As winter fast approaches, the cold weather can cause all sorts of problems for homeowners and businesses, with frozen or burst pipes, damp, leaks and malfunctioning heating systems some of the issues that commonly need contending with.
Yet, the cold weather can also play havoc with door and window locking mechanisms, affecting how they function and potentially compromising the security of a building.
How cold weather affects door locks
When the temperature plummets, this can cause a doorframe to contract or become warped, especially if it’s made from a material like wood. If the lock hasn’t been fitted properly within the frame, this could prevent the deadbolt from working effectively. If moisture also finds its way into the doorframe, you might notice that the door starts to stick, and you could have trouble opening and closing it.
With winters becoming wetter and damper, locks are more susceptible to getting moisture inside the mechanism. If the weather then turns icy, the moisture inside the lock could cause it to freeze, making it difficult to insert a key inside the lock. Even worse, keys could get stuck in frozen locks. Freezing cold weather might also cause locks to become brittle and potentially even result in a broken lock, which is not ideal if you’re stuck outside in the cold.
Car locks and the cold
It’s not just the locks of a building that can be compromised when the weather turns chilly; you might also find your car locks no longer work properly.
Like building door locks, car locks are prone to freezing if moisture gets inside the locking mechanism, making it difficult to turn the key. But, don’t think that just because you’ve got a keyless lock that you’ve got away with it. These kinds of locks can also be affected by the cold weather, with issues such as a draining battery, mechanical problems and jammed keypad buttons all potentially preventing you from accessing your vehicle.
It’s not just the cold…
Don’t assume that once winter is out the way that your locks will be safe and sound, as very warm weather can also impede the functioning of locks. Hot weather can cause doorframes to expand, making it harder for doors to close and for the lock to work. The mechanisms inside a lock may also expand in the heat, and the lubricant could dry up, causing the lock and mechanism to bind up and malfunction.
What to do?
While it might be tempting to have a go at fixing locks affected by weather changes, this could only make matters worse. It’s best to contact a professional locksmith to take a look at the problem. In some cases, you might need a new locking mechanism fitted if your old one hasn’t been installed correctly inside the doorframe.
In fact, whenever you change locks or get new ones fitted, always work with a reputable locksmith, to ensure locks are properly installed so weather changes don’t cause potential problems resulting from an ill-fitting lock.
In some cases, locking mechanisms may return to normal functioning when the weather improves, but never assume that this is inevitable. It’s wise to get any malfunctioning locks checked out by a local locksmith in case there are other underlying reasons, apart from the weather, that could be hindering their functionality. After all, locks that aren’t working properly could compromise the security of your premises.
Once you’ve had new locks fitted, keep them regularly lubricated and as dry as possible, so they can withstand any weather changes.
When changes in weather impede the functioning of your door, window or car locks, contact the expert locksmiths at Lockout 247 for fast and effective assistance.