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.