Homeowners rely on their door locks to protect their homes, families, and possessions from intruders, but most give them little thought unless something is wrong. Doors and locks experience wear and tear just like any home exterior feature, so residents should pay attention. Read on to discover five common door lock problems that should never go unaddressed.
Faulty Door Mechanisms
Faulty mechanisms cause most lock problems. It doesn’t mean the lock was installed incorrectly or isn’t high-quality. Locking mechanisms experience wear over time, whether residents use them or not, and eventually, even the best locks will start to stick. If that happens unexpectedly, it can leave residents locked out of their homes.
The best way to avoid unanticipated lockouts is to test the locks periodically to ensure the mechanism works properly. More often than not, locking mechanisms show signs of wear before they break, so it’s not hard to catch minor issues before they cause more serious problems.
Misaligned Door Latches
Door latches must be perfectly aligned with the strike plates in the frames to work correctly. Otherwise, the door won’t open and shut quickly, and the lock may not engage, leaving the home unprotected. Misaligned door latches are minor but surprisingly common problems, but they’re also easy to fix.
Most of the time, a locksmith can adjust the strike plate to ensure it’s properly aligned. These professionals also carry the tools required to deepen plates if necessary. Attempting a DIY fix can wind up doing more harm than good. If homeowners have tried to realign their door latches and damaged the door or frame, a locksmith can reposition the lock to restore normal function.
The Door Won’t Lock
It can be frustrating when seemingly simple devices like mechanical locks won’t work. Sometimes, homeowners don’t even notice that putting the key in the lock and turning it hasn’t actually secured the door. It’s important to pay attention. If residents don’t hear any sound or feel any resistance on the key when they turn it in the lock, there’s something wrong.
The most common underlying issue behind keys that turn but don’t actually engage locking mechanisms is interior wear. A locksmith can remove and check the lock for worn or missing parts. Sometimes, locks that no longer fit their keys can be rekeyed. Otherwise, the lock will need to be replaced.
Few things are more frustrating than a key that sticks in the lock on the way out the door. Residents may be planning for busy days, and stopping to deal with this problem correctly takes some time. Even if this is the case, resist the urge to force the key. More often than not, the key will break, leaving the lock in even worse condition than before.
There are a few temporary fixes, but they don’t replace the need for hiring a locksmith service. These professionals pride themselves on providing timely help to homeowners in need, so it won’t take long for them to arrive. They also carry all the tools required to fix sticking keys without causing damage.
Already tried forcing the lock and have a broken key to show for it? Don’t panic. A good locksmith should also be able to deal with this problem quickly and efficiently. If the broken key can’t be removed without damaging the internal locking mechanisms, the assembly may need to be replaced. Waiting for a locksmith to arrive and provide help can be frustrating, but it’s the only way to safely resolve the problem without compromising a home’s security.
Warping or Distortion
If a door or its frame becomes warped or distorted, it can cause problems not just with engaging the lock but also opening and closing the door. Homeowners who live in humid climates can take a few steps to prevent this problem from happening. If it’s too late for preventative measures, don’t despair. A locksmith may be able to restore the door so it will at least regain its normal function.
While a locksmith can help homeowners get back into their houses after humidity or other adverse conditions cause door or frame distortion, not all of them replace doors. Homeowners who can find a locksmith who also offers this additional service are in luck. It’s typically easier, and often more cost-effective, to hire a locksmith for door replacement than it is to hire a contractor. Plus, the locksmith can install additional security measures as needed.
The Importance of Making Quick Repairs
It may be tempting to ignore problems with a door or locking mechanism as long as they’re not preventing residents from accessing or securing their houses. That’s a mistake. Ignoring a sticking key because it can be resolved with creative wiggling will only mean that homeowners have to deal with it later once the key has weakened and broken off in the lock.
It’s much smarter, and often less expensive, to hire a locksmith to resolve any door lock problems as soon as possible after they appear. That way, homeowners can work on their own schedules instead of putting off important meetings or errands to ensure they can lock their doors behind them.
Waiting until a minor inconvenience turns into an emergency will also lead to higher repair costs. Good locksmiths provide emergency services, so there’s no need to worry about whether it can be repaired the same day. However, many charge more for rekeying or replacing locks outside of regular hours. It’s better to call and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
The Bottom Line
No matter what’s wrong with a residential door or locking mechanism, a professional locksmith can help. These experts do more than replace broken locks, too. Many also offer security upgrades such as installing security cameras and alarms, installing deadbolts, and otherwise helping to fortify the home against intruders. Look for a locksmith who can do it all.