While smart locks are a great way to provide remote access to your home, it's a total pain when you end up needing to replace their batteries every few weeks.
A Kwikset smart locks battery life is impacted by numerous factors and identifying the source of increased battery drain can be tricky. In this article, I explore various ways to troubleshoot this problem.
During my research, I reached out to Kwikset support while also reviewing product documentation for the following models: Premis, Home Connect, Obsidian, Kevo Convert, Aura, Halo, Halo Touch, Kevo, and the SmartCode Signature, Kwikset, and International Series (e.g., 260, 888, 911, 912, 913, 955).
You'll find links to the product documentation in the sources section at the end of the article.
1. Use new, non-rechargeable alkaline batteries designed for optimal performance.
When it comes to powering your Kwikset smart lock, using new, non-rechargeable alkaline batteries is crucial to ensure long battery life.
These locks are designed to provide optimal performance for over a year when used with the recommended alkaline batteries when operated on average 10 times per day.
Don't use lithium, NiMH rechargeable, or expired batteries, as they can cause inconsistent power output and ultimately harm your smart lock's components.
Lithium and rechargeable batteries often deliver a higher initial voltage, which may drop over time, affecting lock performance.
Expired batteries, on the other hand, may leak or provide insufficient power, causing erratic functionality.
2. Check for defective hardware, like faulty motors or wireless radios.
Short battery life in your Kwikset Smart Lock might signal defective hardware. For instance, if your batteries die within a day, a faulty motor may be causing the problem, and you should replace the smart lock unit.
On the other hand, if the batteries drain within a week, it's time to run a keypad error test (For models with a physical keypad). To do this, insert new batteries and flip switch #3 to ON to enable audio. Test each button on the keypad and listen for a beep. If any button fails to beep, you might be dealing with a keypad hardware issue that's draining your batteries.
For smart locks with a wireless radio (such as Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-Wave models like the 914 and 888) that experience battery drain within a week, the issue may be with the wireless radio.
This can be identified by checking the Wireless Card LEDs to see if they remain on. To troubleshoot this, remove the battery pack and hold down the program button for 10 seconds before replacing the batteries.
If the Wireless Card LEDs still won't turn off, contact Kwikset support for assistance.
This may require a reset of the Zigbee or Z-Wave module, or a replacement unit.
3. Ensure proper door alignment to prevent stress on the lock components.
A misaligned door can lead to multiple failed attempts by the deadbolt to lock or unlock, resulting in increased battery drain.
To prevent this, make sure that the door is correctly aligned and the latch lines up perfectly with the strike.
Any resistance during the locking or unlocking process caused by poor alignment can have a negative impact on both the motor and battery life of your Kwikset smart lock.
4. Disable unnecessary features such as LED, auto-relocking, and audio functions.
Disabling unnecessary functions is a practical way to reduce battery drain in your Kwikset smart lock. Some features like the LED, auto-relocking, and audio functions consume more power than others, and they may not always be essential for your needs.
LED lights, while energy-efficient, still utilize power when activated, usually during keypad use or locking. Auto-relocking requires the lock to engage and disengage frequently, causing the motor to work harder and draining the battery faster. Audio functions consume energy by emitting sounds for different types of notifications and button presses.
To maximize battery life, disable these functions by adjusting the switches on your Kwikset smart lock. For example, if you own a SmartCode 913 model, set switches #1, #2, and #3 to the OFF position. Switch #1 controls the LED, #2 manages the auto-relocking, and #3 determines the audio functionality.
By turning off these features, you focus the lock's energy usage on essential security-related tasks, thereby prolonging the battery life and reducing the chances of unexpected lock failures due to drained batteries.
5. Strengthen Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or Zigbee signals for efficient performance.
Strong Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or Zigbee signals are crucial for efficient smart lock performance. If your Kwikset Smart Lock has poor connectivity, the device may need to use extra energy to maintain its connection or reconnect, causing faster battery drain.
For Wi-Fi models, ensure your lock has a robust connection with your router. If you find weak spots or dead zones in your home, consider upgrading to a mesh Wi-Fi network. Mesh networks utilize several access points distributed throughout your home to deliver comprehensive coverage, minimizing connection issues. Check out this list of battery-friendly routers from Kwikset's list of recommended routers here.
