New maintenance issue

I’ve been tending to my own household about 40 years. I’ve never had a door knob/lever malfunction in this way until this week. An Airbnb guest arrived and I greeted them. A few minutes later they notified me that they couldn’t get into the Airbnb room. I went out to help them and found this:

The lever was broken and hanging loosely. The door could not be opened from the outside so I had to enter the room and the lever operated normally from the inside. I offered to install a new knob but the couple didn’t really want to be bothered. One went out for carry out dinner while the other stayed in the room to let them back in. I offered them a couple of cold beers or a chilled bottle of Pinot for their trouble. Of course they took the bottle of Pinot, didn’t drink it, just took it with them and will probably re-gift it. LOL. Lose-lose for me. I replaced it with a non-locking knob. I’ve had guests lock themselves out with a locking lever so I replaced with non-locking lever. This was a cheap generic lever and may have broken on it’s own or it could have been pushed down with excessive force by this guest. They had a lot of stuff and he was a big tall guy. The leverage one can get on an a lever exceeds anything that could be exerted on a knob and this could happen again. But I have no way of knowing.

Lucky I was home and could fix this right away. It would have been a great deal less convenient had I been away from the house or out of town.

I learned two things from this:

  1. No levers for the guest room, only knobs. Yes I know levers are easier for older people, people with their hands full, people with limited dexterity. But that’s not as important as having something that won’t break.

  2. Thoughts of building a wall between the guest room and my space ended. I need to have a second egress into the room, I don’t want to have to break in through a window in case of emergency.


Have had a lever since we started, 3 years now, no failure. We have also had knobs fail in our main house. So I don’t think you can generalize.

By most fire codes, you must have two exits. First floor windows MAY qualify, but I’d find out for sure. Big liability if you “guess” wrong… (backup entrance for situations like this also)

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Interesting thing is I just purchased 4 lever smart locks with fingerprint readers in the Amazon Prime day deals. I had purchased one through eBay recently and installed it on my bedroom door to test it out. I had a month long guest in the private bedroom so wanted to have something on the office door as well and I put my extra turbo lock there.

I could be wrong about the lever and it was a cheaper generic lever, not a brand like Kwikset or Schlage. What I am not wrong about is that a person can exert significantly more leverage on a lever to break the mechanism than they can with a knob.

I just rent a bedroom with attached bathroom. Interesting as 99% of bedrooms I’ve ever seen only have one exit door.

My Airbnb room has two exit doors but one is into my home and is locked. It also has a first floor window.

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I replaced every single knob and lock in my home about 6 years ago. I bought all keyed the same but a generic brand on Amazon. I had some levers and some knobs. I like the looks and function of the lever but the other problem I ran into is that dogs, especially Melvin the Italian greyhound, can operate levers much more easily than knobs. So until I can no longer operate knobs I’ll be sticking with them.

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DEFINITELY! I had exactly that problem with this guy. From the glass front door he’d see coyote on the hills across the street and would go crazy, jump on the lever, open the door, and then similarly maneuver the front gate lever. The only saving grace was that, fortunately, he wasn’t as dexterous with the deadbolt!



Our lower-cabinet hardware in my house is long vertical bars. Our cats have figured out how to use their paws to open the cabinets and investigate what we have there! Couldn’t do that with knobs…