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It’s that time of year again with temperature struggling to reach above 10 degrees, we are firmly in the midst of winter and frosts are to be expected in the early mornings and late at night. In these conditions, wherever moisture is able to reach, freezing over is sure to follow. Indeed, everything from your car windows to the locks on our doors are set to be frozen over.
It’s infuriating to say the least, especially when you’re in a rush to leave for work or just want to get inside your warm home after a long day. Naturally, quick solutions are crucial when it comes to these situations. To this end, we’ve put together a few dos and don’ts to help you get out of a lock dilemma in seconds.
Improvise with your handbag items
Often, you’ll be able to chip away at the ice with it only being a thin layer, and an everyday tool that you carry in your handbag will generally do the trick. A credit card, for example, or a travel sized nail file should have enough of an edge to lift the ice away from the surface.
Bear in mind, however, that these options can only be recommended if you’ve no other choice. By using these items recklessly, you do risk breaking them or even causing further damage to the lock itself.
Try something warmer
A trick that requires nothing more than yourself, warm up your door key between your hands or with your hot breath, then try inserting it into the lock. Once contact has been made with the lock, the heat emanating from the key should help to melt the ice away.
Certainly, this may require a few attempts as the key will lose the heat quickly and the ice needs to melt before you’ll be able to push it the entire way in.
For quicker results, a cigarette lighter or matches will speed things up. Simply warm the key for a few seconds at a time under the flame. Be careful when doing this, though, because metal heats quickly and can have painful consequences if not handled responsibly.
2020 has seen a huge rise in the use of hand sanitiser, and earlier this year you’d be lucky to find a bottle let alone have enough left over to use it on your locks. However thankfully the shortage is long behind us and if you find yourself struggling unfreeze your locks hand sanitiser is a great fix.
We promise this isn’t a hoodwink and is actually an effective and speedy fix. As well as killing the germs we come into contact with on a daily basis, the alcohol substances added to the sanitiser solution also lower the freezing point of water.
Glide a small amount of this product over your door lock and you should be able to unlock and enter your property within seconds.
This is recommended as a low risk option, and due to its tendency to be a common handbag item, it’s also a low-cost alternative.
Do not use hot water
When you de-ice your car windows, warm, hot and boiling water are a big no-no when looking to melt the ice from your locks. Whilst the damage isn’t visibly noticeable as it would be were you to throw hot water on your windows, it has been proven to cause significant damage to your locks in the long run.
On top of this, the problem may be solved for the time being, but it will only become an issue again later on that day or the following morning once the warm water freezes back over again. You’re better off to use one of the options above that are less damaging and then find a preventive to stop it from happening again.
Vaseline or grease
A petroleum jelly, Vaseline is a favoured substance for locksmiths to use when a cylinder lock needs loosening up. The main ingredient petroleum has healing properties such as sealing the skin to create a barrier from water. Additionally, this product can be used as a frost deterrent on your door locks and works just the same as if you were to apply it to your lips.
If you’re privy to knowing when the first frost of the year or next frost should be arriving, put measures in place beforehand to make your life that little bit easier. Ensure the entire lock is covered in a layer of Vaseline and this should act as a barrier to any moisture that tries to creep its way in.
De-icing your door locks needn’t be a stressful affair, nor a costly one. With these simple yet successful tips, you can go about your day without any hiccups.