Locking doorknobs - can default settings be changed?
May 19, 2010 7:45 PM   Subscribe

My 8-yr-old house has Schlage doorknobs, of the type with a lock in the middle of the knob. When the lever in the middle of the knob is pushed and turned, door is locked. (Vertical position = unlocked, horizontal = locked) When you turn the knob, even if the door is locked, you can still get out (good for emergencies). Problem is, when you do that, the door does not unlock permanently. So visitors are sure to lock themselves out! In other words, it works like a hotel room door. Is there a way to change the default setting, such that even if you lock the knob, once you turn the knob to open the door the latch UNLOCKS? (I tried to find a picture online but cannot find one)
posted by Kentucky to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is no "default" setting. The internal design of the lockset allows for only this condition. In essence, there are three flavors of locks. One flavor allows you to set the lock and when you turn the knob the button pops out automatically unlocking the knob. One flavor won't let you open the door unless you unlock the knob. The third flavor is what you have. If you want the option you describe above, you need to buy and install knobs that have the pop out feature. I am not aware of a Schlage lockset that does this, but there may be one. Kwikset does make one IIRC. Go to a big box "hardware" store or your local locksmith and discuss the problem.
posted by Old Geezer at 8:07 PM on May 19, 2010

I used to work at a hardware store and I played around with a lot of locks. I don't know of any that have settings like that. They only behave one way.

So I'm pretty sure you need a new doorknob.
posted by twblalock at 8:08 PM on May 19, 2010

If you push the button in while its in the vertical, unlocked position, but don't turn it does it stay in? The locks at my studio are like that. It took me a while to remember that I had to turn the button and actually left the door unlocked a few times.
Short version: they do exist, don't know if Schlage makes them.
posted by gally99 at 9:37 PM on May 19, 2010

More expensive/older locks have these features- but almost always, your "staying locked" condition isn't the default. You have to do something extra (as gally99 says) to make it stay locked as yours are doing.

Failing that, head to Menard's and find a door lock with a button instead of the little up/sideways handle. If you are lucky, the internal design of the locks are the same and you can just replace the inside knob so you don't have to play around with re-keying. If you aren't, you would have to replace the whole setup. (There is a keycode somewhere on the box- get the same keycode and all the new locks will work with the same key.)

If you are super crafty, you can take apart the inside handle and see if there is a way you could bend/file/cut something in there that would change its behavior.
posted by gjc at 4:56 AM on May 20, 2010

>> ... it works like a hotel room door.

Give your guests keys and tell them it works like a hotel. The door will lock behind them and they need to carry the key.
posted by Bruce H. at 8:09 AM on May 20, 2010

If there's a great place you could store an emergency key. that might help. Some ideas - the next door neighbor, taped to the bottom of a flower pot (people will look under stuff, but not look on the bottom of stuff), fake rock in neighbor's yard (w/ permission), in an Altoids tin, well buried in the geranium pot, in a magnetic case, stuck to the bottom of the bbq grill, etc. Or get a key lockbox that uses a combination. Only tell them about it if they get locked out.
posted by theora55 at 1:46 PM on May 20, 2010

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