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New Homeowners: How to Change Your Locks

Changing the locks on a new home is a wise decision for safety and security. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change door locks:

Tools and Supplies:

  • New lockset or deadbolt kit (available at home improvement stores)
  • Screwdriver (usually Phillips head, but check your lockset for specifics)
  • Optional: a chisel, hammer, and drill (in case adjustments to the door are necessary)


  1. Purchase the Right Lock: Make sure the new lockset or deadbolt you buy is suitable for your door (e.g., the right size, type, and design). Some locks are labeled as “easy-install” or “rekeyable” which can offer more convenience.
  2. Open the Door: To make the process easier, ensure that the door is open so you can easily access both sides.
  3. Remove the Existing Lock:
    • Begin with the interior side. Remove the screws from the doorknob or handle. Typically, there are two screws holding it in place.
    • Pull both the interior and exterior knobs or handles apart and out of the door.
    • Remove the latch mechanism by taking out the screws from the door edge. Once the screws are removed, the latch should slide out.
    • If there’s a separate deadbolt, repeat the process for the deadbolt.
  4. Install the New Latch:
    • Insert the new latch into the hole, ensuring the curved side of the latch bolt faces the direction in which the door closes.
    • Secure the latch with screws.
    • If your door requires a bigger hole or different placement, you might need a chisel and hammer to adjust the door.
  5. Install the New Doorknob or Handle
    • For most locksets, you’ll start by feeding the exterior side (the side with the keyhole) through the latch mechanism’s hole.
    • Align the spindle (the connecting piece) with the slot in the latch mechanism.
    • Place the interior side of the knob or handle onto the spindle. Make sure any screw holes or other fastening mechanisms line up.
    • Tighten the screws on the interior side, ensuring the knob/handle is secure.
  6. Test the Lock: Before you close the door, test the locking mechanism several times to ensure smooth operation. This helps to confirm that you’ve installed everything correctly and it’s functioning as it should.
  7. Install the Deadbolt (if applicable): If you’re also installing a deadbolt, repeat a similar process. Ensure that when the deadbolt is locked, it fully extends into the doorjamb hole. If it doesn’t, you might need to adjust the size or positioning of the hole in the doorjamb.
  8. Clean Up: Make sure to gather any old pieces, screws, or packaging and discard or recycle them properly.

Remember, if you’re ever uncertain or uncomfortable with any step, or if adjustments to the door are needed, it might be best to consult with or hire a professional locksmith or handyman. They can ensure the lock is installed securely and correctly.

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