Solve all your key problems

Problems with your key and getting in your home is one of the biggest problems for professional pet sitters. Follow these tips and key issues will vanish!

Four silver keys on keychain

The Key

Have a key storage lockbox and use it regularly.

Weather-proof your lockbox by keeping it away from water and use WD-40 to keep water out. Test your lockbox quarterly, at the least. If the key inside doesn’t work–congratulations!–you’ve found a problem. Get a new copy made at a hardware store, immediately. Test your new key before replacing it in your lockbox. Don’t forget to write down your lockbox combination.

Get the key for every lock.

Many door locks, especially in the older homes of historic Capitol Hill, are “decorative” and not in use. However, don’t depend on keeping a door, doorknob or bolt permanently unlocked because you don’t have the key. At some point–likely at the worst time–someone will accidentally set the lock. Replace it now.

Don’t hide-a-key.

A key placed anywhere but a key storage lockbox is a security threat to you and your home. A flower pot, mailbox, mat or windowsill is NOT a safe location for your key. Get a lockbox. If you’re concerned about lockbox security, Wirecutter has recommendations ( For a no-cost solution, move your lockbox to an inconspicuous (but still accessible) location, such as behind a bush or greenery. Just make sure to avoid poison oak or ivy!

Use key toppers if you have more than one key.

To avoid fumbling and fiddling with a ring of keys, make sure all keys are individually differentiated. Textured and colored key toppers are an inexpensive and effective way to mark each one. Keys are also available with decorative designs now, too.

The Locks

Lubricate your locks.

In our humid subtropical climate, it’s not uncommon for door locks to stick. Specialty lubricants including graphite and WD-40 can help keep your tumblers and key turning smoothly.

Check your door.

Does your wooden exterior door get especially persnickety in the summer? Wood is more prone to swelling in high temperatures, leading to tight seal between the door and door frame. Your carpenter or handyman can fix that. You’ll spend less time coaxing your door to open and close and you won’t have to worry about returning home to an unsecured door that failed to close.

Replace locks.

If lock problems persist, it may be time for a replacement. Though replacing a failing lock is mildly inconvenient, it’s much easier and expensive than a last-minute call to an emergency locksmith.

Make your next pet sitting visit starts out the right way by solving potential key issues in advance. Follow our recommendations and your pet sitter will thank you. Plus you’ll never get locked out again!

Call to action: Planning a vacation without your pets? Schedule your pet sitting visits now and have one less thing to worry about!

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