Many homeowners make the mistake of ignoring minor (but necessary) home repairs. A small home repair may cost you, but the cost will not be as much as if you were to neglect it. While drips from leaky pipes may be annoying, a faulty door lock compromises the security of your home all the valuable items inside. This article takes you through some door lock problems that spell trouble when ignored.
Misaligned Door Locks
Whether you prefer to call them misaligned strike plates or misaligned locks, the two terms are synonymous and they usually cause the same door lock problems. Since the locking mechanism is not lined up correctly, misaligned door locks present problems to the door’s core functions. Sometimes, misalignment may be a result of uneven gaps along with the edges of the door which affects latching and closing.
Other times, the problem is simply a result of loose hinges or broken ones. Misaligned strike plates are quick to spot since the door becomes obviously difficult to operate. When neglected, this problem eventually leads to broken door locks or broken doors. It goes without saying, a damaged locking mechanism and broken doors only lower your home’s security.
Locks jam up for multiple reasons. Freezing weather, the buildup of debris in the internal mechanisms, rusted tumblers, deadbolt misalignment, and broken lock bolts are some of the reasons that can cause locks to jam. Depending on the cause, some door lock jams only require a few hand tools for a quick fix. For instance, if the lock jam is a result of gunk, the solution would be to simply clear the keyway and get rid of the debris and any obstructions. Apply some lubricant to the keyway to ease debris cleaning.
How you deal with the door lock jam really depends on the cause, If you exhaust your DIY list, always call a locksmith, otherwise, you may end up with a permanently jammed door lock that will demand a replacement.
Broken Keys in Lock
Your door key broke while in the lock. Now what? A broken key in the lock is not one of those problems you postpone; the security of our home, car or office will be compromised if the key broke before you shut the door. Extracting a broken key in a lock requires some level of expertise; doing it wrongly can actually cause further damage to the lock. If a portion of the key is protruding from the lock, you can simply use pliers to pull it out. However, when there is no protruding key left in the lock, the process becomes more delicate and the best thing would be to call a locksmith for professional extraction. Locksmiths normally have the right tools for extraction. Sometimes, a broken key in the lock may end up damaging the lock.
After extracting the key, your locksmith will examine the door lock to make sure that the locking mechanism is intact. Keys wear and tear over time and so do locks. To prevent your eyes and locks from breaking, form a habit of replacing both after every few years. Additionally, lubricating your locks regularly makes it easier for the key to slide in and out of the lock minimizing chances of breaking.
Turning Lock Cylinder
A cylinder turns when a damaged set screw or a loose set screw meant to hold it in place either loosens or breaks. Normally, when you insert your key into the lock, for the door to unlock, the cylinder shouldn’t turn. Although this is the easiest door lock problem to diagnose, it isn’t necessarily easy to resolve. A turning lock cylinder inhibits how and when you can lock and unlock the door. Essentially, what this means is that you stand the danger of being left stranded outside your office or home unable to gain entry. Correcting this problem calls for the removal of the faceplate, dissembling the lock and restoring the placement of the set screws. This is also not a DIY project, you will want a professional to handle this.
Whether you have just moved or you’ve been there for a while, it is important to check the condition of your locks. A good door lock is meant to keep out burglars, not the owner of the home. Always work on resolving these door lock problems the instant you notice them.