So, you are here because there is only one reasonable entrance to your dwelling without considering rappelling out of your back window. Your doorknob or deadbolt won’t disengage, despite every method you can think of to unlock them.
Whichever oneit is, your latch is probably at fault. Today I had a latch malfunction, and it was a big problem. I had to disassemble the whole knob to get to the latch and force it open. This was an extreme case.
Four days ago, I responded to a call for some women who were locked inside. They could have exited by using a coat hanger to pull their latch back. Of course, if your door is installed well you can’t fit anything in between the door and the door jam to manipulate the latch. You have to cross your fingers and hire a well-trained professional to install your locks and hope that all is well. Some precautions to keep in mind follow anyway:
Make sure if your lock starts malfunctioning to mess around with it while the door is open. If there is a problem, you want it to occur while you can still easily access both sides of the door. If the lock completely fails, better that it fails while the door is open so that you can still exit freely. The ladies I responded to thought that closing the door would fix the problem. Boy were they wrong! I could have had them out in fifteen minutes, but there was an AIDS awareness march going down the street near their condo so it took me an extra twenty minutes! I am not sure if they are now more aware of AIDS or not, but they certainly know not to shut the door if their lock is not functioning as expected!
The key to trying to get out when your lock is malfunctioning is to try to either manipulate the latch, or take the lock off the door, at which point you must also manipulate the latch. The latch is what keeps the door closed and moves from inside the door to the door jam. The lock only serves to move the latch back and forth.
Sometimes the lock manufacturer has funny ways of obscuring the bolts that hold the lock on. You may have to remove the interior knob via a spring loaded mechanism in the side of the knob, or a rose on the door. As the little Liebowski says, there are a lot of ins and a lot of outs. You just have to work at it. If you are like me, you have taken every single thing in your house apart already so you know how it is disassembled in times of need. Otherwise, you can spend the time figuring it out with wire, credit card or screw driver, rappel out the window, or call me. Good luck!