You know to wrap up warm when you go outside in cold weather, but what about your locks? They are largely ignored unless you have an issue with them. Unfortunately, cold temperatures can potentially cause big issues with your locks. Read on to find out more about this phenomenon and how to avoid getting locked out this winter.
What happens to locks in cold weather?
Most materials experience a change when exposed to extreme temperatures – they expand in the heat and contract in the cold. If the metal making up your locks contracts in the winter, then it might cause your keys to longer fit properly, which can lead to jams. Similarly, wooden doors will also contract in the cold, causing potential problems between the locking mechanism and the door.
Another problem may occur if rain, snow, or even just water vapor from the air get into the keyhole. If temperatures reach freezing, this tiny amount of moisture in your locks can freeze, blocking your key from properly entering and turning in the lock. This can happen to any of your locks, including your car locks as well as your home.
What can you do about it?
If your lock becomes frozen, then you can use a de-icing solution, just like the one you may use on your car on frosty mornings. Simply spray this into the lock to defrost the layer of ice blocking the way. Alternatively, you can warm your key up slightly before placing it in the keyhole. Holding it briefly over the flame of a lighter can warm it up enough to melt any ice inside the lock.
The best way to maintain your locks and make it easier for your key to turn in the mechanism, even if it contracts slightly, is to lubricate the lock regularly. Oiling your locks will help the mechanism turn more smoothly, prevent wear, and can even prevent the locks from freezing up.
If your locks are completely jammed because of the weather and you’re locked out or simply can’t lock your door, then the best thing to do is call an emergency locksmith. They’ll be able to determine whether the problem can be easily solved or whether the lock needs replacing. If the problem is with the door rather than the lock, they’ll be able to remove the door and adjust it to ensure it matches up better with the locking mechanism.
Have you ever experienced problems with your locks in the cold winter weather? JB’s Lock and Key can help to get your locks and your day back to normal, whatever the weather. Get in touch for support from our mobile locksmith around Winston Salem, Lexington, and surrounding areas.