Unlocking the Mysteries of Locks, Keys, and Safes

How To Maintain Your Door Locks At Optimum Functionality

Locks are fundamental to keeping your home and possessions safe, but their maintenance isn't well emphasized. Most tenants and homeowners simply assume their locks will last forever without any supervision, that is until the locks get stuck. 

Like most other home equipment, you have to take care of your door locks to keep them in good shape. Here are three primary lock maintenance practices you should observe to minimize replacement and repair costs for your home locks.

Lubricate Your Locks Frequently

The easiest and most effective way to prevent lock failure is to lubricate them regularly. Lock problems mostly begin with stiffness, an issue that's usually caused by dryness.  A sticky, gritty lock will be more difficult to turn and may cause damage to the pins or tumblers inside. 

Apply lubricant to the moving parts in your locks to keep them smooth and reduce stress on the lock components that can cause them to fail. Lubricate with a silicone spray or graphite powder (not oil) and wipe away any excess fluid with a dry cloth. For the silicon spray, squeeze a little bit into the keyhole then insert and remove the key several times to allow the lubricant to spread.

Only apply enough lubricant to remove excess friction within the moving parts, and make sure you clean off any excess fluid that could attract dust on the lock. But you should lubricate your locks every few months as part of your regular maintenance routine.

Clean Your Door Hardware Regularly

Dirt and grime can build up on door locks and other door hardware which makes it harder for keys to work properly in the lock components. Regular cleanup will remove any unwanted materials from the locks. This helps prevent the locks from rusting prematurely. 

You can use a damp cloth to clean your locks and dry them thoroughly with a soft cloth. If there is visible dirt on your door lock, try polishing it off with a soft cloth before you use a lock cleaner. If the fabric doesn't work, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean out any dirt or debris from the keyhole.

Check Your Door and Lock Alignment

Your door should fit perfectly within its frame when closed, or else it could damage the hinges or jam mechanisms inside the lock. If it isn't well aligned, it will be harder for you to turn the keys inside the lock. You can use a level to check whether your door is flush with the floor or walls. 

Also, check out the strike plate and the screws that hold it in place. Your strike plate should cover the entire latch. In addition, it should be well-fastened to your door frame with strong screws, or better yet, reinforced screws. 

If you notice a problem with the alignment and placement of your locks, consult a residential locksmith as soon as you can to rectify the issue and save you from having to buy new locks altogether. It is worth noting that your locks may still develop some problems after some usage, and a repair may be all it takes to get them back at the peak of operation. Therefore, whenever you notice some signs of failure, reach out to a residential lock repair expert who can advise you accordingly.