Smart locks can be a great investment to a house with may great benefits. You’ll never have to worry about being locked out of the house again! Also, you can grant access to your house even when you are not home, or if you don’t feel like getting off the couch.
If you are wondering, “Are Smart Locks Hard to Install?” Smart Locks can be easily installed with one tool, a Philips head screw driver. The process is straight-forward and very similar to installing a standard door lock. A Smart Lock can be installed in less than 30 minutes, including setting up the smart features.
Installing a dead bolt is a fairly straight-forward process. If you have ever installed one, you are probably good to go as far as the hardware portion is concerned, but I did want to dive in to deeper detail for those who need it. I’ll also cover setting up the “smart” part of the smart lock. First, here is a video showing you how to install a smart lock. You can judge for yourself how hard it is.
Tools to Install a Smart Lock
I mentioned already that a Philips head screw driver is the only tool you need, but there are three more tools you may need if you like to check things as you go along, or your hand isn’t strong enough to insert the dead bold portion of the lock.
- Flat Head Screw Driver
- Tape Measure
- Hammer and Wood Block
Flat Head Screw Driver
The flat head is used once the new dead bold assembly has been inserted to the door, but before installing the face plates.
The flat head screw driver can be used to open and close the physical dead bolt to make sure it lines up with the door jam properly.
If the dead bold does not properly line up, this step will save you the few minutes it takes to screw off and on the face plates.
The smart lock requires specific door dimensions in order for the lock to be properly aligned and to operate correctly.
If these measurements are off, the plastic gears inside the smart lock may break, causing the lock not to function correctly any more.
I personally think it easier to install the lock, and manually turn it to make sure everything lines up. If not, the measurements provided with the smart lock can then be used to fix the problem.
Hammer and Wood Block
There are times when the dead bolt assembly does not easily slide into the hole drilled in the door. If that is the case, you can hammer it into place.
To do this, place the wood block over the dead bolt and then hammer the piece of wood until the dead bolt is in place. This is done to prevent damage to the dead bold and to the door its self.
Things to Consider When Installing a Smart Lock
It may be against the law if you don’t own the home
If you don’t own the home, you probably shouldn’t be making this kind of modification. In fact, it is illegal to change locks in some states.
If it is legal in your state, be sure to check your lease agreement.
There may be a provision to the lease that prohibits a renter from changing the locks unless the landlord gives permission to do so and they get a key.
That said, there are some states, such as California and New Jersey, where renters can change the locks and not give landlords a key, unless specifically covered in the lease agreement.
Smart Locks must be able to communicate with your Smart Home
In order to use the smart features of a smart lock, such as remotely unlocking the house or having it unlock when you get within a certain range, it must be connected to your smart home network.
Smart locks use a variety of connection options. Most will connect using one of three common communication protocols: Bluetooth, Z-Wave or Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth is the most common, as this protocol uses low power, which in turn increases battery life. The downside is that Bluetooth has a low range.
Schalge, one of the smart lock manufacturers, overcomes this by having a wi-fi adapter that connects to the blue tooth of the lock and relays that to the wi-fi network in your house.
Just be sure to research how your smart lock connects to the outside world, and that it is capable of doing that from where you intend to install the lock.
Remember that not all your doors may have good wi-fi signal. I know in my house the signal by our back door is weak since I have our router towards the front of the house.
What if the Power Goes Out?
Hey, smart locks are smart. Smart locks are usually designed with these common issues in mind. Most smart locks have the good ole’ fashioned key hole, so you can use it as a standard lock if needed.
Additionally, the Bluetooth connectivity is powered by the batteries in the smart lock. That means it will still work with your smartphone when you are in range for the phone and lock to connect to each other.
Features to setup after the Smart Lock is Installed
Create Key Codes
You will want to create a key code for yourself and family members. Perhaps a second one if you have a kid that might share it with friends.
There is also an option to setup temporary key codes for visiting guests, cleaning services, dog walkers, repair services, and anyone else who might need to enter your house.
Set limitations for access for every entry code. Limitations can include days of the week and specific hours to ensure key code holders can only access your home during approved times.
It is possible to lock and unlock your home based on your location. Perimeter auto-locking can automatically lock your door if your smartphone’s location is detected outside of a designated perimeter from your home. It can also unlock your home if you come within a certain perimeter.
Receive alerts on your smartphone if someone tries to break in or tampers with the smart lock. You can also set it to automatically notify police or a home security service should this occur.
There are also options to receive alerts for when certain key codes are used. That provides the option to know when certain people came and left your house.
What is the cost to install a smart lock?
The cost to install a smart lock ranges from about $40 – $100 per lock. The cost may increase depending on requested smart features to setup. Smart features may include voice control, geo-fencing, additional key codes, and key code limitations, such as time of day.
Do Smart Lock Have Cameras?
There is one Smart Lock on the market that has a camera. It is called the Gate Smart Lock, produced by Gate Labs. Pairing a Ring camera or Nest Camera with a Smart Lock is an alternative option.