Don’t get left out in the cold this winter: call a locksmith!

As the days shorten and the temperatures plummet, a cosy home becomes an even greater refuge. But what happens when winter’s icy grip extends to your door locks, leaving you stranded outside in the bitter cold?

This kind of thing isn’t just an inconvenience, a faulty lock in winter can be nothing short of a security nightmare.

Here’s why prioritising secure locks and calling a locksmith in an emergency can be the key to a stress-free winter.

Common window and door lock issues in winter

Frozen door lock

It’s common for door and window locks to freeze in winter, and this happens for two reasons.

The first, most common culprit, is when water gets inside the lock mechanism – through rain, snow or melting ice – and freezes and expands. When this happens it can jam the delicate pins and springs inside the lock mechanism.

The other, less common, cause of a frozen lock is when extreme cold forces the lock’s metal components to contract. This minor shift can be enough to throw the entire mechanism out of alignment, preventing your key from turning smoothly.

Stiff door locking mechanism

There are several reasons why stiff or jammed lock mechanisms are common in winter too.

Winter brings rain, snow, melting ice, and increased humidity indoors. This moisture can find its way into the lock through tiny gaps or from condensation that built up over warmer months and never fully evaporated. When temperatures plummet, this moisture freezes and expands.

Ice takes up more space than water, and within the tight confines of a lock mechanism, this expansion can jam the delicate pins and springs, preventing the key from turning smoothly or even entering the lock at all.

Metal also contracts when it gets very cold. While this might seem insignificant, even a slight contraction in the lock’s internal components can disrupt its delicate balance.

This can cause misalignment within the mechanism, making it difficult or impossible for the key to engage the pins and springs properly, leading to stiffness or jamming.

Broken key in lock

Keys are more prone to snapping in cold weather due to a material property called ‘ductility’.

Ductility refers to a material’s ability to bend or deform under stress without breaking. Metals, like the brass commonly used in keys, are generally ductile at room temperature.

This allows them to flex slightly without snapping when you apply force while turning them in the lock.

However, as temperatures drop, the metal in your key can lose its ductility and become more brittle. In this brittle state, even a small amount of force can cause the key to snap instead of bend.

The specific type of metal used in your key can affect its transition temperature. Some brass alloys are more susceptible to becoming brittle at colder temperatures than others.

Older keys, or those with nicks or cracks, are also more likely to snap under stress, especially in cold weather. The imperfections in the metal act as stress concentrators, making it easier for a crack to propagate and cause the key to break.

Misaligned door or window

Shifting foundations and cold weather can create a perfect storm for misaligned doors and windows. Over time, foundations can settle or shift due to various factors like soil composition, moisture changes, and even nearby construction works.

This movement can cause the entire structure of your house to twist ever so slightly.

Building materials like wood and metal contract when exposed to cold temperatures. This contraction can be uneven throughout your house, especially if certain sections are exposed to more extreme cold than others.

Uneven foundation movement can put stress on the frames of your doors and windows, causing them to warp or twist slightly. Contraction from cold weather can cause doors and windows to shrink slightly.

This can be enough to throw off the clearances designed for smooth operation. Doors might become tight and scrape against the frame, while windows might become difficult to open or close completely.

Weatherstripping is the seal around doors and windows that helps keep out drafts and moisture. With misalignment caused by shifting foundations and cold weather, doors and windows may not press evenly against the weatherstripping, compromising its effectiveness.

The combination of shifting foundations and cold weather can wreak havoc on the alignment of your doors and windows. This can lead to a number of problems, including difficulty opening and closing, drafts, and even security concerns.

If you notice any misalignment issues, it’s best to address them before they get any worse.

Put lock issues on ice with Kew Locksmith Southport

As the crisp autumn air gives way to winter’s icy grip, it’s crucial to prepare your home for the challenges of the season. One often-overlooked area is your doors and windows – the very barriers that keep the cold at bay.

Draughty doors and windows are a major source of heat loss during winter. This not only makes your home uncomfortably cold but also forces your heating system to work overtime, leading to higher energy bills.

Kew Locksmith Southport can provide a pre-winter assessment to help identify any gaps or air leaks around doors and windows, allowing you to address them before the coldest months arrive.

Winter’s sub-zero temperatures can also cause moisture trapped inside locks to freeze, jamming the mechanism and potentially leaving you stranded outside.

A pre-winter check allows you to lubricate your locks with a proper lubricant to prevent freezing and ensure smooth operation throughout the season.

Harsh winter weather can also take a toll on door and window components. High winds can strain hinges and extreme cold can cause frames to warp.

I can help to identify any potential security vulnerabilities, like loose screws or damaged weatherstripping, so you can address them before they become a full-blown security risk.

At Kew Locksmith Southport, I provide locksmith services in Southport, Formby or Ormskirk. I’m available 24/7, 365 days a year and you’ll never pay a call-out fee for out-of-hours and weekend lock emergencies. Whatever your winter door or window lock problem, call me today on 07454 416582 for a fast, affordable solution.

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