How to Fix Your Frozen Front Door Lock
However, if you return home from a long day at work and find the Winter weather has frozen your front door lock, you are locked out – the weather is far from creating a beautiful day.
Why do door locks freeze?
When the weather is warmer but wet, such as foggy winter mornings or the persistent rain of Autumn, there is a lot of moisture in the air. This moisture creeps into the locks on your front (and back) doors. When the weather turns colder and typically below zero degrees, the moisture in the lock freezes and jams the locking mechanism in place.
Frozen lock advice
If you are suffering from a frozen lock, here are some do’s and don’ts:
DO NOT Pour water into the lock.
Hot and or warm water are equally damaging to locks. Water and metal mechanisms do not mix well. It MAY temporarily allow you to unlock the door. However, it will cause more harm than good in the long term. Remember, the lock is frozen due to moisture in the lock. Adding more moisture to the lock, I am asking for more trouble in the future.
DO NOT force the key into the lock.
The delicate metal pins in the lock are susceptible to damage, especially when frozen and brittle. At best, forcing the key in the lock will damage the internal mechanisms. At worst, you can easily snap the key in the lock.
DO try heating the lock with a hairdryer.
Although this assumes you can access the small appliance and a power source, it will melt the ice in the lock. The downside is that it is an EXTREMELY slow process.
DO NOT try to warm the lock with a blow torch.
Having read that a hair dryer may work, eventually, you may be tempted to get a blow torch from the shed, garage or a neighbour. Same principle but faster, right? Wrong! A blow torch, however gently applied, will heat the lock too quickly, expanding the mechanism and damaging it. We have been called out to customers who have tried this – the lock is normally beyond repair. Normally, the UPVC door or painted front door is damaged as well.
DO NOT apply heat to the key.
A hairdryer will take so long to heat the key that you may as well wait for a summer’s day to melt the lock. A cigarette lighter, blow torch or similar device is more likely to damage or bend the key.
DO NOT use car antifreeze on the lock.
Splashing anti-freeze around the door lock is more likely to damage the paint on the door or the UPVC door.
DO call a professional Locksmith. A good Locksmith, such as the team at Millennium Locksmiths, carry a specifically formulated and approved solution to gently remove the ice from inside the lock without causing any damage. In the long run, this is the cheapest and fastest solution for frozen locks.
DO think ahead
Although the above steps are one way to de-freeze a lock, there are also several preventative measures that you can take before the first freeze to ensure that locks are better equipped to handle freezing temperatures. For instance, moisture tends to work into locks while still warm outside. When cold weather sets in, this moisture can freeze within the lock, complicating matters.
So, how do you prevent frozen locks? You can oil them before the first frost of the year. Oiling the locks will help form a thin, protective layer over the lock’s inner workings, ensuring that all internal parts operate adequately in the cold. So, next Autumn, spray a little WD-40 in the lock. WD-40 is superb at keeping moisture out of locks and PREVENTING them from freezing when the weather gets colder.
Frozen locks do’s and don’t advice is brought to you by Millennium Locksmiths. We have a team of professional Locksmiths local to you, wherever you are in Berkshire or Buckinghamshire. Call your local Locksmith today.