With winter weather comes rolling in, most of us expect a few changes in our day to day routines. It may mean getting up earlier to clear the driveway of snow or scrape ice off the car. Winter weather generally also means allowing longer time for the morning commute because of slower traffic speeds on the snow. And, of course, it means the daily struggle to get all the kids into their winter coats, hats, and gloves to get out the door on time. Of course, snow and road salt also means additional care for your cars throughout the winter. But what many forget to prepare for is the ways in which the colder temperatures and frozen precipitation can affect our homes. It can even affect your home’s security is the cold weather adversely affects your locks! So, this winter, here are a few of the winter’s worse effects on your home and how to help.
Your House Locks Can Freeze
We’ve discussed before how to deal with a frozen car lock, and sadly, that one isn’t an uncommon issue around here. But what many people don’t realize is that the locks on your doors are just as susceptible to freezing shut. Particularly on those days that it’s rainy and damp all day then the temperatures drop overnight, you can easily find that moisture has crept into those exterior door locks, frozen, and jammed your locks shut. While it’s a bit easier to unfreeze house locks than it is to unfreeze door locks, you’ll still want to go about it the right way so you don’t damage the locking mechanism in the process.
The trick is warming the lock enough that it will safely turn without damaging the internal components. If your door locks have frozen, this could be an implication that the area around the door is kept too cool. If you have a mud room that separates your entry from the rest of the house, you’ll want to find a way to keep that room at least partially warmed so the ambient temperature can help keep the locks from freezing. However, if your locks have frozen despite being warmed on the inside, the trick to unfreezing them is to first have a way to get to the exterior portion of the lock. You can try aiming a blow dryer at the lock to heat it and melt the ice, or pour lukewarm (not hot!) water on the outside of the lock—but be warned, even once the lock is unfrozen, the moisture inside the locks can still damage the mechanism and cause your lock to jam. The better bet is to call your local locksmith, who will have a special heating tool that is better suited to unfreezing and opening your lock safely.
Keys May Snap
Freezing temperatures often make metal more brittle. What this means, unfortunately, is that your keys are more likely to break during the winter—especially if you’re trying to force a frozen lock. So, first things first, if your key doesn’t want to turn easily in the lock, don’t force it. This is the case all the time, but especially during the winter when keys are more prone to breakage. Of course, if your key does break, it’s not the end of the world. If it broke from being dropped or some other reason, a locksmith can make a new key from the pieces pretty easily. If your key breaks off in the lock, it’s still not as big of a problem as it might seem. A locksmith can extract the broken key piece and make a replacement key once they have the key pulled out. Just don’t try to remove the key pieces yourself or you could end up damaging your lock to get the key out.
Be sure to stay tuned for part two of this blog series, when we’ll look at even more potential problems to be on the lookout for this winter and how to prevent or deal with them. If you’re having lock or key struggles in the Philadelphia area, contact the professionals so you don’t end up with damaged locks. Call Top Notch Locksmith today for quick, local locksmith help!