Category Archives: Locks

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Key frozen in car lock

How Changes in Temperature Affect Locks

Category : Blog , Locks

Many times, people consider the importance of locks when they’ve already stopped functioning the way they should. Often, one of the biggest perpetrators of lock problems is changing weather. Locks of all kinds can experience significant changes as the weather cools down or warms up, which can impact your security.

Vehicle locks, deadbolts, keypads and padlocks can face locking mechanism issues throughout the year, especially when extreme weather shows up. You might have difficulty opening the lock, the locking mechanism may fail or you may break your key during the turning process.

Hot Weather Changes

During the summer months, humidity and moisture can impact doors — even small changes can have a big impact on the function of your locks.

Swelling

Businesses and homeowners often experience jams during the hotter months, often on exterior doors. For example, if you have a wood or plastic door, the material may warp or swell, which can impact the connecting lock. Swelling impacts lock alignment because the geometry of the frame and door change while the lock tries to stay in place. Deadbolts may be especially challenging to open if the door frame swells because they can get stuck in one position. These locks become compressed in these circumstances, making it difficult to move the lock at all.

Sticking

Metal door locks can also face unique challenges in the summer. As the warm weather causes any lubricant to evaporate, the lock mechanism may get stuck as metal components expand. Although adding lubrication can reduce some lock issues, you won’t easily fix the problem if expansion occurs.

Cold Weather Changes

As temperatures begin to drop, you can also face some unpleasant lock issues.

Shrinking

For wood doors, the material may start to contract rather than swell. Although this process is the reverse of swelling, the outcome is the same — changes in the door and frame cause a lock misalignment. The results of this shrinking may also make it harder for the key to catch in the lock.

Freezing

An additional problem you could face involves the freezing point of any lube you use on your locks. Although lubrication can make it easier to turn your locks, it stops being effective once it reaches the freezing point. If the lubricant freezes, or if any excess water freezes in the lock, the ice can prevent components from moving. Attempting to continue trying the lock in this state could result in structural damage or cause your key to break in the lock.

Additionally, your key may stick in the lock, or you may not be able to insert it at all if there is a lot of frozen buildup. Learning how to prevent locks from freezing is crucial for avoiding these issues.

Changes for Different Types of Locks

Many locks function in similar ways, but some can face unique challenges in different temperatures. Keep reading to discover when specific locks may be more susceptible to issues.

Car Locks

Vehicle locks can become very sensitive in the winter months. When temperatures drop to freezing and below, moisture inside the lock and mechanism can freeze. This issue can prevent you from inserting your car key or using your remote door opener.

Padlocks

You might notice your door locks sticking in the winter if any moisture enters them.

Common on garages, sheds and fences, padlocks face the biggest challenge when temperatures drop. You might notice your door locks sticking in the winter if any moisture enters them. The moisture in these locks can freeze, making them challenging or even impossible to open. Additionally, if you don’t use the space your padlock is protecting very often, it may face issues over time from a lack of preventative maintenance. For example, if you never lubricate the lock, the summer heat may cause additional problems for metal components, such as causing them to shrink or become brittle.

Keypads

As keypads and other keyless locks grow in popularity, it’s essential to understand their unique issues. Many commercial spaces use keyless locks, which can impact business operations if they stop functioning. These locks don’t face the same problems as other lock types. Instead, they face mechanical issues, push button jams and battery drain problems.

While most all-weather locks will function in any weather condition, they may face issues under extreme pressure. This type of pressure can lead to mechanical issues that may prevent the mechanism from working. Additionally, cold weather can affect keyless entry. Prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures can lead to shorter battery life spans. Typically, these batteries can last up to a year or longer in normal conditions, but a harsh winter can chop this timeline severely. If the battery dies and you don’t have a backup to get it running again, you might be stuck outside.

Deadbolts

When functioning normally, deadbolt lock mechanisms retract when you place and twist your keys inside. Alternatively, the mechanism extends when you lock it. As we mentioned above, you may notice difficulties in the summer months if your door warps or swells, causing a misalignment of the components that extend and retract the bolt.

Best Practices for Reducing Weather Impacts

Regardless of the type of locks you use, there are several tips you can keep in mind to ensure their longevity and your safety and convenience. Check out these best practices:

  • Consider replacing plastic or wood doors with more durable and resistant options.
  • Create and follow a routine maintenance schedule, such as adding lubrication.
  • Keep your locks as dry as possible by using overhanging or protective coverings to keep snow and moisture out and prevent door swelling in the summer.
  •  Warm your key with your hands before inserting it into a lock in the winter.
  • Hire a reliable and professional locksmith when installing new locks or addressing a lock concern.

Choose Ernie’s Lock Company for Your Lock Needs

At Ernie’s Lock Company, we provide full-service locksmith services to Maryland and D.C. Metro residents and business owners. Our company has been offering professional service since 1960, giving us decades of experience in the industry. We can handle any job, big or small. Whether you need a lockout service for your car, business or home, or need a new lock installed, we’ve got you covered.

Our lockout services can help you whether you’ve lost your keys, your door lock is sticking, you need a repair or your lock experiences issues in extreme weather. We provide upfront and fair pricing along with friendly and quick service, so you can get back on schedule as conveniently as possible. If your door lock isn’t working, don’t worry! Contact us for any lock service you need. We’re happy to help!

