Instructing a Real Estate Broker

3 Elements That May Cause Your Residential Door Locks to Act Up

by Natalie Adams

A faulty front door lock can be the single reason that may cause you not to leave your house unless somebody's around to stay behind. Pinpointing exactly what is wrong with the lock is the first and most important step towards fixing the problem. Here is a breakdown of some elements that can lead to door lock issues, and how each issue can be remedied. 


Dirt tends to finds its way where it is not wanted, including in the locking mechanism of your residential door locks. When dirt builds up in the mechanism, it can cause the locks to seize up and become inoperable. If your house key can't turn when you try to lock or unlock your door, it is likely that the mechanism is clogged up with dirt buildup. The most effective fix for the problem is to remove the lock from the door and take it apart. Clean the locking assembly with a soft, lint-free cloth and manufacturer-recommended lubricant. This should get your lock assembly in good working order again. In case this doesn't work, you could be faced with a different problem.

Winter temperatures

The cold winter weather can be harsh on so many people and things, and your door locks are no exception. Due to the freezing temperatures, water can freeze up in your locking mechanism, making it difficult to turn the door knobs. How can you unfreeze the ice in your mechanism? By applying heat, of course. But be careful not to apply excessive heat to the mechanism, as it could result in permanent damage. Alternatively, you can use commercially sold de-icers to melt the ice buildup, but make sure the products you purchase are suitable for your locks.

Extreme changes in temperature

Extreme temperature variations can cause wood door frames to become warped, making it difficult to lock and unlock a door. A warped door can lead to number of different lock issues, including loose hinges and jammed or sticky doors. A slightly warped door can be repaired with a little bit of sanding, whereas extreme warping can be fixed with the right tools, right level of skill, and a lot of patience because many things may need repair attention at a go.

When faced with house door lock problems that you cannot fix yourself, it is best to call an experienced locksmith to action or to replace the inoperative lock completely.