How Hot and Cold Temperature Can Effect Locks
The climate here in the UK has always been a much debated subject – we’re famous for it!
However there is no getting away from the fact that our weather has changed over recent years. The winters are colder and more icy/snowy while the summers seem to be a bit warmer – lets see if this summer is the start of a new trend.
Locks are complex and rely on the movement of metal parts to do their job so the weather has an effect on them. Its worth checking them at least twice a year to ensure that there is sufficient lubricant and that the moving parts actually do move freely when then key is turned. This is particularly advised for locks exposed to the elements
Cold Weather and Locks
Cold temperatures cause the lubricant (which enables the metal parts to move smoothly against each other) to thicken or even freeze. In very cold weather the metal may contract or become brittle with the cold. Our winters are often wet/damp. If water gets into the lock and freezes this can also prevent the parts from moving smoothly. When water freezes – it expands. This can damage the lock structure or simply block the keyway and prevent the key being inserted.
Solutions to this – in the first instance protect your locks from the elements if at all possible. Warming the key gently in can melt ice in a lock or even soften the lubricant to enable the lock to move. There is all sorts of advice available on the internet – some of it sensible, some pretty daft – remember metal can get VERY hot!
Hot Weather and Locks
This summer’s exceptionally warm weather has resulted in a hug rise in lock problems.
Plastic doors have been expanding in the heat and jamming in their frames or not closing for the same reason. The only solution for this is to wait until the door cools down. But a longer term remedy is to shield the door from direct sunlight or in the case of an internal door (such as a porch), to ensure that there is plenty of ventilation so the heat doesn’t build up. Years ago people used to protect their paint from direct sunlight, perhaps we will need to copy our continental friends and build verandas to shade doors and windows.
Metal locks and uPVC mechanisms suffer particularly in the heat because the lubricant dries up and the metal parts expand – this can result in the lock/mechanism binding up and preventing the lock being used. Careful application of lubricant can reduce this risk but there is little that can be done if the metal has expanded other than wait for it to cool down and shrink – if this is a persistent problem then it would be worth considering how to shade the door as a preventative measure.
Additionally in Winter there are the long dark evenings and mornings to contend with which make it so much easier for opportunist burglars. If you are already checking your locks and security on a regular basis its worth ensuring that you have adequate lighting around the entrance to your property. Keep hedges trimmed so that they don’t provide shelter for anyone up to no good. Make sure that the Shed and garage that may not be used as much in the colder months are secure and that their locks are lubricated to keep out the damp.
Give our team a call on 01494 854808 if you are looking for a local locksmith service.