Did you know that you can get all the locks in your house or business working off of one key, often without replacing the whole lock? Every lock with a key has a cylinder and often that cylinder can be replaced without having to replace the handles, trim or grip set. This process is called rekeying. Even if you have different brands of locks on your different doors, it may be possible to rekey them with a different cylinder but keep the same shell so the door doesn’t look any different. This essentially makes all the cylinders in your doors the same brand without affecting the other pieces.
How can you tell what brands your locks are and if they could be rekeyed to the same key. Sometimes the lock brand is laser engraved on latch, door jamb (side of the door where the lock and door frame meet). There are white label locks where you won’t be able to determine the brand. The best way therefore is to look at the shape of the key. Original (not copies) keys from a lock will often say the brand on them, but if you have a copy of the key it will often have no brand name. If the shape of the ‘bow’ of the key (the part that you hold) is the same for your different locks, there is a good chance your locks could be rekeyed to use just one key.
We can change the pins inside the cylinder, making a different key work that lock. This is a common task when people move into a new home and want to ensure that no old keys out there could be used to open the doors.
If carrying any keys is too many for you, you may want to consider switching to an electronic lock, one that uses a code, for example, instead of a physical key. Code locked doors can be programmed to have the same number and many can have several different working combinations that can open the door. This can be valuable if you need to temporarily give someone access to your home or business (eg. pet sitter). After you return, you can easily disable that code, preventing that code from working in the future.
Many people don’t like the hassle of carrying multiple keys or the idea that existing keys to their locks may be out there, so getting your lock rekeyed or replacing it with an electronic lock can solve both of these problems.