A good locksmith will tell you whether you simply need to rekey your locks or if they should be replaced. Many clients aren’t even aware that there is an option or which is best for them.
In rekeying a lock, the locksmith removes the pins and springs in the lock cylinder and replaces them with new pins and springs that work with a new and different key. Unless a lock is malfunctioning or a totally different style is desired, many locks can be rekeyed and kept in service, operating as well or better than ever.
The most common reason to rekey the locks is to maintain key control when there is a change in possession of a property. Key control simply means accounting for all keys made to operate the locks. Once keys are loaned out, key control is lost. Obviously, with a previously owned home, you don’t know who may have had access to the keys. In new homes, contractors have had access to the keys.
In many single-builder communities, locks are construction master keyed. While the use of the homeowner’s key may prevent the future use of the contractor’s key, there are often master pins left in the lock. Each master pin doubles the number of keys that will operate the lock. In many instances, as many as 16 different keys would operate a single home’s locks. Rekeying would remove these master pins and eliminate the possibility of another key operating the locks.