Choose Ernie's Lock Company for Your Lock Needs


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How to Protect Your Home While Traveling

Category : Blog , Locks

All the anticipation of an upcoming vacation can be distracting, especially after you’ve packed everything you need and loaded your suitcases into the car. Amid this excitement, homeowners sometimes forget to take one last look around their house to ensure their property doesn’t appear inviting to intruders.

Preventing break-ins and other potential problems takes minimal planning and will provide extra peace of mind while you’re away.

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How to Choose a Deadbolt Lock

Category : Locks

Feeling safe and secure at home or at your business is of the utmost importance. You want your home or commercial property to remain safe from intruders or other unwelcome guests, and one way to gain extra security is with a deadbolt lock. 

Deadbolt locks are additional locks on doors aside from the lock on the knob. These locks are very heavy-duty to give you increased peace of mind when relaxing at home or conducting important business at work. 

If your home or business does not currently have a deadbolt lock, you’ll want to look into installing one on each exterior exit. There are many different types, and selecting a deadbolt lock may be more complicated than you think. This guide will explain the different types and sizes and how to choose a deadbolt lock for your home or business. 

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How Long Do Locksmiths Take?

Category : Blog , Locks

How Long do Locksmiths Take?

Few things are more frustrating than being unable to unlock your property. This event can happen when you’ve accidentally locked yourself out of your car or your front door keys no longer work. In either event, you need a locksmith’s help, fast. But how long do locksmiths take to arrive and provide their services?

In our article, we’ll describe what to expect in terms of a locksmith’s estimated time of arrival and how long it may take to unlock your front door or car,  rekey a home, or duplicate a key.

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How to Become a Locksmith

Category : Keys , Locks

How to Become a Locksmith

Becoming a locksmith is a trade skill that allows someone to learn everything they can about locks, keys and how to work with and around the two. A good locksmith can install and repair locks, replace and replicate keys, and troubleshoot faulty ones in your home, business, cars, safes and anything else you keep locked up.

The requirements for becoming a locksmith vary based on your location. Many states will require some sort of certification, but others don’t require any. Let’s take a look at the process dedicated experts have gone through to gain the ability to take care of all your lock and key needs.

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Types of Locks

Category : Locks

In the United States, a home burglary happens every 18 seconds, resulting in an average property loss of more than $2,000.

Scary, isn’t it?

But, what if there was a simple way to improve your home security and lower your risk of a burglary — without installing a security system?

Don’t get us wrong — a high-quality security system is an effective way to protect your home and valuables. But oftentimes, when homeowners are thinking about safety and security, they overlook an equally important form of protection — their locks.

A good lock can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your home or even your business. But a good lock is only good if it’s being used correctly.

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when do replace door locks

Top 10 Reasons to Replace Your Door Locks

Category : Locks

With so many issues to be concerned with in daily life, the last thing you need to worry about is your home security being threatened by inferior or compromised locks. Strong, quality locks on your front and back doors give you confidence. That’s not just when you’re away. It’s also when you’re relaxing inside, taking a shower or sleeping.

Locks are your last line of defense in protection from burglars or unauthorized intruders. Home burglaries are common throughout the United States, and it’s not always a total stranger that sneaks into your house. Unlawful entry can well be from someone you know. That could be a previous tenant, an ex-roommate or even a separated significant other.

Preventing illegal entries is your first step in a proactive approach to home security. The best security systems rely on a layered approach that integrates several devices. Good exterior lighting and clear visibility are a few of these. Motion-activated sensors are another excellent security tool. But nothing beats the value of good quality locks where you have proper key and access control.

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The Best Keyless Locks for Schools

Category : Locks

The Best Keyless Locks for Schools

Students have the right to a safe education. As technology advances, schools have access to modern-day safety methods, keeping students protected and empowered to learn.

Thanks to these innovations, schools can do away with traditional keyed locks and replace them with high-tech keyless alternatives — keeping threats outside the school and classroom and allowing students and faculty to take charge of their safety.

Here, our certified locksmith experts at Ernie’s will outline the best keyless locks on the market, customized to complement your school’s security measures and unique needs.

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Locked out of the House: What to Do

Category : Locks

locked out of the house

It’s probably happened to all of us at one time or another: You walk up to the front door of your home or apartment and start rummaging through your pockets or purse. You can’t find your key. Then it slowly hits you  you’ve locked yourself out.

Locking yourself out of your home can be a major problem or a minor distraction. That distinction largely lies with factors such as weather, time of day and if you are standing in front of a home, on the stoop of your building or inside facing an apartment. If it’s later at night, during a cold winter month, locking yourself out can even be dangerous.

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When to Change Locks: Keeping You and Your Property Safe

Category : Blog , Locks

when to change locks

You do what you can to keep your property safe. Whether you have a home, apartment or business, you lock your doors to protect yourself. In some cases, our locks can’t always guard our homes. For many situations, you must change your locks so they can do their job correctly.

When you change your lock, you choose an entirely new lock system to replace your old one. Customize your security with a new lock system that fits the look of your property, all while keeping everything secure. But how often should you change locks?

We at Ernie’s Lock Company know the importance of keeping your family, possessions or business safe. Below you’ll find our recommendations of when to change your locks. Plan for life’s surprises and prepare for when you may need to replace door locks. When it’s time, contact us for help when you’re unsure how to change the locks on your house.

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