Door locks should work reliably and when you need them, but the fact remains that many don't give their locks a thought and lock maintenance is often something of a foreign concept for many homeowners. Unfortunately old, loose, dirty or otherwise neglected doors and locks can cause a multitude of problems for homeowners and can even prevent access to the home—usually at the worst possible time.
Other problems caused by poorly maintained lock hardware may mean the locking mechanism won't lock at all, leaving the home unsecured and vulnerable to attack. To avoid an emergency call a 24-hour locksmith, learn more about the ways homeowners can inspect, maintain and prolong the lift of their locks and door handles. Here are eight ways how.
1. Avoid hanging weight like an umbrella, jackets or backpacks over door handles. This adds additional strain to the handle springs.
2. Resist spraying lubricants like WD-40 directly into the cylinder (where you insert the key). Over time WD-40 lubricants gather dirt and grime and can freeze up the lock further. Instead of spraying a lubricant into the lock, try coating a key in graphite powder, which will be less messy and prevent the lock from gumming up.
3. Never install door handles with power tools like impact drivers and impact wrenches. These can loosen and dislodge components inside the lock hardware.
4. Place door-stoppers under doors to avoid doors slamming. Each time a door slams it can create movement in the pins within the lock cylinder and can also loosen latches and handles. If the door has a swing closing mechanism to prevent slamming shut ensure this is secure. Adjust the screw to ensure the swing speed is fast enough the door properly latches when closing shut. If the closer is leaking fluid is will need to be replaced.
5. Check door hinges every six months as they will loosen over time, especially in doors that are used often. Retightening screws with a Phillips head screwdriver will help avoid the door sagging and dragging against the bottom of the door frame. Doors that sag may not latch properly.
6. When a lock starts feeling stiff, be proactive and lubricate with key putting in into the lock several times to spread the lubricant around.
7. Never wedge a door open by forcing something like a broom stick in the hinge. This can cause a host of alignment issues.
8. Avoid entry doors being propping them open in the rain or getting wet in anyway. This can cause the doorframe and mortice plate (strike plate) where the door latches to swell from water absorption and prevent secure latching.