if Amazon would match the price and I wanted to run the plan by wifey first. She thought it was a great idea. Amazon didn't match the price, so I purchased the lock online and picked it up in store.

I was worried installation would be troublesome. In a way, it was. Turns out baby girl was capable of reaching up over a table to grab the screws or instructions or anything she could get her hands on, so I had to move everything to the kitchen table first and walk back and forth between the kitchen and the foyer. I'd read the instructions and grab a part and go to the front, only to find I needed to make a configuration change to the lock so I walked back to the kitchen. After 1 hour, the smart lock was installed and paired to the SmartThings hub. I created the codes for the lock and took the (only) key provided to Home Depot for cutting 4 additional keys.

Now we had two different keys. One for the front door (in case the batteries died on the smart lock) and one for the back door. While it wasn't too hard to differentiate the keys, we also didn't want to be holding two separate keys.

Fortunately, Amazon had the deadbolts I had been eyeing on sale. So I purchased one along with a rekeying kit. I was worried rekeying would be difficult, but the reviews online indicated that it was a piece of cake as long as you followed the instructions.

The deadbolt and rekeying kit arrived the next day (we don't have Amazon Prime, but Amazon is fast with their deliveries during off-peak seasons) and after reading through the instructions once, rekeying the deadbolt took half an hour. I mentioned it took 15 minutes above, but really, with all the instruction reading and double checking, I took my time and finished rekeying and installing the deadbolt in 30 minutes. If I knew what I was doing, I would be able to rekey the deadbolt and install in 15 minutes like the locksmiths in the YouTube videos.

After checking to ensure all 5 keys turned the newly rekeyed deadbolt, we were good to go.

So how much did the new smart lock, deadbolt, and 4 copied keys cost the Loonie IT household?

Would you believe $255.08?

Wow. Compared to 6 years ago, that's $50 in labour for one hour of work. However, we purchased a fancy smart lock and a deadbolt and not two deadbolts. So assuming the two deadbolts were the same price as the deadbolt we purchased on Amazon, around $40, and the 4 keys that were provided were the same price as the 4 we copied at Home Depot, around $20, that's $176 (+ tax) for one hour of labour!

However, the deadbolts we purchased 6 years ago don't appear to be as high quality as the one I purchased from Amazon, so that $176/hour figure for labour could be even higher.

I should start a locksmith company.

In short, if you're looking to change your locks at home, you don't need to hire a locksmith. If you can watch videos on YouTube and are capable of reading instructions thoroughly, you can save some money and change the locks in your home for considerably less.


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