Maintenance is the Key

Different things in our homes (whether it’s a single-family home, condo, or apartment) need to be maintained. Furnaces, water heaters, air conditioning units, etc. all need to be properly maintained from time to time to keep them running and working smoothly.

However, what we rarely think about are door locks. Most of the time we don’t even think about our locks until they start sticking or otherwise become hard to operate. Door locks do need upkeep to help them work properly,  to help prevent premature wear, and help maintain the security of your home.

How often should I clean my locks?

It is recommended that you clean your locks every 6-12 months, especially if the lock is outside and exposed to the elements. Wind and other weather can deposit dirt and grime into your lock causing the moving parts to stick or freeze up.

How can I clean my locks?

There are several ways to clean a lock:

  • Blow graphite or another dry lubricant into the lock. Then insert the key and wiggle. Wipe debris off the key and repeat.
  • Rub pencil lead (graphite) onto the edge of a key and wiggle the key inside the lock. Wipe debris off the key and repeat.
  • Blow short bursts of canned air into the lock.
  • WD40 will do in a pinch but is not a long-term solution. It evaporates quickly.
  • Wipe the outside of the lock with a clean, damp rag.
  • Don’t put oil in your lock. It attracts and holds dirt and grime.

Can my door be causing a lock problem?

The door itself could be causing a problem. Checking the door is a regular part of lock maintenance. Make sure the door isn’t sagging or otherwise misaligned with the strike plate. Even a slight misalignment can put undue pressure on the latch or deadbolt trying to seat itself in the area behind the strike plate. This is especially true if the door is wood, as wooden doors sometimes shrink and swell with humidity and weather conditions.

Also, check your faceplate. Make sure the faceplate is aligned properly with the dead bolt or latch. This way, when the lock is being engaged, the dead bolt or latch doesn’t rub up against the faceplate, causing uneven wear and tension or total lock failure.

Door locks are a key part of any home security package. Sometimes they are the only thing standing between you, your possessions and the outside world. Maintaining your locks should be a regular part of your home’s maintenance schedule. If you are unsure how best to clean your locks or your locks are not working properly, feel free to give us a call. We are here to help.