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Locksmithing/frozen combination lock

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QUESTION: I have a push button combination lock on my front door. When it gets really cold, the lock gets stuck and does not open. Is there any wany to 1) get it open once it's frozen 2) prevent it from freezing for the future (lubricate?)

ANSWER: Hello Mich,

What type of lock is this - mechanical or electronic? What brand is it? Does the door have any awning or other protection above it? Which direction does the door face and which direction does the wind generally blow in your area? Are you near the ocean or a bay?

There are many factors involved with any lock freezing:
1. Electronic keypad locks that are designed for residential use can usually work down to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit due to the electronics.
2. Mechanical keypad locks generally do not have very good seals between the buttons and lock body so moisture can enter and freeze causing problems.
3. Different brands of keypad locks are not suitable for the low temperatures that can occur in the northeast, while others can but may still require some type of protection such as an awning.
4. The wind can force moisture into almost any type of lock - keypad or standard keyed. Wind that generally blows directly into your door can be a major issue. If you are near the ocean or a large body of salt water this can corrode the lock not to mention penetrate the lock's seals with high winds then freeze causing problems.

Some locks have aftermarket weather covers available but it depends on the brand and model that you have. Search using your favorite search engine with the keywords of your brand or model of lock and the words 'weather cover' or similar. The main thing is to prevent the moisture from entering the lock and freezing. Unlike with standard keyed locks you can't use lock deicer as it could affect the electronics or the mechanics of the lock.

I'd suggest if your lock has it available to keep a mechanical key with your or in a place you can use it if needed. You can put deicer into the mechanical keyway if it freezes so keep that around too.

If you are near any source of salt water and have it in the air you may not have any luck finding any electronic or mechanical keypad lock that will last more than a year.

James


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response. The combination lock is not electronic. I don not know the brand ( it doesn't have a name on it) but it looks like this: https://absupply.net/ultra-hardware-44705-turn-knob-interior-push-button-combination-door-lock.aspx
I do not live near salt water and do not have an awning over the door. There is no place to use a mechanical key in the lock.

Answer
Hello Mich,

Most locks like the one you referenced are not very good quality and do not stand up to exterior use. The one in particular you liked to is for interior use only so you should check yours to make sure it can be used outside.

Without knowing the exact brand and model I can't offer anything further.

James

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James

Expertise

I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.

Experience

I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

Education/Credentials
I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

Past/Present Clients
US government, colleges, schools, city and state governments, large and small corporations, home owners.

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