Some of the many issues independent Locksmiths face during Cold Weather Call Outs
Most of the emergency call outs that a local locksmith receives during the winter months are due to door and window locks that require repairing or replacing after break in's or attempted break in's but occasionally a window or door lock will simple fail, sometimes this is unavoidable as it is down to wear and tear on the lock after years of regular use especially on main doors, but sometimes it's down to poor maintenance which can also be adversely affected by colder weather during the winter months
With winter now in full swing and set to be with us for a good few months yet, now is the best time to take precautions in order to maintain functionality with your locks over this long and cold winter period. Here are some simple yet effective ways in order to tackle this issue or prevent this from happening!
One main issue with the change in the weather is locks freezing over. Door locks, vehicle locks, window locks and even garage door locks can get exposed to cold air which can cause them to fill up with an icy build up - which will result in the key slit becoming blocked with ice even if it in not visible upon inspection.
With a frozen door or window lock the first thought that comes to peoples minds is usually to "get the boiling water". However, professional locksmiths highly DO NOT recommend this as a solution to a frozen lock as this can cause more damage to the locks and an even thicker build-up of ice in the key slit long-term.
There are several more practical and more effective alternatives of lubricant spray that are designed to dissolve the icy congestion with air pressure or high ethanol based products. A really simple technique if you are in a rush and find your lock being congested with ice is to use anti-bacterial hand wash instead. Most anti-bacterial hand washes are made up of a high percentage of alcohol so are not likely to freeze like water does so will easily melt any icy build up in the key slit.
Alternatively to this, it may be recommended by some locksmiths that you gently heat the key up before inserting the key into the lock. This can be done by simply rubbing the key between your hands or finger, we do not recommend using items such as lighters, boiling water or other methods in order to heat up a key as this is a) dangerous and may burn or scald , b) may warp the key and c) cause even more damage to the lock.
How to avoid window and door locks getting worn out before their time
Modern window and door locks and locking mechanisms should last for years if maintained correctly, so throughout the year make sure that you are regularly oiling your locks and checking for rust and general wear and tear damage. Straightforward things like this can help you avoid issues like stiff or jammed locks when the weather changes.
Another key issue which can occur during the winter months is the tightening of locks due to low temperatures due to the contraction of metals. If this happens we would highly recommend that you call out a professional locksmith as attempting to get into a lock which has contracted may cause damage to the door.
Some minor faults such as frozen locks can be rectified without calling out of a professional locksmith and a genuine, local, independent locksmith will generally advise over the phone whether or not this is the case. You should however avoid calling out one of the growing numbers of so called national locksmith companies who will come out to you anyway to simply warm up a key between their hands or squirt a little wd40into you lock leaving you with a £300 invoice for their effort, so be vigilant.