Maintaining Your Home’s Locks
A deadbolt lock can increase the safety of your home, but only if it’s working properly. Take the time to inspect your locks every month or two to make sure they are in perfect working order.
Do: Lubricate your locks regularly.
Don’t: Use a powdered lubricant.
Locks seize up or stick for a variety of reasons, but the most common cause is poor lubrication. A standard deadbolt lock is made up of several moving internal parts. Dirt and residue from constant use can jam the lock, making it difficult or impossible to open.
A quick squirt of a spray lubricant formulated for use in locks can free up the mechanism. Don’t use graphite powder or similar lubricants, because the powder can gum up the locks. If your lock is still stuck, don’t force it. Instead, call out a locksmith to perform a proper repair.
Do: Inspect the strike plates.
Don’t: Force the latch to “fit.”
If you are having difficulty turning the lock to secure it, and you know the internal workings aren’t to blame, the problem is likely in the strike plate. This is the plate on the door jamb with the central hole that the deadbolt latch slides into. If it doesn’t line up properly with the latch, or if the hole doesn’t line up properly, the latch won’t slide in smoothly.
Don’t keep forcing the lock to bolt. This can damage the lock or the wood inside the door jamb, weakening the entire lock in the process. If you can’t get the striker plate to line up correctly on your own, a locksmith can fix the problem quickly – and without damage to the door.
Do: Keep debris out of the keyhole.
Don’t: Clean it with water.
Dirty keys result in a dirty lock. The more dirt inside the lock, the more likely that it will become jammed. Keep your keys clean and dry to cut down on the amount of dirt that gets into the lock. If moisture gets into an exterior lock during freezing weather, the lock may even freeze up.
Don’t force a jet of water into the keyhole to clean it out if you think it’s dirty, this can cause rust damage inside the lock. You can clean out the keyhole with a spray lubricant if necessary.
Do: Make sure the hardware is properly installed.
Don’t: Ignore broken or loose screws.
Finally, inspect the lock monthly to make sure the various screws that holds the lock and striker place are firmly screwed in. These can sometimes work out on their own.
Don’t ignore a loose or broken screw, because it could compromise the security and the operation of the lock.
When in doubt about a lock problem, take the time to call in a locksmith. He can quickly fix any problems and the fee is a small price to pay for safety and security. For more information, contact a company like RNR Lockworks Ltd with any questions or concerns you might have.