Similarly, for models that use Z-Wave or Zigbee protocols, consistent and stable connections are essential. These protocols rely on a mesh network of their own, where devices act as nodes to strengthen the signal.
To improve battery life for Z-Wave or Zigbee smart locks, make sure they are within the proper range of other devices in the network. For instance, you can place smart plugs, switches, or other devices strategically between your smart lock and the hub.
This bridge ensures a more seamless and power-saving performance, as your Kwikset Smart Lock won't have to struggle for a strong connection.
6. Confirm correct installation and recalibrate the lock if needed.
Earlier I talked about ensuring the latch and strike plates are aligned correctly to prevent any resistance during the operation of the lock. It’s also worth checking other aspects of the smart lock installation which may be causing the issue.
Ensure that the cable is stored neatly within the lock and is not snagged on any part of the frame. It's also important to verify that the hole drilled in the door frame is deep enough to accommodate the deadbolt. While the door may have been fine when you first installed the lock, warping could have occurred over time, causing stress on the lock's components. In such cases, addressing these installation issues will help minimize battery drain.
I recommend recalibrating the lock by running the door handling process again (both automatically and manually if needed). A lock that isn't calibrated correctly may exert unnecessary strain on the motor or repeatedly attempt to lock or unlock, resulting in faster battery consumption.
7. Apply lock-specific lubricant to ensure smooth operation.
To reduce battery drain in your Kwikset smart lock, consider applying a liquid lubricant to the deadbolt.
By doing this, you'll minimize resistance and ensure smooth movement when locking and unlocking the door.
However, be careful when selecting a lubricant, as the wrong choice may damage the components of the smart lock. Go for a lubricant specifically designed for locks to maintain optimal performance in doing so extend battery life.
8. Verify the battery level to rule out reporting errors.
Sometimes, smart locks like the HomeConnect 914 & 888 equipped with wireless radios (Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave) can show incorrect battery levels on the smart home system's user interface. This leads to false alarms about low battery life.
To double-check whether the battery is genuinely low, follow these steps:
- Enable switch #1 on your smart lock, allowing the status LED to blink every six seconds.
- Carefully observe the LED flashes. An amber or green flash followed by a red one indicates a low battery level.
- If there's no red flash, the battery isn't low, and the issue might lie within the smart home system itself.
In such cases, manually locking or unlocking your smart lock often resolves this error, ensuring accurate battery-level reporting.
9. Check for excessive communication between the smart lock and the smart home hub
For smart locks with a wireless radio (Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, like the 914 and 888 models), frequent communication with the smart home system controller might be the culprit.
To test this theory, remove the lock from your smart home system and insert a fresh set of batteries. Try operating the lock without the smart home integration for a week. If the batteries drain quickly, the issue is within the lock itself. If not, the smart home controller might be causing the battery drain. This may be down to an overly high ping frequency from the controller to the lock.
In this case, decreasing the ping frequency to the lowest possible setting may extend battery life and optimize the lock's performance.
10. Follow the correct battery replacement procedure and power-cycling process.
If your lock continues to display low battery behavior both on the device and on your smart home hub, after installing new batteries, ensure that you allow at least 30 seconds between removing the old batteries and inserting the new ones.
This power cycling process helps in the proper reset and operations of your lock.
However, if the issue still persists and your lock struggles to join or rejoin the Z-Wave / ZigBee network, remove the battery pack, press and hold the program button for 5 seconds, and then do the same with button A. (These instructions are based on the 914 model)
Once done, replace the battery pack and test to see if it’s fixed the issue.
11. Ensure both the Kwikset app and the lock's firmware are up to date.
It’s worth checking that both the Kwikset app and your lock's firmware are up-to-date.
Regular updates often include fixes and improvements that can help enhance the device's efficiency and battery life.
To keep the Kwikset app current, head to your device's app store and download any available updates.
Your lock's firmware version and available updates are generally listed in the Kwikset mobile app (for Wi-Fi devices).
If you have a Z-Wave or Zigbee model, you’ll need to check your smart hub and the Kwikset website, for details on available firmware updates.
By staying updated, you can optimize your smart lock's functionality while prolonging its battery life.
12. Reach out to Kwikset Support for assistance or potential replacements.
If you're facing battery drain issues with your Kwikset smart lock, don't hesitate to contact their customer service. Some users have received a functional replacement simply by reaching out. By doing so, you might just find yourself with a new lock that performs significantly better.