Door Lock Maintenance Tips to Keep Your House Safe

Fatima Buzdar

October 21, 2022

A locksmith in a pink shirt and blue jeans is using a flashlight to examine the lock of a wooden door. He is bent and focused on the lock mechanism. The background consists of a grey, concrete wall.

Most of us do not even think of taking care of our locks, let alone entertain the idea of it. Even when we notice an abnormality in our locks, we might shrug it off as a minor nuisance and go on about our day. However, neglecting to take care of the most important aspect of your house security can result bigger inconveniences with the house locking or in worse cases, tragic events.

You can end up getting locked out of your house or locked in your house, neither which scenarios that would do a favor to your day. Additionally, a lock condition left to go awry can fail to protect the security of your house properly. With 125,500 reported cases of properties suffering breaking and entering in Canada throughout 2021, that issue is of huge concern. Lastly, leaving the door lock problems unattended can lead to heftier costs for repairs, or even require you to replace the lock much earlier than you would have had to with proper care.

So before these aggravated lock problems find your way, nip them in bud. A regular door lock maintenance can go a long way with protecting you and your loved ones, as well as saving you from a heavy blow on your bank account due to repairs for built up lock issues and preventing struggles with operating the lock. With these simple tips to maintain your locks, you can do your part to maintain your locks and ensure their reliable condition. If you notice show signs warning signs about your lock that seem to require a solution that seems too complicated for a layperson, then you should seek the services of a professional locksmith right away.

Clean Your Door Lock Regularly

Perhaps the thought of cleaning up for your locks never occurred to you. However, make no mistake in holding the belief that your lock components do not inevitably accumulate all sorts of detrimental elements that can diminish the lifespan of your lock. These elements looking to cause trouble include dirt, grime and rust. If their accumulation is allowed to get excessive by not cleaning them off, then they can cause plenty of issues that impede the smooth and reliable functioning of lock components.

These include not allowing the key to be inserted or pulled out smoothly in the keyway, which can cause a key to get stuck in lock or even a key broken off in keyhole. Additionally, it can even jam the whole lock, not allowing you to lock or unlock it. Excessive build-up can also weaken the components, making them prone to breaking.

With that in mind, perhaps you have understood that cleaning locks in fact should not be neglected. It is recommended to do it every year or every few years. Or at least you should get to cleaning your lock as soon as you suspect that it is getting too clogged.

Generally, lubricating the door lock should not just cover that annoying friction, but also the cleaning process. However, if you want to do a more thorough cleaning job – which is a good idea! – then you can wash the lock with lukewarm water and a mild soap or detergent solution. Never use an abrasive cleaner for your lock! This can diminish and corrode the protective layer of the lock, which would be counterproductive as it would make the lock all the more vulnerable to damage.

Alternatively, making use of a can of compressed air can also help with getting rid of dust by blowing it out. For the persistent build-up of rust, a solution of water and distilled white vinegar can do wonders. Just soak the lock in it for 30 minutes and then make sure to dry it off properly. Make sure to not make the portion of vinegar excessive so that you do not risk corroding the lock.

Some build-ups that have garnered excessively can require disassembling the lock and then having the lock components thoroughly cleaned. For a layperson, this is a tricky job as the lock mechanisms are intricate. That is best left to a professional locksmith.

Lubricate Your Locking Mechanisms Annually

Adequate and regular lubrication of your lock has to be the most important part of door lock maintenance, yet prone to be easily overlooked by you as well. The lock pins and springs located inside the lock cylinder need proper lubrication on a regular basis to move about smoothly. The friction caused by the lack of lubrication exerts pressure on the lock components and consequently wears them out over time. Leave it be and expect for larger problems to arise.

Not just your lock components can wear down due to the constant friction, you would also find yourself struggling with inserting, pulling and turning the key in the keyhole smoothly. In worse cases, your door lock can jam due to excessive friction. Too much friction can also cause the key to get stuck in the keyhole, or even worse, break in the lock, leaving you with the broken half of the key hopelessly in your hand which is definitely not a scenario you would like.

