Chicago Winter and frozen locks


Freezing temperatures and freezing rain are here again. These conditions are perfect for frozen locks.

You may be able to prevent freezing by lubricating all of your outside locks before they freeze with WD-40, Tri-Flo or another spray recommended for lock lubrication. Use the straw that comes with the can and spray deep and long into the lock. Then put your key in and out a few times working the spray into the moving parts of the lock.

If your lock is frozen, you may or may not be able to insert your key. The key will not turn. At this point the moisture inside the lock has frozen and must be either warmed or evaporated with a de-icer.

If you can reach the lock with an extension cord and a hair dryer warming the lock is easy. Lubricate after opening.

Lock De-Icer is available at most hardware and locksmith stores. You must spray it all the way back into the lock where the key goes in. It usually takes a few minutes to work and you may have to do it more than once. The alcohol will evaporate the ice, but it also removes any lubrication in the locks. Make sure to lubricate your locks after you use a de-icer or your locks may be damaged.

Using a torch on a lock is NOT a good idea. If there is any lubrication in the lock, you will cook it and make it sticky. The lock will not work and probably have to be replaced.

Or you can call a locksmith who will have a good de-icer and lubricant or warming method to open your lock and get you going. However, if it is a good freeze there may be a waiting line.