How Changes in Temperature Affect Locks

One of the most common causes of lock issues is the changing weather.

As temperatures fluctuate, residential and commercial door locks may jam and not work properly.

How Does Hot Weather Affect Your Door Locks?

As temperatures warm up in the summer, many homeowners and business owners experience jam locks. This usually affects exterior doors, as increasing temperatures can cause the door to expand slightly. As a result, locks can become difficult to turn or get stuck entirely in one position.

 This effect is more common in the following situations:

  • For closed deadbolt locks, which are compressed in the door as the door frame swells around it.
  • For wooden exterior doors and door frames, because wood material is more prone to swelling and contracting in extreme temperatures.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Door Locks?

Lock problems often manifest themselves during the cold months of the year. 

When temperatures fall below freezing, the door frame tends to contract. 

This causes a poor fit between the lock and the door itself

This effect is more common in the following situations:

  • For wooden exterior doors and/or door frames, which are affected by the rising humidity levels.
  • For door frames made of wood which tends to contract in colder temperatures.

You may find that it’s difficult to turn the key in a deadbolt when locking or unlocking exterior doors. 

For a quick fix, try pulling in on the door handle from the outside to re-center the lock within the door frame. 

However, this shouldn’t be considered a permanent solution, as it will likely get worse over time and eventually make it impossible to lock or unlock the door.

Preventative Measures

Fortunately, there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid these issues.

  • Consider replacing wooden exterior doors and frames with a more durable option that is more resistant in extreme temperatures. There are lots of options available, including aluminum, fiberglass and steel.
  • Take the time to maintain locks by oiling regularly. This will make it easier to turn—even when the weather changes. To lubricate properly, you’ll need to take the lock apart first.
  • Keep the lock dry. Ensure that overhangs, eaves and gutters are sufficient to keep rain and snow away from the door.

When to Call a Locksmith

If extreme hot or cold temperatures have made it difficult for you to operate the exterior door locks at your home or business, they may need to be re-fitted within the frame.

This is a job best left to a professional locksmith, as it will likely involve fully removing the door and modifying it to ensure a perfect fit. 

Click Here to Schedule Service, be aware that lock issues due to Weather Conditions are Not Covered under our Warranty.

Subsequent visits will be subject to a Trip Fee at minimum.