The answer to avoid these unpleasant problems is simple: make it your regular routine to lubricate the lock! Not only does it provide the much needed lubrication to the components, it also helps with cleaning the inner parts of lock. Doing it at least once a year should be sufficient.

But what type of lubricant would best suit your lock? The graphite, Teflon or dry lubricants are recommended for optimal lubrication. Before using a lubricant, make sure to quickly clean the lock. Then simply spray the lubricant into the keyway of the lock and then gently move your key in and out. If the key comes out with dirt on it, then make sure to clean it off before inserting the key again.

Do Not Use the Lock With Force

Handle your lock with care, and it will certainly thank you! Exerting unnecessary force upon your lock is the last thing you should do if you would prefer to maximize the lifespan of your lock. For example, do not pull out the key from the lock with force and instead patiently pull it out by gentle wiggling. You should also not bang the door as it can put damage upon the lock. While these actions may seem very minor, they can bring quite enough trouble if they build up over time too much.

Ensure That Your Door Is Properly Hung

The alignment of your door may seem irrelevant to the condition of your lock; but make no mistake, it certainly is not the case. A sagging door fosters various troubles and concerns, and this includes diminishing the condition of the lock. This is due to a sagging door exerting force upon the lock components like latch or bolt, and hence weakening or damaging them. This will severely compromise the security provided by the lock.

Hence, a hung door is no small problem. If you notice your door to be sagging, be sure to have it looked into as soon as possible. This protects not just the lock from suffering pressure, but also ensures that the door is in a secure condition to protect you and your loved ones. One common cause behind this issue is the lack of proper support for the door due to the loose hinge screws of the door. It is best to have a door professional handle it to help prevent door sagging properly.

Defrost the Lock During Harsh Winters

If you notice your lock going through the abuse of harsh winter and accumulating a bit too much of layers of frost, then it may be good to thaw it now and then. Otherwise, you can be caught off guard by a jammed lock due to excessive ice build-up within it or weakened lock components thanks to the ice. It is best to not wait until the excessive ice gets troublesome and thaw your lock.

The lock thawing process tends to be simple. Spraying your handy de-icer spray into the lock will take care of it in no time. However, if you do not have it, then you can make a substitute for it in home just by a 3:1 solution of white vinegar and water.

Alternatively, there are various other methods as well. You can coat your key in hand sanitizer or petroleum jelly and then insert it into the lock, giving it a wiggle around there. These ways can dissolve the ice to prevent it from creating issues later on.

Additionally, it is recommended to lubricate your door lock right before the beginning of winter. This will play a big part in preventing the ice from forming within the keyhole in the first place. Follow the suggestions above in order to lubricate your door lock the right way.

Correct Alignment of Latch or Strike Plate

A misaligned latch or bolt or strike plate is something that you definitely would not want to shrug off. It can prevent the door from locking properly, which is a great concern. Additionally, it also poses damage to the lock, since a higher amount of force is needed for the locking and unlocking process due to the misalignment.

The strike plate may have to be unscrewed, took off and then re-installed with a correct alignment. If that does not work, then it may require new screw holes to better adjust the strike plate, which can be beyond a layperson’s capability to do properly. Hence, it may be in your best interests to call a professional.

Call Locksmith Services for Proper Door Lock Maintenance and Repair

There are a lot of simple measures you can take to take care of your lock. Simple door lock maintenance routines that consume little time like cleaning and lubricating your lock can go a long way and save you from compromised security, hassles with operating the lock and heftier costs of lock repair or replacement.

However, while you can take various measures to maintain your door lock and keep it in a secure condition, there are many issues requiring attention and relating to the lock that may be beyond your capability. If you notice serious wear and tear of your lock or other issues like a sagging door or misaligned strike plate which seem complicated to solve, then your best bet is to call a professional.

If you are looking for the best Caledon locksmith or door expert, you have to look no further than Faster Locksmiths. With our 5 years of robust experience, our experts can fix any issues within your lock and get it back to functioning in a healthy condition that can reliably secure your house and last long. Additionally, our experts can correct a sagging door and re-adjust a misaligned strike plate to strengthen the integrity of the lock and door.

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.