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Quick Tips

Is It Better to Rekey or Change Locks?

Whether you just moved into a new home or have been in the same house for a while, it might be a good time for you to look into changing your locks. But is rekeying a better option? Most home warranties cover at least one of these.

Keys in door locks

They say that one of the first things you should do when you move into a new home is change the locks. You never know who might have a key to your new front door. But do you need to spend the time and money to get a whole new set of locks installed? Would rekeying the old locks serve the same purpose?

Changing or rekeying your locks might be a good idea if you’ve lived in the same house for a while, too. But which is the best option? And does your American Home Shield® Home Warranty cover it? Read on to learn more.

When to Change a Lock

When you change a lock, you or a locksmith removes the old locking door hardware and replaces it with new hardware. You’ll have all new locks and all new keys, but changing your locks can be expensive and isn’t always necessary.

You should only change your locks if you want or need new ones because it’s generally more expensive than simply having your locks rekeyed. For example, if your locks are old and wearing out, changing them will be a better option than rekeying them. The same goes if you want to replace your locks with more modern, more secure or updated electronic locks. If all of the doors on your home have different brands of locks, and you want to be able to open them all with the same key, you may need to change them. If you’ve lost the key to a lock, changing it may be cheaper than rekeying it, although a locksmith may be able to rekey it without the key.

When to Rekey Locks

When you rekey your locks, you’re altering the lock mechanism so that the old key will no longer open it. Instead, a new key will be necessary. In many circumstances, rekeying your locks makes more sense than changing your locks. For example, if all of your locks are of the same brand or have the same type of keyhole but use different keys, you can have your locks rekeyed to operate from the same key.


If you’ve lost a copy of your old key, and you’re afraid someone will find it and access your home, you can rekey your locks so the old key doesn’t work anymore.

If you’ve moved into a new home for the first time, rekeying your locks can be an affordable way to guarantee that no one but you and your family has keys to your new home. You never know who may have obtained keys to your home from the previous homeowner and how many copies of those keys have been made.

How to Rekey a Lock

If you know the brand or keyhole style of your locks, you may be able to buy a lock rekeying kit from your local home hardware store. But, while most homeowners already have the tools they need to change locks, rekeying them can require special tools, and those can be expensive.

That’s why it’s easier for most homeowners to hire a locksmith to rekey their locks. If you don’t know what kind of locks you have, or if you have multiple brands of locks on your home, hiring a locksmith to rekey your home is the best option. If you try to rekey a lock yourself and fail, you could end up ruining it altogether.

Fortunately, if you have an American Home Shield® Home Warranty, rekeying service is available depending on your coverage plan. This is especially great when purchasing a new home. As an AHS customer, you simply submit a service request to have your locks rekeyed. For the cost of your normal trade service call fee, a locksmith will come to your new home and rekey up to six keyholes on functioning, non-electronic deadbolts and knobs on doors accessing your home’s structural walls. The contractor will supply you with up to four identical keys. You are, of course, free to make copies of these keys, should you need more.

Changing or rekeying your door locks is one of the most important things you can do to maintain the safety and security of your home, family and possessions. Don’t assume you’re the only one who has keys to your home – be sure of it. 

How to make a rekey service request with American Home Shield:

  • Make a service request online or call 800 776 4663
  • An AHS contractor will rekey up to six keyholes with four identical keys.
  • Pay the same service fee associated with your AHS Home Warranty Plan.

At AHS, helping buyers feel at home from the minute they walk in the door is one of the keys to our service excellence. 

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