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Door Lock Maintenance – Top tips to keep your locks fully working

June 11, 2014

Door locks are only effective if they are fully working and operate correctly, a sticky lock could compromise home security and could even leave you locked out!  There are a few reasons why a lock may become faulty or stiff, use these top tips to recognise the fault and make an effective repair.

As with all home maintenance, prevention is often the best method to keep your home in tip top condition.  This is no exception with locks, the metal and metal action of keys to lock will result in high wear and tear.

Lock Lubrication

Regular lock lubrication will add years to the life span of a lock, especially any locks that are exposed to the elements.  The most effective type of lock lubrication is Graphite Powder, a dry lubricant that will not attract dirt and grime like wet lubricants do.  Graphite powder is easily sprayed into a lock, simply insert the nozzle and press the container, this will shoot a fine layer of graphite into the lock, coating all the moving parts with a fine layer of lubricant.  Lock lubrication should be carried out every 4-6 months, more frequently if the lock is especially exposed to the elements or in a marine environment.

Key problems

Keys are great until they start to go wrong!  At the first signs of any type of key problem – get it sorted.  Keys that are hard to insert or turn will not cure themselves, but will only get worse.  Lubrication is the first place to start, but if this does not improve the operation of the lock, a worn key could be the problem.  Each time a key is used with a look, the metal on metal action of inserting and turning the key will wear the lock and key.  Normal wear and tear will be seen quicker with the key due to the softer brass that keys are typically made of.  With any new look it is good practice not to use all the keys that are supplied with the lock all of the time.  If possible key one of the original keys as a spare, as other keys become worn, replacement keys can be copied from the original that you saved, rather than an old key.

Sticky latch or bolt

Door handles are used to withdraw latch bolts in a similar action that keys are used to lock and unlock a bolt, both of these moving parts can become sticky and hard to move.  Door movement is the most common cause of a stiff bolt, if a door has moved slightly on its hinges or a wooden door that has swelled slightly in damp conditions, the alignment of the door lock to the keep might be slightly out.  Other causes of a stiff or sticky bolt could be dirt on the bolt, this can easily be cured with some lubricant.

 Loose or floppy handles

One of the most common problems with door locks that are operated by handles is floppy or loose handles.  This occurs when the internal springs that should return the handle to the normal position is worn and not working correctly.  The latch springs can be found within the handles and lock case, replacement of both types of spring might be required to get the handle to return to the normal position.

Replacement internal parts

Locks that are getting old and starting to show signs of their age can be brought back to life.  All internal locking parts of a lock can be replaced for new, this will give a new lease of life to an old lock, and can sometimes be cheaper than ordering and fitting a new lock.

Looking after your locks at regular intervals is important, and just plain old good sense, a poorly maintained lock will bite you one the bum, when it fails to open and you are stuck outside in the rain!

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