We don’t spend much time thinking about the maintenance of our doors and door hardware. However, we encourage you to spend some time on the security and safety of your home.
First, clean the door and hardware.
When cleaning door hardware, use a very mild soap and/or just water. The finish on the lock is fragile and will last for years if not exposed to harsh chemicals.
Once or twice a year it is a good idea to lubricate your locks. Use a dry lubricant such as Teflon or silicon. Spray the lubricant around the latch and into the keyhole. It is important to get the lubricant everywhere that there are moving parts. Use the key to activate all the pieces of the lock during the process.
Second, check the door alignment.
With the door closed, check the gap around the door. It should be even and between ⅛” and ¼”. If the gap is uneven, tighten the hinge screws. Each hinge should have a screw reaching into the house frame surrounding the doorway. This necessitates the use of a screw between two and three inches. If the door is smaller than the frame is deep then the use of shims under the hinges may be needed.
Third, ensure that door hardware connects.
With the door open, look carefully at the strike plates for any rubbing or other marks. If you notice a slight rubbing of the latch and/or deadbolt, the mortise (hole in the doorjamb) may be adjusted slightly by filing the interior edges of the strike plate or the edge of the deadbolt. The screws attaching the strike plate should also reach into the frame around the doorway.
While you are looking at the strike plates, take a moment and check that the latch moves freely. Push it into the door and see if it bounces back quickly. New locks have a small bolt near the latch to keep it from being opened with a credit card; this bolt needs to hit the strike plate. If it enters the mortise it will not keep the lock locked.
Fourth, double-check the mortise.
A deadbolt is only useful if it can extend all the way into the door jamb. The mortise for the deadbolt must be deep enough for the deadbolt to function.
Look at your keys for wear. A worn key is at risk of breaking in the lock. If your keys need to be replaced, remember to use an original key to make your copies. This will keep your locks working faithfully for many years. (Quick tip: Keep a pristine original key in safe place to use for duplicates. Don’t use this key regularly to lock and unlock the door, as it will wear down over time.)
We hope that your door locks serve you well. When you need a locksmith, please contact us at A-1 Locksmith of the Palm Beaches, Inc. We can be reached via phone number (561) 964-6114 or fill out the simple form off to the side of this article. Looking forward to hearing from you!