Tricks to Beat this Tricky Weather

frozen lockFall, in my opinion, is one of the best seasons. It isn’t too cold, not too hot, you get a bunch of free candy, and then get to stuff your face with a Thanksgiving feast. What’s not to love? This fall has been a little bit different, though. As I am sure you’ve noticed, there have been a few days topping the charts at 80℉ and then the temperatures at night have been dipping down to around 35℉. While these drastic temperature changes pose a threat to your immune system, did you know that they can also affect the performance of your locks?

As your neighborhood Philadelphia locksmith, we here at Phila-Locksmith always strive to provide you with the most up to date information regarding your home, business, or automobile.  We have a little science lesson for you to further explain what is happening to your locks. Thermal expansion is the movement of the molecules within any given object due to temperature change. Therefore if a metal object is heated up it will expand because the molecules are in motion and moving apart from each other. Inversely, when an object is exposed to colder temperatures the molecules within move closer together and become stationary causing the object to contract or get smaller.

Due to the expansion and contraction of molecules, your locks have been going through a lot lately, so you may have noticed them sometimes sticking or having a little bit of trouble to turn. In weather like this, that is perfectly normal. You may have even experienced your locks freezing already. Your lock can freeze overnight (or throughout the day depending on the temperature) simply because of any water or condensation that may be within the lock. When this water in the lock freezes to the tumbler, it can make it nearly impossible to use a key within the lock. The last thing you want to do is try to force the lock open, because most likely you’ll just end up breaking the key within the lock. And while a trusted Philadelphia locksmith like us is always around the corner to assist with a broken key extraction or lock change, it is still best to save both time and money. Here are some home repair tips for a frozen lock that we have gathered for you:

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  1. Keep deicer or WD-40 accessible in numerous locations. It’s no help to you to keep deicer in the back seat of your car, because if your find the lock to be frozen you won’t be able to get to the deicer to melt the ice around the lock. Be sure to keep some in your home and vehicle that way no matter the situation you will always have it handy.
  2. Use a lighter to heat up your key before sliding it into the lock. You may have to repeat the process a few times, but eventually it will melt the ice around the tumblers within the lock.
  3. Dip your key in Vaseline and turn it in the lock. This process usually takes some time and has to be repeated as well, but it does usually show positive results. You can also use this as a preventative method against the cold, and lubricate your locks once a week during the frigid, winter months.
  4. You can pre-treat your locks as well as the frame of your vehicle door to prevent the lock from freezing as well as the door being frozen shut.
  5. NEVER POUR HOT WATER OVER A LOCK, it will only add more water to the internal mechanisms of the lock and lead to more freezing problems in the future.

We hope that you find these tips useful and you don’t find yourself in a predicament locked out of your home or vehicle due to frozen locks. In the event that you do find yourself locked out of your home, business, or vehicle never hesitate to give us a call for our emergency locksmith services.  We have reliable Philadelphia locksmith technicians that are on call and ready to assist you. Even if you happen to break your home or vehicle key within a frozen lock our technicians here at Phila-Locksmith can extract your broken keys for you and even make you a new replacement car key or change your locks right there on the spot. Give us a call today at (215) 554-6109 to set up a service or even have a technician come out to inspect your locks and let you know what you can do to make sure you are winter ready.

Winter’s Effect on your Locks

Winter is coming! Not only does this mean it is time to bring out the heavy jackets and that snow could soon be on the way, but it could also mean functional issues with your locks. For homes, businesses and especially automobiles, the combination of cold and moisture can greatly effect the way that your lock functions. The elements can make it more difficult to open your lock, or can make it completely disabled. Phila-Locksmith is here to provide you with helpful tips and information that will help you to defend against the winter elements.

As you may be able to remember from elementary science class, the cold causes molecules to contract, while the heat causes them to expand. Doors are no different than any other molecule and wooden doors are most susceptible to this slight change in size. By having a lock that is misaligned by just fractions of an inch, it can easily become worn or malfunction. This is why having a lock correctly installed by a professional can be key to ensuring a longer life time. If you have a lock that is installed on an exterior wooden door, nonprofessional installation can be very obvious during the change of season as the door expands of contracts. Since the wooden door is contracting or expanding it can misalign a lock which was not properly installed to account for the change in temperature. Unfortunately, when this occurs and your lock becomes misaligned, there is not a home solution to the problem. In order to rectify the misalignment is it recommended to have a professional realign your lock so that it will function no matter which season it is.

While contraction and expansion may effect your commercial or residential lock, automotive locks are not commonly effected by the weather this way because of the composition of its parts. A more common issue for vehicle owners is their locks freezing completely. This can occur when moisture is trapped inside of the lock and is solidified, especially if the vehicle is left outside in the cold for an extended period of time. The solution to this issue is much easier than that of expansion and contraction. Before you make the call for a professional locksmith there are two ways to prevent or reverse a frozen lock. The first is to lightly heat your car key before inserting into the lock to warm the frozen lock. This method can be dangerous and cause damage to your key or lock if done improperly. The second method is to store your vehicle in a garage if possible. By storing your vehicle in a garage it can keep the vehicle from getting cold enough for the moisture inside of the locks to freeze. Unlike your home’s lock, which has one end on your interior heated side, an automotive lock on an inactive vehicle will have a much higher chance of freezing.

Some people may look forward to the hot chocolate and snowfall that accompanies the coming winter season, while others dread the cold. Whichever one your are, use these tips to prevent yourself from having your security or access restricted by old man winter. Have more questions about how the cold can effect your security? Post in the comments section below or call to Phila-Locksmith to discuss which options and methods may be best for keeping your lock effective, even during the dead of winter.

Deep Freeze in Philly, Could Mean Bad News for Your Locks

January has left Philadelphia in a deep freeze with snow amounts that have been some of the highest for this part of the winter in a long time. The cold can effect everything from your plumbing to electric to even the health of some of those who are most vulnerable, however have you ever considered how the deep cold could be effecting your locks? January is just the beginning of what looks to be a tough and frigid winter in the city of Philadelphia and it is important to be armed with the knowledge of how to protect your locks before you need it. With this Phila-Locksmith is brushing the snow off of our blog to offer you some helpful tips.

The first way that the weather will effect your locks is the expansion and contraction of your door and frame. In the case of these frigid temperatures it is contraction that will take place. Even just this slight movement can cause a misalignment which will make your locks not function. The best way to combat this problem is to make sure that your locks are properly fitting during spring and fall months, but with enough room to allow for slight movement based on weather conditions. Normally your locks on exterior doors will not experience too many issues, since the heat on the interior side of the door can keep the lock mechanism from freezing.

Another way that your locks are effected by the cold is that they can freeze entirely. Mostly this takes place on car door locks or doors which are completely outside, and is caused when the moisture inside of the lock freezes which prevents you from fully inserting your key to disable the lock. One popular home remedy is to heat the key with a lighter and then insert it into the lock. While this is effective you can end up severely damaging your key if you do not do it correctly. If they key becomes too hot and the lock is not fully deiced when you turn the key it will bend, which may result in need a completely new car key.

What we at Phila-Locksmith recommend is to purchase lock deicer from your local hardware store, before you need it. Keep it by your front door or at your office at work so that you will have it when needed. Deicer is relatively cheap, and works effectively to not only allow you to use the lock, but also get rid of any moisture which may remain.