Every homeowner should try to keep their valuables and loved ones secure. In short, this should be their top-most priority. However, there are times when they overlook the condition of door locks until something drastic happens. In case you wish to stay away from lock issues or a possible lockout, make sure that your door locks are maintained properly.
It is natural to go through a mixture of emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration, and fury. You may find you are unable to enter your home. Luckily though, a majority of these lock problems are not quite difficult to fix.
Check out some of the following reasons why locks may stop working:
1. Door mechanism has become faulty
A majority of door problems happen to be mechanical, which means they can get faulty with the passage of time. Old locks can create problems as non-maintenance and excessive use lead to defects in them. Hence, professional locksmiths should be called to handle such mechanical problems instead of opting for a DIY project.
2. Misalignment of latch
Your door lock may have an easy way to rectify a problem such as a latch misalignment. It means the door bolt can be slightly to the side, below, or above the plate. A couple of screws can be removed and the strike plate can be moved to fix the problem. Alternatively, you may have to reposition this door.
3. Deadbolt is stuck
When the deadbolt is stuck, it might suggest that a strike plate is misaligned. Another possibility is damage to the internal mechanism. It has to be replaced or repaired in such a case.
4. Key is not turning
The first thing you should check is that whether it is the right key or not. After all, many keys look identical and it is easy to get confused. However, if you are certain that you are inserting the correct key; the lock could be filled with debris and dirt. It could be frozen during winters. You may use a de-icing agent for thawing a frozen lock. Alternatively, use graphite to lubricate the dirty lock. The key might have to be inserted and jiggled a few times so that the lock is loosened up.
A third possibility could be that your key is totally worn out. The key’s edges can become excessively smooth over time to be able to turn a lock. In case there is a duplicate key with you, check whether it works or not. If it works, replace the malfunctioning key.
Similarly, a new key might have many rough spots from its manufacturing process, which might get stuck in a lock. File down these spots carefully while making sure that only the tiniest of metal is removed at a time. You may spray graphite to lubricate the hole of the key if it fails to turn.
5. Key is turning but does not lock
Tiny fallen or worn-out parts might lead to the key turning inside the lock but not pushing the knobs. It is a mechanical issue and a professional locksmith should come and fix it.
6. Key is broken-off
There are cases when a key breaks inside a lock. There are two options before you in such a case. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to have a grip on the key. Then pull it out straight by applying gentle force. In case that does not solve your problem, the lock cylinder has to be removed.
7. Slow or stiffened locks
Slow or stiffened door locks can happen when grime or dirt accumulates in a lock. In case you observe that it is tough to insert the key inside the lock or the lock handle is slow, insert a cotton swab for removing the dirt. Use silicone spray or graphite to spray on your lock when there is inadequate lubrication in the lock. Do not use grease or oil as these can clog in the winters.
Often, lock problems can be worrying, frustrating, and irritating. Luckily, most of these problems are easy to rectify. There are occasions when some of these problems we discussed above can be fixed at our homes through DIY projects. However, it is better to call a reliable professional locksmith to handle more complex lock-related issues.